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A Traditional Lady Malfoy

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Kingsley Shacklebolt was a wizard of rare leadership qualities, and after The Battle of Hogwarts he showed compassion that few would have suspected him to possess. There were a group of ten or so from the Death Eater side who had effectively surrendered themselves to the winning side. Kingsley was aware that at least two of the number present were the spies who had worked tirelessly to feed information to The Order of The Phoenix.

Kingsley knew of them, even if it had been a hard fought battle to learn the information. The high-ranking Auror had grilled Albus Dumbledore for it, not allowing the old man to fob off the people around him as pawns to be easily sacrificed. Therefore, now both Kingsley and Arthur Weasley knew of all the circumstances of the once clandestine organisation of The Order of The Phoenix.

Kingsley watched now as Lucius and Draco sat quietly at what was left of the Slytherin table with a very unsteady looking Severus Snape beside them. The man was ashen, his robes were covered in blood, and Kingsley shuddered to think what had happened to him. Then he watched in surprise as Hermione Granger rushed back into the hall and handed the Potions master several potions, and he saw Lucius help the man drink them.

It was then that he recalled one of the pieces of information that Albus had reluctantly told him. The old man had tasked Severus Snape with educating Hermione Granger on everything she would need to get Harry to today in one piece. This education program had been conducted in secret and had been happening since the girl’s fourth year.

Kingsley was further surprised when the Gryffindor witch then hovered, appearing very worried, apparently not only had the old man’s plan worked, but the pair of them had forged a friendship as well. Then he watched as Lucius appeared to placate Hermione, and seemed to ask her if she was injured. It had been this civility that had cemented the resolve in Kingsley’s mind.

Shacklebolt could not simply order these people arrested. He knew that they were on their side – the winning side. He then wondered how many of those who remained with those he was watching were also either already on their side, or had switched sides and fought for what they truly believed was the right thing at the last moment. These people deserved a chance as well.

However, while he was formulating all of this in his head, he also saw some of the Gryffindors present taunting the small group, and Kingsley specifically noticed that Hermione Granger was having barbs thrown at her for associating with the Slytherins.

Of course, the feisty witch was giving as good as she got, but he decided that he needed to step in before anyone got hurt, they had lost enough people today. He acted quickly, telling the Aurors he would personally deal with this group, and he approached them. He made certain that they saw he had friendly motives, and he told them that their magic was going to be monitored as he placed them under house arrest, also telling them they would receive owls informing them of the date of their hearings.

So it was that each family who agreed with Kingsley’s conditions remained at Hogwarts until the actual prisoners had been processed, and then family by family they were escorted to their homes by Kingsley. Restraining wards were placed around each property, and those placed within were warned that the wards would not only record anyone passing through them, but if any of those tasked with remaining within the wards went through them, the trace on their magic would instantly register and they would find themselves in a holding cell at the ministry and under arrest. He then stressed that these measures would also protect those within from any as yet uncaught loyal Death Eaters.

On the whole the measures had proven very successful. It had been a good way to keep everyone separate until the Ministry had cleaned up a bit, in effect giving officials one less problem to deal with immediately.

~~~***~~~

It was now six months post battle, and today—finally—it was Lucius and Draco who were explaining themselves to the board. It had been found that Draco had become a spy to avoid killing Professor Dumbledore, but not that many people knew that, or that Lucius had been steadily passing information on to Severus throughout the second war.

Neither men were members of the Order of The Phoenix, even if both wizards had been reporting to Severus, who after Dumbledore’s death was only in contact with Kingsley and Arthur. Unlike the Potions master’s history, few people knew of the work of any other spies, so they had to be questioned along with the others.

Once things settled down, Kingsley and Arthur had come and exonerated Severus as they wanted his input on their board of peers. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger had provided the evidence, along with Dumbledore’s portrait and the new Order heads to clear Severus. However, when he was asked if he wished to be reinstated as headmaster of Hogwarts, he had grimaced, and stated enigmatically, “Perhaps, I am happy to oversee reconstruction, but I do not wish to make up my mind yet.”

~~~***~~~

Today was the first time in a long time, as he sat opposite The War Crimes Review Board, that Lucius Malfoy allowed himself to enjoy the wave of relief rising in his chest. He glanced at his friend Severus. The Potions master had not been back to the manor since he had been cleared. Lucius understood that it would have been difficult for him, knowing what a conflict of interest it would be, but still he had missed his friend.

He sighed, this was finally going to be over, all he and Draco had to do was get through these interviews and they would be all right—oh they would have to pay dearly for their freedom—but they could finally pick up the pieces of their lives and start to move on.

Lucius’ eyes scanned along the row opposite him. He was pleased to see Anthea Greengrass, as the new head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, his friend Severus next to her, and then Hermione Granger, and Lucius noticed that she had filled out beautifully in the last six months, and he found himself envying her friendship with Severus.

Shacklebolt was beside Hermione, and next to him was Harry Potter. The new head of the Aurory, Nymphadora Tonks, sat next to Harry and finally there was Arthur Weasley, who was now head of The Order of The Phoenix since Minerva McGonagall had chosen retirement.

The only other persons present were Percy Weasley and Adrien Pucey off at the end of the table, notating the minutes for the ministry records. It had been thought that having two records would seal any disagreements that might surface at any time in the future.

All in all the review panel appeared to be a very well chosen cross-section of British wizarding life. Lucius was pleased to see that the entire panel was not made up of Gryffindors, in fact, they were outnumbered by the other members of the board; another initiative of Shacklebolt’s no doubt.

One very important thing that this panel had in common was that every individual had proven themselves hundreds of times over. They had all fought in the war, and they understood how it was. As well as that they were all dedicated to finding the way forward without falling back into the pot-holes of the past, something that had happened the first time around.

To be interviewed, detainees were given Veritaserum and then questioned. It went in both Malfoys favour that they had willing submitted to taking the potion, and Lucius wondered who had not. He knew he had a valid reason for not taking it, but he trusted Severus to have that under control. He wasn’t planning to play on it; he wanted this settled and finished. Both Malfoys had been placed in holding cells for the night to ensure that they could not have taken any antidote for the truth serum before it had been administered.

Draco was questioned first, and Lucius watched him taking the potion.

Shacklebolt went straight to the point as soon as he saw that he was under its influence. “Did you willing serve, Tom Riddle?”

“No!” Draco proclaimed adamantly.

“Then why did you attempt to kill Professor Dumbledore?” Harry Potter wanted to know.

“To stay alive,” was Draco’s honest answer.

“Is it true that from just before the time of Professor Dumbledore’s death you made a deal with him to spy for The Order?” Hermione asked, even though she knew the answer, she wanted to have it plainly stated.

There were gasps from some on the panel, and open mouths when Draco calmly said, “Yes.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Harry put in. Everyone else ignored him.

As his son was questioned, Lucius found himself momentarily fighting a sneer that wanted to twist his mouth, but he managed to contain it, and started watching the panel again as they sat across from him. After a time his eyes landed on Hermione Granger, because she was really the only one he was interested in watching, and he observed her in almost awe. He was transfixed by how she was sitting and listening so gravely. This witch had fought like a warrior princess in the Final Battle, then he smiled to himself as he remembered back to the strong-willed thirteen year old he had met in Flourish and Blotts, who had narrowed her eyes at him and supported her friend by telling him, ‘fear of a name only increases fear of the object’.

Surprisingly, her words had been prophetic to him. Well, they had started him thinking anyway. At first he had been affronted and disgusted at her speech, but if he was honest, it had actually been the true start of his reformation.

Shaking himself from that thought, his mind turned next to the pretty—but innocent—picture the witch he was watching had made two years later at the Yule Ball for the Tri-wizard Tournament. She truly had been a budding rose in her charming pink formal robes, and he remembered wishing the strangest thing that night; that he could have asked her to dance.

There was no doubt she had already been warned off all Slytherins by that horrid Weasley child, because Lucius had already been able to see it in her eyes her. There was fear of him in her amber-flecked eyes every time she looked at him. Then when the same redhead had ruined her evening for her that night, Lucius had been filled with the urge to curse him and make him suffer for hurting his delicate flower.

It had never even occurred to the blond wizard then to question his possessive thoughts from that night, and instead his mind reflected that perhaps ‘delicate flower’ was the wrong term for Miss Hermione Granger. She was a beautiful and well-mannered witch, but there was nothing delicate about her skill or power, although there was a delicacy about her. She was fierce, determined and independent, and it had all been there, hidden just under the surface that night, but she had also looked so fragile, tantalizing even in her dusky pink robes.

Lucius sighed, how could I have known that the horror that was Tom Riddle would return so soon after that night? Of course, he had felt and seen his mark coming back into life, but it had still been a shock to feel it burn that awful night, and he’d known he was trapped because his wife would think nothing of telling tales. In the end through, not even that had mattered, he did everything in his power to facilitate Riddle’s demise.

Before the Dark Lord’s rebirth, Lucius had been beginning to distance himself from former associates even as far back as prior to the World Cup. Contrary to popular beliefhe had not participated in the dark revel following Ireland’s victory that night. He had been at trade negotiation meeting, completely unaware of what was happening. When he found out that Narcissa had, by her own admission, proudly marched and participated with the very scum he was trying to distance himself from it had been the beginning of the end of his marriage. They had fought heatedly about her involvement that night and what it meant, and he asked her if she had learnt nothing, but she was a Black, and most of them were known to be unswerving Riddle sympathisers.

From that moment on, he had shunned Narcissa completely, and tried to shelter Draco from her, but all too soon she’d invited the horror show into their home, and he’d thought they were all lost. It was then that he realised just what he was married to, and that she was as mad as her twisted sister.

The Dark Lord had brokered his marriage to Narcissa, in league with his stupid sycophantic father, and the witch had not graced his bed since she had provided him with the heir required in their marriage contract, and that was something he was entirely grateful for.

Sighing quietly, he continued to listen as Draco answered all questions posed to him by the panel, and he was very proud of his son, even though he knew his own freedom would be harder to earn. Lucius knew that he had freely supported Riddle’s first reign of terror, but so had Severus, and he had been redeemed, he knew from their time at the manor following the battle that he even counted the delightful Miss Granger as a friend now.

Severus had recovered from his injuries well in the past six months. He had still been very ill and weak when Lucius had insisted he come with them to the manor following their release after the battle, and he and Draco had had to bodily support him.

Lucius turned his eyes to that friend now sitting next to the witch he had been contemplating, part of Shacklebolt’s committee of peers, and his heart swelled for him. Severus had been so adamant that he would not survive the war, and Lucius’ eyes panned across to Hermione once more, she had stabilised him after the attack of that wretched snake, stopping the blood loss enough to allow Severus time to find and administer the potions he had been carrying with him. The injury had still almost killed him, but her quick thinking had tilted the balance in Severus’ favour.

This petite witch had done Lucius more good than she knew, then unbidden, an image of her convulsing in agony on his rug in that drawing room—the throne room of a madman—invaded his thoughts and he had a hard time not grimacing at it. He only wished the best for her, yet she had suffered unspeakably right in front of him and he had been powerless to stop it. He knew Draco still had nightmares about it, and neither of them had been in that room again since the day they had gutted it after the battle. They had boarded it up, without magic, torn it to pieces the Muggle way with hammers and their bare hands. It had actually been very therapeutic.

Lucius had secured his beloved manor as his own again, and had then cut the parts of it out that had been tainted, and he had done it as skillfully as a surgeon with a scalpel. Now those parts of the house were waiting patiently for him, or someone he chose to redecorate them, but until that point they would remain boarded up.

Thankfully, Riddle had only invaded the guest wing of his family home. The family wards had made it impossible for him to access more than that, and it had been that part of their home where Lucius and Draco had started cleaning up manually the moment they had returned. After making Severus comfortable, in the family part of the house (because being Draco’s godfather, Severus was part of their family) then they had scoured the guest wing until they’d dropped from exhaustion, but it had had to be done immediately, they couldn’t have felt safe there otherwise.

Lucius wondered now as he watched on and waited his turn to defend himself, if Draco had been thinking on the same person as he had whilst they had ripped everything down to the bare walls and windows in those cursed rooms, before piling it all up outside and ordering the house elves to burn it.

Everything to do with Narcissa had also gone the same way. A small ceremony to mark the internment of both Narcissa and Bellatrix had been the only time Lucius and Draco had been given permission to leave the Manor. It had happened a few days after the battle, and Aurors had escorted them to the Black graveyard for the funeral. Regardless of what they’d done in life, they had been a part of their lives, and Draco deserved closure of this painful period in his life.

It had taken both men—and Severus once he’d regained his strength—that same week to remove all traces of Riddle and his cronies from their house, but now they fancied that the air no longer stank of them, and they were thankful that summer was approaching and they could leave the windows and doors open. The manor had seemed to stretch and breathe again after they’d finished.

Lucius came back from his contemplations in time to hear the words of the senior board members telling Draco he was being granted freedom on the proviso that he remained in his current mind set, and Lucius watched Nymphadora removing the trace charms from his magic. It made a band loosened in his chest and he breathed easier; his son had been given the second chance that he himself craved too.

Lucius knew that they would both be on probation, that they would be monitored very closely. He wondered once more if freedom for him would be elusive. His one stint in Azkaban had him wishing to never set foot on that island ever again, and he hoped that this wish could be a certainty.

It was as he was thinking this that he noticed a small smile tilt Miss Granger’s lips as she watched Draco being set free. She turned her head slightly, obviously feeling Lucius’ eyes on her and she appeared to be uncertain as they met his, and he kept his features neutral and inclined his head slightly to her. To his surprise her eyes widened and he saw a delicious blush starting to stain her cheeks.

As he relaxed into his chair after his questioning, Draco Malfoy watched Hermione smiling at him and he couldn’t help the flip his stomach did, but then anger laced through him as he thought of Ronald Weasley with his hands on the witch that he had wanted ever since she’d stood up to him with such passion over a hippogriff. The broken nose had almost been worth it to find out what a prat he’d been. His mother had been the one who had made such a fuss about everything, and Draco still didn’t know what she’d threatened his father with to make him agree to order that odious McNair person to kill the beast.

He knew that Ronald Weasley had been chasing Hermione straight after the battle, he’d been there sneering at them (although they probably would have laughed if they’d known the real reason for his sneer), he also remembered him berating her for helping Severus. She had remained silent, and Draco had seen annoyance in her expression, but he did not know if they’d made up after he was gone.

Hermione Granger deserved someone better than a Weasley. If he had his way, she would be his, but he knew he had little chance of that happening, but he would still return her smiles now that he could. There was another thing that was troubling him as well. He had noticed his father watching her too, well, before his eyes had glazed over after he’d taken the potion, and now as the effects of the serum were starting to wan he was again seeing things passing between them. He knew the look his father was giving Miss Granger, it meant that he was interested in her, and he wondered what was going through his father’s mind.

If only they had the chance to prove to Hermione that they had changed, maybe then he might have a chance to steal her from the Neanderthal redheaded oaf, who so did not deserve her. Mind you, she may have already realised that. He sighed, but then there was his father, he would not steal a witch from him, he deserved his happiness too. But sod it all, so do I, Draco thought heatedly.

As Draco was thinking all of this, Hermione’s brain was telling her many things she did not want to hear. She had not seen either Malfoy since the day of the battle, and the last thing she remembered about them was that they had sneered at Ron as he had happily announced (at exactly the wrong moment) that they should find a room. Crass idiot, Hermione’s brain supplied. Fancy thinking I would want to… yuk!

She returned her thoughts to the Malfoy. Now, if they wanted to ‘get a room’, what a cheap saying. She sighed, today they looked like different wizards, and she couldn’t help the fact that she thought they both looked lovely.

Lucius had cut his hair off, it was shoulder length now, while Draco on the other hand was letting his hair grow out from its short spiky cut. It was now heavy enough to be just brushing his collar. Make no mistake, Lucius still looked as formidable as he ever had, but to put it frankly, it was making her wet just looking at him, well both of them really, and this made her mortified with herself. How could she be lusting after both Malfoys, what kind of greedy little slut did that make her?

Hermione was not very experienced sexually, but she was so ready to play now. There had been little opportunity in the past, only during her summer holidays. Then she thought again of Ron, he’d really had no chance with her. She cringed at just about everything that he did, and she realised early on that she hated being seen in public with him. That had proven to be a huge problem, as he was a publicity whore. He thrived on the limelight, she on the other hand hated having the press reporting on her every move, but perhaps if she was with someone that she liked… she looked once more at Draco and Lucius.

Then the only subject he enjoyed was Quidditch, and it was probably the only subject that bored her to tears. She didn’t mind going to Quidditcht could be quite spectacular, and nor did she mind talking about it, but when it was all that ever came out of his mouth—apart from food when he talked with his mouth full—then there was a significant problem.

Hermione was attempting to hold her friendship with Ron together for Harry’s sake, but since she had rejected his advances, and Harry had ended it with Ginny only days after, being at Grimmauld Place had become more than tedious, especially since Harry seemed to excel at putting his foot in it and blabbing things to Ron that just seemed to incense the guy. She sighed again, but that was something she could fathom later. Now, she was more interested in why she was so attracted to the Malfoys suddenly.

She glanced up under her lashes at them, and saw Draco talking to Tonks and Lucius watching, and was that regret in his eyes? Then it dawned on Hermione that Tonks was Lucius’ niece, and she knew from speaking to Tonks that she really did not know her uncle or her cousin, and Hermione wondered if maybe it was time for them to get to know one another better now the war was over.

Studying them again, she wondered if that was possible, what would their changed positions in things mean to them, and then she sighed quietly, she guessed she would never know.

“I knut for them?” the unmistakable voice beside her murmured.

“Oh,” she muttered, and turning she smiled at him. “I was just considering where the Malfoys might sit in the scheme of things now that the war is over.” Then she wondered if she’d been too blunt.

“Oh, I see,” Severus replied. “Do you see yourself somewhere in that future?” He saw the panicked look that crossed her face as it stained with colour, and he wanted to crow. He wondered if she was considering the lord or the master. Then a strange thought struck him as she spluttered, obviously trying to think of an answer. He had read something recently, during his convalesce, and he wondered if... No perhaps that was asking her to be a bit too broadminded. Yet if anyone was the perfect candidate for such an arrangement... she was powerful enough to sustain what a relationship like that entailed, interesting, he thought, and then patted her arm. “It’s all right, I was joking, Hermione.”

“Oh,” Hermione muttered, and it even sounded disappointed to her. Then she heard Kingsley calling them back to order.

Chapter Text


The interview came back to order and all eyes turned to Lucius. He sat up straighter and maintained eye contact as the head of the Aurory—the niece he had never known—arrived at his side with a glass containing the truth serum he was required to drink. Something in his chest constricted again; this witch and her mother were a part of Draco’s family, but they had always been shunned because of prejudice and this stupid war. Anger lanced through him, and he met her gaze.

“Drink, please,” she ordered impartially.

Lucius took the potion from her. He knew he was allergic to the brew, and so did Severus, and he saw his friend pat his coat pocket in response to Lucius’ questioning glance.

Hermione saw the movement as well and quietly questioned Severus on it with an inquisitive eyebrow arch.

“He is allergic to the wormwood in the brew,” the Potions master confided softly. “I will give him the analgesic potion to counter the serum’s effects on him as soon as he has been questioned.”

A panicked expression gripped Hermione face, she had seen someone else react to the wormwood the potion contained during Dolores Umbridge’s flagrant Veritaserum interrogations, and she leant forward her arm reaching across the table, stilling Lucius’ hand. “Please do not drink until Severus has assured me that you are in no danger,” she stated quietly, but of course this alerted the remainder of the panel to the conversation.

“What is the problem?” Kingsley asked.

“Lord Malfoy is allergic to the wormwood contained in the truth serum,” Hermione stated, her lip going between her teeth as she gave Lucius an apologetic glance for betraying his secret. “A student I... we,” she corrected, looking around the panel, “knew at Hogwarts almost died as a result of Madam Umbridge’s interviewing methods,” Hermione asserted. “This student also reacted with the wormwood in the potion.” The Gryffindor witch turned to Severus. “Is there an alternative?”

“No, Veritaserum and all of its variants contain wormwood. It is a key ingredient in this type of potion.”

“He has to take it, otherwise how can we be certain he is telling the truth?” Harry put in.

“You can’t,” Severus replied in his usual bored tone, sneering slightly at the stupid question.

“I am willing to take the serum, and I trust Severus to administer the potion in his pocket should I start to become too distressed. I want this over,” Lucius stated, with more passion than many would have thought he possessed, and as they watched he downed the potion. “Just asked your questions quickly,” he advised before his eyes glazed over.

Ever the professional, Kingsley took in the situation and started the questioning. After only a few seconds they could see raised red welts rising on Lucius’ skin and his voice starting to catch as he succumb to the effects of the wormwood, but he continued to answer their questions. Finally, his voice was so wheezy, and he had to keep clearing his throat so much that Hermione feared he would not survive the experience.

However, Lucius was determined to finish this, and right from the first question he kept talking despite how choked up he was becoming. The panel members watched on, astounded that the normally stoic and cool Slytherin would allow himself to be seen like this.

As Kingsley’s questions continued, they heard how the blond wizard had indeed been the bigoted, pureblood elitist they had all thought him to be during Voldemort’s first stint in power. Then he told them that as he had grown into adulthood and especially after he’d become a father how his view had started to change, and he finally realised what a mistake he had made in declaring his allegiance to Riddle.

“I was always for preserving pureblood traditions and society, but not for slaughtering anyone who did not understand or agree with those views.” He related that he feared that Riddle’s agenda the second time around would spell the genocide of the wizarding world. “Endogamy has resulted in the birth-rate of squibs being born to purebloods to be one in three children…” he paused coughing, “but that is entirely another story,” he stated between more coughs.

His steel-grey eyes stopped on each one of them, as he said, “I have realised that we need new bloodlines in our society to maintain ourselves. Riddle started out believing we needed to maintain wizarding Britain for pureblood wizards, who...” he paused and choked on a cough. “Understood the traditions... of our world. Then he went mad with power...” another coughing fit shook him, “and frankly, all the wallowing in darkness,” he paused to take some water and blow his nose even as the potion urged him to keep talking. “It became blatantly clear that his obsession with overcoming death had sent him insane…” he took a short wheezy breath, “even before he had reincarnated into the monster we fought.”

Then a question came from Harry, he had also goaded Draco. “Did you fight him? Only it appears to me that you didn’t,” Harry asked, his question full of suspicion.

The truth serum compelled him instantly to answer. “Yes… but others still saw me as his right-hand man,” his voice was becoming laboured as his chest rose and fell sharply. Lucius’ eyes came to rest on Hermione. “What happened to you in my home…” he coughed, “was the single most distressing event…” he stopped speaking as emotion choked him further.

Draco’s hand arrived on his father’s arm, and he continued speaking, “It was the worst thing we had witnessed, and believe me, Granger, we witnessed some awful things.” He saw Hermione swallow convulsively and he wanted to hug her. “You were… are my shining light,” he found himself whispering, as a slight blush stained his face when he realised that the Veritaserum must have been still in his system.

Draco’s words had given Lucius time to prepare for one last try at getting his point across. “We should be embracing witches like you, Miss Granger... I betrayed him by feeding information to Severus knowing he would be able to act on it where I could not,” he managed before another coughing fit robbed him of his voice. “We must embrace Muggle-born magicals and half-bloods, they are our future...” but he had to stop speaking then as the histamine in his system reached the critical point and his swollen throat started to close over.

Severus turned to Kingsley, “Enough, he needs the anti-inflammatory potion,” he stated with a significant look towards the rest of the panel.

The minister nodded. “Administer it,” he told the Potions master. “I believe we have heard what we need, anyway,” he commented, looking up and down the panel as Severus hurried around the table, pulling Hermione with him while barking orders to Draco.

“Get him into the inner office.”

“Yes, Severus,” Draco replied, starting to pull his wheezing father out of his chair.

“No,” Hermione said. “Levitate him, chair and all, you can’t expect him to walk,” and her wand was out doing so before anyone else could manage it.

Draco followed Hermione and the floating Lucius into the inner office and Hermione concentrated to shut the door wandlessly while she was still supporting Lucius in his chair.

As soon as they were in the roomSeverus took in what she was doing and wondered how far it would go just on her pure instinct. “This potion works quicker if warmed to body temperature before it is swallowed,” he lamented, while watching Draco loosening the high neck of Lucius’ robes, as his friend fought for breathe, his hands shaking and his eyes panicked.

That was when Severus felt Hermione again taking matters into her own hands. She snatched the potion from him and as he turned just slightly he saw her warming the first portion of the potion in her own mouth. He knew what she was going to do and stood back to watch. “Put your head back, Lucius,” he said to his friend, and watched the blond wizard struggling to do so.

Casting a non-verbal healing spell to enlarge Lucius’ constricted airways, Hermione took over, sweeping in she pushed his head back with her hand firmly placed on his forehead. Then her mouth covered his open, panting lips, and she allowed the potion to trickle from her mouth into his mouth before the enlargement spell wore off. As she watched it starting to work on Lucius’ constricted throat, she quickly took the next third into her mouth and as soon as Lucius had managed to swallow, her mouth was on his again.

It was a most unorthodox way to administer a potions, but it was one that Severus had taught her for an emergency, and it was apparent that she considered this as such.

Draco watched, fascinated by what he was seeing. He was stunned by her possessiveness of his father, and in some ways he was wishing it was him in the chair. He was surprised to note that while he was shocked to see the liberties Hermione was taking, he did not feel jealous. In fact, despite the situation, it was making him aroused to watch them together.

As Lucius had swallowed the last of the potion, Hermione realised that she had all but forced herself onto him, and that now she was merely kissing him, then she realised that he was actively kissing her back and she was loving it. She stifled the moan that wanted to rise from her throat and forced herself to pull away as she started to apologise. “Oh, Mr Malfoy, I’m so sorry, you couldn’t possibly have wanted me to do that. My apologies, but you were suffering and Severus… I’m sorry,” and she realised that she was bright red, and brought her hands up to her cheeks trying to cover them as she turned to Severus. “I’m sorry,” and then Draco. “My apologies, Malfoy.”

Lucius—now mostly recovered—smirked and rose fluidly from the chair, ever as cool as a cucumber, even if he was still covered in itchy lumps, but that would have to wait. He reached forward and took one of Hermione’s hands after glancing at his son watching. “Miss Granger... if I may, Hermione, my dear, allow me to be the judge of what I would like, if you please. Thank you for your quick thinking,” and he brought her hand to his lips. “I enjoyed the process very much once I had recovered sufficiently to be able to participate in it properly.”

“Oh!” Hermione gasped. “But still I shouldn’t have...”

Severus cut in here. “I believe that the review board are ready to make their ruling. I will leave you and Draco here so you can recover your composure, Lucius,” and with that he smiled—shark-like—at Hermione and ushered her from the room.

As soon as they exited into the other room, Hermione saw the panel in debate.

“Is Lord Malfoy recovered?” Kingsley inquired, looking up.

“Yes, he will need further treatment later, but he is out of danger,” the Potions master told him.

As this exchange was happeningHermione looked along the line of board members and saw Harry glaring. Her mind instantly jumped to her now guilty little secret, and she wondered if somehow he knew. It was then that she realised that she had saved Lucius, but at the end, as she was wantonly exploring his mouth with her tongue and he had been reciprocating.

She cleared her throat and went to take her seat, the blush in her cheeks renewed, and it was not helped as Kingsley then spoke.

“Hermione, would you be open to the idea of contact with the Malfoys?”

“Why?”

“Draco has been cleared, but there will be an uproar if it appears that Lucius might go unpunished, even though it is clear that he has reformed. He was seen as Voldemort’s right hand man, even he acknowledged that,” Anthea Greengrass related.

“That is true,” Hermione conceded.

Kingsley looked at her. “I think we can all see that Lucius is no longer an active Death Eater, and even with his involvement in the first war...”

“That is no longer relevant, Kingsley,” Severus intoned.

Kingsley nodded, “Be that as it may, my point is that we cannot allow Lucius to appear to get off scot free, but he is an important member of the wizarding aristocracy, and as such could be seen as a leader for helping us implement the way forward.” Kingsley looked to Hermione. “I propose that as well as certain fees and fines, which will be substantial, that you be the instrument of Lucius’ perceived punishment,” he told her.

“What!?” Hermione cried. “I have no urge to punish him,” and again she replayed the feeling of him kissing her in her mind. She took a breath and willed herself not to blush, even as she realised she was failing dismally. “Shouldn’t we be trying to use him as an advertisement to others?” and then her brain told her helpfully that she may have already started that process.

Kingsley smiled knowingly. “That’s exactly what I want you to do, but to any bigoted purebloods out there, having a Muggle-born witch around him will seem like punishment.”

“Oh... from their side,” Hermione replied, seeing his point. She shifted her gaze to Severus. “What do you think?”

“The idea has merit. I think the general wizarding public might just accept that Lucius was being given a fate worse than death,” and Severus’ lips twitched when he noticed Hermione scowling at him, he looked at Anthea.

She nodded as well. “Yes, that would solve our problem, and seeing most of the press are pureblood they will report it as something dastardly and distasteful, especially if we have him contribute to certain funds that we wish to establish as well as accepting you as his escort for a determined period.”

“Yes,” Kingsley agreed, turning to Hermione.

She bit her lip, and glanced at the door where the two blond wizards were waiting. She had always been fascinated by them, maybe she could satisfy her curiosity, but no... She dared not think of that. However, she had learnt that they had a library, and she would love to get a look at it. “Exactly what kind of contract would I have with them?”

“That would be something to discuss,” Kingsley told her, “once they have been given right of reply.”

“Then, yes,” she nodded. “I’ll do it.” Hermione crossed her fingers under the table. She could do this; it was a great opportunity, and she might just come out of it with something precious, like she had after Severus had finished teaching her.

Kingsley then turned to Severus. “Would you be prepared to act as a chaperon if needed?”

Severus’ eyebrow arched significantly. “I have no doubt that Miss Granger can handle anything that either Malfoy tries with her, but for propriety’s sake, yes, I could attend initially if needed.”

Hermione squeezed his arm. “Thank you, Severus, that makes me feel much happier about it all.”

“It would be my pleasure, Hermione,” he stated regally, giving a little nod of his head.

“Then we have a plan,” Kingsley smiled.

“What?” Harry all but yelled, having been quietly simmering to boil-over point while they spoke. “You’re just going to do this?” His arms flapped around in his frustration. “After that bastard stood and watched her being tortured? No! I won’t allow it,” and he crossed his arms, as if that would fix the problem.

Hermione’s eyes narrowed. “You won’t allow it?!” she seethed. “Harry James Potter, you are not my keeper. I have said yes, and I intend to keep my promise,” Hermione told him, a vein of steel in her voice.

“B-But, Ron?”

“Is not my keeper either,” she replied smoothly, arching an eyebrow significantly.

“You know what he thinks of Malfoys though,” Harry told her, his voice starting to become exasperated.

“Well, he can just get over it and develop some integrity. No offence intended, Arthur,” Hermione said, turning to Arthur Weasley.

“None taken, Hermione,” the genial Arthur smiled.

Kingsley saw Harry about to say something further and he intervened. “Severus has agreed to act as chaperon, Harry.”

“Initially,” Severus cut in, unable to stop himself from goading the boy.

“Well, I want to go too,” Harry stated, petulantly.

“I am certain that will not be necessary, Harry,” Tonks put in, “Hermione can take care of herself.”

Anthea intervened, ever the mediator. “So, you we have an agreement?”

“Yes,” Hermione put in, glaring at Harry as he opened his mouth, but he stayed silent, even if he did glance at Arthur, apparently hoping he would support him. The redheaded wizard wisely remained silent.

“Very well, then this should be made into a contract, the nature of which we will discuss tomorrow,” and Anthea straightened the papers in front of her. “Then I believe our job here is complete. We have seen all those who were granted this type of hearing. The court trials will begin tomorrow. ” She turned to Kingsley. “Well, let’s sort this out, I’m a very busy witch,” she told him.

“Severus, would you be so kind?” Kingsley asked, indicating the inner office.

Severus nodded and strode towards the office. “We are ready for you now,” he stated, putting his head through the door.

Hermione watched the blond wizard walking stiffly towards the panel, obviously wondering what was going to happen to him. His steel-grey eyes met hers for a moment as he stopped and sat on the opposite side of the table. She saw deep intelligence in those eyes, the same as she had seen before in Draco, and she could not help the thought that floated through her mind. They’re so beautiful, you would not think that they were father and son, but brothers… and what a kiss. Then realising what she was thinking she tore her eyes away from his, uncertain if the man was a Legilimens, and her doubt only grew when she saw a flicker of amusement in his eyes.

Then Kingsley was speaking. “Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, it is the decision of this War Crime Review Board that you be allowed to show this panel that you are capable of rehabilitation. We ask you to propose ways you could contribute to the rebuilding of the wizarding community following the damage of the war against Tom Riddle and the Death Eaters, with particular reference to Muggle-born magicals and other disadvantaged magicals. We feel that you are a natural leader within the aristocracy and could do more to unify our world from within the community. Miss Hermione Granger has made herself available to be seen with you, and we would also like to recommend that you take advantage of her offer and escort her out as often as possible as an example of pure-blood, Muggle-born unity.”

Then Anthea took over the explanation. “You should consider this a probationary period, and if any of the conditions are not met, Azkaban could be a real possibility for you, Lord Malfoy.”

Lucius was silent for a moment after Kingsley stopped speaking. Finally, he said, “I will gladly comply. Will there be a legally binding contract?”

It was Anthea Greengrass who again spoke. “You will return in the morning, eight thirty, where a contract will be drawn up between you and the appropriate members of the review board.”

“With pleasure, Madam,” he replied, inclining his head to her, as his eyes came to rest on Hermione once more. He could use this to his advantage; he could secure the little witch opposite for Draco. Then he wondered at the pain that rose up in him at that thought. If only there was a way that they could both have her.

There were certain deep traditions that would allow a union of three, but in today’s law it was only allowed if a precedence existed in the family’s past. He knew of no such precedence in the Malfoy family, and his mind wondered yet again at the missing portions in Malfoy history.

Chapter Text


Lucius flopped back into the soft chair, naked after his shower. He felt wretched but somewhat relieved at the same time. Draco had apparated him home and straight into his bedroom after their interviews, and he had taken the opportunity for a cool shower, trying to ease the itching while he waited for Severus to finish preparing the appropriate salve in the lab he kept at the manor. This particular cream could not be made in advance, and had to be used as soon as possible after brewing for it to be effective.

The shower had felt nice. It had only been lukewarm, but while he waited in the chair, with the chilly late afternoon breeze wafting through the French doors that led out onto the balcony, he summoned his dressing gown as he reflected on the events of the afternoon. One of his first recollections was the kiss he had shared with Hermione Granger.

As he rose and put on the garment, he reflected that, surprisingly, he did not remember who had started it, just that as soon as his airways had been opened fully by the analgesic potion he had been kissing her and she had not shown any signs of wanting it to stop. Then her sense of proprietary must have kicked in, but he was certain he’d heard her groan slightly before she’d pulled away.

What surprised him the most about the incident was that as soon as he’d gathered his faculties and glanced at Draco, as he’d had the vague notion that his son might have objected. He had seen nothing but acceptance of the situation in his son’s expression.

Lucius knew that his son led an active sex life. On two occasions Lucius had even shared a particularly amorous witch with his son, and neither of them had felt any shame in that; they had not been fucking each other, simply taking turns with a willing witch, and it had been good to see Draco enjoying himself.

Draco had suffered terribly from guilt after the episode in that room near the end of the war. Disposing of Bellatrix had been the only occasion that Lucius had thought positively of Molly Weasley for relieving them of a menace. Draco had also suffered unspeakably at the hands of the two Black sisters. When he’d been sixteen they’d decided that he should be blooded, and it was only after he’d finally broken down and confided it to Lucius after a particularly nasty episode that the elder Malfoy had put a stop to the process.

Draco and Lucius had always been very close. Narcissa had never been maternal; after her baby was born she had left the boy with Lucius and gone off to a spa—as she said— to get her body back. Lucius sneered at that thought; she had been impossibly thin when she’d married him, and he had hoped that having Draco would have added some curves to her. He loved curves. Miss Granger had curves, and his mind supplied him with the picture of Hermione. After six months of being back on a good diet and in proper society after her year on the run, she had curves, and he longed to run his hands over them.

‘Proper society’? Lucius scoffed as he thought about it. As he understood it the youngest Weasley male was trying to claim her. What a slathering idiot he was, he did not deserve a witch like Hermione Granger. He would only block every hope she had of achieving her destiny.

It was as Lucius was scrubbing his hands over his face in frustration over this thought, that there was a knock on the door. “Come,” he called.

It was Draco, and he was carrying the pot of cream. “Severus sent me with this while he cleaned up. Are you feeling any better?” he asked.

“Marginally,” Lucius replied. “I had been hoping that it would have all been settled today, but I can wait until tomorrow,” he huffed, and then sighed.

“Yes, I thought that was particularly churlish of them, but you’re right, you only have to wait until tomorrow now.”

Lucius growled slightly, and rose to head to his bathroom with the cream. “And no doubt throw money around,” he called over his shoulder.

“Yes, I believe that might be the idea,” Draco called back. “I’m going to exercise Rex, see you at dinner.”

“Have fun,” Lucius’ voice said from the bathroom.

~~~***~~~

Lucius walked into Severus’ lab fifteen minutes later in worn jeans, a soft cotton shirt, a cashmere jumper and a jacket. It was going to be rather chilly tonight.

His friend looked him up and down and smiled. “More comfortable?”

“Yes, thank you. Of course I still feel like the Hogwarts’ Express has run me down.”

“An unfortunate side-effect of saving your life I’m afraid,” Severus smirked.

“Not that I’m complaining,” Lucius smiled. “Now, get out of that wizarding armour of yours and relax. I wish to pick your brain. Shall I have the elves organise aperitifs in the green parlour?”

 “I have an errand to run before I’m finished for the afternoon, but I will return,” Severus informed his friend. “And you should be staying off the alcohol tonight,” he warned.

“Pffh,” Lucius snorted. “I’m fine. Very well, I’ll see you when you return,” and he strode from the room.

Severus chuckled to himself. Lucius will never learn, always thinks he knows best. He looked after his friend and contemplated. I wonder what advantage he’s going to make of Shacklebolt’s arrangement with Hermione. I bet that’s what he wants to pick my brains about, and Severus swept out of the lab off into his rooms and stripped as he walked towards his bathroom.

The Potions master did not live at the manor, per say, however he was seen as part of the family, and as so had a suite of rooms. He turned the water in the shower on and ducked underneath. The shower felt good. It relaxed him, and of course that meant that his mind started to wander, but he didn’t have time for that at present, so he quickly freshened up and cleaned himself, resisting the temptation to linger and he got out. He towelled dry and attired himself in black jeans, a dark blue shirt and a leather jacket, after all he was only stopping by at his office at Hogwarts to review the day’s mail.

~~~***~~~

When he arrived back he went straight to the parlour Lucius had indicated, and he saw his friend standing at the open French doors watching Draco riding his horse, the breeze tugging at his hair as he stood there. Coming to stand beside him, Severus took in the sight as well.

“It’s good to see him taking an interest in things again,” the Potions master commented.

Glancing across at the raven-haired wizard, Lucius nodded, his lips tilting up slightly. “He’s had a hard time of it. They say that animals can heal, I hope that stallion can do something for him. He needs…” Lucius sighed. “Oh I don’t know what,” and he huffed, walking out onto the terrace, and flopping into one of the chairs, throwing his head back against its padded seat after he’d sat. “There is so much we need to settle, now we have peace.” He took a large gulp of his drink. “I would like Draco to be given the same opportunity as me to spend time with Miss Granger,” Lucius stated, placing his near empty glass on the table.

Severus considered this a moment. “If you don’t mind me saying so, you seem very interested in Hermione.”

“Mmm,” Lucius replied, watching Draco’s series of flying changes across the diagonal of the dressage area.

Severus was certain that Lucius was giving himself enough time to consider his response while he watched, so Severus added, “She certainly showed concern for you this afternoon.”

“Yes, she did,” Lucius replied, his lips twitching slightly. “That was unexpected... welcome, but...” and he nodded, a smile lighting his face.

Severus did not comment immediately, but turned his eyes away to watch Draco as he took a slow swallow of his drink, the glass hiding his smile. “You’re planning to… secure her, aren’t you?”

“I must be getting soft, surely I’m not that transparent, even to you,” Lucius gasped.

“I have known you for a long time, old friend,” Severus smoothed.

Lucius quirked his lips and took a deep breath.

Severus rolled his eyes, understanding the unspoken frustration. “Don’t tell me you haven’t thought of the obvious solution.”

“A triad?” Lucius questioned, and he nodded. “Yes, but they are only legal now in families with prior history, and especially rare if two of the participants are father and son.”

“It is not unheard of for a father and son duo to take a powerful witch as their lady between them, and it has happened in your own family.” He looked at Lucius.

Lucius’ eyes flashed with something undefined. “How do you know this?”

“It’s in your own library, Lucius, in fact it has happened in recent history.”

“When?” Lucius demanded.

Severus held up a hand. “Accio the diary of Madeline Malfoy from the library.” A rather slim volume slapped into his hand and he handed it to Lucius.

“You really did make good use of all the time you spent in the library during your convalescence, didn’t you?”

Severus smirked. “I found this in the pages of a Potions text I was studying. It was hidden there.”

“Indeed,” Lucius mumbled, flipping through the book.

Severus went back inside to the pitcher on the drinks cabinet and poured them both another drink before walking back out to see Lucius’ eyes lighting up as he read.

“Triads are still a viable form of wizarding marriage. However, it appears that your grandfather has… obscured all obvious references to the facts, but his decimation of facts appears to not have been very thorough.”

“Ah, so this is part of what is missing.”

“Of what is missing, where?” Draco questioned, obviously having just come up from the stables.

“Part of our history. Severus has found in the library.”

“Oh, you must tell me, but I want a shower first,” Draco said, and he tripped happily up the remaining steps and into the house.

~~~***~~~

At Grimmauld Place, Hermione Granger was contemplating over a cup of tea. Today had been the last sitting of the War Crimes Review Board, and while she had been glad she had been asked to participate, she was also happy it was over. Any trials that resulted from arrests made after this were not her responsibility, although she thought that she would attend them, she was now not part of the deliberations.

However, these thoughts were only second to her main train of thought: kissing Lucius. She had been surprised that the Malfoys had been so open, but then she snorted at her thoughts. They’d had little choice with the use of Veritaserum, but it had established that they were genuine in their reformation. She was pleased about that, but that was when a strange thought trickled into her mind. You’re pleased because you fancy them. Then another part of her brain sharply retorted, how can you fancy both of them?

It was true. All through school she had experienced a strange swoop in her stomach each time she saw either Draco or Lucius. Where Lucius was concerned it had been after he’d complimented her at the Yule Ball. Viktor had aligned himself with the Slytherins and she had been on Viktor’s arm, but she had been very confused by the Malfoy politeness towards her.  She had wondered later if it had had something to do with the fact that Harry and Ron had not been around. She shrugged, she still didn’t know.

However, that gave her cause to pause. I’ll be glad when mum gets back. There was another thing in the favour of the Slytherins she knew. It had been Severus who had helped her convince her mother to leave to visit her elderly aunt in Australia for the height of the war, and Helen Granger was still in Australia.

Hermione actually wondered if she should now do some travelling too, but then she had jumped at the chance to spend time with Lucius Malfoy, without a second thought. Lucius Malfoy, her brain pondered. Why would you do that? The same answer came easily again, because you think that both he and his son are hot, and you received the best kiss you’ve ever had this afternoon, and she blushed heatedly, and scolded herself. Furthermore, you would love nothing better than to have both of them worshipping you that way, and more. Another, more proper side of the brain kicked in. You should be ashamed of yourself thinking those things, and you should also keep you mind out of the gutter, she added, as the image of her naked and writhing under the ministrations of two equally naked Malfoys entered her mind. You’re an idiot for thinking that. She sighed and scrubbed her hands through the hair, massaging her scalp.

She’d never had sex with anyone in the wizarding world, and now her every move was reported on by the media. Both her and Harry had ventured into the Muggle world several times recently, but before that she’d only had one boyfriend, the summer after fifth year, and he had taken her virginity, but still she’d never been kissed like she had been this afternoon, and her interest was piqued.

~~~***~~~

In his shower, Draco had washed himself and was now relaxing, and as he did so his mind zeroed in on more amorous intentions and his cock was instantly as hard as granite between his legs, and without thinking twice he took himself in hand and started stroking his wanton appendage. This was a familiar scenario for him, he had wanked daily for years to thoughts and fantasies he had devised starring certain people. Today he chose Hermione, and his breathing sped up as he thrust himself into his soaped hands, his thick cock pistoning through his curled fingers as he squeezed his length just how he liked it.

In his mind, there was Hermione laying on his bed naked, her legs hooked around his hips as he buried himself repeatedly into her slick pussy. He groaned, panting as he continued to thrust. His eyes closed and his heart thumped. Inside his head he was watching her breasts bouncing each time he impaled himself on her, hearing her breathing matching his. “Oh, Draco,” she was moaning, and his thrusts sped up further, becoming erratic as he sought the release he could feel coming.

He roared his orgasm and staggered back against the tiles on the shower cubicle, panting with his legs feeling like jelly as he watched his cum swirling down the drain. It was in vulnerable moments like this that regret replaced everything, and he crumbled. Today however, he thought of something different. His father was being ordered to spend time with Hermione Granger, he could go along. He knew his father would not mind, and maybe he could get to know her a little better.

With that thought in mind, he pushed off the shower wall and shut off the water. He used a drying charm on himself and pulled on his softest jeans. He grabbed a tee shirt and one of his Slytherin Quidditch jerseys and hurried down to where he suspected his father and Severus would still be, accioing a band for his hair as he walked. He was growing his hair, it was just touching his shoulders, and he tied it up now so that it was off his neck.

When he arrived his elf popped in and asked him what he wanted to drink. “Butterbeer,” he replied, and was soon supplied with a cold bottle. Taking a refreshing swig from the bottle, he took up the conversation like he had never left, as he asked, “So what was missing?”

“Severus has found an interesting diary in the library. Apparently it was hidden,” Lucius explained.

“Whose is it?”

“Lady Madeline Malfoy.”

“What is notable about it?” Draco wanted to know.

His father smiled. “Well, from what I’ve scanned so far, it appears to notate her life as Lady Malfoy while she was married to a father and son duo, Armand and Dominicus Malfoy.”

“Both at the same time?” Draco cried, his eyes wide.

“Don’t be so shocked,” Severus drawled. “Triads are a legitimate form of wizarding marriage, especially during times of strife. The power contained within them tends to balance the family concerned.”

“How do you know so much about this?” Draco wanted to know, his eyes narrowing at his godfather.

“When I found this diary, I decided to find out more about the concept, so I went to various other libraries looking for more information. My interest was purely academic of course,” he said, “but I’m happy to have assisted.”

“What do you mean ‘assisted’?” Draco’s eyes narrowed.

“Fill in some of your family’s missing history,” Severus replied smoothly, not mentioning the other ‘help’ he had offered.

“Father?”

“There is at least two centuries of the Malfoy history that someone has… ‘removed’,” and Lucius used air quotes, “from the public record, and until tonight, I had thought it lost from our private record as well.”

“Oh,” Draco replied. “Did that start with Grandfather?”

“No, I believe it was my grandfather, Brutus Malfoy, who committed the deed, but I’m fairly certain that Father would have known about it,” Lucius informed them. He did not say anything else about what he’d discovered, but he passed the slim diary to Draco. “Perhaps you might care to read it, and see if you’re interested in the information within,” he said, his lip twitching.

Draco accepted the small book just as the head elf, Tibbs, announced that dinner was ready, and he placed the book in his pocket to read later as they walked into the family dining room.

~~~***~~~

While this was occurring at Malfoy Manor, Hermione was sitting at the kitchen table at number twelve, counting to ten through clenched teeth, and trying very hard not to hex Harry, or worse, throttle him. As soon as they’d sat down to dinner he had unceremoniously announced to Ron, Kingsley’s plan concerning Lucius, and of course Ron had hit the roof.

“What! You must be joking,” and when Hermione just stared at him, eyes narrowed he shook his head. “No! I will not allow it!”

“You have no say in it,” Hermione countered. She’d reached twenty five counts in her head now, and she was still furious.

“I’m your friend, I should have a say in everything that concerns me,” Ron assured.

“How the hell does this concern you?” Hermione wanted to know.

“I hate Ferret and his perfect prick of a father. You should have taken my feelings into consideration.”

Before Hermione could answer, Harry cut in. “Is Kings paying you to babysit Lucius?”

“No,” Hermione snapped, “and if I were you, I’d stay out of this, Harry. You couldn’t have waited until this was sorted and I knew what was happening. No, before I know all the details you had to open your big mouth. You shouldn’t be talking about it at all, Ron is not on the review board, but you...”

“That’s right,” Ron yelled, “rub it in!”

“What?” Hermione said, turning back to him, blinking.

“Rub it in that I’m not on the review board.”

“You had the choice, but choose not to,” Hermione reminded him.

“Yeah, well maybe, I didn’t realise what a big deal it was going to be. If I’d known they were going to let Death Eaters like Ferret go free, then I would have accepted the offer and made certain they all rotted in Azkaban for eternity.” His face was scarlet and he was now nose to nose with Hermione.

“It’s that sort of attitude that got us into this mess, Ronald,” Hermione told him.

“So it’s my fault now?”

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding. I’m sorry, I need some space from you right now,” and she apparated away.

Touching down in her bedroom she fought to keep her magic under control as she packed her things. She’d had a feeling that it was not going to work, living here with Harry and Ron, but she’d tried. She loved them both dearly, but sometimes they just exasperated her. Regardless, her mum was due back the day after tomorrow and she had wanted to move back home and do some cleaning before she arrived.

She’d set everything up with magic, so people would not question the vacant house, and she’d used dusting charms and so forth, but she wanted to get there and open the windows and so forth, allow some air in. Before she left, she looked around her room, and then silently accioed anything she’d had scattered around the house and once it had all arrived she’d disapparated straight from her bedroom.

~~~***~~~

Down in the kitchen, Harry and Ron had been watching things levitating out of the kitchen towards their owner.

“Oh dear,” Harry murmured. “This is not good,” and he looked at Ron. “I just thought you should know. I guess I didn’t think my approach through very well.” Ron had started eating, and Harry grimaced, very few things got between Ron and food, but he thought that he should be giving this a bit more interest. “Don’t you want to go and see if you can settle her down a bit?”

“Why?” and he rolled his eyes. “She totally mental, fancy considering helping a Malfoy. What’s wrong with her?” and he kept on eating. They heard a pop from upstairs and Ron shrugged. “It’s too late now, anyway.”

Harry was a little taken back by Ron’s attitude. Harry had made certain Ron knew about the arrangement, as a last ditch attempt to get him to see reason over Hermione. As much as he supported his friend, and Ron had asked him to convince Hermione to give him a go at being her boyfriend, he wasn’t entirely sure that Ron and Hermione would be a good match. The worst thing though, was that he wasn’t certain that Draco wouldn’t be good for Hermione. They were both smart; Draco had always given Hermione healthy competition for top marks during school.

Both Draco and Hermione had sat the early NEWT session as soon as the Ministry was organised enough to administer them. By god she was even friendly with Snape now, and he was notoriously difficult. Harry still did not understand how that had come about, but they seemed to have an easy friendship, so would it be the same with Lucius?

Then he smiled at his friend. Ron did have a huge fan-base of witches, and Harry knew he was bedding as many as he could, which he also knew that Hermione knew about it.

“Well, I have a hot date, don’t wait up,” and he was gone.

Harry sighed. He guessed that he had better go and find Hermione and apologise. After all, he needed Hermione’s friendship more; she was like a sister to him. He supposed that Ron was also like family too, but ‘Mione actually knew how to help him, whereas Ron’s answer to everything was to play Quidditch.

He pushed away his untouched dinner, glancing apologetically at Kreacher, and apparated to where he suspected she’d be; her mother’s house.

Chapter Text


The next morning came quickly, and as the sun started filtering through the shades in her room at her mum’s, Hermione rolled over the side of her bed and stumbled towards the shower.

Harry had turned up last night with an offering of Indian takeaway and wine. She had let him in, and he had apologised. She had still huffed at him, but she knew he would never change; he was always going to be too passionate and far too quintessentially Gryffindor.

They’d ended up eating while watching TV, after Hermione had rigged the telly to work via magic, because there was no electricity connected at the moment; her mum had had it, the phone and the water disconnected before she’d left. She had done a little magic fiddling with the water to easily bypass the meter too. She would have to remember to fix it again before her mother had the utilities turned back on.

As she relaxed under the shower, she was pleased that the hot water had heated up overnight (something else she’d added a little magic to). She had an hour to get ready and apparate to the ministry, and she knew it wouldn’t take her an hour to do that, but she wanted to stop somewhere for breakfast and have a think about exactly what she wanted to get out of her proposed arrangement with Lucius Malfoy.

At least she’d talked Harry out of turning up this morning, but she wished that she’d owled Severus to meet her for breakfast so she could talk it through with him before they met with the Malfoys. “Oh well,” she sighed, coming back from the bathroom to get dressed.

For a reason she couldn’t fathom, she decided on lacy purple underwear today, and she coupled it was a dark grey pencil skirt, a fitted purple blouse and black kitten heels. She pulled her hair into a messy bun and grabbed her bag and a grey over robe that matched the skirt.

On her way out of the house she righted her interferences to the utilities, and she walked to her favourite cafe.

~~~***~~~

It was just on twenty past eight when she arrived at Anthea Greengrass’ office. As she walked into the waiting area she saw the two Malfoys and Severus already there, and she smiled when they all rose from their chairs as she walked in. Now that’s the type of manners I’ve been taught, she thought as she sat in the remaining chair beside Draco. “Good morning, gentlemen,” she stated, as she watched them all sitting once more.

All three wizards nodded and greeted her cordially as she took a sip of her takeaway coffee (her second), but she looked beside her when she heard Draco sniff. “Yes?” she questioned.

“That coffee smells amazing,” he stated.

Hermione rolled her eyes and handed him the cardboard container. “Tastes great too. You want to try it?”

He smirked as he took the cup from her and took a sip. “Mmm,” he moaned. “Father, taste this,” and he handed the cup on to Lucius.

Hermione watched as Lucius inhaled the aroma and took a sip, and she smiled widely. “If I’d known we would be waiting here, I would have brought enough for all four of us,” Hermione laughed, taking the cup back, but offering it to Severus as well.

“No thank you, I brew my own coffee,” he said, holding his hand up. “You drink you coffee, Hermione,” he encouraged.

Hermione watched both Malfoys watching her drinking, and seemed to swallow along with her after each mouthful. “What do you say I take us all out after this and we can all get coffee?”

“I can see that this arrangement is going to seriously impact on my available time,” Severus snipped.

Hermione laughed, and Lucius rolled his eyes at his friend’s snark, and just as Draco and Lucius were agreeing that coffee would be great, Kingsley opened Anthea’s office door. “Good morning everyone, please come in.”

Hermione vanished the coffee container and walked into the office first after being ushered in by the wizards.

An hour later, Lucius had the restrictive wards removed from his estate, and Draco handed him a wand.

“What’s that?” Kingsley asked.

“My wand was destroyed, this is a family wand from my study.”

“Ah, I see,” Kingsley nodded. “It’s no wonder we never picked up your wand on the trace then.”

“Well, I didn’t think it prudent to advertise the fact that I had no wand, and the trace charm does not allow wandless magic.”

“You are quite correct,” Anthea added.

Then they set about working out the particulars of the charities that Lucius had agreed to sponsor. There would be a fund for Muggle-borns to attend Hogwarts, a home for orphaned children, and Hermione added here that she wished that it was to include squib children as well.

The others around the table turned to her.

“Well, you said yourself, Mr Malfoy that the birth-rate in pureblood families is one in three.” She paused and pinned Lucius with her astute gaze. “What happens to them? We never hear of that many squib children.”

Lucius paled, and eventually Severus said, “Nothing pleasant.”

“Well, something needs to be done about that.”

“Agreed,” Lucius replied, as Draco nodded.

“You tell us what we should do, and we’ll consider where to go from there,” Draco added.

Hermione was impressed. “I will,” she stated, a smile tilting her lips. If they were going to be this agreeable this would be easy… but then her attention was drawn as Lucius started speaking.

“Now, we’ve given and conciliated, what are you planning to bring to this arrangement, Miss Granger?”

Hermione met his eyes as she gasped in surprise, she had not thought about what she would give. What would she give? She thought they were both beautiful… dangerous, mind you, but definitely handsome. In fact, almost angelic… and all she had thought about since she’d seen them again yesterday was having them. You can’t say that, Granger, she chided herself.

It was true that they had brokered an excellent deal for the betterment of the wizarding world. The amount it would cost had been agreed on quickly—and it was substantial—but they were treating it like a pittance. Then her thoughts were interrupted by Severus.

“If you will allow me to intercede here?” His brow had risen as he’d watched her quickly getting in over her head. He would have words later with Lucius over his approach. Severus might not show it often, but he cared for this little witch, and he would look after her best interests. He watched her nod to him with a confused expression playing over her face.

Severus faced the two slightly smirking Malfoys. “Since it is my job here to act a chaperon, I believe it is not out of the bounds of reason to see that it is also my job to look after Miss Granger’s best interests. You are expecting Miss Granger to concede to you, Lucius?”

“No, but I believe that if we are to have a social arrangement, we should have some official way of looking after Miss Granger’s best interests too, just as you have proposed.”

“It is not unreasonable,” Draco continued, “considering that Hermione will be in grave danger once this arrangement becomes public knowledge.”

Severus sighed. “That is true.”

“Then what are you proposing, Lucius?” Kingsley cut in.

“As part of the measures to keep Miss Granger safe, we wish it to be added to the agreement that we,” and he motioned between himself and Draco, “are accepting Miss Granger as a spoil of war.”

“A marriage contract?” Anthea asked.

“A polyamorous marriage contract,” Lucius corrected.

“That is only legal in modern wizarding law if there is a precedent in the family,” Anthea told them.

“We have that,” Draco stated.

“You will be required to produce the evidence,” Anthea continued, and then turned astute eyes to Hermione. “What is your view?”

“M-My view?!” Her composure cracked. “I…” she turned her eyes to both Malfoys. “W-Why?”

“You are the most powerful witch of your generation, and we are without doubt the most powerful family. Only a powerful witch can balance us and handle our power in return.” As he said this Lucius rose from his chair and Draco followed him, they came around the table and Hermione instinctively rose to meet them as they all but prowled towards her.

She stepped away from her chair, fighting to stand still, and wondering what was going to happen as she watched them approaching. They looked amazing as they approached her and she felt a strong pulse between her legs start throbbing. How can this be arousing? she thought. Oh but Merlin, it is, he brain supplied. To her surprise, each wizard took one of her hands and went down on one knee before her.

“We are simply taking the opportunity to claim you for ourselves before anyone else does,” Draco stated, kissing the hand he was holding.

If her composure was cracking before, the touch of their lips on her hands shattered it completely. She looked to Severus, and to further her confusion she saw calm acceptance on his face. She knew he would not be allowing this scene if he did not approve, and she turned back to face Lucius and Draco, watching as they both momentarily rested their foreheads on her hand and then rose to their feet.

“We have cast down our intention to court you by our actions, what say you, Hermione?” Lucius smoothed.

“Umm, I need… I need to think,” Hermione squeaked.

She watched both Malfoys nod and withdraw themselves from her, and she turned on Severus and hissed, “Did you know they were going to do this?”

He turned them away from the others. “I suspected that perhaps… but no, I did not know,” he conceded, and he took a deep breath. “Since your father is no longer living, I would be honoured to act as domum patris tui for you, if you wish to consider their request.”

“Consider their request?” She looked at him incredulously. “I need to t-think very carefully about this… Do they even like me?”

“Now Hermione, I credited you with more intelligence than that. It is plain that they are both besotted with you.” He leant in closer and whispered slyly, “And you with them.”

Hermione’s head snapped back and she glared at him. She wanted to slap him when he then smirked at her like he knew the secrets of her soul.

“Think on it, Hermione. If you accept them as suitors you will never have to want for anything, they will adore you… worship you as the saviour of the Malfoy family.”

“But why me?”

“Don’t be a silly witch, I have already told you the reasons.”

“But I hardly know them,” she mused, her lip slipping between her teeth.

“That could be rectified,” Severus instructed seriously.

“Before any marriage?”

“I will make certain that it is like any normal courtship.”

“Courtship?”

“If you accept them as your suitors, they will have claimed you.”

“What do you mean?”

“They have obviously discussed this at length, and one or both of them will offer you a ring to seal the contract.”

“Does this void all the other agreements we’ve just made?”

“No,” but Severus was cut off.

“It enhances them all,” Lucius put in, obviously having been listening.

“But how can I tell my mother?” Hermione suddenly wondered. “Would you help me?” She glanced at Severus, but then just as quickly, her hands went up to her cheeks in shock. “Oh… Harry, what about, Harry?” Then her expression pinched off. “No, I need time to think about all this.”

“What about Potter, does he have some claim on you?” Draco demanded. It had always been one of his worst fears.

“N-No, not like that,” Hermione said, turning to him and looking vague as her exasperation started to bleed into her voice, “but he’s the only friend I possess my own age, and I would like to keep him. If I agree to this, I’m going to lose most of the Gryffindors who were my friends.”

Severus’ eyebrow arched. “Those who are truly your friends will remain true, and as for your mother, that can be arranged.”

“She gets back tomorrow, and I do not wish to do anything until I’ve spoken with her.” However, she saw something pass through Severus’ eyes, and he grimaced slightly at her words. “What?” she demanded panicked that her unflappable friend suddenly looked greatly troubled.

“The date has just occurred to me,” Severus informed her watching as Lucius and Draco approached again.

“What’s that got to do with anything?” Hermione wanted to know.

“It is the first of November,” Lucius cut in once again. “Fortuitous for us,” he stated enigmatically.

Then Kingsley joined the conversation. “Tomorrow is exactly six month post battle, the amnesty will be over,” he gasped. “I never thought.”

“No, neither did I,” Severus gasped. “I would have warned you otherwise,” he told Hermione.

“Will someone please tell me what’s going on?!” Hermione all but shrieked, her emotions now in complete turmoil. First they ask to marry her, and regardless of her thoughts on how pleasant it might be to be with them, it was so sudden, but now what were they talking about? She tried to keep her emotions in check, but it was one step too far, and to her great mortification she felt tears trickling over her lashes.

Severus turned to Anthea and Kingsley. “I know that this is your office, Anthea, but would you give us a private moment with Hermione, please?” Severus asked.

Both Anthea and Kingsley conceded with a nod, and went out into the waiting area, closing the office door behind themselves.

As soon as the room was clear, Draco and Lucius, who were currently standing either side of her, both turned to her, and Draco pulled her against him, letting out a breath when she did not resist him.

“Shh, kitten, we’ll look after you if you’ll allow us to.”

“Yes, sweet girl, you will want for nothing,” Lucius murmured. “We realised late last night,” he glanced at Severus, “after you had left, old friend, and we both read the diary. After that we went on a thorough search for more evidence, and we found that after every major war incident in British history, the Malfoy family has regenerated itself in exactly the way we are proposing today,” Lucius explained.

He turned back to Hermione, and smiled watching Draco holding their witch, and said witch, snuggling into his chest, her tears forgotten. He took her hand and started leading her back towards the table as he spoke.

“It took us all night,” Draco told Hermione, “but we realised if we did not claim you at this meeting that we may not get the chance.”

“Why?” Hermione questioned, glancing up at Draco, and then sliding her gaze across to Lucius.

The elder Malfoy closed the distance between Hermione and himself, and gently took her from Draco, “Because, dear heart, you might be stolen from us.”

“What do you mean?” Hermione needed some distance from them, their closeness was intoxicating, and she stepped back and sat back in her chair.

They followed her, sitting ither side, as Severus explained Lucius’ statement.

“There were no marriage petitions after Voldemort’s first fall, because frankly most of the community knew that it wasn’t over, as there had been no body produced,” Severus explained, obviously remembering. “But this time…” and he sighed. “After a conflict such as we’ve just had the wizarding world’s focus turns to sustaining and renewing itself.”

“A law was passed in 1946,” Lucius stated, picking up the narrative, “after powerful witches and wizards were being abducted and sold for ransom following Grindelwald’s reign of terror.”

Then Severus took up the thread of the explanation again. “It states that there would be an amnesty for a period of six months, so after today the powerful new generation will be highly sought after to bring balance back to powerful families who have suffered in the conflict.” Without warning he barked a mirthless laugh. “And, Hermione, believe me, if you are shocked by Draco and Lucius petitioning you in this way, then you will be appalled at the lengths other... less reputable families will go to in their quest to secure you as a bride for themselves or their off-spring. I advise you to accept the Malfoy proposal. They are correct when they say that they are the most powerful family in wizarding England, they will be able to protect you.”

Hermione was listening carefully, and was surprised at how calm she felt sitting between the two blond wizards.

“Do you see what we are trying to tell you, Hermione?” Lucius asked quietly.

“Yes,” Hermione nodded.

“And are you ready for Anthea and Kingsley to come back?” Severus questioned once he’d watched her nod.

Smiling, Hermione looked either side of her. “Yes, I believe I’m over my shock. My apologies for becoming so emotional,” she stated quietly and looked at her lap, fairly mortified with herself, especially for tearing up.

“Your passion is one of the things I love about you,” Draco leaned over and said quietly against her ear.

It brought her head around, and she found herself caught in his slate grey eyes, and she shivered, all she wanted was to devour him whole. Then she felt Lucius place his hand on her knee and squeeze slightly… and she shivered in delight, but she fought with herself to remain calm and composed because she knew Severus was there, and there would be two more people in a moment. She tore her eyes away from Draco and turned to Lucius, but became just as mesmerized, and she wondered why her emotions were so tied to these men. “You two unsettle me, so much,” she whispered.

“In a good way I hope,” Lucius murmured.

Hermione managed a shaky laugh. “Yes, definitely in a good way. Now I need to concentrate,” she told them, as she watched Severus opening the door and indicating that Anthea and Kingsley could return.

Anthea seated herself at her desk as she watched the scene before her shrewdly.

Hermione had to admit that she liked Anthea Greengrass. She guessed that she would be in her seventies, and she was highly intelligent and quick, things that Hermione valued, and the Gryffindor witch listened carefully, with a new understanding of the situation. “How are these negotiation normally carried out?” Hermione asked, directing her question to Anthea, but it was Lucius who answered.

“Severus has offered his services as your proxy father, you would be wise to accept him into this position,” he assured Hermione, squeezing her hand momentarily.

“Yes, I intend to accept his assistance,” Hermione replied, looking with confidence to the wizard who had mentored her since she was fourteen.

“Then that ceremony needs to take place first, and then Severus must approve the Malfoy claim,” Anthea explained.

“After which it needs to be announced in tomorrow’s Daily Prophet,” Kingsley told them.

“Yes, I agree,” Anthea replied.

“Then perhaps we should leave these good people to their work,” Kingsley suggested, looking specifically at Lucius and Draco.

Both Lucius and Draco inclined their head in recognition and rose to leave.

“Until tonight, my dear,” Lucius stated, turning and leaning down to kiss Hermione on the cheek.

As she was staring up, caught in Lucius stormy—dare she say passionate eyes—she suddenly became aware that Draco was planning to kiss her as well, and she squeaked in surprise when she turned her head towards him and he claimed her lips, bestowing a passionate kiss on her.

He chuckled as he whispered, “I have waited a long time to do that.” Then he smiled at her. “I hope you will consider us with favour, kitten.”

To Hermione’s great mortification only a vague noise issued from her mouth, making her would be paramours smiles broaden.

Then they were leaving, and she suddenly felt bereft as she watched them nodding out of respect to Anthea, Severus and Kingsley, and heading for the door.

Once the door closed behind them, all eyes landed on Hermione, she snorted in derision; she couldn’t have held it in if she’d tried. “And here I was thinking that the wizarding world had delivered all of its little surprises,” she huffed. “Will it ever stop?”

“No,” three voices stated in unison.

“But it is easily controlled,” Kingsley told her smiling. “You do not have to navigate alone. Severus is shrewd and knows the worst the wizarding world has to offer, he will steer you through this,” Kingsley stated.

“And remember, Hermione, you can choose not to accept any proposal,” Anthea added.

“Even though that would be very dangerous for you, it is an option,” Severus stated.

“I can look after myself, Severus.”

“I am well aware of that, but without assistance, you would have to go into hiding, and your mother would be unable to return to England.”

It was on the tip of Hermione’s tongue to rage about this. Anger consumed her, but something inside her head told her that life with Draco and Lucius might be a wonderful experience on the whole, and wasn’t she looking for a relationship where she would be cherished as an equal. Wasn’t that why she was running so far away from Ronald Weasley? Her lips tightened and she sighed. “Yes, that is all true... so how do I accept your help?” she asked Severus. “I’m not saying yes to the Malfoys,” she added quickly. “Well, not yet, but I’m not saying no either.”

“Understood,” Severus nodded. “However, by accepting me as your proxy, you are sending a certain message.”

“I realise that,” and her mouth tightened once more. “But I never wish to be hunted as I was before the war ended. I fully intend to accept Lucius and Draco, I just want some control over the process.”

“Wise girl,” Anthea chuckled. “I will start drawing up all the papers,” but then she paused and pinned Hermione with her astute gaze, “and while I’m doing that I would be pleased to draw up papers for an apprenticeship in law for you, as well.”

Hermione glanced at Severus and he understood her question. “Both Malfoys will embrace you excelling yourself, and Lucius especially will applaud you accepting a position with Anthea.”

“Then, yes, I would be honoured to accept your offer. Thank you, Madam Greengrass.”

“Excellent. Will you escort Miss Granger back here at three, Severus?”

“Yes,” Kingsley added. “Now, I will come with you to Grimmauld Place, so we can all speak with Harry, I think it is about time that he found out that he is in fact a lord.”

“Understood,” Severus indicated, and he rose from the table. “That is sure to please him. May we use your Floo, Anthea?” he added before anyone could counter his assumption.

“Yes,” she replied distractedly, already organising papers on her desk. “Oh,” she looked up, “best come back this route when you return as well.”

“Very good,” Severus said. “Hermione,” and he gestured for her to precede him.

~~~***~~~

Walking out into the kitchen at Grimmauld Place was more fraught with danger than it usually was. Hermione heard the spell sizzling through the air as she stepped onto the heath, and thinking quickly she stepped to one side, knowing the Severus and Kingsley were following, and she had a shield erected around the fireplace before her head had come up to see what was going on.

Severus heard the unmistakable clang of a spell being rebounded from a shield before he realised what Hermione had done. Then the small space behind her shield became very crowded when Kingsley also walked out. Severus’ eyes narrowed and he roared at the redheads fighting in the kitchen as soon as he realised what was happening. “Desist immediately. Expelliarmus,” he enunciated dangerously, and two wands slapped into his hand.

He dispelled Hermione’s shield charm and stormed into the room. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded.

Then Hermione spotted Harry on the floor. “No!” she yelled and ran to his bloodied form. “What the hell have you done to him?” she demanded.

She looked up at Severus and saw his eyes open wide as he saw Harry. Handing the wands he’d taken to Kingsley he was quickly on his knees beside Hermione.

Placing his wand on Harry’s furiously bleeding cheek he incanted, “Vulnera Sanentur,” then he moved to his chest and repeated the spell, and over to his bleeding ribs as he said the same murmured incantation again.

Harry suddenly took a strangled breath and he groaned. “Easy, Mr Potter, you are amongst friends.” Severus turned to Hermione. “Do you have some Dittany, Hermione?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

“Levitate your friend upstairs and help him clean up, soak all his healing wounds with Dittany, and once we’ve dealt with this rabble, I’ll supervise the administering of some Blood Replenishing Potion.” He placed a hand on Hermione’s arm as she started doing as he asked with the still mostly unconscious Harry. “Ward yourselves in until Kingsley or I come up.”

The two wizard watched Hermione levitating Harry out the door, and once they heard a door open upstairs, Kingsley moved to the Floo. “Office of Misuse of Muggle Artefacts office,” he called.

“Yes,” came Arthur Weasley’s voice.

“Arthur, could you step through to Grimmauld Place, please,” Kingsley asked.

“Certainly, Kingsley,” and he walked through the Floo moments later. He was just looking around at his contrite but angry looking son and his sobbing daughter when their mother walked through the Floo unexpectedly. Whatever she had been about to say died on her lips as her eyes moved to the blood soaked floor that Arthur was currently looking at too.

“What’s happened here?” Molly asked, finally.

Silence greeted him. “Molly?” Arthur questioned.

“I don’t know,” Molly said walking towards Ginny and pulling her sobbing daughter against her. “What happened?” she repeated to Ginny.

They all listened as Ginny sobbed her story. “I h-had him, he h-had accepted me. Look Mum,” and she showed her mother her ring finger that currently wore a crudely transfigured ring of some kind. Then she turned angry eyes to Ron. “Then he came in and yelled, and then started cursing Harry, a-and... a-and,” and she dissolved into tears again.

“Molly!” Arthur’s voice cut through, sensing by her timely arrival that she knew more about this than she was letting on.

Molly met her husband’s eyes, pleading with him to understand. “I just wanted them to be happy... You know, Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione.”

“Molly, you know we’ve discussed this,” Arthur said, his voice suddenly gentle, she’d lost so much. “They’re all friends, Moll, no more.”

“But I thought, with just a little help...” and her voice tapered off. “Ginny was heartbroken when Harry... anyway, I just helped them a long a little bit... it’s an old family recipe.”

As if on cue, Hermione’s Patronus arrived. “Severus, I think we have bigger problem, I’ve had to stun Harry.”

Severus’ mind quickly put two and two together. “You brewed a love potion!” It was not a question. “Show me the recipe,” he demanded, holding out his hand, and at the same time shooting a message back to Hermione.

Molly glared at Severus, but she did not argue, and extracting a tattered piece of parchment from her apron pocket, she handed it to him.

He started reading at the same moment as he asked, “How did you even know the Sectumsempra spell, Weasley?”

Ron had flopped down in a chair at the table, and was cradling his head in his hands, his anger long ago turning to shock over what he had done. “It was first spell that came into my head, I’m sorry, I didn’t know what it would do,” he stated dejectedly. Then his head came up and he said to his father. “I came in and saw Harry humping Ginny on the kitchen table and it made me angry, he dumped her and I thought he was leading her on, I didn’t know about the love potion.”

An angry Arthur commanded his family members to the Floo. “Get home, all of you, we will speak about this when I’ve made certain that Harry is all right.” He turned to Severus, “Can you brew an antidote?”

Severus nodded. “I believe so, but we’ll need to take him to Hogwarts. I will leave you two to help Hermione do that, and I’ll start the potion,” and he stepped into the Floo and was gone.

~~~***~~~

An hour later, Harry was recovered, even if he looked (and probably felt) like he had been run over by a truck, and they were finally having the conversation they had meant to have before the disruption.

Harry could not believe that there were more shocks installed for him either, but was contented to have Kingsley assume the role of his mentor, and he told him that his situation was different to Hermione’s. He was actually the head of two pure-blood families. The Potters and Blacks. He was a lord, and that he could have his pick of all witches, but it was all so strange.

Kingsley had left after that, telling Harry he would speak with him again that evening, and Hermione and Harry then walked Arthur down the drive to the gates.

The genial redhead had decided to take the longest way home possible, so he had plenty of time to think about how he was going to tackle this next issue his family had thrown up at him.

Harry sighed as he looked at Arthur sadly, knowing that he too would have offered to mentor him, had it not been for his family’s earlier stupidity. “Arthur,” he said, uncertain about how to continue. “I... I just, I would still very much like to stay a p-part of your clan.”

“Always,” Arthur told him, as he stopped walking. “You too, Hermione,” and he patted their arms.

Hermione smiled tentatively. “I was never interested in Ron in a marriage sort of way,” she told him.

Arthur nodded. “I know, you deserve someone who can keep up with that quick brain of yours,” and he smiled at her. “No, you are both part of our family, even if said family have a funny way of showing it sometimes,” and a worried expression passed over his face.

Hearing this though made Hermione pause. She cleared her throat. “Actually, I’m not certain that you should offer for me to be a part of your family before you know all the facts. You see, I’m going to agree to be courted tonight. I am very happy with the situation... but the thing is,” and her lip slipped between her teeth. “They’re not wizards that you like.”

“You say wizards, so a triad?” Arthur questioned and watched her nod. “And you’re happy with their advances?”

“Y-yes, I’ve had a crush on one of them for a very long time, and the other one is very kind to me now that he can be. I can’t tell you more than that yet as I’m still getting to know him. They’re a matched pair, and I like them both.”

“Then if you’re happy, I’m happy for you, love.”

Hermione throw herself at him, hugging him tightly. “Thank you,” she said, “that means a lot to me.”

Arthur pulled her to arm’s length. “Do you have someone to act a broker?”

“Yes, Severus,” she told him.

“Severus, ay, you know he’d be good at that job, very shrewd. Well, if you need any help, just let me know,” and he kissed her on the forehead. “Merlin help them if they ever hurt you though.”

“There are several of us lined up for that,” Harry piped up from beside them. “But I think it will be fine.”

They bid Arthur good bye and turned back towards the castle.

Chapter Text


Severus had the elves provide lunch for Harry and Hermione in his office while he went to organise a family signet ring for Hermione. He had his mother’s family ring and he couldn’t think of anyone he would rather give it too, so he went and collected it from his safe and placed it in his pocket.

Taking himself back to his office, he heard the two young people talking candidly about the offer that had been made to Hermione by the Malfoys.

“I guess I realised last night that you and Ron were never going to happen,” Harry was saying.

 “I’m just not interested in him.” Hermione sighed and a small smile lit her face. “I’ve always been slightly enamoured with Draco, and now that I have been given nothing but green lights by Draco… Oh Harry, all I can think about is having him,” and she blushed and smiled, but laughed at the look that arrived on Harry’s face. “Yes, I know you probably don’t want to hear me say stuff like that, but oh my,” she gushed dreamily. “I didn’t ever think I would have the opportunity to express my desire.” She shrugged, “But here it is,” and her smile widened.

“What about Lucius?”

“You mean Lucius the sexy beast Malfoy,” she giggled. “They’re a matched pair, Harry. He’s lovely too, and when I think about it I’ve always thought of both of them as incredibly sexy.”

“But they were both awful to us,” but he didn’t get to finish.

“What choice did they have?” she said, pinning Harry with her astute gaze. “Yes, we thought Lucius was an evil git when we were younger, but he’s changed, they both have.” She thought about that for a moment. “No, actually, I think that it’s more likely that, like Severus, they are decent human beings who were in an impossible situation,” and she sighed in a dreamy voice, but then saw Severus coming through the door. “Have you had lunch?”

“I do not think I could eat after hearing your description of my dearest friend,” Severus deadpanned, walking to his desk.

“Oh, it’s not that bad, Severus,” and she laughed when he turned and arched a raven eyebrow at her, so she changed the subject. “Will dinner tonight be formal?”

“I should imagine so, why?”

“Because the last formal outfit I had was when I was fourteen, and even if I wanted to wear it tonight, I doubt it’d fit.”

“We could go into Muggle London,” Harry suggested. “I can’t buy anything in wizarding London.” He looked at Severus. “Nobody will let me pay, it’s embarrassing,” he admitted quietly.

“Harry, I don’t think we’ll have time to go shopping this afternoon. I’ll look in Mum’s closet.”

A worried look settled on Harry’s face. “I’m pretty sure you should come back to Grimmauld Place tonight, ‘Mione,” he told her, glancing at Severus.

“Indeed,” Severus agreed. “A Muggle street does not afford you enough protection, and you were a dunderheaded fool for thinking otherwise,” he stated, pinning her with his dark gaze.

Hermione huffed. “I needed space from Ronald,” and her eyes narrowed, but then something seemed to occur to her. “But what about Mum?” and she instantly appeared panicked.

Severus sighed. “That is a good point, but it is in hand.” He wasn’t about to admit to Hermione that he already had a plan where Helen was concerned. In fact, he was well on the way to having a safe haven organised for her.

“But she won’t be able to see any of our secret kept houses,” Hermione replied, panic slipping into her voice.

“That’s only if she hasn’t got any magic,” Harry stated, and he looked to Severus. “Is it possible that one of the parents of a Muggle-born child is a Squib, sir?”

“It is entirely possible, Mr Potter,” Severus replied, looking around from selecting a book from his bookcase.

“See, ‘Mione, she might be able to see Grimmauld Place, and Malfoy Manor... a-and Hogwarts,” he added enthusiastically.

“Perhaps, I guess we’ll have to see. She could locate the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron. I remember that,” she replied fondly. “Dad had to be led in. I don’t think he was too happy about that,” and she sighed.

Hermione had never gotten over losing her father; he had been killed in a car accident on the first day of her summer holidays following fourth year. He had been trying to get home late one night after a dental conference, and he’d fallen asleep behind the wheel of the car. His car had run off the road and hit a tree. Hermione had always blamed herself for his accident, because she had decided that he would have been rushing home because she’d come home that day, when he should have stayed the night where he was.

She shook herself and got up, setting a plate of sandwiches and a cup of tea at Severus’ elbow. She smiled at him working away and saw that Harry had stood. “You going?” she asked quietly.

Harry gave her is lopsided smile and straightened his glasses. “Yeah, I’ve got a few things to do, I’ll see you later at the ministry,” and he laughed quietly. “Kingsley thought I might like to be the other witness for your proxy father papers.”

“Oh... okay,” Hermione said, lifting the corner of her mouth. “That’s a good idea,” and she nodded. She heard him say good bye to Severus and she disappeared back into her own thoughts as she flopped down in her chair. She was only brought back from her reflections of what she could expect from her wizards tonight by the scrape of Severus’ chair.

~~~***~~~

At exactly two fifty seven, Severus rose from his desk. “Come, it is time to go.”

Hermione smiled at his efficiency, and remembered their many meetings during the time her, Harry and Ron had been on the run. He had always chided her if she’d been late, but sometimes it had been hard for her to get away without the boys asking questions. Although neither boy had ever questioned her on why she knew certain things, or where she’d gotten certain potions, or even food. She scoffed to herself and thought of an imagined scenario. Yes, I found this just growing down the lane, in the dead of winter, and she smiled to herself. Both of them had followed her blindly, seeming to understand that she knew what she was doing.

Then her eyes turned to the dark wizard ushering her through into Anthea’s office before him. They had not discussed their friendship from during that bone-numbing, nightmarish time. More than once during that time she had cried, clinging to him and he had comforted her, seeming to understand that what was being asked of her was too much.

She had been thankful for his silent support. He had been a tower of strength to her, and she squeezed his arm now, as he arrived beside her. During the time he had spent instructing, grilling her to get things right; he had never been the monster she had first thought him to be, and she now realised how special she felt that he was willing to do something this personal for her. He was in effect making her his daughter, and the only niggling doubt about it all was that her mother was not here to approve this step, and she sighed. Bad timing was all she could put it down to.

Severus cut her a glance at her sigh. He could sense her thoughts. Merlin, she broadcasts them loudly. I will have to try and teach her some further Occlumency before she is introduced to the wizarding aristocracy en masse, or they will know all her secrets after the first ball.

The art of Occlumency was not something that Gryffindors had a talent for, and Harry was who the wizard instantly thought of. However, Severus also realised that Harry’s failure to grasp the concept he’d been told—nay, ordered—to instil in him was mainly due to the fact that he, Severus, could not surmount his objections to the boy’s sainted father. He sighed, he had been a very different person back then. One full of bitter rage and spitting venom.

Hermione had changed that. She had accepted him how he was; she had not taken exception to his moods or his gruff manner, and she had seemed to sense the same urgency that she get the things he was teaching her right. The corner of his mouth tilted up slightly; he was not certain of when it had started, but she had slowly wormed her way under his thick skin. He could never think of her as a sexual being. He had known her since she was eleven, but he did harbour avuncular, even fatherly feeling for her, and it made him very happy that he could express them in this way.

He knew that she would be the perfect match between Lucius and Draco, and he would not have put the idea into their heads if he had not thought that Hermione would be loved and cared for in return. Lucius was the quintessential, arrogant alpha male who needed a woman to spoil, but one who would also not take his crap when he got on his high horse. Whereas Draco simply adored Hermione, and she would never be anything but worshipped where he was concerned, but again if he overstepped his mark she would have no qualms about telling him. She was powerful enough, and had been brought up to believe she was a man’s equal, so she was also strong and independent. He grinned to himself, it was going to be very entertaining to say the least.

His eyes shifted to her for a moment, and he only saw her from the back as she turned to sit. For a split second he thought of Helen, her mother; she was the same pint-sized spitfire, with the same brunette curls that cascaded down her back, but the difference was that Helen pressed all his buttons.

Helen Granger was only two years older than Severus. She’d had Hermione when she was twenty, and this was another reason why he felt fatherly towards Hermione, as he was counting the days until her mother returned. He had been charmed by her while he and Hermione had been convincing her that her safety was not guaranteed if she remained in England. Her quiet grace had captured his heart, and had easily exacted a promise from him to care for Hermione while she could not. He had been planning to anyway, but that was beside the point.

As he’d been thinking this, Anthea had been talking to Hermione, but now he saw that she was ready to include him in their conversation, and he turned his attention to her.

When they’d arrived, he seen that Anthea had all the paper work sorted out in piles on her desk, and she’d rose from her chair to greet them and then sat them in chairs in front of her desk. There was a knock on the door and Harry walked in a moment later. Anthea gestured for him to join Severus and Hermione and she spoke, “Kingsley told me before he left this morning that he would be here as soon as he is finished with today’s trial proceedings.”

“Very good,” Severus replied, and he started to go over what he’d read before he’d come here about the spell he had to recite and how their hands had to be just so, and it was as he was doing this that he heard Hermione say something that gave him a brilliant idea on a completely different subject.

“So what we really need is something like an abandoned estate. These children need a place where they feel safe in the wizarding world, but also need to be made ready to enter the Muggle world if they wish to.”

“Yes,” Anthea stated. “Do you know of a place?”

“No.”

“And you would also need someone capable of running such an enterprise,” Anthea added.

“Oh I’m in no doubt of who I want to run it,” Hermione proclaimed, and when Anthea looked at her she said, “My mum, she would be perfect. She has a medical background in more than just dentistry, and she loves children. I know one of her greatest regrets was that my father became sterile after I was born, and she was not able to have more.” She shrugged, wondering if she should have told them that, and changing the subject she smiled. “And she’s a Muggle who knows about magic.”

“Well, those are the two most important aspects to settle before you can do anything about procuring the unwanted children of this community. Many of which we know are treated worse than slaves and...” but her voice trailed off, and she soon changed the subject. “Look, I better go and see where Kings has got to,” she finished. “Please excuse me, I shall return once I’ve extradited him from his delay.”

Harry watched her leave and then turned to Hermione. “I want to help with this project,” he stated adamantly. “I have vast experience in being an abused slave.”

Severus couldn’t help himself as he commented softly. “Come now, Mr Potter, Albus was not that cruel to you.”

Lily’s emerald green eyes rose behind her son’s round spectacle frames and met Severus’ dark inquiring gaze. “No, I’ve come to realise that he was far worse than a mere slave driver.” Harry sneered. “Albus Dumbledore left a defenceless baby with Muggles who hated magic and everything about it, and all because of some obscure blood protection they might have offered me against a wizard who he knew full well could not have harmed me after what had happened to him. Do you know what they called me? My Aunt and Uncle I mean...  ‘Freak’!” His eyes narrowed as he answered his own question. “I cooked for them, cleaned, did the garden; at age four I could cook a whole meal while standing on a rickety little stool. I ate scraps to stay alive while that bully of a cousin of mine gorged himself on all manner of luxuries and occupied himself with making my life more miserable than it was, while he was being spoilt rotten, and I almost starved. I was beaten routinely and locked under the stairs every night. However, it was when I failed them that it was worse, when that happened,” but Harry sneered, and went silent.

The tension in the room was as thick as molasses, and Harry finally seemed to take in how shocked Severus was, and he couldn’t help but take advantage of it. He did not have Hermione’s prior knowledge, and frankly, he didn’t understand that Severus was not what he had pretended to be. To Harry he had just been another bully, and despite everything, little had changed. He rose fluidly from his chair and stalked towards the stunned Potions master as he kept speaking. “That’s what Albus Dumbledore did to me, and then he pretended like he was my saviour,” and Harry barked a mirthless laugh. “But he had put me there,” he stated fervently, “he stole my childhood from me. He turned me into the freak you see before you!” He took another step into Snape’s personal space so he was eye to eye with his former teacher. “And you helped him,” he accused.

“Harry!” Hermione scolded. There were tears welling in her eyes as she pulled him back a step and turned him to look at her. She’d known his home life had been rough, but she’d never thought it would be that bad, but it wasn’t Severus’ fault as Harry seemed to think. “What you’ve suffered is tragic, and I will value your assistance with this project, but I will not have you blaming Severus for what Dumbledore did to you. He did not know. Dumbledore kept all his pawns separated.” She glanced at Severus and extended her hand to squeeze his arm as she smiled at him. “But Dumbledore made one slip up when he ordered Severus to teach me what you would need to know to make it to the Final Battle… he underestimated Severus.” Her smile broadened as she left her hand on his arm to turn back to look at Harry. “He set Severus up to teach me... secretly, not realising that Severus Snape actually did possess something that Dumbledore thought he did not,” and Hermione turned back and looked fondly at the wizard still standing there in total shock at Harry’s admission.

Severus had had no idea what the boy had suffered. Then he saw Hermione’s eyes begging for him to give Harry a scrap to cling to, some indication of what they had in common, and finally he shook himself and sighed. He shook himself and stepped back to a respectable distance, before he said, “What Hermione is trying to get me to say is that she discovered that I was, and still am, in possession of a fully functioning heart, that I did indeed have a conscience, and that I could—given the opportunity—form a friendship. Hermione and I became friends in those extraordinary times, and I know it got me through the horror I had to endure to be standing here today.” Then he bowed his head and offered his hand. “That being said then, may I offer you my apologies for your treatment? I was only doing what I had been ordered to do. I had to appear like a fiend in order to satisfy the sycophants I had to keep on my good side. I had no idea how badly you were treated by Petunia and her family... I’m sorry.”

To say that Harry was dumbfounded was an understatement, but a smile started to break over his face, as he thought on the facts. He glanced at Hermione and realised that she had always trusted this wizard, and that was good enough for him. “Apology accepted, I had no idea about you either,” Harry stated and grasped the wizard’s hand firmly. “Also, thank you for saving me earlier. I’m starting to think that I’ve screwed up big time siding with Ron all these years.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “You’re only just working that out? He cursed you with a curse he probably had idea of the result of, and you’re only now just working it out... Harry,” and she shook her head.

“He admitted as much when I questioned him... oh, and that reminds me. Gryffindor will be starting the year in deficit next September if you do not furnish me with that Potions text of mine that contains the spell your idiot friend,” and he curled his lip in distaste, “used on you earlier.”

Harry huffed and decided that mirth was the best use of his energies. He was past wanting to wallow in self-pity, but he wanted the man before him to suffer for what he perceived he’d done, even if he had accepted his apology. “He’s still being nasty to me, ‘Mione.”

“Well, you didn’t expect him to just accept you, did you?”

The three of them laughed, but then Harry looked guilty, and Severus raised in eyebrow. “I hid the book in the Room of Forgotten Things after what happened with M-Mal… I mean Draco,” he grimaced. “That room was destroyed when Crabbe conjured Fiendfyre on the day of the battle, I’m sorry, sir.”

To Harry’s surprise, Severus smiled. “Well, it’s safely destroyed then, isn’t it? I just did not want another dunderheaded student coming across it and suddenly becoming an instant Potions prodigy,” and he pinned Harry was an accusatory stare.

Harry had the good grace to blush, and mumble, “No, sorry, but Professor Slughorn issued it to me.”

Severus nodded, “And you just thought you’d cheat with it?” and he gave him a dubious look just as the office door opened admitting Anthea and Kingsley and the subject was forgotten, especially when Lucius and Draco followed Kingsley through the door.

They instantly descended on Hermione each bestowing kisses on her. Draco gave her a heated kiss on the lips, and Lucius then turned her into his embrace and made her head spin.

“Hello, to you too,” she laughed, as she held on to Lucius’ forearm to regain her footing after the onslaught. Their nearness filled her senses and stopped her brain from functioning. She knew that she was only mildly experienced where men were concerned, but no one had ever made her brain shut down by merely kissing her.

It was then though that Lucius gripped her chin. “You look like you’ve been crying, what has upset you?” he demanded.

She smiled softly at him, and shook her head. “This is all a bit emotional, it just spilt over a bit,” she replied quietly. She watched him nodding as she registered how his concern for her added to the emotions surging through her. She also noted vaguely that she did not mind being kissed by both of them, or that it was happening in public, and her imagination was currently thinking of other things that she wouldn’t mind them both doing either.

These thoughts made her blush and now that Lucius knew she was all right, when he and Draco saw how they were affecting her they both chuckled darkly.

“Are you both Legilimens?” she asked in response, completely flustered.

“No,” and Draco smirked. “Why, what were you thinking?” he whispered, coming up close behind her.

They were interrupted in their talk when Severus snapped, “I still have many things to do this afternoon. Why did you two have to turn up and retard the flow of things?”

“Now, Severus, there is no need for your bad attitude,” Lucius scolded. “We wished to be here for Hermione. Please do continue,” he waved at Severus imperiously, and chuckled when his friend growled under his breath.

Anthea snickered, and Kingsley fought a smile, but Severus merely pursed his lips and nodded that he was ready. Taking his signet ring from his finger, he fished in his pocket for the one he had brought for Hermione, and he extracted up a small sheathed silver dagger, and looked to Hermione.

Knowing what would be required, Hermione also raised her hand. It was shaking slightly, and she hissed when he slid the dagger from his cover and cut into the palm of her hand after cutting his own, but she joined her hand with his injured one and watched him placing a ring on her little finger before he started incanting a spell.

“Pater familiae tuae,” he chanted, and golden bands of light twined around their joined hands.

Once the bands of light had faded, Severus released his grip on Hermione’s hand, and she found that her wounded hand was healed and she examined the pretty gold signet ring encrusted with emeralds that she now wore, but to her surprise she did not recognise the crest on it.

Of course, he noticed and chuckled, “Oh, did I forget to mention that you are now a member of the Prince family, the family that I am the last of. Purebloods are not always wise,” Severus stated.

“He is correct, Hermione,” Lucius stated, coming over and handing her a small velvet box. “A small binding gift,” he said, pecking her on the lips.

Draco stood on her other side. “Yes, congratulations, kitten,” he murmured, gifting her with another kiss. “I’m really looking forward to seeing you wearing these tonight.”

Hermione opened the box and found a pair of pearl and diamond ear rings and a matching choker. “They’re beautiful,” she told them. “I hope I can find a dress that does them justice.”

“You do not have a dress yet, kitten?”

She shook her head, looking at Severus, but heard Lucius answer.

“We had a feeling that might be an issue. Would you fancy a trip into Muggle London? You could start educating us at Harrods, perhaps?” and his eyebrow rose in challenge.

“You know about Harrods?”

“Of course, we brought the car in case you said yes,” Draco added.

“You have a c-car?” she stuttered.

“Ten in fact,” Lucius confided, close to her ear.

Severus could see that Hermione was plainly overwhelmed by what she was feeling, and he wanted some more information before he allowed the two Malfoys free rein with her. Then she smiled at him, and he rolled his eyes at the pleading look on her face, but shook his head and addressed Lucius and Draco. “Once this arrangement is set in stone then you may escort Hermione around, but not until then,” he told them. “Now, say good bye to Lucius and Draco, we have some things we need to attend to before dinner tonight, the least of which is signing the binding papers.” Then he waved his friends off. “Bye bye, Malfoys, take your obscenely wealthy arses back to your tastefully decorated mansion, and Hermione and I will see you at seven.”

“Severus,” Lucius interjected.

“No, Hermione has more to do than shop before dinner tonight. Good bye!” Severus resolutely ignored Lucius’ pout, and turned to Hermione. “Come, Hermione, there is much to do,” and he led her to the desk where Anthea instructed them where to sign.

Once this was done, Severus actually smiled. “There, now for all intense and purposes I can now act as your father.”

“Yes, Severus,” she grinned and hugged him, cackling when he huffed.

“Congratulations,” Kingsley added as he watched Anthea handing the quill to Harry.

Harry smiled, and signed where she indicated, also adding his congratulations to them.

Severus watched all this and nodded when it was finished. “Now, we need to go,” he told those assembled.

Hermione accepted this easily. “See you later, Harry,” she called back over her shoulder to her friend as Severus led her to the fireplace. “I’ll catch all your news when I get home,” she said as he stepped towards the door. “Thank you, Madam Greengrass,” Hermione said once Harry was gone.

“My pleasure, dear. Perhaps we could meet tomorrow to discuss your apprenticeship?”

“Yes, whenever it is convenient,” Hermione replied.

“I’ll owl you with a time in the morning.”

Hermione smiled and allowed Severus to lead her to the Floo.

Chapter Text


They stepped back into Severus’ office at Hogwarts and he motioned for Hermione to sit, and took the seat next to her. “I believe we need to have a frank discussion now so I know how to continue.”

“Oh,” she gasped, and waited for him to speak, wondering what he could wish to discuss.

“You seem very susceptible to the Malfoy charm. Now, I realise that as wizards go, they are exceptional examples but… exactly how much experience with the opposite sex do you have?”

Hermione blushed, but chuckled. “No sugar coating there, Severus, but I can see what you want to know,” and she sat up very straight, rigidly so, her chin jutting out, and she shrugged, trying to appear casual. “Not a great deal. I’m not a virgin, if that’s what you wish to know, but I have never engaged with a wizard.” Her eyes narrowed in challenge to him, should he decide to laugh at her.

“I see,” he replied thoughtfully, and cleared his throat. “It is not your fault that you are... without a great deal of experience.” He saw her back down slightly from her annoyance.

Hermione sighed. “Harry and Ron did chase off most wizards. Viktor was the only one they didn’t chase off, they were in awe of his fame.” She groaned, and sank into her seat, before she smirked sarcastically at him.

Severus watched her for a moment before he spoke. “That having been ascertained, I will ask you about the conditions of your courtship.”

“This all sounds so clinical,” she frowned.

“That it may be, but I saw you became completely overawed just from Lucius and Draco’s public attentions this afternoon, and I have no problem with that, but you will need to learn to maintain a certain decorum in public.”

Hermione gasped, and flushed with embarrassment. “Oh,” she replied. She sighed, and could only agree with him. “I know that the Malfoys are turning my head, and I appear powerless to stop it, but if I am to marry them, is that not a good thing?”

“Yes, it is a good thing, Hermione, and in a closed environment an advantageous thing. However, I wished to put you on your guard, and I will be having this same conversation with Lucius and Draco tonight, so that they can tone it down as well in public. I will also be providing you and Mr Potter with a crash course in Occlumency.” Severus had decided that if he was teaching Hermione then he may as well attempt to teach Potter too.  At least Hermione would be there as a buffer this time.

“Oh,” and she smiled. “Thank you.”

He chuckled. “Indeed, and just so you know, I suspect that it is not your fault that they’re turning your head. I believe that magic might be at play here.” He stopped speaking for a moment, obviously considering how much to tell her. “If I am correct, which I believe I am, then you have—as unlikely as it seems—found your perfect matches, and where mating rituals are concerned, magic can get very heavy handed. I would like to conduct an experiment when I next get the three of you in the same room privately.”

“Oh,” Hermione gasped, as she took in everything he’d said, and it filled her with concern. “Is something wrong?”

“No, nothing like that, but I think the three of you may have been influenced by something more profound than hormones and chemistry. It is probable that it would have shown up during school, at least for you and Draco… however, with the war and everything,” he shook his head.

Hermione smiled wistfully. “I wish I’d had the chance to get to know Draco while we’d been at school, maybe something would have sparked then.”

Severus sighed. “But we cannot deal in what ifs, Hermione, now are we in agreeance that I will start the process of your betrothal?”

“Yes, Severus, please organise it.”

“Then I have some work I need to do before tonight,” he muttered to himself. “I’ll see you at six forty five.”

“Okay,” Hermione replied easily, but then grinned at him as she got up and leant over him to kiss his cheek. “Bye, Daddy.”

His eyes narrowed dangerously. “You will not be calling me that, witch,” he ordered.

Her grin widened and she cackled as she took off towards the Floo. “Sorry,” she called back, “but I couldn’t resist, just once. See you later, Severus.”

“Cheeky chit,” he called after her, and he chuckled evilly when he heard her cackles change into coughing as the Floo took her. “Serves her right,” he declared and smiled as he walked forward to make three Floo calls.

Severus knew that Hermione was safe until midnight; no one could touch her until the amnesty period was over. He had made arrangements to Floo into Lucius’ study to give them the good news. He was met by a smiling Lucius, and Draco was just coming around the corner as he arrived.

“Thank you for meeting me on such short notice, I come bearing good news,” Severus told them.

Lucius smirked. “What would that be, my friend?” he smoothed, already knowing what Severus’ news would be.

Severus nodded. “Hermione has indicated to me that she wishes to accept your proposal.”

“Excellent,” Lucius replied. “We will make her ours quickly.”

“Yes, that is wise. However, after observing the three of you together this afternoon, I questioned Hermione on certain matters...” Severus took a sip of the whiskey Lucius handed him. “I believe I would like to test your match with a destiny spell.” Severus heard Draco gasp, and even Lucius looked stunned, but quickly hid it.

“Do you really think so, Severus?” Draco asked.

“Severus would not have said it if he did not suspect it, Draco,” Lucius stated kindly.

“True, Draco, I am confident it will show what I suspect, and I already have the betrothal in hand. I have alerted Kingsley and he will reconvene the war council here, tonight, after dinner,” Severus replied.

“Excellent work. I can have plans in place to start wedding preparations tomorrow.” Lucius thought for a moment, and then took a deep breath. “So you are planning to enact the spoils of war tradition?” he asked.

“Yes,” Severus replied.

“Very good, then no challenges can be entered into. The pureblood community would not dare desecrate such an ancient rite,” Lucius commented.

Draco had been listening silently, obviously thinking on the information he had just heard. “I have to admit that as far as history goes, I might know countless useless facts about Goblin wars and the like, but I’m feeling somewhat out of my depth in this conversation,” he admitted.

His father patted him on the back. “I will explain the concept to you, come,” and he turned back to Severus. “We will start working towards this immediately. We will need to include a team from Malfoy Industries to the guest list for tonight, and we will also need the Daily Prophet so this will make the morning edition,” Lucius stated.

“Kingsley is taking care of the Prophet, and Anthea is drawing up the paper work.” Severus started to turn away, but then thought further on the problem. “Until this is set in stone, I believe that Hermione would be safest with me at Hogwarts.”

“Maybe she would be best just to move in here,” Draco stated, hopefully.

Severus sighed. “No, she will be staying with me.” He pursed his lips and paused a moment. “However, seeing I have agreed to meet Helen Granger in Abu Dhabi after the betrothal tonight, perhaps she could stay here at the manor for just tonight.”

“Of course,” Lucius stated, obviously pleased. “I will have Pike ready the guest suite next to yours.” He turned. “Pike!” he called. When he turned back to Severus he looked like the proverbial cat who’d eaten the canary.

Severus drew himself up to his full height and simply said, “No comment.”

“No comment?” Lucius smoothed. “You can’t just drop a bomb-shell like that and say ‘no comment’, old man,” his friend informed him.

Of course, Severus just ignored him, but he did say, “I have formed a friendship with Hermione’s mother. Let us just leave it at that,” and he turned at walked back towards the Floo. “I will return with Hermione at six fifty-five.”

~~~***~~~

While this was happening at Malfoy Manor, Hermione had carefully stepped out at Grimmauld Place; she was not taking any chances after the greeting she got last time. She was still coughing from not protecting her mouth from the soot while laughing at Severus’ reaction to her cheek, but all she found was Kreacher padding around the kitchen. “Hello, Kreacher, is Harry back yet?” she asked in a slightly hoarse voice from coughing too much.

The old elf’s opinion of Hermione had shifted drastically since the war, although he still found her strange. “No, Missy, would you be liking some tea?”

“Yes, please. How has your day been, Kreacher?” Hermione asked, not really expecting an answer, but she liked to ask. Sitting down at the table she kicked her shoes off. “Oohhh,” she moaned, “that’s better, cushioning charms only do so much,” she chuckled.

“If you is saying so, miss,” he replied as he placed the tea service on the table as well as a mug for her, knowing she liked to help herself.

Kreacher went about his business and Hermione waited until he was gone and turned her chair to put her feet up. She sat back and took a sip of her tea, closing her eyes to savour the flavour as it slid down her throat. She was still like this when Harry returned. She opened one eye and took in his appearance. “Want some tea?”

“Yeah,” he said, sighing. “I never realised exactly how much my parents owned, as well as the Black family; Sirius made me his heir before he died. Now I can give Andromeda, Tonks and Teddy equal parts of the estate.”

Hermione turned and smiled at him. “That’s great, Harry. I’m really happy for you,” and she covered his hand with hers as he took the seat opposite her. At the same moment an owl arrived at the kitchen window.

Harry rose and opened the window for the bird to come in.

“What’s it brought?” he asked as a box enlarged itself on the kitchen table, as he sat back down and accioed a mug for him and poured some tea.

Harry smiled as he saw a smile blooming on Hermione’s face on seeing burgundy velvet.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” she whispered.

“Yeah,” he agreed, and took a slurp of his tea. She turned starry eyes to him and his heart filled. She was always there for him, he hadn’t always recognised her for what she was, and sometimes he had been down-right insensitive to her, but he only wanted to protect her. “From one of those Malfoys?”

“Yes,” she glanced up at him happily. “Lucius gave me a beautiful pearl and diamond choker and earrings for tonight, and now Draco has sent me this dress. They’re so thoughtful,” she gushed.

Harry hated to burst her bubble, but he had to ask. “Listen… are you sure you’re doing the right things with the Malfoys? I could… you don’t have to, you know.”

“I know I don’t have to, but I want to,” she said, refilling her mug. “And you could do what exactly? You don’t want me like that.”

“It’s true, but I do think of you as my sister. I wish I’d had a sister or a brother.” He looked over her shoulder to the window behind her, his mind obviously deep in thought.

Hermione sat there quietly drinking her tea, and left him to his thoughts. He had so much baggage to sort through, and he often seemed to just start thinking. She watched a smile flit across his face, and he cleared his throat and drained his tea mug.

A flush raced across his face, and he suddenly said, “How did you get so attached to all these Slytherins?”

Raising her eyebrow at his phrasing, she laughed. “They just seem to suit. Remember the hat almost put you in Slytherin too, Harry James Potter?”

“Yeah,” and his smile broadened into a grin. “They do have their redeeming factors…”

“Yes they do,” and she patted his hand. “I better get ready.”

“I’m glad you don’t have to go to your mum’s, you shouldn’t have been going there by yourself anyway,” he told her.

Hermione scowled at him, but nodded. “And you would never think of going somewhere alone, would you?” She watched him smiling endearingly and huffed, “Severus is right about you, you are a trouble magnet.”

“What?!” Harry gasped.

They were just getting up when Severus stepped though the Floo.

“Hello,” Hermione offered.

“You think I’m a trouble magnet?” Harry said, rounding on him.

Severus glanced at a sheepish looking Hermione as she gave him an ‘I’m sorry’ expression and then scowled at Harry for his big mouth. The Potions master looked down his substantial nose and pinned the loose-lipped Gryffindor with stern eyes. “Yes, you always have been, and I do not envisage that changing any time soon,” and he arched an eyebrow. “Now, both of you, sit,” he told them.

“Would you like tea, Severus?” Hermione asked.

“No, I can’t stay, I’ve just come to tell you that you will be moving to the manor for the night. I have to be away tonight, and after midnight it will be too dangerous for you to be anywhere else until your betrothal has been announced and I am back.”

“What about Harry? Won’t he be in just as much of a fix as me?”

“Yes, but you are my responsibility, and Mr Potter here is Shacklebolt’s,” Severus stated, pinching the bridge of his nose, as if to try and stay off a headache, as he sighed. “I’m certain that he will have things in hand in any case.” He watched Harry nod and blush and he turned back to Hermione. “Are you still going to your mother’s?”

“No,” she replied. “Draco sent this,” she sighed. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yes, and your mother’s is now off limits unless you are accompanied,” Severus told her, “and by more than just trouble here,” he added, tossing his head towards Harry.

Harry gave Hermione the ‘see, I told you so’ look and glared at Severus for the nick-name, as the Potions master spoke again.

“The other thing I came here for was to tell you that there will be an emergency meeting of the War Crimes Review Board tonight at Malfoy Manor at nine. The agenda concerns Hermione and her betrothal to Lucius and Draco.”

“Oh, okay,” Harry replied absently.

Severus had already turned back towards the Floo when Hermione rounded the table and hugged him. “Thank you,” she said, squeezing him around the waist.

He squeezed back momentarily, and then extradited himself from the hug. “I still have many things to do,” he stated. “I will be back at six fifty-five,” and he was gone.

~~~***~~~

Hermione walked down the stairs at Grimmauld Place at exactly six fifty-five. The dress was picture-perfect. It was simple and form fitting, and the jewellery the men had given her worked perfectly with it. She had piled her hair up on her head and placed many sticking charms on it, and her shoes were matching, impossibly high burgundy court shoes. She was surprised that it fitted her perfectly, and after a stability spell on her shoes she was ready for her evening.

Since she was already packed from her hasty exit from Grimmauld Place the night before, everything she owned was still in her bag, as well as the remainder of her mother’s belongings, and she had charmed her beaded bag black for the night.

The late autumn weather saw her donning a woollen cloak as Severus arrived to pick her up, and he side-along apparated her into a private apparition parlour, and Draco and Lucius were waiting for them.

“Good evening, little witch,” Lucius stated, offering her his hand, as she took off her coat.

Hermione was instantly disappointed when she thought he was only going to shake her hand. How wrong she was.

He took her hand, capturing it in both of his, and stepped up close to her. “You look exquisite,” he declared, and keeping eye contact with her, he lifted her captured hand to his lips.

Once he had taken her breath away with his attentions, he handed her on to Draco, who was patiently waiting beside him. “Hello, kitten,” he murmured. “You do indeed look perfect, as soon as I saw that dress I knew it was exactly the right one for you.” He was more forward, and pulled her in close with an arm around her waist. When she was against him, he whispered in her ear, “You look good enough to eat,” and he trailed kisses around her jawline to reach her mouth.

“That will do,” Severus’ voice cut through Hermione’s hazy brain. “You two are depriving me of my appetite. Cease mauling Hermione this instant.”

Both blonds scowled at Severus, and offered the still very flustered Hermione their arms, as they led her from the apparition parlour.

Hermione had not giving much thought to how she’d feel being back in the house where she had been tortured, but now as they started leading her from the apparition parlour, she stiffened, and suddenly froze. “Oh,” she gasped, as they turned into the entranceway the snatchers had dragged them up that night, and a wave of nausea invaded her stomach.

The wizards on either side of her, instantly felt her stiffen and looked worriedly to her now pale face.

In answer to their inquiring gazes she frowned. “I don’t think I can do this,” and she swallowed thickly. “So many b-bad memories,” she almost moaned.

Lucius realised all too late what the problem was. “This was the way they brought you in, wasn’t it?” he said. “I’m so sorry, little one,” and he pulled her into his arms and was gone with her, leaving Draco and Severus just staring at the spot where she had been.

Draco finally blinked and looked at his godfather. “I’m assuming that Father has taken Hermione somewhere he believes she will feel safe. I think we should try the library, that is where someone like Hermione would feel safest, don’t you think?”

Severus did not know the train of events that had led to Hermione’s torture, and he now felt awful for having reminded her of that day. He merely nodded, and gestured for Draco to led the way.

The two wizards arrived in the library doorway, and heard Lucius crooning words of encouragement to a shaking, sniffling Hermione who he still had in his arms. “Come now, sweetheart, look around you. This house has more wonders in it than terrors, we will organise another way for you to enter from now on, and eliminate every single thing you perceive as a horror.”

“Yes,” Draco added, coming to stand with them. “And we’ll have it in place immediately,” he asserted, winding his arms around her from behind.

Severus folded his arms across his chest and leant on the door frame, Hermione had almost disappeared between the pair of tall blonds. She was only about five foot four, and both Malfoys were over six foot. Finally, when they just stood there with her cradled between them Severus cleared his throat. “Come now, gentlemen, allow Hermione to breathe.”

His words seemed to pull them from their little bubble, and Lucius took a step back. “Look around you,” he murmured, gifting her with a kiss on the forehead. “I brought you to what I’m certain will become your favourite place.”

Draco chuckled behind her, and turned her to look at him. He smiled, “Do you like our library?”

“Library?” Hermione sniffed, everything was all very confronting, but she allowed her eyes to look around her, and she gasped. She missed them against her as soon as they were not there, and she was still seeing horrible memories inside her head, but now her eyes took in perfection. “Wow,” she whispered.

“Would you allow me to show you around, kitten?” Draco wanted to know, as he produced a pristine handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. She sniffed and he handed the cloth to her. “Here you go, use this,” he encouraged.

“Thank you,” she whispered, and then looked to all three wizards watching her. She saw the pain in their faces at the reminder of what had happened to her, and she added, “And thank you for making me feel so welcome.”

“You are soon to be mistress of this house, Hermione, of course we will make you welcome and do everything in our power to make you feel safe and secure. You will have to tell us everything that you think will bother you,” Lucius declared, stepping forward and cradling her cheeks in his hands.

Hermione swallowed and looked up at him. She took a shaky breath and nodded once. “Why do I feel so certain about this when I’m with you both?”

“It could be that your magic is telling you we are meant to be together,” he responded. “My magic has been hinting it to me since you… well never mind, but let’s just say that magic knows,” and he kissed her and took a step back.

Draco placed his hand on her back and drew her attention to him. “Father is right, magic hints and pushes and niggles until you act on it.” He started leading her away from Lucius and Severus as he spoke. “Listen to it, kitten, it will lead you to your contentment,” and as he said it he hoped that he was correct.

Lucius then turned to Severus. “You were going to perform a destiny spell, were you not?”

“Ah, yes. Now is as good as any time,” Severus agreed, and pulled his wand from his sleeve. “Hermione, Draco, before you go anywhere, hold your left hand up, Hermione, gentlemen join your left hands with hers.” He watched them do it. “Revela verum matrimonium,” he incanted, and watched bands of white and gold with just a hint of something undefined encircle their joined hands. “Oh my,” he gasped.

“Well,” Lucius chuckled. “I knew we were a good match, but I never envisaged an almost perfect one.”

Draco simply smiled. “I knew you were special,” and he kissed her. “Come, I’ll show you the library.”

~~~***~~~

As soon as Hermione and Draco were off exploring the library, Lucius turned to Severus. “Don’t look so smug, my friend. Would you care for a whiskey?”

“I have reason to feel smug. Although, I must admit before I found that diary and observed you and Hermione together, I was only going to suggest that Hermione be matched with Draco, you hid your hand well, Lucius.”

“What choice did I have, I was still married to Narcissa when I first felt the stirrings of my magic. It had been a shock, and something I could not very well have acted on.”

“Too true,” Severus replied. “Are you prepared for tonight?”

“Yes, we have even managed to locate the betrothal and wedding rings given to Madeline Malfoy by her partners. I think it will be very fitting that Hermione receives those particular rings, as they are the ones that have been traditionally used in this situation.

~~~***~~~

Within the library stacks another rather more frank discussion was taking place.

“Do you know how happy it makes me that you have accepted our proposal?” Draco said, as they walked to one of the big bay windows between the rows of shelves on the ground floor.

Hermione studied his face, and frowned. “No, tell me,” she whispered. “This still feels like a dream.” She glanced down at her left hand, still tingling from the magic that had shown their bond.

“Does it?” and he kissed across her forehead. “Does it still feel like a dream?”

“Yes,” she whispered, and her voice hitched.

He smiled against her temple. “How about now?”

“Ohh,” she sighed.

He pulled her closer. “I have wanted you for so long, and now you’re all ours,” he brushed his lips across hers. “And I couldn’t be happier,” he kissed her more heatedly.

“Draco,” she sighed, and he claimed her mouth as she said it, kissing her deeply. The tip of his tongue traced her lower lip and she moaned into their kiss and opened for him.

Hermione had never felt anything like this, and she groaned.

“Are you happy, kitten?” Draco whispered.

“Mmm,” she sighed as he ended the kiss, and placed her head on his chest. “Very happy, Draco.”

“Good,” he said into her hair.

A voice behind them said, “I knew you’d start mauling Hermione again the moment I left you alone.”

“It’s okay, Severus, I enjoyed it,” Hermione snickered.

That was when Lucius came around the corner. “Oh, getting one up on me, son,” and he leered at Hermione, “I’ll fix that later, little one. Now come, dinner is ready,” and he gave Hermione a kiss on the temple.

Chapter Text


Severus did not attend dinner with Hermione and her two beaus as he was busy making certain that everything was in place for the actual betrothal.

Being alone with her two future husbands was unsettling for Hermione, but she forced herself to think rationally and decided that a discussion aimed at helping her to see what was going to be required of her in this marriage was in order.

She was interested to hear that both Malfoys wanted children, as did she, but she was quick to stipulate that she would not want said children until she had completed her apprenticeship. Both Lucius and Draco were very happy with her news about apprenticing to Anthea Greengrass, Lucius disproportionally so, or so Hermione thought.

“My goodness, Hermione, are you aware of how significant that is?” Lucius asked, certain that his little witch had no idea. This was confirmed when she shook her head, and he smiled at her. “Anthea is the most talented criminal lawyer this community has seen for many generations. She does not waste her time. She must have seen a talent in you, as she has never offered any one an apprenticeship before. Congratulations,” he stated grasping her hand and squeezing it warmly.

“Oh!” Hermione gasped, and smiled. “So, you really don’t mind me working?”

“Working!” he gasped, but seeing her eyes narrowing he explained. “Let me start by saying that you do not have to work, but I will... neither of us will stop you from doing what you want,” Lucius stated, lifting the hand he was still holding and bringing it to his lips. “I understand why you want a job, you’re well suited to law, and who knows,” he smiled. “One day we may have Madam Hermione Malfoy as head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.” He brought his other hand up to cradle Hermione’s hand in both of his, and he added, “Of course, I’m hoping that we will discuss things openly, and we will always make certain you understand if we feel what you want to do is ill advised.”

Hermione smiled at him as he said this. “I would hope for as much. I know that I understand little of pureblood society, and I will be looking for—and will welcome—your guidance and then turned to Draco. “Are you planning a career, Draco?”

Draco gave her a lop-sided smile. “I have an office next to Father’s, and I will be leading several of the projects we discussed this morning.”

“Oh?”

Draco glanced at Lucius and said, “The most important of which is our honeymoon. We are planning a surprise for you.”

“Yes,” Lucius put in, “the date of the wedding has already been tentatively scheduled for one month’s time. It will occur here, and we can discuss it better when he have more time.”

“One month!” Hermione gasped. “Can you organise a wedding with such short notice?”

Draco smiled. “Money speaks very loudly, kitten,” he told her. “And it will be a wedding and an engagement party.” He looked at his father. “The engagement party will take place next Saturday?”

They were both looking at Lucius for conformation, and he nodded.

Lucius took in Hermione’s dazed expression and said, “You will learn, little one, that we expect a lot of those around us, and even more from ourselves. It can be done, and people will drop everything to attend. A Malfoy wedding is ‘a must attend event’ if you are fortunate enough to be invited,” and he used air quotes.

“Even our engagement party will be a prestige event,” Draco added.

It hit Hermione at that moment that there was something very important that they were yet to address, and she studied the half empty plate before raising her head. “Will my mother be welcome at our engagement and wedding?” She turned to study Lucius as she said it, and he remained silent for a time, but then took a deep breath.

“I can understand your question given how little you know of us, and the circumstances we find ourselves recovering from, but allow me to say that the woman who bore you will always find sanctuary in this house; she will be our family and grandmother to our children. Yes, she will be welcome. In fact, Draco and I were planning to offer for her to stay here during the betrothal period before Severus told us he had other arrangements in mind.”

Hermione wondered what other plans Severus had, but nodded. “Thank you,” she responded to the Malfoys. “I hope it is all visible to her when she visits.”

“This house is not secret kept, and while it may not be visible to non-magical passers-by, people who know of magic can see it,” Draco added.

“Is there anything more you want to know, little one?”

Hermione’s lip went between her teeth, but finally she whispered, “Why me?” She took a breath and added quickly, “I know I’m powerful, and that this is an advantageous match, and apparently a perfect one, but why pick me when you could easily have any witch you wanted? Either of you.”

It was Draco who answered first. “I don’t want any other witch, Hermione.” His eyes searched her face for a moment, appearing happy with what he saw as she watched him in return. He smiled softly at her. “I can tell you unequivocally that I love you.” He heard her gasp and he saw surprise in her eyes, and his hand came forward to cup her cheek as he shushed her. “It’s okay, Hermione, you don’t have to say it back, but I know I feel it, and I hope that one day you’ll feel the same.” Draco leant into her, and rested his forehead on hers. “I know we’ve had a rough start, and you were caught more than once between… I’m sorry I was such a git to you at school. Part of it was the frustration of wanting you and knowing it was not possible. I grew to hate the people who were trying to kill you, and I did everything in my power to foil them, but still did not think it would be enough to earn your respect and love.”

They sat forehead to forehead for a sometime, appearing to be trying to breathe one another in, but finally Hermione pulled away enough to cup his cheek in return. “You’re right, we did have a rough start, and I know Harry and Ron didn’t help that.” She paused and took a deep breath. “I also wanted you during school,” she paused again and then huffed a laugh. “Funny, isn’t it? You know, how we felt the same, and neither of us could tell the other.” She reached forward and kissed his lips gently, and then said, “I’ve come to realise these last days that I feel love for you too, and I can only see it getting stronger, for both of you,” and she reached behind her searching for Lucius’ hand. She squeezed it when she found it, and felt him give gentle pressure in return. “I feel very blessed, even if I cannot fathom it all at present.”

At her words, Draco captured her lips and kissed her deeply, but he ended the kiss quickly, aware that his father was waiting his turn to tell Hermione why he wanted her.

Draco released her mouth and Lucius used her hand to turn her towards him. She felt Draco move his chair closer, and he kept his hands on her waist as she faced Lucius. “Lucius?” she whispered.

Lucius picked up her hands in his, and he spoke softly, and with sure clarity. “I won’t lie to you, my interest in you started long before it should have. It was the moment I saw you at the Yule Ball held for the Tri-wizard Tournament. My magic told me I had found my mate, at the time I refused to believe that such an exquisite rose could have been meant for me. Then it was almost three years before I saw that the delicate bud had begun to blossom into a powerful and lovely witch, but by that time you had been poisoned against all Slytherins by a childish selfish oaf.” He smiled, obviously remembering something, and then he leaned forward and whispered, “Of course, I knew you would outgrow Weasley, but I feared that the damage might have been permanent, and that I might never be free to tell you how I felt.” His voice was high with emotion. “Yet here you are, doing our family the greatest honour by consenting to marry into it. This marriage will mean that the next generation of the family Malfoy will be secure. It will undo what my grandfather and father tried to steal from us, and you will be the instrument of that retribution, making our family a shining light.”

“Thank you, Lucius,” Hermione whispered, and breaking her hands away from his she threw them around his neck. She hugged him, kissing him fiercely as she did, and feeling Draco running his hands over her sides as he watched.

Hermione was still embracing Lucius when Severus’ impartial voice cut through their togetherness. “Right!” he said, “Everything is arranged. It’s time to face the board members.” The Potions master had arrived in the doorway while they’d been occupied. “Pike has everything arranged the green parlour for the signing, and he will show the guests in there, while you are ratifying our agreement with the board in the conference room,” he continued.

Lucius was still hugging Hermione, and trying to regulate his breathing.

“Have Flint and Goyle been employed to make certain no one… wanders?” Draco asked.

The Potions master chuckled. “Yes,” he said with a tick of the corner of his mouth. “That pair really have found their calling, haven’t they?”

“Yes, hired muscle is right up their alley,” Draco laughed, as he watched Lucius assisting Hermione up from the table.

“Come, sweet girl, we’ll escort you to your room to freshen up while Severus briefs the board on our proposal,” Lucius stated.

“Don’t be long,” Severus warned, his astute gaze narrowing as they made to leave.

~~~***~~~

After they had traversed three staircases and passed many doors, some open and some closed, Draco turned to her. “This is the family part of the house. Tomorrow we will show you the other parts you have not seen yet,”

Lucius opened the door of her rooms for her, and they all entered. Hermione left the men sitting in her parlour while she ventured into the bedroom. She found that all her things had been put away, and that there was a small elf waiting for her.

“I am Pinkie, Madam,” the little creature told her. “Pike has given me the great honour of being Madam’s maid. Welcome to Malfoy Manor,” Pinkie said, giving a little curtsey. “How can I be of service?”

Hermione smiled. An elf that speaks proper English, she thought. “I’m pleased to meet you, Pinkie. How are you at cushioning charms?” she asked, slipping her shoes off. Despite their promise of comfort, her lovely shoes had started to pinch her toes after the hike up to this room.

“Very good,” the little elf smiled.

“Well could you make these shoes more comfortable while I’m freshening up, please?”

“Yes,” Pinkie told her excitedly, and raised her hand to do as she’d been bid.

Hermione looked around the restful bedroom. The predominant colours were cream and lilac, (one of her favourite colours) and there were purple and burgundy highlights. The furniture was plush and silky, and the wood a pleasant walnut hue. The bed itself was a four-poster, but the most feminine one she’d ever seen, and it had lilac silk drapes and a purple beaded quilt as well as lots of pillows.

Quickly taking herself into the bathroom—which was amazingly opulent as well—she went to the toilet and then cast a charm to freshen her mouth. She also freshened her makeup and checked her hair. Happy, she padded back out into the bedroom, and slipped her shoes back on. A moan tried to rise from her throat; they were so comfortable, and she smiled at the elf, who was obviously waiting to see if there was anything else she needed.

“Thank you, Pinkie,” she managed, and had the urge to ask if the elf was happy in her service, but she could plainly see that she was - this was no down trodden elf. It was obvious that the elves were cared for, educated and this one at least was content, and she had said that Pike, the head elf, had told her to attach herself to Hermione, not one of the Malfoys, and Hermione wondered if the elves had their own hierarchy within a household. She would ask, but not now.

Walking back into the sitting room, she saw Draco and Lucius deep in conversation.

“I say we should give Hermione her engagement ring now. It’s a private moment, sharing a description of it with the press is one thing, but sharing the actual event with them is another,” Draco was telling his father as Hermione walked into the room.

“You have a very valid point there,” Lucius said, and then he saw Hermione. “Hello,” he said, and Hermione found herself caught in his smile.

Draco got up from the lounge and took her by the hand. “Come and sit a moment, kitten,” he encouraged. “The three of us do well together, don’t we?”

Hermione laughed joyfully. “That’s already been established, Draco.”

“True,” he replied, giving her one of his lop-sided smiles.

 “This ring,” and Draco watched Lucius retrieving a ring box from his jacket pocket, “belonged to Madeline Malfoy. She was the last witch to share a triad between father and son Malfoys, so we thought it was fitting that this ring be yours as well.”

Hermione’s belly swooped as she sat between them, smiling. She was shocked however when they both turned and sank to one knee.

Lucius spoke first. “Hermione, you have honoured us by accepting us, and we wish to offer you something to seal our betrothal.”

“This ring is a sign of our respect and fidelity towards you,” Draco added.

“As well as our affection,” Lucius continued.

“And love,” Draco finished.

Lucius held the ring up and Draco also took hold and they both held Hermione’s hand and slid it onto her finger.

The three of them watched as the words the wizards had just said formed an oath and magic sparked as the ring sized itself to Hermione’s slim finger.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” she gushed, holding her hand up to examine it. The centre stone was a large princess cut diamond, and the ring had square cut diamonds down the shoulders of the setting as well. It sparkled in the light and almost dazzled her.

Then her fiancées were either side of her on the lounge, and Draco drew her into the warmth of his embrace. His closeness was making thinking difficult, and having Lucius on the other side made it worse, but she tried to remain focused.

“You are so beautiful,” Draco whispered, his lips skimming up her neck as he spoke.

Hermione closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, but as she did she felt Lucius turning her head and his lips arrived on hers. He brushed his across hers and whispered, “Yes, so lovely,” and he sucked on her bottom lip, before inhaling deeply and adding, “Thank you for accepting us,” and his mouth arrived on hers properly. It was intense and it was lovely, and she never wanted it to stop, but then she heard Draco whispering to her.

“My turn, my love,” and his mouth took over from his father’s, in fact they swapped positions completely.

Lucius was now adoring the other side of her neck and the sensations it was eliciting in her were quickly engulfing her. She was just feeling like she was about to melt when an alarm went off, and Severus’ best teacher’s voice bellowed at them.

“Green parlour, now!”

The three of them jumped apart, but there was no one there merely a Patronus evaporating, and they started laughing.

“He takes no prisoners, does he?” Hermione cackled.

“He’s always been the same,” Lucius muttered, a little indignant that he was being treated like a miscreant school boy, even if he could see the funny side. “Now, best fix your lipstick, little witch, we have the press to face.”

Draco was already up off the lounge and pulling Hermione up after him. “Come on, I bet he’s got a backup plan that none of us want to know what that is,” he said, and they started towards the door.

Hermione excused herself, and grinned as she went to fix the lipstick and straighten her dress. She’d seen the prominent bulges in her fiancées’ trousers, and she couldn’t wait to explore that development further.

When she arrived out of her rooms Lucius and Draco were waiting for her in the hall, and soon they were happily walking towards the green parlour arm in arm.

~~~***~~~

As they approached the double doors leading into the room, Hermione recognised Marcus Flint and Greg Goyle either side of the door frame. They were both huge wizards, solid walls of muscle, and she could see why the Malfoys hired them for protection. Greg Goyle had been a hefty weight during school, but he had slimmed down and toned up since, and Marcus stood head and shoulders over Draco who was over six foot tall.

Hermione acknowledged both wizards as they entered the so-called green parlour, and was surprised that they both nodded to her. There were far more people there than Hermione had expected, and there were two rows of comfortable looking chairs set up to accommodate them. The chairs were facing seven other chairs, apparently one for each of the seven War Crimes Review Board members.

Off to the side, a small table contained official looking parchments and an ink pot with several quills. Hermione looked around those assembled, and that was when she also saw the platinum blonde curls of Rita Skeeter, but she refused to be cowered by the acidic witch.

Severus arrived on one side of them, and Harry came to stand next to Hermione, and his eyes went as wide as saucers as soon as they landed on her ring.

“Merlin’s balls, that’s huge. Does it weigh your finger down?” he laughed, giving her a hug to say congratulations. Then he turned to Lucius and Draco, and offered his hand to each of them as he wished them well. Flash bulbs went off in a frenzy as Harry shook hands with his former enemies.

Lucius then turned to the crowd of about twenty people. “Thank you all for coming, and welcome to Malfoy Manor.” He then looked to Kingsley. “Minister, the floor is yours.”

Lucius ushered Hermione towards the chairs with Draco following, and as he was seating her, he leant in close and whispered to Hermione, “Don’t let that perfumed boa constrictor bother you. I know you have a chequered history with her, but her editor—a personal friend of mine—is here tonight to make certain that it is the truth that reaches the readers in the morning, and not Skeeter’s version of it.”

Hermione looked up at him and gave him a sneaky little smile, her eyes twinkling with mischief. “Oh, I have Skeeter’s number, but I appreciate your words,” and she squeezed his hands, and watched Draco and Lucius seat themselves on the end of the first row of chairs.

It was then that Kingsley came forward, but before he’d even opened his mouth, Skeeter opened hers. “Why is the War Crimes Board meeting in the home of a Death Eater to share its findings with the press and interested persons?”

“If you will be patient, that will become clear in a moment, Ms Skeeter,” Kingsley replied, and he took a deep breath and looked around those gathered. “Yesterday was our last clemency hearing. All other cases are criminal cases that will be heard in court.”

“Why were some Death Eaters singled out for special treatment?” A fat wizard, who reminded Hermione of Horace Slughorn, wanted to know.

“Because not everything is black and white. Not all Death Eaters served Tom Riddle, and not all Death Eaters served willingly. Over the past six months, we have examined every single case where we had evidence that caused us to think it required further investigation outside a court room. Some cases were found to be false and those will be tried in this next wave of court trials, which started this morning. However, some people were found to have served for the good of the wizarding world during this second Voldemort…” and several gasps were heard from those gathered. This made Kingsley narrow his eyes. “The wizard who called himself Lord Voldemort is dead, there is no cause to fear his name now.”

Rita cut in here again. “So we are to believe that this new,” and she gestured with her arm, “panel of peers is impartial enough to judge the worth of Death Eaters?”

“Each interview was conducted under Veritaserum, transcribed and after the interviewee had been detained for twelve hours to negate any antidotes to the truth serum which may have been ingested beforehand. We were very thorough,” Tonks interjected. “The Aurory does not take anything lightly. We are trying to make wizarding Britain a safer place.”

This time the man sitting next to Rita spoke quietly to her before she could make another allegation. Hermione noticed that the witch paled and then went quiet. The Gryffindor witch also noted that many of the other people present were becoming irritated by Skeeter’s constant interruptions.

“Tonight we are not recognising sides or affiliations, we are announcing a new alliance in the blood purity debate, and a positive step forward for wizarding Britain. Headmaster Snape, if you please,” Kingsley indicated.

Severus stood, and nodded to Kingsley. “Thank you, Minister.” He turned to those gathered in front of them. “Many of you here tonight will know that a proportion of the pureblood community allied themselves with Tom Riddle because they felt that pureblood traditions were dying, and they saw his approach as a way to keep those traditions alive.” He paused artfully here, to allow this piece of information to sink in, and then continued. “Being a man of science, I am aware that change and new ideas are what take humanity forward. We have just fought a devastating war to uphold freedom of speech and so we can live in a community that embraces all members of the magical community. This includes every pureblood, half-blood, Muggle-born and Squib, as well other magical beings. Everyone must have a place in our new community.” Severus paused again and allowed this information to filter in.

Hermione watched, amazed that the teacher she had known as a stringent dictator in his classroom could speak so eloquently when out of that classroom. She also realised that his fearsome reputation made him the perfect person to deliver this message, and she listened along with everyone else.

“Having said this, the board of peers,” and he swept his hand along the row of people beside him, “felt that the wizarding community needed something to signal the way forward, a marriage, so to speak, of old traditions with new ones. Miss Hermione Granger has agreed to become Lady Hermione Malfoy, wife of Lucius and Draco Malfoy. All three participants of this proposed alliance are embracing their destiny willingly as a sign that old traditions are still important, but that new values can be incorporated into them. These three people represent the two factions of the war completely, and it is hoped that their binding will signal the start of our new future.”

There was silence for some seconds, and then applause rang out through the room. Hermione was watching Skeeter, and was pleased to see that she seemed speechless.

Severus sat and Kingsley stood once more. “There have been several trusts set up that will use in initial investment of Malfoy funds to kick start them. The most ambitious of these projects will be overseen by Miss Granger personally, and will aim to provide a safe haven for any child born into a magical or muggle family how for whatever reason becomes at risk of harm from that family. This is the centrepiece of this new era in magical Britain’s history. More details will be related over the following days as the project becomes a reality. Lord Malfoy, Master Malfoy,” Kingsley said, turning to the Malfoys, “We have some papers to sign, gentlemen.”

Hermione watched with everyone as her wizards signed the papers that made the projects they’d discussed, as well as their betrothal a reality. Then they escorted her up to the table and she signed as well, as flash bulbs snapped and many poses were asked for. The press seemed especially interested in the huge ring she was sporting, and they asked questions about where it had come from and its significance.

There was also a lot of talk about the as yet unnamed project she felt so passionate about. Hermione had a really good feeling about it all. There were also several scholarships and bursaries that would be funded not only by the Malfoys, but by several other prominent pureblood families that Severus had ‘visited’ throughout the afternoon, the Parkinson and Greengrass families all being represented here tonight.

Then the remainder of the evening after that became a blur of Lucius introducing her to her staff—something she’d expected—as well as several pillars of the pureblood community who had managed to weather the storm following Voldemort’s demise. As they walked around the room, Draco and Lucius were always at her elbows, and Harry was never far away either. She also noted with some pride that Harry seemed to be trying to get over his mistrust and suspicion of her fiancées to get on for her sake.

~~~***~~~

Finally, it was just them. It had been an exhausting day, and she had to admit that she was dragging her feet terribly. She was walking with a wizard on either side of her; Lucius had his arm over her shoulders and Draco had slung his arm around her waist. As she walked she was carrying the lovely burgundy stilettos, and although she was feeling very short, she was also feeling very safe between her wizards.

It was well after midnight, and she could not hide her yawns anymore, but her ears pricked up when Draco leaned closer and whispered, “Are you happy, love?”

She smiled as she turned to him. “Yes,” she replied.

He captured her lips, but Hermione pulled away and looked around.

“What’s wrong?” Lucius wanted to know.

Hermione smiled sheepishly at them and laughed. “After earlier, I was expecting Severus to pop up and stop us.”

“Oh,” and Lucius smiled. “He’s already left on his errand.”

“What? At this time of night. Doesn’t he ever sleep? Couldn’t he have re-arranged it?”

“No, this is very important, he’ll be back tomorrow,” Lucius stated. “Now let’s get you to bed,” he murmured, kissing her head.

Hermione smiled mischievously, and Lucius tapped her nose gently.

“Alone,” he told her and laughed at her pout.

“Not that we wouldn’t love to stay,” Draco added, “but we think it might be best for you to get to know us that way one at a time to start with.”

She smiled knowingly, “And who could chose right now when you’re both here,” she replied, pulling them both close.

“Exactly, little one, we’ll see you in the morning,” Lucius answered.

One more kiss each and Hermione was leaning against the back of her closed parlour door. Eventually she sighed happily and pushed off the door to take herself to her bed.

Chapter Text


As Hermione sank into the comfort of her bed, with warm memories of her two wizards wishing her a good night floating around her head, Severus was just stepping out of the Portkey Office in Abu Dhabi, where he was meeting Helen Granger’s flight from Australia.

Before he walked out onto the busy street to hail a taxi, his wand moved over his wizarding robes and swapped them for a dressy Muggle suit, and he thought through for maybe the millionth time what had happened to bring him here tonight.

He felt slightly guilty for keeping things from Hermione, as he had not been entirely up front with her about all his reasons for offering to stand in as her patriarch, but she would find out soon enough.

When she was in sixth year, Hermione had known that Headmaster Dumbledore had asked Severus to murder him. She had been furious with the old man for asking such a thing, telling Severus that she would always support him, and not to hesitate to contact her as soon as he was able to after the event.

He had contacted her, as soon as term had finished. They’d still had planning to do for the task he knew she had to complete, and that’s when she’d asked him to help her convince her mother to leave the country before she had to leave with Harry and Ron on their mission.

Severus had known he was a marked man where the Order members were concerned, so they’d met at Hermione’s home but something unexpected had happened. As soon as he met Helen Granger his magic instantly informed him that this woman was going to be far more important to him than he’d ever thought.

Over the month it took to arrange for Helen to leave, Severus found himself starting to fall in love with her. It was exactly the wrong time and he really did not need one more person to be concerned about, but when did that stop fate from dangling happiness like a carrot stick.

They had danced around one another with stolen glances and lingering touches for those weeks, but the issue came to a head the day before Helen left, and she asked Severus to come to dinner so she could say thank you to him for his help. To his surprise, when he arrived Hermione was not there. They’d had a very pleasant dinner and afterwards they’d gone to sit on the back deck and watch the stars. It was something they’d done before tonight, but always with Hermione there.

Tonight however, instead of sitting in the chair she usual sat in, Helen had sat on the swing seat and patted the seat next to her. “I organised this dinner as I had wanted the chance to speak with you privately before I went.”

Severus remembered sitting next to her stiffly, wondering what she was going to ask. “Indeed,” was all he’d managed to say. He’d been so surprised by her having planned the event to be more than it should have been, surely only Slytherins did things like that.

She’d then taken a deep breath. “Severus, I’ve been alone since my husband died, and up until recently I’d never found anyone who interested me.” She’d turned to him and picked up his hands. “Do you think that you could ever think of me as more than Hermione’s mother?”

He had been so shocked by her admission that words had just started spilling from his mouth. “I already do think more of you than that. I-It’s just that... oh god, Helen, I can’t be involved with you, it’s too dangerous for all of us.” He saw disappointment cloud her expression, and he had to explain more. “I want to, more than you could ever know,” but then he’d caught himself and stopped speaking.

Then it was Helen spilling truths. “Hermione has told me of your dual role in this war, I understand why you can’t, but I’m only asking for tonight... who knows... maybe afterwards,” she shrugged. “I don’t know... perhaps we could mean something to one another.”

He cut her off. “Yes, maybe, but as you say, there’s tonight,” and a smile started to curl his lips and then they were kissing. To this day Severus still couldn’t work out who started it. He had not been able to remember ever having a kiss like this woman had given him either. He’d known that he would have to remove the memory the next day, but damn it, if he got to feel this human tonight, the wait for the war to be over might even just be worth it.

Present day Severus paid the taxi driver and chuckled to himself as he looked for the sign to the terminal where he was to meet Helen. There had been so many memories in his secret stash that the night he had added to them back into his head after the war, he’d had a headache for two days from it.

That was also the night he’d penned his first post-war missive to Helen. Once he could remember how they’d moved to her bed and he had stripped her slowly, adoring every inch of her skin with his lips and tongue before he’d buried himself inside her. Then just how amazing she’d felt as he’d brought her to orgasm twice before he’s given in and found his own, but even then, how it had been over too quickly for both of them.

They had almost instantly forged a bond, and it had broken his heart to let her go, but now with the war over they’d reconnected via mail, and they’d found that nothing had changed for them. So, he had booked the seat next to her to escort her into England now she was returning, and as he hurried through the terminal he couldn’t wait to see her again.

Being a resident of both the Muggle world and the wizarding one had its advantages for Severus. For one thing he could dress and function just like a Muggle, and for another, he could book a hotel room, just in case his lost love wanted to reconnect with him as soon as they could.

There was a four hour layover here, and he dearly hoped that they might spend some of that time prostrate, and he smiled to himself as he walked into the terminal just as the passengers were arriving from the flight.

There she was, and she was smiling at him. Then his eyes panned over to something in her arms. Something with a little head of black curls who was asleep on her shoulder. He knew he must have a stunned expression on his face, but he managed to keep his legs moving, propelling him forward.

Then Helen was in his arms, well, half of her was, she hugged him carefully so as not to disturb the child resting on her shoulder that he could not take his eyes off. She stood up on her tip toes and pressed a kiss to his lips. “I told you I had a surprise for you,” she told him coyly. “We got a little carried away the night before I left, I didn’t even think about... I’m sorry.”

“Oh, Helen, love, you did this all by yourself?” was all Severus could think to say.

“I wrote diaries and took many, many photos, and I have a video of her birth for you, as well as every milestone so far,” she shrugged. “I knew I couldn’t contact you, and I hoped you’d reaffirm how you felt,” she smiled, “and you did.”

Then her lip went between her teeth, just like Hermione did when she was uncertain of something, and Severus wanted to grin, but he controlled the expression, and was glad that he had when he heard her next words.

“I hope this doesn’t change anything.”

“No, this just makes it more perfect,” Severus said, still not taking his eyes off the baby. Slowly he raised his eyes to Helen, and he brushed his thumb over her cheek as she smiled at her. “I’m just a little shocked. I…” he glanced around and realised they were still standing in the terminal. “Let’s get you both more comfortable. I took the liberty of organising us a room for the four hours that we’re here. May I take you there?” and his eyes came to rest yet again on their little child, he wanted to know everything, but he would wait until they were somewhere more private.

“Yes,” Helen smiled.

So it was, as soon as they were safely in their room, Helen placed the baby on the huge bed, and Severus was left in charge of the sleeping child while Helen went to the bathroom to freshen up.

Severus couldn’t take his eyes off the child. The snuggle rug wrapped around the child was pink, and he wondered if that meant their baby was a girl. She was so beautiful, especially in sleep. “Tell me all about her,” he asked, not taking his eyes off the sleeping baby as he heard Helen coming back.

Helen took off her shoes and climbed on the other side of the bed as she smiled at him. “Well… I called our daughter, Serena Grace. She was born on March 23, 1998, at 3.04 in the morning at the Sydney Women’s Hospital, and she is a little cherub. She has allowed me to stay sane while I waited for her father and big sister to finish fighting a war, so I could bring her home to meet them.” There were tears suddenly trickling over Helen’s lashes. “I’ve missed you and Hermione so much. I know it sounds ridiculous to say, we’ve only been together once, and have only known one another for a month before that, but I did miss you, Severus.”

“And I you,” he replied, stroking her cheek. “Even though I had removed my memory of our night together, I still missed you, and after the war when I restored all the memories I’d taken away from myself, and I remembered that night, it made me burn for you. I longed to hold you again.”

There’s lips met tentatively, but their kiss grew in confidence as they remembered territory already covered, and when the kiss ended they were both panting and breathless.

“I want you,” Helen told him. “But can we wait until we’re home, somewhere familiar. I’m so tired and on edge.”

“Of course we can, but I was not planning to take you to your home, it has been shut up for over a year, although Hermione has been there recently. No, I was…” but then he stopped mid-sentence and asked, “Does Hermione know about Serena?”

“No, I wanted to tell her in person. Where were you going to take me?”

“Malfoy Manor,” Severus answered.

“But isn’t that the home of Hermione’s enemy?”

“They are not our enemies,” he replied. “Yes, they appeared to be on the other side of the war, but both Malfoys had become spies by the end. They are not the wizards they once were.” He took a deep breath, “And there is something else you need to know. Hermione is engaged to them.”

“What?!” She simply stared at him in disbelieve. “How have you allowed this to happen in the space of a year and a half, and both of them, how is that even possible?”

“Polyamorous relationships are legal in the wizarding world, and I allowed it to happen because…” and Severus settled into his explanation.

By the end of what he told her, he could see that she was seeing reason, even though it must have all been a dreadful shock, and on top of everything else.

She sighed, a long and slow exhale full of frustration. “So, it’s no safer now than it was when I left?” she huffed.

Severus smiled. “No, the government is back under control, and everything is functioning normally again. This current position is just temporary, and will dissolve once Hermione is wed,” he told her.

“Why Hermione in particular?”

“Because Hermione is a warrior, she would have been a target for snatchers, and so would have you.”

“That is wrong,” Helen stated fiercely.

“Yes it is, but all of us will protect her until she’s married.”

“When will that happen?”

“The date has been set for one month’s time. The engagement party is on next Saturday.”

“And Hermione is living at Malfoy Manor?”

“Tonight is her first night there, but only because I—her patriarch—had this most important errand to perform. She will be coming to live with us tomorrow.”

“Then I wish to be wherever Hermione is. Where are you living?”

“I am currently splitting my time between Hogwarts, Malfoy Manor and my own home Prince Hall.”

“So you’ve decided to remain as headmaster?”

“No, I believe I’ve just made my mind up not to,” Severus stated. “And I hope you will like Prince Hall,” and he smiled, “but we can discuss all this later, I think we had better try and get some rest now.”

“Yes, I think you’re right, or Serena will be up and demanding our attention, but I wish to know all about Prince Manor too.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take the three of you there as soon as I can,” Severus told her, kissing her head.

~~~***~~~

Serena had woken just before five, and Helen had been right she was very demanding, but Severus had revelled in helping change her and freshen her up, before watching Helen pull a little bottle and spoon from her hand luggage. It turned out to be cereal, and he balanced Serena on his knee while Helen expertly spooned the gloopy looking liquid into her little mouth.

Once she was finished, Helen threw the bottle in the rubbish and washed the spoon and put it back in her bag before sitting in the chair opposite the bed and undoing her top. “Hand Serena to me,” she said, smiling at the glazed look on his face at the sight of her breast. “You’ll have to wait,” she laughed, “Serena comes first at the moment.”

Severus raised an imperious eyebrow and settled in to watch Serena feed, even though he longed for it to be him suckling at Helen, and his trousers grew unnaturally tight at the thought, but he did agree with Helen that Serena would always come first.”

~~~***~~~

It was just after eight in the morning when Hermione opened her eyes and blinked at the soft light filtering into her room through the closed curtains. Stretching, she rolled over and grabbed one of the pillows from the other side to hug. Then she caught sight of her ring and brought her hand up to look at it, as she sighed happily.

Her body awakened and thrummed with an energy she knew only too well, and she rubbed her legs together as she lay in her bed. Now she had two sexy fiancée’s she wanted to get down to exploring them as soon as possible. She smiled to herself, thinking about it, but then she remembered that her mum was due back today, and worry flooded her. She slipped out of bed and headed to the bathroom. She emerged feeling much fresher after her shower, and called Pinkie, once she was partially dressed.

“Yes, Ma’am?” the elf inquired.

“Are Masters Lucius and Draco up yet?”

“Master Lucius is already in the morning room, but Master Draco has not called his elf yet.”

Hermione nodded, as she put on jeans and a pink button up blouse. “Could you direct me there, please?” she asked, picking up her ivory coloured jumper to put on. However, before the elf could answer there was a knock on her bedroom door.

“Yes?” Hermione called, putting the jumper back on the bed.

Lucius opened the door, and he smiled. “Pike informed me that you had called your elf, so I came to escort you down to breakfast. Good morning,” he said.

Hermione returned his smile as she walked to him taking in his wizardry finery, he certainly was a sexy wizard. He must be going somewhere this morning, she thought, and then inhaled as she got closer, she loved his cologne. “Good morning,” she smiled.

He gathered her in his arms and lowered his head to hers, kissing her deeply. “You smell amazing,” he murmured close to her ear as he kissed around to it.

“Mmm,” she replied distractedly. “What time are we leaving to pick mum up?”

Hearing her tone of voice, Lucius quickly straightened and looked at her. “Don’t be worried, she’s safe.”

“How do you know that?” she enquired, slightly panicked. “Anything could happen to her between there and here.”

“No it couldn’t,” Lucius replied, but she just stared at him. He sighed. “This was supposed to be a surprise, but the reason I’m being so flippant, Hermione, is because Severus is with her.” He sighed. “He left last night to meet her when her plane touched down in Abu Dhabi. He’s flying the last leg of the journey with her.”

“He is?”

“Yes, and we’ll pick them up at the allotted time, and to answer your question, it will take about half an hour to drive there.”

“Oh!” and she brushed at tears that had started to spill over her lashes.

“Come here, little one. The last forty eight hours have been a great deal for you to deal with, haven’t they? Shhh,” and he pulled her against him.

As it always did when she felt emotional, her mouth started spilling words. “I’m sorry, Lucius, you’re right I am a bit overawed this morning.”

“It’s to be expected,” Lucius stated, accepting the kiss she offered him.

Draco arrived in the doorway a moment later and found Hermione and Lucius kissing. He happily watched the pair exploring one another’s mouths and he saw Lucius’ hips starting to flex against Hermione and hers instinctively answering him.

Hermione became lost in the sensation of Lucius’ mouth on hers, and was confused when
he pulled away slightly and started to turn her, but quickly understood when Draco’s arms went around her and he said, “Good morning, kitten, did you sleep well?”  

“Hello,” she murmured huskily, nodding and slipping her hands up around his neck to bring his head around.

“Do you know how hot it is to watch as Father devours your mouth?” he asked, placing small kisses on her lips as he spoke.

Hermione just groaned and started rubbing on Draco. He claimed her mouth in a heated kiss as Lucius pulled her hair aside and started nipping and licking around her neck, and she found herself leaning back against his chest and allowing herself to just sink into the sensations of their mouths on her skin as her hands slipped into Draco’s still slightly damp hair, moving through its silky softness as he kissed her.

She was just starting to get lost in sensation again when she heard Lucius talking to her.

“As much as I hate to stop this, we best get this day started, there are many things to deal with before we go to meet your mother,” he said making them end their kiss with a groan. “Come down to breakfast with me, I want you by me.”

Hermione glanced at Draco and he smiled. “Sure,” she said, “but I want more of this as soon as I can get it,” she told them bluntly.

“I’m certain that I can accommodate anything you might wish this morning,” Draco told her.

She grinned at him. “I can’t wait,” she whispered, and glanced up at him under her lashes.

“You are lovely,” Draco told her. He was having trouble keeping his hands to himself, especially as she’d looked up from under her eyelashes at him.

She glanced from one Malfoy to the other, and seemed to regain her bravery. “So, how is this going to work,” and her lip slipped between her teeth. Hermione was slightly shocked with herself that she was being so forward, but she wanted to know.

Lucius was a little surprised that their witch was revealing herself as a sex kitten so soon, and she looked so adorable with her innocent lip chewing that Lucius wanted to strip her then and there and devour her on the dining room table, but he calmly seated her and sat himself before looking to Draco and saying, “As you mentioned last night, I believe it might be fair for us to entertain Hermione separately to begin with.”

“Or were you too tired to remember?” Draco asked, leaning over to capture her lips once more.

“I was tired,” Hermione agreed as she opened The Daily Prophet, “but I do remember. That would help us to get to know one another. Maybe we could have set aside date nights?”

“That’s an excellent idea,” Lucius stated, watching Draco nodding.

Once this was settled, they turned their attention to eating breakfast as they all looked over the Daily Prophet together. All three of them were happy to see that last night’s meeting had been reported truthfully.

Lucius then changed the subject. “Hermione, do you remember that I introduced you to Mandrake Rochester last night, your personal secretary?” He watched Hermione nod. “Well, his first task this morning was to sort through the mail that arrived for you. I had already arranged to have it sent on to the offices,” Lucius informed Hermione, not mentioning that he expected there would have been several howlers and other cursed missives in her mail.

“Oh,” Hermione gasped.

“He will organise everything for you, all we’ll have to do is sit down with him and work it out. Today he will call to the house late this afternoon, once your mother gets here,” Lucius continued, “but from then on he will come at nine in the morning to update you and find out what you need.”

“Oh… umm, I guess that’s a smart idea.”

Draco leant over and kissed Hermione. “Yes, it is,” he confirmed. “That’s Father, always one step ahead.”

Lucius smirked at his son.

“Thank you, Lucius,” Hermione said, “I appreciate what you’ve done, I would not know where to start. This is all very overwhelming, and it’s happening so fast.”

Lucius saw that Hermione was quickly shifting through emotions again, and he held his hand out to her. “Come here, little witch.”

She rose from her chair and took his hand.

He pushed back from the table a bit and pulled her into his lap. “We will always help you, Hermione,” he told her.

“I’m learning that,” she replied, snuggling into him happily, and offering her hand to Draco to pull him close as well. “This is all quite daunting for me though nevertheless.”

“We know,” Draco said, watching her taking comfort from his father.

“Are you going to take Hermione for a tour of the house this morning?” Lucius enquired.

“Yes, Father. I thought we might start in the stables.” He turned to Hermione, “Do you ride?”

“Horses?”

“Yes,” Draco nodded.

“No,” but I’ve always wanted to try.”

“Then we’ll get you a horse,” Lucius said.

“Do you ride?” she asked, Lucius.

He smiled. “Not for a long time,” he replied, glancing at the clock on the mantel. “Now, I’m sorry I need to go, but I will see you at lunch time.” He turned Hermione’s head so he could reach her lips, and then set about taking her breath away. “Until later,” he whispered, holding her as he got up and then placing her feet on the ground next to Draco.

Lucius started walking away, but then turned and smiled slyly at her. “Perhaps if Draco has you all to himself this morning, maybe you might like to go out to dinner with me tomorrow night.”

Hermione smiled. “I’d like that.”

“Good, then tomorrow we will also go shopping.”

“Why?” Hermione asked, following him. She placed her arms around him as she looked up at him.

“Because,” and his arms came around her in return and he kissed the end of her nose. “We need to fill your wardrobe, it’s a bit empty.”

Hermione giggled. “Yes, it is very empty, but then my dressing room is also huge.”

“And you will need it, kitten,” Draco added coming to join them.

“You had better show our witch all our bedrooms, Draco, so she gets the idea of how we will live together when the time comes,” Lucius stated over the top of Hermione’s head.

“Yes, Father,” Draco smirked.

However, Hermione had been adding this all up in her head as Lucius had been talking, and she suddenly went coy and put her head down.

“What’s wrong?” Lucius asked.

When her head came up, her bottom lip was firmly wedged between her teeth. “I can’t afford a spending spree on clothes,” she admitted, wondering once more how she was going to do this.

She was looking at him so earnestly. One minute she was cocky and brash, and the next minute hesitant and uncertain about everything. “Hermione, I wish to splurge because I am so happy that you have agreed to become our wife.” He cupped her cheek with his hand. “And if I take you shopping, I expect to pay, sweetheart,” and he rested her head against his chest, and glanced at Draco. “I also believe that a trip to Gringotts and into the family vaults may illuminate matters for Hermione.”

“We’ll add that to our schedule for tomorrow,” Draco put in.

“Yes,” Lucius agreed. “Now, as boring as it is, I really do have to go. You and Draco have a lovely morning.” He kissed her quickly and strode out the door.

Draco’s arms came around her from behind. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

She looked around and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine, it’s just all so fast.”

“Yes,” he agreed, “but I can’t bring myself to worry about that. I’m just relieved that you are ours.”

“Oh, Draco,” Hermione sighed turning in his arms and smiling as she looked up at him earnestly. “So, what are you going to show me first?”

Draco chuckled, and started kissing her forehead. “I know what I’d like to show you first.”

Hermione wound her arms up around his neck. “And where would that be?” she wanted to know, her eyebrow arched, as she relaxed into his embrace.

“My bedroom,” he crooned in a sexy voice.

She giggled prettily. “I think if you take me there, we may never get anywhere else.”

“There’s no thinking about it, I’m certain of it,” he growled, and he captured her mouth in blistering kiss. Their tongues battled and his hands started to wander over her form. He broke the kiss and started adoring her jaw and neck with open-mouthed kisses. “I feel like I’m going to burst with happiness,” he told her. “I simply adore you and I couldn’t be happier,” he murmured. “The only thing I want now is to spend the rest of my life exploring you, loving you and being with you.” Each statement was punctuated with a kiss, and he was ecstatic when he heard her moans of agreement.

“Oh Draco… I want those things too, and I’m so ready for you. I want it all.”

He smirked. “And know that Father and I will always adore you and keep you safe every step of the way.”

She gave him a heated gaze, and nodded, “I know you will.”

 

Chapter Text


While Lucius was at his board meeting, Hermione and Draco did indeed venture out into the gardens and Draco did show her the stables and his stallion. They even wandered around part of the house, but they really were too interested in each other to concentrate.

They had wanted one another for so long that now that things were settled, neither of them saw any reason not to explore things of a sexual nature, and besides, they were already engaged. They were trying to keep it fairly tame, but they kept stopping for heated snogging sessions. Draco explored Hermione’s mouth most thoroughly up against the stable wall, and pinned her to the French doors that led back into the house, where she curled her leg around his waist while they kissed, flexing her hips to rub herself against him.

The most impassioned encounter happened against the hall table just outside the doors of the green parlour. This time she ended up sitting on the edge of the table with both legs around his waist, and he thrust against her clothed sex while he kissed her, his hands busy squeezing her breasts.

“Draco?” she murmured, watching as his fingers working over the contours of her breasts under her clothing. It felt nice, and then his hands were in her bra, and squeezing her nipples. She could see him almost licking his lips as his fingers expertly stroked her.

“Mmm?” was all he managed to reply, he longed to see what he was currently handling, and he wanted so badly to taste them. He loved breasts, and from what he’d seen through her clothes and was currently feeling, hers felt just about perfect.

“Take me somewhere — where we won’t be interrupted,” she said.

Without a second thought, he apparated them straight into the private parlour adjoining his bedroom, and as soon as they arrived his mouth latched onto her neck and he started down over her collarbones and then into the valley between her breasts as his tongue licked up and down as far as he could reach.

 “I want to see your tits,” he told her between kisses and licks. He couldn’t wait to curl his tongue around one and suckle. In the past, with other partners, he had always done so avidly when given the opportunity, but he’d never been able to relax and do it. There was always the expectation that it was only part of the foreplay, and he wondered now if his soon-to-be wife might allow him this indulgence.

“Yes,” Hermione moaned.  

“Merlin, I want to suck you,” he groaned, his emotions running away with him.

Hermione thought again about him watching her chest, staring at her cleavage, and almost licking his lips. Many emotions flooded her, what did he mean by ‘suck’? One thing she did know was that she instantly wanted to show him her breasts, and if she was honest, she had wanted to show him all morning. She pulled her jumper off and deftly undid the buttons of her blouse. Her chest was heaving as she revealed her bra clad breasts to him. Sitting, she rested back against the lounge and pulled the cups of her lacy bra down, so he could look.

He took no time at all to take advantage. His hands stopped stroking, and he now regarded them with a kind of awe. “Beautiful,” he whispered, and guided one rosy topped, delectable looking morsel towards his mouth. He held it up and brought his tongue closer. Then he flicked just the tip of his tongue back and forth over the bud of flesh.

She groaned quietly. “Oh… that’s lovely,” she sighed.

He gave her a cock-eyed smile and pulled the nipple into his mouth, as he closed his eyes and sucked. “Mmm,” he moaned.

“Ohhhhhh,” she replied breathily. “You like doing that, don’t you?”

His hand started massaging and squeezing her other breast, and he opened his eyes and gave her an adoring expression. “You have no idea how much,” he whispered.

Every time Draco pulled on her breast with his mouth a shot of electricity crackled down to the junction of her thighs, and it was driving her wild. She’d never felt this at ease with anyone before; no one had ever made her feel like these two wizards did. “I think I’m going to love you doing this,” she whispered in an airy voice. “Oh, Draco, please,” she moaned, drawing out the last word.

“Please what?” he asked, still suckling enthusiastically.

“Please... I want to... will you touch me, please!”

“Where?” Draco whispered, momentarily breaking contact again to speak.

“Mmmm,” she moaned, and started undoing her jeans, desperate to get some relief. Once she had them undone Draco’s hand slipped in before hers had had a chance to, and she heard him groan.

He suddenly grinned at her. “Oh, a hairy pussy,” he said, and he was slipping his finger up and down her slit. “And so wet for me.” His mouth kissed down to her breast again. “Does you pussy ache, Hermione?” he asked as he sucked and stroked.

“Yes,” she whined.

“Is your clit throbbing?” his finger was circling it. He watched her nod, her head was back on lounge, her eyes were closed and her mouth was open. “Does that feel good?”

“Yes,” she sighed in a long breath.

“Then cum for me, love,” and his finger rubbed. Her breath hitched and she gasped and then she stilled. Her mouth made the shape of a silent ‘o’, and she groaned in the back of her throat as the bubble of tension inside her burst.

Hermione lay back on the lounge, boneless, catching her breath, and then pulled him towards her to kiss him. He felt so good against her, and she moved her hand down to his belt buckle without breaking their kiss. Once she had it open she also undid the top button of his jeans and slipped her hand inside to return the favour.

As soon as she started rubbing him, he knew he wanted her to see him, and lifting his hips he pushed his pants down enough so his cock was free, all without breaking their kiss.

However, a moment later he tore his mouth away from hers, and yelled, “You are fucking perfect,” and he felt his orgasm coming. His balls drew up and his cock throbbed, and then thick ropes of cum were spurting from him as he grunted with every pulse.

“Oh,” Hermione squealed excitedly, watching. She grinned at him as she leant forward and started licking him.

He groaned and instantly started hardening again. “Oh you’re hot, love,” he proclaimed, his eyes watching her licking him like a lolly-pop.

“You taste delicious,” she admitted, as she sat back, licking her lips once she’d finished, but as she did so the grandfather clock in the corner chimed midday, and she sighed. “I guess we better get cleaned up for lunch.”

“Lunch be buggered, I’m willing to skip lunch and go straight to dessert,” Draco sniggered, his hands on her breasts again. “Gorgeous,” he whispered, placing little kisses where he’d just been touching. “I’m going to make you come again, but I want to lick you this time,” he declared. “Then you can shower.”

She grinned and nodded. “Yes,” she hissed, already pushing her jeans down her legs.

He helped her get them f and landed on his knees between her legs. Her feet were balanced on the lounge and she was completely open to him. He brought his head forward and inhaled deeply. “Ah, my beautiful, kitten, I like you in this position too,” and his head came forward between her legs and he rubbed his nose up and down her inner thigh. “Beautiful,” he sighed, “and I love your dark little bush,” he told her swirling his fingers in the course hair. “I bet you taste amazing.” He placed a hand on each of her thighs and pushed her legs wider and watched her quiver and giggle as he blew on her before swiping his tongue up her cleft and swirling it around over her clit. He fluttered his tongue over the bundle of nerves and heard her squeal. Then set about pleasuring her until she had her fists threaded through his hair and her pussy pressed up against his mouth.

“Yes,” was the only word she seemed to be able to say, and she was repeating it mindlessly as she rocked against him, her voice rising higher as he added two fingers to her quivering channel and started thrusting them in and out.

It was soon after this that she squealed her release. Draco licked his lips and gave her cheeky grin. “Fucking amazing,” he declared, as he watched her laying there uncaring of anything with a blissful smile of her face. He knew he was close again, and took himself in hand, and as his balls tightened he aimed at her and came on her still quivering cunt. “Now, that’s perfect,” he told her. “But now we really better get cleaned up, Father is probably waiting for us.”

Hermione nodded vaguely and started to push herself up, casting a cleaning spell as she did to remove all evidence of their play. “I’ll meet you downstairs,” she told him, giving him a kiss as she stood on shaky legs.

~~~***~~~

As he approached the family dining room, he found Hermione straddled over Lucius’ lap, and he watched from the doorway. Draco could see Lucius’ hand was up under her skirt, and Hermione was moaning into his mouth as they kissed. She was flexing her hips rhythmically, and Lucius was humming encouragement to her between kisses. He watched her obviously riding his father’s fingers and he wanted to stroke himself as he watched. Then he heard her groan her release and he adjusted his trousers and entered the room.

Hermione had her eyes closed and was resting her head on Lucius’ shoulder, and she was smiling.

“That’s my good girl,” Lucius crooned, and he brought the hand that had been under her skirt up to his lips as he held her against him.

Draco leant down and kissed her. “Having a nice time, kitten?” he crooned in her ear.

“Mmm hmm,” she sighed. “I love having both of you.” She smiled at Draco who kissed her again, and then she turned her head to Lucius, also meeting his lips.

“You taste so sweet,” Lucius commented, licking his sticky fingers again once he’d kissed her. “Here, open your mouth, sweetling.” He watched her mouth open to him like a little bird, and he inserted one of his wet fingers. “Suck,” he commanded. As she did so he started kissing her face. “Draco had you to himself all morning. It will be my turn tonight, once our duties are discharged.” As he was whispering this his nose was ghosting up and down her neck.

“Oohh,” Hermione groaned in reply. “I’d like that.”

At which Draco chuckled. “I believe you might be correct, kitten.”

Her eyes opened slowly. “About what?”

“Wanting us both,” and he leant down and whispered. “Because you’re insatiable, aren’t you, my love?”

Her head suddenly rose from Lucius’ shoulder and he saw the fierce witch he had known at Hogwarts in her eyes. “Only with you two. No one else has ever interested me beyond a casual encounter.”

Lucius pulled her head back down to his shoulder. “And that’s exactly how it should be,” he said, kissing her head.

“Yes,” Draco agreed.

She lay on Lucius’ shoulder for a little more time, but then stood and without straightening her skirt she shimmied out of her knickers and vanished them. Then looking at the expressions on her fiancées’ faces she smiled cheekily and said, “So? Only the three of us will know.”

~~~***~~~

They were now on their way to Heathrow, and Marcus Flint was proving to be a skilled limo driver. When they pulled up out the front, he dropped them at the entrance and went to wait further on.

Lucius expertly led them through the airport, bringing them to the appropriate terminal just as the plane was landing.

Hermione was holding Draco’s hand, and she was so excited that she was almost jumping up and down.

In an effort to calm her, Draco was softly stroking his thumb over her knuckles, and Lucius was standing behind her was a discreet hand on her waist.

The blond wizard knew that in Muggle society having two men obviously fawning over her was going to make Hermione look like something she most definitely was not, and he was happy to allow Draco to have chief calming duties. Then the door opened and people starting spilling through.

Finally, they saw Severus’ raven head near the back, and Hermione’s mouth dropped open as they came further into view. Severus and her mother were holding hands, and Severus was holding a baby.

Hermione was beside herself. Where had the baby come from? “Whose baby is it?” she questioned, looking at both Lucius and Draco.

“I don’t know,” Lucius replied, unable to voice what he suspected. He remembered being as careful as Severus was being with the child in his arms as he had been with Draco when he was tiny, and it instantly hit him that the child was Severus’. He glanced at Hermione and saw confusion on her face still.

Then she was being drawn into a hug by her crying mother, and she just gave in and accepted the situation. Soon both of them were crying.

“I’ve missed you so much,” Hermione proclaimed, as she cried.

Lucius and Draco meanwhile had turned to Severus, and Lucius raised an eyebrow while offering the gurgling baby his finger. “Have you been up to something we don’t know about?” he asked, his grey eyes pinning Severus’ obsidian ones.

Severus had the good grace to blush. He cleared his throat and said, “Perhaps this is a story that should be told behind closed doors.”

“But she is yours?” Draco wanted to know, tickling Serena under the chin and grinning at the small girl when she cackled.

“Yes,” Helen said, turning back to Severus. “She was a little surprise.”

“You knocked my mother up?!” Hermione all but squealed.

“Gryffindors,” all three wizards stated with mock exasperation in their voices.

“Say what you feel, won’t you, kitten,” Draco teased, sliding his arm around her and pulling her close.

Then the five of them laughed, and Serena chortled along with them, as Hermione hid her head in the crook of Draco’s neck for a moment before looking up again, suitably chastened.

She blushed. “I’m sorry, Severus, it just a bit unexpected,” she told him, but then gave him puppy dog eyes as she held her hands out to her sister. “May I?” she asked.

Severus looked down his substantial nose and said, “You insult me and then expect me to relinquish my daughter to you.”

However, whatever else he was going to say was cut off when Helen grabbed Hermione’s hand. “My goodness that is one huge diamond.”

This seemed to bring Hermione’s attention back to the fact that she had not introduced her mother to her fiancées, and she gasped and took a step back. “Helen Granger, please meet Lucius and Draco Malfoy, my fiancées. Gentlemen, my mother, Helen.”

“Charmed, Madam,” Lucius smoothed, offering his hand. “I take it Severus has told you of our intentions?”

“Yes,” Helen replied, grasping his hand, and then turning to Draco, and taking his offered hand.

“Pleased to meet you, Madam Granger,” Draco stated politely.

“Oh, Helen, please,” she said, and they turned in unison to the sound of Hermione still trying to wheedle Serena off Severus.

“Oh, come on, Severus, it was just a shock, and I said sorry. I want to say hello to my baby sister.” She closed her hands around Serena’s middle, and Severus gave up. She lifted the baby up into her arms with a grin and kissed her head as she cuddled back into Draco’s arms. “Hello, sweetheart, I’m you’re big sister, ‘Mione,” she told her, and the tiny girl curled into Hermione’s shoulder, and smiled up at her as both Hermione and Draco cooed over her.  

“Oh, Mum, Severus, she’s beautiful,” she clucked, and then turned to Lucius who was close to her other side. “Isn’t she beautiful?”

“Yes,” Lucius affirmed, and looked around at Severus and Helen, they both looked exhausted. “Let’s get you all to the car, you’ve had a long journey,” and he started ushering them forward, and to Hermione’s astonishment he pulled a mobile phone from his pocket. “Flint, we’re ready for the car, we just have to collect the luggage.”

Severus went and grabbed a luggage trolley with Helen, and Hermione’s eyes followed them.

She sighed. “I knew they fancied one another, that was obvious, but they snuck this in when I wasn’t looking. I had no idea they’d even slept together,” she mused, kissing Serena’s little head once more. “She’s so beautiful.”

Lucius leaned down close and said, “Now, remember, my love, you have an apprenticeship to make it through before you get clucky.”

She grinned impishly at them and said, “Oh, I’m not in any way clucky. I want lots and lots of hot, dirty sex before we have any children that I have to share you with,” and she heard both men groan softly, as she watched Severus and her mum coming back with the trolley laden with luggage.

“Lead on, Lucius,” Severus said when they arrived.

“This way,” the blond wizard stated.

~~~***~~~

Once they were home it was a blur of activity as Severus’ rooms were reorganised by a virtual battalion of elves to include a bigger bed and accommodation for Serena in a quickly assembled nursery adjoining the bedroom. His lab was disassembled (much to his vexation) and swapped with the furniture from the parlour on the other side of Hermione’s rooms.

“You do realise that we’re moving to Prince Manor tomorrow, don’t you?” the
Potions master said with no little exasperation.

Lucius had merely smiled, and replied, “But you’re staying here tonight, and you’re all welcome here whenever you wish.”

Hermione watched her patriarch sigh in frustration, but he submitted to having things moved around gracefully. It was astounding how fast the elves and the wizards worked to get everything organised, even if it was only for one or two nights.

Helen and Hermione bathed Serena in Hermione’s bath as soon as they’d had a cup of tea and fed the little girl her dinner. By the time this was all completed the changes were well underway, and Helen was sitting, breastfeeding Serena. She had a scarf draped over her shoulder to maintain her dignity while her daughter fed, and Hermione had also cast a notice-me-not as well. The three of them were occupying the lounge by the fire as the remainder of the moving was done, and Helen was asking Hermione more questions. She’d already been quizzing her the whole time they’d been getting Serena ready for bed, but now there were more questions.

“I have to say, you do look happy,” Helen sniggered.

“Mum, I’m so happy, both Lucius and Draco are wonderful.”

“Why two?”

“Two wizards?”

“Yes. Severus told me a little about it last night, but I want to make certain you’re doing the right thing,” Helen told her worriedly.

“I am, Mum, my magic has chosen them,” she gazed lovingly at both her wizards, placating Severus as there was an ominous tinkle of glass lab-ware when one cupboard was levitated to be moved into the next room. “I have always had a thing for Draco,” she stated, her eyes still caught up looking at them. “Lucius was an unexpected bonus though, but now I have them, I could not have one without the other.”

“That’s all well, but it’s very quick, Hermione.”

“That may be, but I know I’m doing the right thing.”

“What about your education?”

“I’ve accepted an apprenticeship under the head of The Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She has never offered anyone an apprenticeship before, I feel very honoured.”

Helen sighed. “You do seem to have landed on your feet. What about that boy Ron?”

“What about him, he was a friend, and I’m not certain that he is even that anymore.”

“What happened?”

“I’ve always thought of Harry and Ron as brothers, I love them, but not in a romantic way. But well, Ron’s mother took it into her head that Harry should marry Ginny, and I should marry Ron, and there has been some pretty underhanded things happening. Mrs Weasley brewed a love potion after Harry broke it off with Ginny, and Ginny tricked him into taking it, and Ron cursed him.”

“Oh dear,” Helen said, her hand on her heart. “Is Harry all right?”

Hermione smiled. “Yes, thanks to Severus. He cured the curse and brewed the antidote for the potion.”

Helen glanced at Severus and sighed. “He is a wonderful man, isn’t he?”

Watching her mother gazing at Severus the way she knew she doted on Draco and Lucius she realised something. “You love him, don’t you?”

The corner of her mouth tilted up, and she nodded. “Yes, I’m not certain what it is, but something inside tells me. It wasn’t like that with your father.” She shrugged. “I guess it’s different every time.”

The Granger women then seemed to both disappear into their own thoughts, and the next thing they knew their men were standing in front of them, and little Serena was asleep in Helen’s arms, having finished her feed.

“All fixed,” Severus said. “We can settle Serena and then go to Hermione’s meeting with her secretary.”

Helen looked uncertain. “How far away will we be? Will I hear Serena if she wakes?”

“It will be fine, love,” Severus assured her. “I will cast alarm spells to warn us if Serena wakes.”

“We could have an elf sit with her until we have finished dinner, if you’re worried,” Lucius suggested.

“It will be fine, Mum,” Hermione assured her slightly panicked mother. “I would like your input at this meeting, especially we will be discussing the wedding.”

“Very well,” Helen sighed, and she got up and walked with Severus into the little room they had constructed.

Hermione and the Malfoys started down towards the small conference room where Severus had addressed the members of the War Crimes Review Board the night before.

When they arrived, Mandrake Rochester was already there with Pike beside him, and there were two other people assisting. There was a sideboard covered in small gifts as well as four stacks of parchments on the conference table.

The three looked up in greeting. “Good afternoon, sirs, madam,” Mandrake said, as the others nodded, and Hermione’s introduction to life as Lady Malfoy was underway.

Severus and Helen arrived soon after and they all settled in to discuss how the engagement party was going to work.

“It will be a formal dinner,” Lucius instructed.

“Usual guest list, sir,” Mandrake enquired.

“Yes, plus Miss Granger’s guest list.”

Hermione chuckled. “Well, that will be a short list.”

“Nevertheless, could you furnish me with it as soon as possible, please, Miss Granger,” the secretary said politely.

Nodding, Hermione scribbled a note to do so. “I will owl it to you first thing tomorrow?”

“In that case you could give it to me at our morning meeting,” Mandrake indicated, but then went on, saying, “I have engaged Flossberry’s to cater the engagement. Here is the menu they have submitted for approval,” he stated as he searched through his papers to find it.

“Very good,” Lucius hummed.

“Will they do the wedding breakfast as well?” Draco wanted to know.

“Yes, they have told me they would be available for the Malfoy family,” Mandrake nodded.

“Excellent, engage them,” Lucius replied.

“I also have Celia Doyle on standby as planner. She can meet with the five of you tonight at nine tonight.”

This time Lucius glanced at Severus.

“Yes, Madam Doyle is a suitable choice,” Severus agreed, and his eyes met Hermione’s. “She is well known in pureblood circles, but she will not expect you to just know what many brides will already know. She will assist you to navigate these next days easily.”

“Oh,” Hermione replied.

“What about Hermione’s dress?” Helen asked.

“Madam Doyle will bring Madam Malkin with her tonight.”

“She is wizarding Britain’s premier seamstress,” Severus informed Helen.

“Oh, oh, all right.”

“Will there be bridesmaids?” Mandrake asked.

“Oh,” Hermione gasped. “Umm… do I need them?”

“No, kitten,” Draco said gently, “It’s just a question.”

“Umm, well, no… I haven’t ever really had female friends. Perhaps Luna and Ginny would be the closest thing to friends I have, but I don’t really want to ask Ginny after what she did yesterday… maybe Luna, but I’m not certain.” She turned to Draco and Lucius. “Do either of you have anybody you’d like to see as a bridesmaid?”

“Daphne and Astoria are the only ones I would suggest,” Draco stated.

To their surprise Hermione chuckled, and looked to Lucius and Draco smiling, but didn’t clarify.

Their attention was then drawn to the stationary for the invitations which needed to be sent by tomorrow to give the full month before the actually day. However, as soon as eyes were busy elsewhere, Draco’s voice arrived in her ear.

“What are you up to, kitten?”

She smiled at him. “Nothing,” she replied innocently. “It’s just that I think someone has the hots for either one or both Greengrass girls, and I thought it might give them a chance to get to know one another,” she whispered, smiling up at him.

Severus cleared his throat, and they both took the hint and stopped their conversation. Lucius handed her the parchment that contained the design and wording of the invitations and she gasped.

“They’re beautiful,” she said to Mandrake.

He nodded his thanks. “Will you wish to have your bridesmaid here tonight too?”

“No,” Helen cut in. “When we meet with the seamstress tonight, it should be just for Hermione to put her ideas of what she wants forward.

“You could invite whomever you decide on over to afternoon tea tomorrow,” Lucius suggested.

“Yes, and ask them then,” Draco added.

“I would like Harry involved too,” Hermione stated.

“Well, of course, Harry could be a groomsman,” Lucius suggested.

“Yes, that’s only fair if you accept our preferences on your side, we should make a gesture as well,” Draco told her.

Hermione smiled. “Thank you. So, you’ll both have a best man too, won’t you?”

“Yes, I’ve chosen Severus,” Lucius said.

“And I’ve chosen Blaise, but he won’t be here from Italy until Thursday.”

“That means if there are two best men and a groomsman, I will need an extra bridesmaid to equal things out, won’t I?”

“Yes,” Helen confirmed.

“Then I would like Luna.”

“Very well,” Mandrake stated, “We will have the bridal party afternoon tea tomorrow at four.”

“Now, don’t forget, Hermione and I are going out tomorrow evening,” Lucius said. “I will speak to you about that in a moment,” he went on to say to Mandrake.

~~~***~~~

It was late once the wedding planner had left, and Hermione couldn’t help wondering at the command of this family to have such people at their beck and call at this time of night. She sighed happily; the plans for her marriage to the wizarding world’s two most eligible wizards was underway, and she couldn’t have been more content.

Mind you, as they walked her towards her bedroom that night she thought of the rather extensive list of people who had voiced their displeasure at her concerning her choice of husbands. The transcripts of the howlers had ranged from purebloods—some of whom would now be charged under the new antidiscrimination laws—to Molly Weasley, who felt that Hermione had led her son on. Well, the witch always had been delusional.

It had been illuminating reading, and Lucius had shown her so she would be on her guard against these people, but some of them she had not been able to believe. Neville Longbottom’s grandmother for instance. Augusta had been scathing in her assault on Hermione’s character, yet amongst the gifts had been a small tree from Neville. It was a Wisteria tree cutting, and Severus had told her it was a lovely gift to give for an engagement, as it symbolised romance and the mysteries of a great and enduring love.

So now she was wondering how to navigate things again. She couldn’t invite Neville to her wedding, and not his grandmother. The same with the Weasleys; she had to invite them all, even if she only had time for Arthur, the twins and Bill.

Of course, both her wizards had told her not to concern herself about it, and she sighed and snuggling closer to her men as they walked with their arms linked around her.

Madam Malkin was coming back tomorrow with fabric samples, and designs based on what Hermione had told her she wanted, and Hermione smiled. Her mum had been brilliant, and they had quickly settled on a vague idea of what the dress would look like, as well as a colour scheme.

She was well ready to put her feet up, but she had a date with Lucius before she was finished tonight, and she was determined to keep going from where they’d left off before lunch.

Tonight when Draco stopped at Hermione’s door with them, he captured her lips before kissing around to her ear, and whispering, “I’m going to leave you with Father now, and I’m going to have a long shower and stroke my cock as I remember everything we did today,” he whispered. “Are you going to allow him to fuck you?”

“If he wants to,” she whispered in return, pulling him closer for another kiss. Her clit was throbbing as his words as they ran through her head again while he kissed her, and it was made so much worse when his hand grasped hers and it slid down to his crotch over his clothed erection.

“See what you do to me?” he whispered heatedly once his mouth had finished devouring hers. “Good night, my love, I’ll see you in the morning.”

Then he was gone, and Lucius was opening the door. “He’s a tease, isn’t he?” the elder blond wizard snickered, pulling her close with an arm around her waist to steady her after the onslaught.

“Mmm,” Hermione agreed, watching Draco striding off up the hallway from within the support of Lucius’ arm. She allowed him to walk her through the door, and she turned back to him, as he closed it.

His eyes panned up and down her, and he smiled slyly. “Come, you are wearing altogether too many clothes, little witch,” his decadent voice told her. It didn’t escape his notice that Hermione was overcome with lust, and his lips arrived on her neck as he whispered words to her. “Would you like me to relieve you of them?”

“Yes,” she replied, shivering with delight at the rumble of his voice.

“Good,” he murmured, and started kissing around her jaw. When he reached her mouth, they kissed passionately, and Lucius allowed himself to savour her as he explored her, and he wondered what Draco and their witch had gotten up to this morning as he whispered the spell to vanish her clothing.

They had not dressed for dinner tonight, as eating had not been a full meal, and they’d had little time between their meeting with Mandrake and the meeting with the wedding planner. Then Helen could have hardly been expected to be prepared for an after eight experience tonight — the poor woman was exhausted.

Lucius backed them towards the bedroom as Hermione moaned into their kiss, tearing at his clothing wanting him to be naked as well.

He stilled her hands. “Now, now, little witch,” his voice rumbled. “Patience.”

“But I want you against me,” she told him, rubbing herself on him.

“All in good time,” he chuckled, slipping his hand down between them. “Lay on the bed, sweetling,” he told her, slipping a finger into her.

Pulling back a little, she smiled eyeing him with lustful eyes as she climbed onto the bed, enjoying that she’d managed to partially dishevel him. His coat was undone and his cravat loose, and she watched him dig a hand into his pocket before he toed off his shoes and climbed on the bed after her.

Giving him an impish smile she opened her legs and allowed him to peruse her, arching her back as she watched his eyes panning her body.

“Delightful,” he drawled, settling to kneel between her open legs. “Very lovely,” and without showing her what he had in his hand he leant forward and captured her lips again as his hand started stroking her softly.

 It was as she was becoming lost in his kiss that Hermione felt something starting to buzz against her clit, and it felt wonderful — in fact she had never felt anything like it. Every one of her nerve endings started to pulse, and it was then that she felt him slip whatever it was up inside her.

It had to a toy of some kind, but it was better than any toy she’d ever tried, and she moaned. “What is that?” she questioned.

He pulled back and smiled at her. “A present, I bought it just for you. Do you like it?”

“Oh yes,” she said, already waiting for the delicious shattering of the tension building within her. She grabbed at the satin quilt to try and centre herself as the sensations threatened to wash her away. Her voice rose as each pass of the sphere tightened the tension another notch and she came closer to her longed for pleasure. Lucius was playing her like an instrument, and she was lost in the sensation. It was delightful torture.

Lucius loved control and he had Hermione completely at his mercy at that moment. He heard her vocal squeals reaching the pitch he knew accompanied imminent orgasm and he added another aspect to the sensations she was feeling. He slipped his wet fingers out of her slick sheath down to her other entrance and started massaging it.

This had the desired effect, she screamed as she shattered, pleasure invading every muscle, sinew and nerve in a blinding white hot pulse that erupted through her blood like her life essence had turned to champagne. She stiffened, but then collapsed back onto the bed, totally spent.

Lucius smiled Cheshire-like at her, and whispered the spell to summon the sphere from within her. “You enjoyed that,” he whispered, leaning forward and kissing her forehead.

She lay there panting, her eyes closed and a smile on her face. “Yes,” she managed after some moments.

“Good, now sleep, lovely girl,” and he climbed off the bed and pulled the covers over her, but then hovered.

She opened her eyes slowly and looked up at him. “Stay?” she whispered.

A cocky smile answered hers, but he shook his head. “No,” he replied. “Not tonight, little witch.” He kissed her head again and whispered, “Nox. You sleep, we’ve got another big day tomorrow.”

Her eyes were closed before he’d turned the lights out, and he left very pleased with their first bedroom adventure, even if he was hard and aching from pleasuring her, and he hurried off to his own room.

Chapter Text


The next morning came with alarming speed, and Hermione blearily opened her eyes wishing she could stay asleep. She was still so sleepy that she wondered what had woken her. Then she heard it again, a soft knocking on her bedroom door.

“Yes?” she managed sleepily.

The door opened and Draco’s head came around it.

She smiled. “Good morning, my love,” she said quietly. “Come in,” and she opened the bed covers to him in invitation.

He wasted no time in accepting, slipping in beside her. “I couldn’t wait to see you any longer,” he admitted as he shuffled towards her.

Her smile grew, and her arms wound around his neck. “You’re over dressed,” she told him, and without a word she slipped his sleep pants off with her feet as he started kissing her.

He groaned as his already rigid member was rubbed over the waistband of his pants as it passed on the way down his legs. “I want you, all of you,” he declared.

“Then you shall have me,” Hermione responded in between kisses, as she somewhat desperately pulled him closer. “I’ve waited too long for this moment,” she whispered. “I’m yours,” she affirmed, and sighed as Draco easily slid inside her after rubbing his member up and down her already wet pussy. There was no need for foreplay, they were both ready.

“Oh, so good,” he muttered, and he claimed her mouth again as he started thrusting. She’d felt so wet and ready for him, and it felt like bliss finally being inside her. There was only one thing that could make it more complete, and he twisted his torso slightly as he continued to thrust into her. He kissed down the column of her throat and took one of her nipples in his mouth. Now it was perfect.

She arched her back and started thrusting up to meet him as her world condensed to the point where they were the only two in existence, and somewhere in the back of her mind she spared a thought for Lucius. She was so pleased that he was giving her and Draco this time alone, because he would be aware of Draco’s movements within his house. He was the lord of the manor, and that came with certain privileges.

Then her higher order thoughts short-circuited with Draco’s perfect strokes in and out of her, and she was running her hands mindlessly over his back, feeling his taunt muscles moving as he fucked her, and she screamed as her orgasm roared down over her. The pleasure was so intense it felt like all of her nerves had fired at once, and she started babbling nonsense words.

Draco stroked into her through it, feeling her internal walls fluttering and squeezing around him, and soon his strokes became erratic as pleasure started to make him mindless as well. After several frantic strokes he tore his mouth away from her breast and he came with a guttural groan. “Perfect,” he murmured, panting slightly, as he settled beside her.

“Yes,” she answered. “That was, and I could do that all over again.”

He smiled wickedly. “Then on your knees, beautiful.”

Scrambling to her knees, Hermione grinned at him as she stuck her bottom in the air. She was more than aware that his cum was dribbling out of her, and she displayed the fact for him.

He gave her the appreciation that she was looking for. “The perfect picture,” he declared, coming around behind her, and he lowered his face to her pussy and started lapping at it, drinking down their mingled liquids. “Beautiful,” he whispered, sucking at her flesh as she opened her legs wider and squealed and screamed her approval to his ministrations. Then his cock was at her opening again, and she groaned as he pushed inside her once more.

Holding her hips still he started thrusting into her, his balls slapping her clit every time he drove home and her already sensitised sex quickly started roaring towards another orgasm. Her legs went weak and they shook violently in utter delight. This time, as she came, the only thing holding her up was Draco’s grip on her hips, and she felt entirely boneless with pleasure.

Collapsing on the bed, they lay there in a tangle of arms and legs as they recovered from their excursions, and finally Draco said, “I suppose we better shower.”

Hermione groaned softly, and opened her eyes. “I don’t want to get up yet,” she groaned.

“Neither do I, but we have another busy day today.”

She nodded. “Will you shower with me?” she asked.

Draco grinned wickedly, but then glanced at the time and said, “I don’t think we have time for what would turn into round three, Mandrake will be waiting for us soon.” and he got himself out of bed, pulling her along with him.

Hermione felt energized and exhausted at the same time. After all, it was unusual for her to have sex twice before breakfast, but she managed to drag herself out of bed at his urgings and started towards her shower. She had to say that she was impressed at Draco’s sense of duty, so she acquiesced happily. She didn’t think Draco’s sense of duty was as strong as Lucius’, but it was very well developed, but she tested it, kissing him and rubbing herself against him once she was up right.

He kissed her back, but then took a step away, and allowed his eyes to pan over her lovely body. “I’ll see you at breakfast,” he said before disappearing with a small pop.

~~~***~~~

It was fair to say that Hermione felt incredibly sexy this morning, after her delightfully satisfying start to the day, and she picked a cheeky outfit to wear because of it. She knew that whatever she chose would have to be suitable for going into town in, and for her meetings throughout the day. She smoothed on body lotion and chose lacy but modest underwear, and buttoned up the blue cotton shirt she’d chosen to wear. 

She pulled on black stay-up stockings and stepped into a short flouncy charcoal coloured woollen skirt that just came down over the stockings enough to cover their lace tops, and she grinned as she tucked her blouse into the hem of the skirt. Knowing she would be on her feet for a fair amount of the day, she chose brown leather boots that would be easy to walk in and wrapped a red woollen scarf loosely around her neck. She finished her outfit with bronze coloured studs in her ears and a leather look bangle with a gold medallion on it. Finally she swished her curls into a messy bun, put on some light makeup and stepped back to appraise the effect in the mirror before she left her rooms.

She was determined to make her own way down to the morning room this morning, but she met Lucius after the first flight of stairs.

“Ah, hello, my little witch,” and before she knew it his arms were around her, and he was backing her up to the wall. “Bid me good morning, my sweet girl,” he murmured, his lips mere millimetres away from her.

“Good morning, my lord,” she replied cheekily, and it seemed to light a fire somewhere inside him.

His lips descended on hers and he kissed her almost savagely.

All thoughts of making it to breakfast scampered from her mind and she moaned wantonly into his mouth and wound one leg around his hip. “I love having the two of you,” she told him as soon as their kiss broke and he started exploring her neck with his mouth. He also took advantage of the invitation of her leg around his hip and his fingers quickly found their way around her underwear and sank into her slippery heat.

Her hands were not idle either, they were quickly opening his trousers, and she groaned as they finally reached their goal. “Oh, please,” she groaned.

His head came up from adoring her neck, even though his fingers plunging in and out did not stop their actions, and their eyes met. “Please, what?” he said, with a smug smile.

She’d been stroking him, but her hands stilled, and he watched as she started to keen. “Please, inside me,” she managed to gasp.

He obliged, replacing his fingers with his cock almost instantly, and lining himself up he quickly sank into her.

She groaned a breathy exhale and shuddered in delight.

Lucius knew he was large, and he waited inside her for a moment to allow her to grow accustomed to him, and also because her already fluttering internal walls had started squeezing his member as soon as it was in her. “Did Draco come to you this morning?” he asked.

“Yes,” and she hissed in a breath as he started to move. “And now I’m having you,” she groaned.

His mouth descended on her and their tongues battled passionately as he slowly flexed his hips in and out.

“Oh god, this is perfect,” she moaned, as soon as she managed another breath after their kiss.

Lucius chuckled, and started to thrust up into her more strongly, driving her higher.

Hermione felt that she was on the verge of breaking from the pleasure she was experiencing, and she clung to him as he continued to drive himself into her. Then her orgasm crashed over her and she was lost; it was even better than the two just so recently had.

Sensing her emotional collapse, Lucius started pounding into her to finish himself off. “My beautiful little witch,” he crooned before his mouth formed an o and the tendons on his neck rose in stark relief to the column of this throat. He groaned and he grunted with each pulse of his seed deep inside her.

Hermione had come stronger than she’d ever come before, and she vaguely wondered if it was because she was standing up. She would have to experiment with this position more, and she clung to Lucius as he stood there pressing her against the wall. However, soon duty started to filter back into her mind, and she knew that they should be getting to breakfast, but she didn’t care if they ever did.

She was fairly certain that she dozed on his shoulder for a moment, but finally she felt his member slither out of her, and he took a step away to straighten himself, holding on to her until he knew that she could stand. She then felt the tingle of a freshening spell, and he started straightening her as well. “Our first time, and it was against a wall,” he told her, seeming a little upset with himself. “I’m afraid you’re just too delicious, and I got carried away.” He sounded apologetic, but he chuckled decadently, and then kissed her. “Come, little love, we have a busy day, and Mandrake will be here soon.”

~~~***~~~

Her legs were still very shaky as she walked into breakfast hand in hand with Lucius, but she was beyond happy. “Good morning, everyone,” she purred, gazing adoringly at Lucius and then melting into Draco’s arms as he rose to greet her.

“I missed you as soon as I left, kitten,” Draco whispered to her.

“Me too. You’re amazing,” she whispered back accepting his kiss, and then glancing at Lucius still holding her hand. “Both of you, and I feel wonderful.” She tore her eyes away from her wizards. “Isn’t it a lovely day?” she said to her mother and Severus who were watching on silently.

Both Helen and Severus were dressed to go out, and Helen smiled the same smile that Hermione was wearing only she glanced at Severus. “Yes, it is a very wonderful day,” she agreed. 

Seeming to know that her mother shared her sentiment exactly, Hermione flitted away from her wizards to kiss Helen’s cheek before grinning at her new sister and kissing her head as well, and smiling at Severus.

Helen watched her happy daughter as she then walked back to her spot between the two blonds and Lucius held her chair out for her. She had a real confidence in her step that she hadn’t seen before, and regardless of whether Helen was still having trouble thinking of her daughter marrying two men—when she’d always only ever envisaged one in her future—she knew that this was right for her. She covered Severus’ hand and smiled at him. “You were right to allow this, Severus,” she said quietly.

Severus laced his fingers through Helen’s. “Yes, it is an excellent match,” he confided, and he turned his attention back to his newspaper again, after taking a moment to notice that Hermione, Lucius, and Draco had obviously deepened they relationship since he’d last seen them.

They’d sat, and ogether they were perusing the same paper he was as they ate breakfast, but Severus could see by the equal smug expressions on Lucius and Draco’s faces and the new confidence in Hermione’s step that they’d both consummated their relationship, and he was pleased about this, because this now sealed Hermione’s safety.

You see, having sex in the wizarding world, combined with the saying of specific bonding vows as in an engagement bond, was a declaration of intent that sealed those uttering the vows into a state that no man, wizard, or other could break without the persons involved agreeing to terminate the bond.

He glanced at Helen and then his beautiful little daughter, and his heart constricted with a lovely peace he thought he’d never know, and he knew he also had to act to secure his own future, especially after last night. Last night had been the most perfect night of his life, and he had several things to organise this morning in light of it. He picked up his coffee to drink what remained in his cup and he smiled at Helen as she glanced at him.

Helen saw Severus’ smile, and she smiled at him as she remembered the feel of him sinking into her body last night. If she’d thought that her first time with him had been wonderful, then last night had been a revelation. Obviously she hadn’t been with a man since Severus, and she’d had a baby in between. He’d been so careful, making certain that she was comfortable before allowing himself to lose himself in her.

This time there would be no accidents. However, she couldn’t imagine life without Serena now, but she’d already had a contraceptive injection before she’d left Australia, and they’d also used a spell that Severus had performed on himself. Male contraception, who’d have thought, she chuckled to herself.

Helen and Severus were brought from their thoughts by Hermione asked, “What are your plans today, Mum?”

Helen smiled. “Severus is taking us to see Prince Manor,” she replied.

“Oh,” Hermione gasped, looking disappointed. “We’re going to Gringotts and then into London to shop. I was hoping for your help with that.”

“Kitten,” Draco said softly, seeing her disappointment. “Father and I will be there, and you have not met our contact at Harrods, Armando, yet. You’ll like him, he has wonderful taste in everything.”

“Yes, our appointment at Harrods is at eleven thirty. It would be no trouble to owl Armando to tell him that we have guests coming with us. After all, you’ll need a dress for Saturday night, Helen,” Lucius said practically, taking a sip of his coffee.

“That is true,” Severus agreed. “There are also some other items that Serena will need too. Perhaps we could meet you there,” and he looked to Helen for her agreement.

She nodded. “Yes, we could, but only after Serena’s had her nap.”

“Great!” Hermione cried excitedly, happy to have her mother and Severus coming too. Then she reached into her pocket and pulled out some parchment and a pen and said, “Now we have to make a guest list before you and Severus go. I promised Mandrake that we’d give it to him this morning.”

“Well, we only have each other, but I’m sure you have some wizarding friends you’d like to invite, dear,” Helen said.

“Okay,” Hermione nodded, and started writing names down. But then her head came up again, and she looked at Lucius. “Severus is going to be your best man, yes?”

“Yes,” Lucius agreed.

“Then who’s going to give me away?” she asked.

Everyone looked at one another, but no one had an answer. Harry was going to be in the wedding party, and Severus would be occupied.

Finally, it was Lucius who came up with a possible solution. “As much as I cannot believe I’m saying this, how about Arthur Weasley?”

“I’m not certain that would be best,” Hermione said. “It might make trouble for him. I don’t think I’m the most popular person in that household at the moment.” She chewed her lip for a moment, and then said, “Why couldn’t Harry do it? He would still be walking down the aisle, it would just be with me instead of by himself.”

Severus gave her a considered look. “We’ll see what Madam Doyle thinks. She’s the expert after all.”

“Okay,” Hermione conceded easily. “I’ll ask her,” and she watched Severus rising, he looked smart in his normal frock coat, and strangely at home with a baby in his arms and her mum on his other arm.

Of course, Helen Granger was still a very beautiful woman, and even though her body looked ever so slightly lived in, she still had lovely curves. Today she was dressed in flared jeans, a cream lace top that finished in a scalloped hem at the top of her legs and a tan hip length leather jacket complimented with jade jewellery, and Hermione smiled as she watched them leaving to start their day.

“We’ll see you at Harrods,” Severus told them, and then they were gone.

~~~***~~~

Mandrake happily received the small guest list that Hermione had constructed as breakfast ended. It was true that they had no other family, but Hermione invited most of the Order members, even those who had been critical of her engagement.

“The engagement invitations will be owled out by lunch time today, and the wedding invitations by dinner tonight,” Mandrake told them.

The wedding planner, Celia Doyle, perused the list Hermione had handed over as well, and she nodded. “Very good,” she said as she glanced at her list in front of her. “Madam Malkin has indicated that she will be available to measure and fit your bridesmaids and yourself this evening after dinner.” When she was met with blank stares she added, “I assume you will be having dinner after the cocktails this afternoon?”

“Oh, I haven’t thought of that,” Lucius said. “Mandrake?”

“It is already underway,” the secretary indicated.

Hermione leaned close to Lucius and whispered, “But we had…” She saw his head tilt slightly and acceptance in his eyes.

“We can go out to dinner another night, little one,” he murmured, only for her ears, and he looked back to Mandrake. “What have you organised?”

“Flossberrys are available to cater, if you wish.”

“No, I believe Pike and his elves can accommodate such a small party,” and he looked to Pike standing in the corner.

“Yes, master,” the elf nodded. “We would be very pleased to serve you.”

“Excellent, then we will speak once we are finished here.”

“Very good, master,” the elf said, and returned to standing and observing.

“Umm, Madam Doyle?” Hermione cut in. “We’ve had some discussion about who is going to give me away at the wedding ceremony. As my pater, Severus normally would be the chosen person, but he is Lucius’ best man, and I was wondering if I could asked Harry to do it. He’s in the wedding party…” but her words trailed off.

Celia nodded, “No, I understand you predicament, I believe it would be perfectly proper for Mister Potter to give you away.” However, then she inhaled again, obviously preparing to continue to speak, and she had a wary expression on her face. “There is another issue though that I feel I should mention. I have managed to keep this out of the media so far,” and she cut her eyes quickly to Hermione. “Miss Granger, Headmaster Snape is your pater, but it has been revealed—only within this circle thankfully—that he and your mother, Helen, have a child and they are unmarried,” the wedding planner stated cautiously.

Hermione instantly saw red regardless of Celia’s caution. “What do you propose that he could have done about it?” she demanded, rocketing to her feet so fast that her chair skidded back. “We were forced to send my mother away for her own safety during the war, and although he may not have wanted to I know, as our spy, he had to remove all memories of her until after the war. Had there not been a war in progress I’m certain that they would have been married before my sister arrived.”

Lucius and Draco rose to their feet either side of her, and Lucius’ eyes narrowed and he growled at Celia, as his hand found Hermione’s. “Insolent witch!” he told her, as he squeezed Hermione’s hand gently. “I am certain that Headmaster Snape has this consideration under control, and that he will not allow it to damage to our fiancé’s reputation.”

Hermione felt Draco take her other hand, and she wondered if it was simply for comfort, or if they were attempting to restrain her from hexing the wedding planner, as at their urging she sat back into her seat.

“My apologies, Miss Granger. I only mentioned it so you were aware of how it would appear to the more critical amongst the general populace.”

Hermione took a deep breath, but only nodded once that she’d understood what the woman had said; she was still too angry to trust her mouth to say anything more.

“Is there any other business?” Lucius asked Mandrake coolly, retaking his seat.

“Only this,” the secretary stated, handing a copy of the latest edition of The Quibbler to Lucius. “I thought that the three of you should be aware of it so you are on your guard.”

Lucius opened the paper and read the front page title. It read - ‘Ron Weasley – My Secret Heartache’.

Hermione scanned the title and the article and saw that the piece had been written by Luna and it was erroneously stating that Ron had an understanding with Hermione before it had been announced that she’d been betrothed to Lucius and Draco. “Oh, you have to be kidding,” she snapped.

“It’s all right, kitten, no one reads this rag,” Draco told her.

“But it’s written by Luna, someone I counted as a friend,” she clarified, and her eyes moved to meet Mandrake’s steady gaze. “Has Luna replied to my invitation for her to be a bridesmaid?”

“All the wedding party have replied to the affirmative,” Mandrake confirmed.

“I see. Mister Rochester, Madam Doyle, would you allow me a moment with my intended wizards, please?”

The secretary and the wedding planner walked out onto the terrace and Mandrake shut the door behind them without another word.

“What do I do?” she asked. “If she’s going to write such complete rot, when she should know that it is not true...” Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “He is the very last person I would ever entertain as a suitor. Therefore, Luna has written this with flagrant disregard for my opinion, and she is no friend if she’s done that.”

“You are correct, kitten,” Draco told her.

“So we end this now by helping you write a note withdrawing the offer of being bridesmaid, and explaining exactly why,” Lucius added.

“But then the wedding party would be uneven.”

Draco turned Hermione to look at him. “Kitten, why did you pick Lovegood over Pansy?”

“She’s your ex-girlfriend, Draco,” Hermione said, “I thought it would be awkward,” but she was surprised when he laughed.

Hermione was starting to look angry again, and Draco quickly defused the situation. He took Hermione’s cheeks between his hands and said, “She’s never been more than a friend, she’s gay, sweetheart. She’s been going out with Millie since second year, but she’s still a good friend to me, a little like you and Potter… I mean, Harry, and I know that she would step in if you wished.”

“Oh!” Hermione gasped. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed. We’ll send her an invitation to stand up with us,” and she smiled, leaning forward to kiss him.

Once things were settled, Lucius wandlessly opened the terrace doors and called, “You can return now,” but before he’d closed the doors again, a raven swooped in after them.

The bird landed in front of Lucius, allowing him to take the missive from it before it flew off again. He read through the short note and handed it to Hermione, as he turned to Celia. “Your concern has turned out to be unfounded, Headmaster Snape will be married before the engagement party.”

As he said it, Hermione squealed in delight. “I knew they were meant to be together,” she crowed, first hugging Draco and then turning to Lucius and doing the same.

Celia nodded her understanding, and shot a look at Hermione, but she’d gone back to dictating to Mandrake her notes for Luna and Pansy, and there was a huge smile plastered on her face as she spoke to him.

“Then I will see you all again tonight when I return with Madam Malkin. May we set up this area as a fitting room?”

“Certainly,” Lucius said.

Celia then turned to Draco. “When is your friend Blaise going to be here?”

“He cannot return until Thursday.”

“Then we will have the men’s fitting night on Thursday evening. Flossberrys have also asked me to have you attend for lunch on Wednesday to approve the menu for the engagement party on Saturday evening.”

Mandrake noted all of this down, and he also left with Hermione’s notes in his bag to owl as well. “Have an excellent day, everyone,” he said, before he stepped into the Floo.

Chapter Text


While Hermione and the Malfoys were in their meeting with Mandrake and Celia Doyle, Severus had loaded Helen and Serena into one of the Malfoy cars and had driven them the short distance to Prince Manor. The black S class Mercedes sedan was the car he drove when he needed to drive somewhere, and he knew that Lucius considered it to be Severus’ car. The Potions master even had his own set of keys for it, and so he also thought nothing of borrowing it.

He’d fitted the baby seat that Hermione had transfigured in the limo the day before, and off they went.

Prince Manor was only a five minute trip from Malfoy Manor, and so they were soon parked in the driveway of the estate.

“My goodness,” Helen gasped. “It’s almost as big as Malfoy Manor.”

“Yes, it certainly is,” Severus replied. “Although, we do not have the menace of those confounded white peacocks, and the Prince family were not quite as obscenely wealthy as the Malfoys,” and he chuckled. “They did build an estate to rival most of the other pureblood families.”

They got out of the car, and Helen collected Serena while Severus extracted his girls’ luggage from the boot of the car. He had also taken the precaution of shrinking Serena’s cot to bring with them, and he was pleased he had when Helen straightened up with a sleeping little girl in her arms.

He smiled and ushered his family into the house through the door that was being held open by a well-dressed house elf.

“Tippy, this is your new mistress,” Severus told the elf.

“Hello, Tippy, I’m Helen,” Helen said.

“Mistress,” Tippy insisted, and held out a long-fingered hand to greet Helen.

“Later,” Severus instructed, watching Helen trying to work out how she was going to shake hands with the elf while she was holding Serena. “We will summon you, Tippy,” he went on to say. There was another reason that he did not want the elf to bond with Helen yet.

“Very good, master,” Tippy. “Will Tippy summon Hetty for Mistress Snape?”

“Yes, Hetty can bring the luggage up and unpack, as long as she does not disturb Miss Serena while she sleeps.”

“Yes, sir, Tippy is being very pleased to serve,” and the elf popped out to do as he’d been instructed.

“Come,” Severus said, and started guiding Helen towards the central stair case that wound up to the next level.

The manor was very gothic in appearance, with stone window frames and mullioned casement windows either side of the entrance way, as well as in every room along the front of the house. A good deal of the front façade was covered in ivy that was trimmed to expose the windows, and as soon as she’d seen it, Helen had loved the place.

She was still getting used to house elves, but so far she liked the little creatures, and both Severus and the Malfoys seemed to treat them very well. She remembered Hermione being horrified that the elves were treated like slaves when she’d been about fourteen, but she’d since learned that the little creatures thrived on the work they did. It was true to say that some of them were badly treated, and Helen suspected that her daughter would be doing something about that once she was a solicitor.

She smiled as Severus guided her into a suite of rooms. “These are our personal rooms,” he told her.

They walked through a huge sitting room and into an equally huge bedroom.

“My goodness, what a decadent bed,” Helen said.

“Yes,” Severus said, chuckling wickedly. “And I can’t wait to see you spread out on it,” and he bent down and kissed her.

Helen smiled and a little pinkish tinge lit her cheeks as she watched him walk into an adjoining room and place the cot on the floor and enlarge it.

“This will be Serena’s room until she’s older,” he said. “Make Serena comfortable, I have something I wish to speak to you about. I shall return in a moment.”

Severus strode from the room, intent on accessing his private safe in his study, and Helen occupied herself in making Serena comfortable. She placed the little girl in the cot they’d brought with them, and then put the baby bag on the chair beside the cot. She went about taking off Serena’s shoes and hat so she’d be more comfortable and then covered her and quietly slid the side of the cot up to keep Serena safe.

Standing at the door gazing at her sleeping daughter, finally she turned and went back into the bedroom. She wandered over to the bed and sat on the edge of the beautiful burgundy silk bedspread. My how life has changed, she thought.

Having only just reconnected with Severus before she’d returned she’d been genuinely frightened that he wouldn’t want her when he found out that she’d gotten pregnant. They’d talked so little in the time they’d had before she’d left for Australia, but she’d already been able to tell that he’d been the man for her.

There had been a spark between them almost immediately, and it had happened again when they’d reconnected, and now this. She looked around; it was a beautiful room, and after a moment she got up and walked to the windows that faced east. The view was magnificent, and she gasped at the beautifully laid out formal garden and the rolling hills of Wiltshire beyond. There were two elves currently occupied in cutting the lawn beyond, and she wondered how many of these creatures lived here.

Then her eyes moved to the only other door beside the bed, and she saw a vast dressing room, and she walked in and found that through the next door was a bathroom. She didn’t care what the rest of the house looked like, she was happy, this was the kind of house she’d always wanted to live in, and it was as she was thinking this that Severus came back.

“Helen?” he questioned, unable to see her.

She came out into the bedroom. “This place is perfect, Severus.”

“I’m pleased,” he said. “Come, I’ve organised tea, and I wish to asked you something.”

They walked into the sitting room, and Severus sat Helen on the lounge. He took her hand and immediately dropped lightly onto one knee in front of her. “I know this has been a whirl-wind of a few days, but your return has cemented a need in my mind. I know this is very quick in Muggle standards, but in wizarding terms it is not, as our magic tells us when we’ve met the person or persons who will be our life partners.” He looked up to see her nodding her understanding to him. “I love you, and my magic has told me that you are the one for me. Helen, I’m hoping that you will do me the great honour of becoming my wife?”

“Oh, Severus. I love you too,” and the hand he was not holding came up to caress his face. “Yes, I would be honoured to be yours.”

Severus’ smile grew, and he pulled a ring box out of his pocket, and produced a stunning diamond and emerald ring from it. “Then I seal our pledge with this ring,” and he placed it on her finger, and came up to sit beside her.

She instantly melted into his arms, and their lips met. “I can’t get enough of you,” she murmured, between kisses.

“Well, now is the perfect time for us; our little love is asleep and we can’t go anywhere until she’s ready to go.”

Helen giggled, and rose from the lounge, shedding her clothes as she walked. The tea was forgotten and by the time Severus had followed her, she was laying in the middle of the bed, naked, and with a come hither look in her eyes.

He removed the remainder of his clothes and climbed on after her. “Minx,” he murmured, settling between her open knees and ghosting a finger up and down the soft curls at the apex of her thighs. “You are so beautiful,” he murmured, and his lips arrived at the inside of her knee and he started kissing and licking up towards the top. However, when he was almost there, he chuckled, blew on her downy pussy and started at the inside of her other knee.

This time when he reached the top, his tongue dipped into her slit and rubbed up and down before his fingers arrived and opened her slippery flesh to his eyes. Only then did his tongue sink inside her as his lips suckled.

She cried out, and just in time he remembered to place a silencing charm around them so they wouldn’t wake Serena. He had only worked for a short time before she groaned deeply and bathed his mouth in her juices. He continued to lick and suck at her until she started squirming too much, and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand he took hold of his aching tool and put it to work where his mouth had been.

He eased himself into her as his mouth travelled up her body. He eagerly licked up the sweet milk that had squirted out of her as she’d orgasmed, but he purposely didn’t suckle at her, as he knew that Serena would need the milk when she woke. Instead he started thrusting now he was sheathed inside her, as he knew that more of her delicious milk would squirt out as he worked her towards another orgasm. He wasn’t disappointed, and his mouth was waiting as his cock brought her to her next release. He had discovered this delight last night as they’d made love, and he was already planning to keep her lactating as long as possible, as he found it impossibly sexy that as she came she squirted milk.

He groaned in the back of his throat as he worked towards his own release, and lost himself and started suckling as he pounded his cock in and out of her. He imagined that her milk was like nectar was to the birds and bees, and he sucked on her happily as he groaned his release and came down from his high.

Helen allowed him to suckle at her breast because Serena was now almost weaning age, and she cradled his head as he groaned in pleasure.

As she lay there bonelessly happy, she recalled that she’d weaned Hermione at two, but her first husband had never craved her milk like Severus did. In a lot of ways, Severus and her first husband, Edgar, were like chalk and cheese, Edgar had been very proper, and he was definitely not sexually free, he’d had many hang ups that Helen had had to live with, but she had loved him regardless.

She caressed Severus’ face to get his attention, and she watched him slowly open his eyes and look at her. “We’ll have to marry before Saturday, won’t we?”

He allowed her breast to pop free from his mouth and he smiled. “Yes, that would be best. We can’t have anyone judging Hermione or Serena because of our oversight.” He kissed her between her breasts. “As unintended and delightful as the arrival of our daughter was,” he added, so she knew he didn’t think that Serena was a mistake, she would never be that.

“No, we cannot, and we cannot have anyone saying that the headmaster of Hogwarts is anything but above suspicion either.”

Severus settled his head onto her soft stomach and her nuzzled her with his cheek as he sighed and said, “I’m not planning to remain as headmaster. Filius can move up. I think he deserves that, he has worked tirelessly towards it for years.”

“Filius, that’s the Charms professor?”

“Yes,” but as Severus answered they heard Serena waking in the next room. “You stay here, I’ll get her,” he said, and leaning down he kissed her mons before he got to his hands and knees to get up as she giggled at him.

Severus quickly summoned his black silk robe and went to get Serena. He had helped change the little girl’s nappy twice so far, and he was certain that it wouldn’t be that hard. He lay her on the change table after remembering to pull the chair with the bag on it closer so he could get what he needed from it.

He knew he may have been in over his head when he undid the disposable nappy and was faced with a very smelly mess. “My goodness, Madam, what has your mother been feeding you?” he asked the smiling squirming Serena.

“Everything all right in there?” Helen asked from the bedroom.

“Yes,” Severus called back, still confident that he could manage. He vanished as much of the mess as he dared, and held Serena’s legs up as he used the wipes to clean the rest. Finally, he placed the clean nappy under her bottom, and set about fitting it.

He looked rather pleased with himself when he carried the freshened Serena in to her mother. He glanced at Helen and smiled seeing her sitting there examining the ring he’d given her. She’d pulled the quilt up to her waist, and she looked up and smiled when she saw them.

“Managed?”

“A doddle,” Severus replied.

“Really?” she questioned, looking fairly sceptical.

Severus looked to Serena. “She doubts us, little one.”

The meaning of Severus’ words went over Serena’s head, but she laughed and captured his cheeks in her chubby hands. “Da,” she said, kissing him.

That was the moment that Severus Snape realised that everything he’d ever been through to get to this point was worth it. He was going to have a wife and he had a daughter who’d just called him dad.

He quickly handed Serena to Helen as he was very overcome with emotion.

Helen looked up at him. “I love you,” she told him. “Come and sit with us,” she encouraged.

He took her offered hand and squeezed it, but then thought to what he’d been thinking as he changed Serena’s nappy. “I love you both, but I will be back directly. I must send a message to Lucius with our news.” He took in Helen’s questioning expression. “If Celia Doyle is on her game—which she always appears to be—then Lucius needs to know that we’ve got our wedding in hand so he can tell her to stick her beaky nose somewhere else.”

Helen nodded as Serena attached herself to Helen’s breast, and then she glanced up at him and smiled. “Good plan,” she said.

~~~***~~~

When Severus returned from his errand, he brought them a mug of tea each, and climbed in beside his girls again. He’d had a smoke while he was in the sitting room writing his note. He didn’t know what Helen would think of him smoking around Serena; he hadn’t tested that boundary yet.

Helen thanked him for the tea, and carefully took a sip before sighing and placing it back away from Serena’s reach. “I needed that,” she murmured, bringing Serena up to pat her back.

“When I leave Hogwarts, there is someone I’d like to bring here with me,” Severus said quietly.

Helen tilted her head in question.

“The school matron has been like a mother to me. She now wants to retire as the rigors of running around after over four hundred students is starting to become too much for her. She’s alone, she has no one else, and I was wondering if you would allow her to be Serena’s live in nurse. We will require a nurse for our little girl, and I believe Poppy would be perfect. She has always been there for me, and I’d like to be there for her now she needs a home. I haven’t said anything to her yet, as I wished to speak with you first.”

“Thank you. Yes, I agree that we may need a live-in nurse, but I’d like to meet her before I comment further.”

“That is reasonable,” Severus said. “I’ll take you both to Hogwarts to meet her.”

“I didn’t think I’d be able to go to Hogwarts,” Helen said, swapping Serena to the other side.

“I’m very aware that you have a portion of innate magic coursing through your veins. I will apparate us to the gates and we shall see,” Severus said, smiling. “Now, I’m going to have a quick shower while you finish feeding Serena so I can mind her while you have a shower.”

“Okay,” Helen agreed.

~~~***~~~

It was almost ten thirty when Lucius, Hermione, and Draco stepped out of the Floo and into The Leaky Cauldron. They wasted no time in making for Diagon Alley and walking towards the bank.

Hermione was still angry at Luna for her lack of judgement, and even angrier at Ron for allowing his mother to dictate his thoughts. She had no doubt that this had come from Molly, after what Molly did to try and get Harry to marry Ginny. She was proving herself to be every bit as manipulative as the stereotypical Slytherin. Only Hermione was finding out that Slytherins were nothing like what she’d been told they were by people like Molly.

Walking with her arms through Lucius and Draco’s offered arms, they made a particularly wide group of people, and Hermione did what she always did as she approached the bank, she stopped and glanced up at its vivid white facade.

Lucius and Draco obligingly stopped with her, but almost as soon as they did an angry voice from within the bank doorway said, “Oi! Get out of the way, Ferret. People are trying to get out.”

It was true that Draco was the one closest to the middle of the steps, but there was still plenty of room to get by him.

Ron had only commented because it was Draco, and he and Ginny now walked around them, but Ron shouldered him as he did, and then looked back at them, sneering. “Oh sorry,” he stated insincerely, and then added to his sister, “Hey look, Gin, it’s the whore and her two of her Death Eaters.”

Lucius caught Hermione as the force of Ron’s actions pushed Draco backwards before he managed to catch himself.

Hermione was saved from damage by Lucius, and she was straightening and livid as she glared back at them. “Hasn’t your mother told you that you shouldn’t lie, Ronald?”

“It’s bloody true,” Ginny proclaimed to the gathering crowd. “And she’s broken my brother’s heart.”

“It is utter nonsense, that’s what it is,” Hermione replied coolly. “We have never had an agreement about anything; we very rarely even saw eye to eye as friends. I would never entertain the idea of anything else with you. Excuse me,” Hermione said, and she went to turn away from them before she said something she’d regret, but she didn’t see Ron pulling his wand from his sleeve.

“You bitch!” he yelled.

Luckily, Lucius and Draco saw what he was about to do, and both their wands arrived to defend her.

“I think that comment puts out any thoughts that you’ve got a broken heart, Weasley,” Draco told him.

“And I would back away,” Lucius warned, “or we’ll summon the Aurors.”

“The Aurors are already here,” said a voice, and Kingsley, flanked by Harry and two uniformed Aurors, stepped out from the shadows near the bank’s entrance. He looked straight at Ron and Ginny and said, “And we heard every word. Detain them both,” he commanded to the Aurors. “They will be charged under the new Muggleborn anti-discrimination laws.”

“What? You must be joking. We fought to get rid of scum like the Malfoys,” Ron said.

“Shut it, Ron,” Harry told him, wading into the argument, and he turned to the gathered people. “Unity is the only way forward. Hermione Granger is not being forced to marry these men. She is entering this esteemed form of wizarding marriage because she wants to, and she is marrying for love, as I will when the opportunity arises.”

Having said his piece, and seeing those present lapping it up, he noted that the Malfoys had ushered Hermione away while he’d been speaking, and he turned to look after Ron and Ginny. He wished there was something he could have done to nip this sort of behaviour in the bud, but while they were being encouraged by their mother, no one had any chance of making them see reason.

Harry and Kingsley entered the bank, and Harry asked where Hermione had been taken, and he was directed towards a private room. He knocked. “I won’t be long,” he told Kingsley.

Lucius answered the door. “Hermione’s a little upset at the moment, Mr Potter,” he said.

Harry looked past Lucius and saw Hermione being held by Draco, and she was indeed upset. He looked back to Lucius. “It’s Harry, remember, and I’m pleased you’ve realised that she not as bomb-proof as she tries to tell people she is.”

“Don’t worry, Harry, we’re both devoted to her happiness. We’ll see you this afternoon.”

“Right you are,” Harry replied. “Have a good day.”

Lucius inclined his head in answer and then turned away, shutting the door. He walked back to Hermione and Draco. “Harry wanted to make sure you were all right.”

As he spoke she looked up at him and nodded her understanding, before sighing. “Yes, I’ll be fine,” and she looked to Draco. “Thank you,” she told him.

“You’re welcome,” he replied, given her a peck on the lips. “Now let’s go and see what you now own,” he cackled.

She smiled despite how angry she still was. “Lucius,” she said, reaching for his hand.

“You did well out there, little witch. You will be reported in a positive light, and I have no doubt that it will be reported in this evening’s paper,” he stated pulling her into his arms and kissing her head.

Hermione nodded against his chest, inhaling deeply. She loved how both of them smelt; it represented comfort now to her, and even after such a short time she didn’t think that anything would ever be so delicious to her.

Lucius rubbed her upper arms he knew they had to keep going or they’d miss their appointment with Armando. “All right?” he murmured.

“Yes, I’m fine,” and she pulled a mirror from her pocket and dispelled the evidence of her tears.

Lucius walked over and pressed a button next on the other door of the office and a goblin called Jacknip came in. He did not say anything but gestured for them to follow. He opened the door of a carriage, that to Hermione’s surprise resembled a small Muggle cable car, and Lucius welcomed her into it, sitting her down beside him. Draco touched her knee as he sat opposite, and the goblin shut the door and stepped into the driver’s compartment.

“I had this car installed just after Draco was born,” Lucius explained as they started off. “It’s a long journey to the levels containing our vaults, and I reasoned that it should be taken in comfort. The idea of coming back up from a visit to ones vaults and looking like you’d endured a hurricane was ridiculous.”

Hermione giggled at his accompanying hand movements and actions, but then reality set in and she realised that they would most likely be going deeper into the bank that where she’d been the day they’d broken in near the end of the war.

She began fidgeting as she nervously looked around. They were moving very fast, and her stomach lurched in protest making her clear her throat, but she managed to hide her discomfort from her attentive wizards this time, unlike when she’d first arrived in their house.

Then they were stopping, and the goblin was opening the door. Unlike other vaults she’d visited here, there was a little bay, and the car was right next to the landing, there was no hideous gap to traverse to get to the walkway.

Draco alighted first, and she took his offered hand and stepped onto the walkway. Lucius followed her out, and both men wrapped an arm possessively around her waist as Lucius handed over his key.

The door that opened was massive, and Hermione could not help the gasp that escaped her lips as she stood there looking at the cavernous room in front of her. Every surface was piled high with galleons, and the room was vast. The men ushered her inside, and she saw that not only was there this huge room but there were side rooms as well.

“You see,” Lucius whispered close to her ear. “I could dress you in galleons if I choice to, but I much prefer you in silks and satins I think,” and he chuckled decadently.

His laugh went straight to the pit of her stomach, and she moaned softly, leaning in closer to him as she asked, “What are the side rooms for?”

“They are for my different interests in life.” He walked her to one in particular near the back. “See, this one is new, can you guess what it might be for?”

She shook her head, and he smiled.

“It’s the new trust fund for your orphanage.”

“Oh,” she gasped.

“And I have a surprise for you in my vault too,” Draco put in.

He’d been silent up until now, obviously allowing his father his moment, but now he claimed centre stage.

“Come, it’s my turn,” and he turned her back towards the carriage, eager for her to see his vault too.

However, Lucius stilled her progress. “I would like you to choose which jewels you want to wear over the next week before we move on,” and he led her into one of the side rooms further towards the front, and guided her inside.

The room sparkled so much that it almost hurt her eyes, and she had no idea what to choose. “I’m not sure,” she said, her lip slipping between her teeth.

“Well, perhaps choose a selection that can be taken to the house, and then see what you buy at Harrods,” Lucius suggested.

So she did, she chose several sets of the less ostentatious jewels available, and Lucius seem happy. He handed them off to Jacknip, and quietly ushered her out, handing her on to Draco. He followed quietly as they swapped positions in the carriage and Draco sat with Hermione and he sat opposite. He was also the first one from the carriage this time, and he assisted Hermione onto the walkway.

Draco’s vault was not as extensive as his father’s yet, but it was still incredibly impressive. She watched as Draco collected a set of deeds while they were looking around, and saw him place them in his pocket. She wondered what they were, but before she could ask they went back out onto the walkway.

They walked to another door, and Lucius said, “This is your new vault.”

“Mine?”

“Yes, I had Jacknip here move your vault down here with ours, and you will find that you have many more things now, if you would just give him your key,” Lucius told her.

A very bemused Hermione dug in her bag for her vault key, and handed it to the goblin. He opened the vault and Hermione gasped. “Where did all this come from?” She knew she only had a modest amount in her vault.

“We’ve both made certain that you have an allowance to spend on whatever takes your fancy,” Lucius told her.

“And we know that you would wish to earn your money,” Draco added before she could speak, “but we also wished to make this available to you on top of that.”

“It is in some ways a measure of our regard for you, and for what you’re doing for our family,” Lucius added.

She considered this and them for some moments, but eventually she nodded and smiled at them. “Thank you,” she said, and drew them both into a hug.

After that they all piled back into the carriage and headed once more for the upper levels, and by the time they were walking back out into Diagon Alley, she’d forgotten about Ron and his stupidity, and she was very ready for some serious retail therapy.

Chapter Text


As they walked back into The Leaky Cauldron, Hermione was still a little shaken from the episode on the steps of Gringotts with Ron and Ginny, and she couldn’t wait to get out of the public eye again. There was also something starting to niggle at her mind. What if Luna hadn't published that story of her own free will?

Both Lucius and Draco noticed her unease, and they planted her between them and then escorted her through the crowded pub and out the front door and into the Muggle street, shielding her from anyone and everyone. As they moved through the door of the pub Lucius’ wizarding robes transfigured themselves into a classy Muggle suit. Flint was waiting for them a little way up the street, and he opened the limousine door as they approached. The Malfoys ushered Hermione into the car before they followed, and sat either side of her.

Hermione sighed as she let go of her public facade, but her lip went between her teeth as she continued to think about Luna.

Flint eased them into the traffic as Draco said, “Weasley really rattled you, didn’t he?”

“After the rubbish I read this morning… I still cannot believe that Luna has betrayed me like this. What if she hasn’t?” she asked.

“What do you mean?” Lucius asked.

“Perhaps I should have questioned it more. You know, to get to the root of the cause before I just dismissed her actions,” Hermione told them.

“She has always worked to her own agenda,” Draco said.

“And you do not expect this type of behaviour from someone who is a cousin,” Lucius put in, sniffing disdainfully.

This made Draco cackle. “I don’t know about that, some of our cousins would murder us in our beds” but then he sobered. “But I didn’t think Lovegood capable of it.”

Hermione sighed. “That’s exactly what I mean, and now I’ve had some time to think about it, I can’t help thinking that there might be something funny going on.”

“How so?” Lucius asked. “What do you believe has happened?”

Hermione saw genuine concern creeping into his expression, and it made her smile. Even last week she would never have thought him capable of that. She cleared her throat before she spoke. “Well, what do you do if you want to plant doubt about something?” she asked them.

“Are you saying that this might be an attempt by someone to derail our union?” Lucius stated.

“Yes, and I’m suggesting that they may have used Luna and Ron as their pawns.”

“I must be losing it, I never even considered that,” Lucius said, but then he smiled. “Those who would oppose us do not know what they’re in for,” he stated jovially, before turning her to him and kissing her.

“So, you’re sticking up for Weasley?” Draco snapped.

Hermione tore her mouth away from Lucius and turned to Draco. “Certainly not,” she replied quickly. “Ron is nothing but a giant pain-in-the-arse, but that doesn’t mean that he cannot be manipulated by someone. However, it is Luna’s best interests I’m concerned about; Ron has simply been caught in the same net. He has family to take care of him, Luna was left with no one after the war.”

Lucius sighed from behind Hermione. “Yes, I’m afraid that is true, and I suppose we have been negligent in not making certain that she was cared for.” He dropped a kiss on Hermione’s shoulder. “You have alerted me to my responsibility,” he told her.

Hermione leaned forward and kissed Draco, hand sliding up to cup Lucius’ cheek as she said, “Neither of you have been in the position to care for anyone but yourselves for months, you cannot blame yourselves. The Order should have taken better care of her.” She shrugged. “But life just keep going.”

“And you cannot blame yourself either,” Lucius replied.  

Draco slid in closer to Hermione and pulled her into his arms. “I’m sorry for snapping at you,” she said, as he took full advantage of her willingness to be in his arms.

“You will need to learn to trust me, Draco. You and Lucius are to be my husbands. I will not deceive you, and especially not with Ronald Weasley. He used to be my friend, but he has never—and will never be—anything else to me.”

“Yes, I will,” Draco replied. “I’m sorry.” He took a breath, and his brow crinkled. “But where does that leave Pansy?”

“Well, if I’ve acted too hastily, then we’ll simply find another groomsman,” Hermione stated.

Lucius chuckled. “Just like that,” he said, and started kissing the side of her neck as Draco’s lips covered her.

She gave in to their attentions, even as worry curled in her stomach. Had she been too hasty in condemning a friend? She needed to speak to Severus; he would know what to do. She’d just decided this as their intimate moment was cut short when it became apparent that they’d arrived at Harrods, and they heard Flint coming around to open their door. There was a quick assessment of clothing and hair and Lucius stepped out onto the pavement first, turning to offer Hermione his hand.

As she alighted from the car, Hermione looked around. “This is not the front of Harrods,” she stated.

“No, this is the hidden wizarding entrance,” Lucius said, snickering at the look of irritation on her face.

“Why am I always the last to know things?” she sighed. “I did not know that Harrods had a wizarding section.”

“Actually,” a voice with a strong Italian accent said. “The two stores cohabit seamlessly. It’s just that the Muggles do not know we’re here.”

Hermione turned to see a dapper little man in an expensive looking suit whom she did not recognise. “Oh,” she said.

Lucius turned and inclined his head to the man. “Good morning, Armando. May I present Miss Hermione Granger.”

“Hello, Miss Granger,” Armando said, extending his hand. “Charmed. Congratulations on your betrothal.”

Hermione smiled slightly. “Thank you,” she replied.

“Good morning, gentlemen,” Armando smiled. “Please follow me,” and he led them towards the lifts.

Hermione was pleased that Lucius and Draco were either side of her, because she was so busy taking in the opulence of the foyer that she was most certainly not watching where she was going.

However, her wizards navigated her safely into the lift and it was only as she did not have anything to take her attention that she realised that she was the one supposed to be showing them Muggle London, not them showing her aspects of wizarding London that she did not know about. She snickered softly.

“What’s funny?” Lucius asked.

“I supposed to be showing you Muggle London,” she whispered.

“So you are,” Lucius remembered from the trial day. “So, once we’re finished spending money. Where are you going to take us?”

“I’m not certain that we’ll have time today,” Hermione said. The lift chimed as the doors opened, and then they were walking into an opulent salon. “Wow,” she gasped.

Hermione and her mother had been to some shops in Paris that offered valued clients such luxuries, but she had never seen this level of magnificence. The salon was baroque in style, and it was decorated as a formal sitting room, but there were doors off the room that obviously led to dressing rooms, and one other door with what looked like a waiter standing next to a sideboard that she was certain would contain alcohol.

Then her attention was taken as a middle-aged woman entered, and introduced herself. “Miss Granger?”

Hermione smiled and gave the woman her full attention.

“I am Marguerite. Could you give me some idea of what you’re looking for today, please?”

However, it was Lucius who answered. “Miss Granger is augmenting her wardrobe today. She will require several formal dresses, matching shoes and underwear, as well as cocktail dresses, a selection of casual wear and all the paraphernalia that accompanies.”

“Very good, Lord Malfoy,” Marguerite replied. “And for you gentlemen?”

“We’re not looking for anything in particular, but if something takes our fancy…” Draco stated with a cheeky gleam in his eyes, and he was watching Hermione as he said it.

“However,” Lucius cut in, turning to Armando. “You should send someone down to await our guests. Headmaster Snape and his party should be arriving shortly.”

“Oh, excellent, I’ll send Dobs,” Armando enthused, indicating for the waiter standing by the sideboard to come forward, as he said to Hermione, Lucius and Draco. “Please make yourselves comfortable while Marguerite organises the things you’ve requested,” and he indicated that they should sit on the silk covered lounge.

Hermione was intrigued by how they were being treated, and she watched Armando hurrying off as he issued orders to those who need to do things. A second waiter, who had appeared without her noticing, brought them drinks and asked, “Would you like to wait to order lunch until your guests arrive, Lord Malfoy?”

Lucius nodded. “Yes.”

They were then left in peace to sip at their drinks as everyone went off to complete the tasks they’d been assigned, but Hermione was almost vibrating with excitement. “Is this how you usually shop?” she asked.

“It most certainly is,” Draco stated, leaning forward to kiss her. “You will have to get used to it, kitten.”

She smiled. “Yes, I will.” Hermione was caught in Draco’s eyes when Lucius leaned in from behind.

 “Are you happy?” he whispered.

“Oh yes,” she replied in a murmur, as his silvered voice sent a shiver of delight vibrating through her, and it landed directly with a strong pulse at the apex of her thighs. “But if you keep talking to me like that I won’t be able to walk to the fitting room.”

A quick glance around showed that they were still essentially alone, and Lucius moved closer as Draco snickered.

“And why would that be, little witch?” he said, obviously making his voice lower and smoother.

“Lucius,” she whispered, the want plain in her voice.

He smiled, his eyes meeting Draco’s. “I think our witch requires something more intimate than they’re offering here.”

“With pleasure,” Draco murmured, easily slipping his hand up under her skirt.

“Draco!” Hermione whispered urgently.

“Yes?” her cheeky fiancé replied, his eyes sparkling, and his finger was already massaging her clit through her underwear. “She’s very wet,” he murmured to Lucius.

“Is she?” Lucius replied. “Well, we can’t have that. Come, little witch.”

However, whatever his plan had been, it was instantly scuttled as the door opened to admit Severus, Helen, and Serena.

Hermione was equally glad and disappointed about that, and she tried very hard to compose herself, but her pussy was aching from Draco’s attentions and now he’d withdrawn his finger, leaving her hanging. Then she remembered Luna and what she might have inadvertently done to her, and all thoughts of want left her.

The problem was that she had to wait her chance; she’d learnt the hard way not to discuss sensitive issues in front of people she didn’t trust, and the employee of this store definitely fell into that category.

Seeing Hermione watching Severus, Lucius facilitated their privacy. “Severus, a word if you please. Come, little witch,” and he ushered them into one of the rooms off to the side. When they were alone, he looked to Hermione and then said, “Hermione is concerned that there may be something amiss with Miss Lovegood.”

“How so, Hermione?” Severus asked.

“Well…” and Hermione related what they’d learned that morning, and her reaction to it, and then her concern that she may have been too hasty in her condemnation of Luna.

“Yes, I can see what you mean. I will contact Tonks immediately,” and he was striding from the room. He stopped at the lounge and leaned down to Helen’s ear. “I shall return momentarily, my love,” he whispered. “I have just been made aware of an issue that needs my immediate attention.” He kissed Helen’s cheek and then Serena’s head and turned to Armando. “Is there an apparition chamber close by, Signor?”

“Certainly, Headmaster Snape. Dobs,” he called, and the same attendant who had brought Severus and his family up walked towards them, and Severus followed him out the door.

As they walked back into the salon Hermione saw concern clouding her mother’s expression, and she glanced at Lucius saying. “I’ll sit with Mum until Severus returns.”

Lucius cast a glance towards Helen, who suddenly looked very uncertain and he kissed Hermione’s temple. “Certainly. Helen looks like she needs reassurance.”

Hermione smiled as she sat down with her mother and her sister. “I’ve become aware of a potential problem with one of our friends, and Severus has just gone to inform Dora Tonks that the Aurors may need to investigate.”

“Oh dear,” Helen gasped. “Will everything be all right?”

“Severus will make certain it is. Now let’s take this opportunity to organise your wedding dress while he’s not here,” Hermione encouraged, grabbing her mother’s hand and examining her ring. “Oh, Mum, it’s lovely.”

Helen finally smiled. “Yes, it is, isn’t it?” Then she started talking. “Oh, Hermione, wait until you see Prince Manor. It’s gothic with mullioned windows and ivy over its stone façade. It’s just like that dream house picture I used to have on the fridge at home.”

“Oh yes, I remember the one. Wow,” Hermione replied. “I’m so happy for you,” she said smiling and pulling both her mother and Serena into a hug. Serena giggled and squirmed and Hermione pulled her into her arms and started tickling her. The little girl laughed joyously and the two wizards watching smiled.

Helen saw this, and it seemed to give her courage. She thought for a moment, and then she looked to Lucius. “Lucius, I think that Severus and I should host some of the functions involved with the wedding.”

Lucius glanced at Draco, and then nodded his understanding. He had not taken this into consideration, and he was slightly taken back by the request.

The air was tense for a moment until Lucius gave his answer. He was not used to requests like this, but then he realised that this was the woman who had installed the values he saw in Hermione and he realised that he needed to be flexible. “Of course, it is usually the responsibility of the bride’s parents to host the engagement and such,” he said, “but we are happy to host it at our manor, as you and Severus were not installed in your home when it was arranged.”

“Yes, that is a valid point, but nevertheless, I shall speak to Severus about it, and we’ll share perhaps,” Helen told him.

The corner of Lucius’ lips tilted upward. “Sharing is acceptable. We shall discuss it.”

“It is immaterial,” Draco added. “As long as we get to marry Hermione.”

Hermione had been listening to the conversation very uncertain as to how the Malfoys would take being told to share something. In the past, she would’ve thought that what Helen had just said would end in a blood bath. However, she was rapidly learning that most of the things she’d thought were real about this family had been twisted, and she wondered by whom. Nevertheless, she smiled. “I appreciate everyone working together on this.”

“And why would we not, little witch? We stand to lose much more than most if we do not,” Lucius answered. “You are very important to us, so we will concede many things to attain you.”

Helen understood more from Lucius’ words than Hermione did, and it made her very happy to hear that her daughter was held in such high regard by these men. She was still having a little trouble reconciling herself to Hermione marrying two men, but seeing that no one else around the room seemed to think it was strange settled her a little. She knew so little about wizarding traditions, and she wondered if Severus had some books on the subject that she might read.

It was as she was thinking this that Severus strode back into the room. “The matter is now under investigation,” he stated coming to stand beside Helen. “What have I missed?” he asked.

Helen stood and kissed his cheek. “We have been discussing responsibilities,” she told him.

Severus and Helen had spoken in the car on their journey here about Helen’s desire to participate more fully in Hermione’s wedding preparations, and he had agreed. Whilst he was not as wealthy as Lucius and Draco, he had a comfortable fortune, and he had taken on the duty of being her pater, so he’d agreed that they should be hosting more. “Yes,” he added, “we were hoping that this evening’s dinner and dress fitting could occur at Prince Manor.”

“And we host the afternoon tea affair?” Draco chimed in.

“Well, if you feel you must,” Lucius stated, not entirely at ease with this change, so soon after he’d thought he had everything under control.

“An owl to Madam Doyle will sort the matter,” Severus told them.

Lucius knew that Severus deserved the chance to do what he was asking to do, and he rose and walked to a writing desk tucked into the corner of the room. He quickly penned a note and then held the quill out for Severus. “You had better endorse this change,” he stated.

Severus nodded his understanding and took Helen’s hand. “I wish you to see this too,” he murmured. “It’s not often that one bests Lucius Malfoy,” he whispered as they walked.

Helen glanced up at him, her eyes wide. She hadn’t realised the significance of what she’d done. “Oh,” she gasped.

Severus signed under Lucius’ name and Armando, who just seemed to appear when he was needed, dispatched the note with Dobs to deliver. Then the party settled into doing some serious shopping.

The opportunity for Helen to purchase a dress for her wedding evaporated, but they two Granger women were more than happy with the things they bought at Harrods.

~~~***~~~

“Helen and I agreed this morning that we cannot have Hermione marrying into such an established family without her mother and proxy father being a credit and an honour to her. We have therefore decided to marry quietly before your engagement party on Saturday,” Severus stated as they ate lunch after having bought what they wished.

“Friday evening, we thought,” Helen added.

“Oh my,” Hermione gasped, but then a brilliant smile blossomed on her face and she was out of her chair and hugging her mother, regardless of their semi-public situation. Even though the staff attending their needs all morning had been unobtrusive and discreet, it was still outside their homes.

Mind you, the next moment saw all of them relaxing their public facades when Serena took her big sister’s enthusiastic pleasure as a good thing and started banging the palms of her chubby little hands on the table of her high chair and laughing. All six adults turned to the baby and laughed at her antics.

“We are pleased that you’ve taken our nuptials into such consideration.”

“You are welcome, my friend, but I’m not certain that there were any feelings of kindness involved,” Severus replied. “We’ve just realised that we wish to do what is right for ourselves, which coincidentally happens to work for the rest of our family as well.”

“Ah, I see. Well, good for you,” Lucius chuckled. “Would you allow me to organise a dinner for after the ceremony, and of course, you’ll wish to avail yourself of our gardens, yes?”

They’d finished their meal, and Helen was cleaning Serena’s hands after her hand as they got ready to leave, and she picked the little girl up out of her high chair and then settled her on her hip before she said, “We only want something simple, Lucius.”

“Yes, thank you for the offer,” Severus added, “but I believe that we would like to use the gardens at Prince Manor for the ceremony. However, we will be honoured if the three of you will join us and act as our witnesses. May we discuss this in more detail this afternoon?”

Lucius glanced at Hermione and Draco and then spoke for the three of them. “Of course.”

“We would love to,” Hermione added excitedly.

“Yes,” Draco put in.

“Then we will see you both this afternoon at four,” Severus finished.

“Of course, you’ll be coming home with us now,” Helen said to Hermione. She turned to Lucius and Draco. “Thank you for your hospitality towards us, gentlemen, but of course you will agree that while last night was a special case,” and she turned to smile at Severus momentarily before she continued. “For propriety’s sake Hermione should reside at Prince Manor until her wedding.”

Their smiles were a little sour perhaps, but both Lucius and Draco had to agree that having Hermione at Malfoy Manor had been a privilege that they knew had to come to an end as soon as Severus had things organised.

Hermione too was shocked by this turn of events, but she did not argue, as she also knew the importance of appearances in the wizarding world. However, the thought of being parted from Draco and Lucius so abruptly made her gasp and stare at Severus and Helen wide-eyed.

The corner of Severus’ lip tipped up, and he said, “Of course, Lucius and Draco are welcome at Prince Manor whenever they wish to see you, Hermione, as I’m certain that you are welcome at Malfoy Manor, but you understand…”

“Yes,” Hermione cut in. “I do understand. I just hadn’t thought about it,” she said, placing her hand on Severus’ sleeve momentarily, before turning to Lucius and Draco. “Then it appears that I will see you both at four this afternoon.”

Draco was first to swoop in and take her into his arms. “And I will miss you every moment in between,” he asserted, giving her a kiss.

Lucius watched his son taking their fiancé’s breath away with a heated kiss, and he had to control his urge to plunge in and hug her from behind and then take her attention from Draco as soon as he could. This action was becoming normal between the three of them, but he sensed that while Helen had accepted their impending union in theory, she was not ready for a physical demonstration of it in all its glory yet.

So, he bided his time and wait for Draco to release her before he took her in his arms. He pulled her close and whispered, “If I had my way, this would not be happening like this. I want you with me.”

Hermione pulled back enough to look at his patrician face, and placed her hand on his cheek. “As I wish to be with both of you, but we’re trying to set a good example, aren’t we?”

“Yes,” he agreed. “I will see you at four then.”

“I will look forward to seeing you too… both of you,” she said, glancing at the watching Draco, before giving her attention back to Lucius and pulling his head to hers for a kiss.

~~~***~~~

In the car on the way to Prince Manor, Hermione found herself daydreaming as they travelled along.

Severus obviously knew the spell that allowed them to travel along like the Knight Bus did, because they made it from London to Wiltshire in fifteen minutes.

“What about all of my things?” she asked after a while.

“The elves have moved them while we’ve been at lunch,” Severus told her.

“Oh,” she replied, and went back to looking out the car window. She felt a little like a teenager riding in the back of her parent’s car, and it was a little disconcerting, but there was little that she could do about it; she still had three weeks and six days before she was Madam Hermione Malfoy.

Chapter Text


Kingsley Shacklebolt had been present when Severus arrived in Tonk’s office, and he had accompanied his head Auror to see what might be happening at the Lovegood residence. He’d discovered throughout the trials that Hermione Granger had good instincts, and he was happy to follow her hunch that there might have been something dark happening.

As he walked up to the door of the little round house, he was shocked at the state of it, and he wondered how anyone could live here. The side was blown out of the home—you could see right into the upper floor—and what he saw suspended there like a doll on invisible strings made his stomach fall with a lurch.

He heard the gasp of Tonks from beside him, and he glanced at her before drawing his wand. “Looks like Hermione was right,” he murmured.

“Unfortunately,” Tonks replied, her own wand slipping into her hand as she watched with growing horror the pale countenance of Luna Lovegood suspended in mid-air, obviously restrained, unconscious, and helpless. It was the way dark wizards restrained their victims; keeping them alive, but ‘on ice’ so to speak, so they could be used again at their convenience.

A quick scan for other people proved that whoever had done this was obviously not here, and the pair of senior Aurors easily breeched the flimsy wards that had been erected and hurried to the second-floor room.

When they arrived they saw that there was an owl with a message perched on the young woman’s arm. It looked like a Malfoy owl, and Kingsley used a spell to relieve it of the missive it carried, which he pocketed and then they released Luna from her position.

Kingsley collected the frail form up into his arms. “I’ll take Miss Lovegood to safety. Call for back up and see what you can find here,” he stated to Tonks. “I’ll return when I know this poor witch is being cared for.”

Tonks nodded, and sent a Patronus message which was answered just as quickly as it was sent, and two Aurors arrived before Kingsley had apparated away.

Landing just before the closed gates of Hogwarts, Kingsley felt something stirring in his chest for the frail looking witch in his arms. He paused and glanced down at her. He had decided that St. Mungo’s would not be the correct place for this witch until they’d learned who her attacker had been, so he’d sought the sanctuary of the school.

She would be safe here, and hidden from all. Surrounded only by people that Kingsley trusted implicitly, and besides, nobody would think of looking for her here at the school. Reaching out he felt the wards shudder and give as he touched the gate. It was obvious that Severus had included him into them, and this did not surprise him. He went through, knowing that the headmaster would be able to sense his arrival, and he hoped that he also understood what his arrival meant.

As he walked up the drive, Kingsley reflected that he suspected that this same headmaster was preparing to leave his post, and he hoped that he could talk him out of it. Whilst he understood that the man was just about to marry the mother of his child—and hadn’t that been a surprise—Kingsley felt that Hogwarts needed a wizard such as Severus Snape to bring it through this uncertain time.

This was not even mentioning that it would allow the man to redeem himself in front of the wizarding community at large as well, after being touted incorrectly as Voldemort’s most faithful servant. Kingsley snorted softly; now wasn’t that a load of bunk. He hoped that Harry’s taunting of the evil wizard as he duelled him the day of the battle had sunk into the man’s thick deformed skull. It would be nice to think that he knew that Severus had been their spy all that time and he had never noticed. They’d played the fool to perfection, but as he was thinking he heard a frightened moan from Luna.

“Settle, Miss Lovegood, you are safe. I have you,” Kingsley told her.

Pained light blue eyes opened slowly, and Luna managed a half smile, but then her countenance clouded over. “She forced me, imitated me…” she murmured.

“Who forced you, my dear?” Kingsley asked gently, but he could see that the young woman was in no state to answer him, so he added, “Don’t worry, you’re safe now. You rest. We’ll catch whoever’s done this to you.”

He watched her eyes close again, and he wondered how long she’d been strung up like that. It was entirely possible that the young woman had been being held captive since the story had first been announced, the day before yesterday. Then of course, she had most likely been abused and made to print the paper she published under threat. He glanced down at her ink-stained and battered looking fingers. Most likely an imperious, Kingsley thought, people under that spell tend to be a bit clumsy with their own safety, and that would explain her fingers. But I did think that she was stronger than that.

By this time he’d reached the first floor infirmary. “Madam Pomfrey,” he called.

“Minister!” Poppy Pomfrey exclaimed as she saw him, on hurrying from her sitting room and out into the ward. “What has happened to Miss Lovegood?” she asked, just seeming to register that Kingsley was carrying someone, and easily recognising the young woman.

Kingsley placed Luna on one of the school beds, and then straightened as he said, “Would you be good enough to care for Miss Lovegood? She’s had a very harrowing experience. I felt this was the best place for her; I need to find Severus and tell him.”

“Severus is away from the school at present,” Poppy told him.

“I know, but he will return presently I feel. Please do not tell anyone Miss Lovegood is here, and make a note of all her injuries, and anything she tells you, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.”

“Certainly, Minister. What happened to her?” Poppy asked, her wand already out checking the young woman over.

“She has been held in a stasis spell in her own home by person or persons unknown, and she could have been as long as two days without water or nourishment.”

“My giddy Merlin,” Poppy exclaimed. “So, this is an Aurory investigation?”

“Yes.”

~~~***~~~

Severus and his family were now travelling home, but earlier at Harrods, he had felt the Hogwarts’ wards shudder as they were just finishing lunch, and he hurried the process along somewhat, knowing that he needed to get back to the school. He’d recognised that it was Kingsley breaching the wards, and that it could not mean anything good.

He’d leaned close to Lucius while Hermione had been busy saying goodbye to Draco, and he’d murmured, “Something’s happening at Hogwarts. Kingsley has just passed through the school wards, I suspect it may have something to do with Miss Lovegood.”

“I will meet you there. I owe the girl the courtesy of safety. She was treated very badly while under my roof at the end of the war. Probably just as badly as Hermione was…” but his words had drifted off as his eyes had turned to Hermione, and he’d realised that he’d been handed something truly precious here, and he’d had the urge to have her in his arms.

Damn them all for wanting her to go with them, he’d thought. I know it’s the right thing to do, but I will miss her terribly, he’d pondered as he walked towards Hermione and Draco.

Once Hermione had been whisked off with Severus and Helen, Draco and Lucius had quickly walked to their car, and Lucius advised Flint to get them home quickly. He’d not been at all pleased. Hermione belonged with them, and while Draco had simply accepted it, Lucius had wanted to fight everyone to keep Hermione close.

Then there was Luna Lovegood. He knew that Xenophilius was still in the Janice Thickey ward, and would possibly be there for the rest of his life. Xenophilius was Lucius’ cousin on his mother’s side, and he knew that the man’s daughter should be treated as family, regardless of their past affiliations.

Lucius brooded all the way home, and when they arrived he announced to Draco that he was going to Hogwarts.

Draco shrugged. “I’m going riding,” he said, and turned for his bedroom to change, only sparing a glance for his father. The only thing Draco was concerned with as he walked towards his room was that he had some two hours before he saw Hermione again, so he might as well pass the time as pleasantly as possible. He was not pleased that Hermione had been whisked away, and he could plainly see that his father was livid, but he also understood that it was the proper thing to do. Last night had been a special circumstance.

As soon as Draco had left Lucius turned towards the Floo and announced his destination as, “Severus Snape’s office, Hogwarts,” and stepped in.

He stepped out on the thick rug of Severus’ office, and to his surprise his fiancé. “Hermione,” he said smoothly, only sparing a glance for Severus.

“Hello, Lucius,” she smiled. “I asked to come too, as among other things I wished to make certain that Luna was okay.”

“Then allow me to escort you there, my dear,” Lucius replied.

“A moment before you go,” Severus said, rising from his desk. Having easily seen his friend’s annoyance at their departure from Harrods he turned towards him. “Lucius, I know that you are displeased with Hermione being taken to Prince Manor, but you do understand how it would have looked had she been allowed to stay with you.”

Lucius had already hooked Hermione’s arm through his possessively. “Of course I do,” he replied, possibly a little more forcefully than he should off, but then he glanced down at Hermione and added, “However, you are correct. It would not have looked proper any other way. I hope that I may have visiting rights?” he continued, turning back to Severus and pinning him with cool grey eyes.

“Both you and Draco are very welcome whenever you wish to be there, Helen and I realise that Hermione is an adult, and discretion is all we ask.”

“Of course,” Lucius replied, inclining his head slightly.

“Where’s Draco?” Hermione asked.

“Riding,” Lucius replied, “and no doubt brooding. Shall we?” the blond wizard asked, obviously wishing to end the subject.

“I will follow presently,” Severus stated.

Severus sat back at his desk and bent back over his work as the couple left. In truth he felt sorry for Draco and Lucius being parted from Hermione, so he’d decided to give his friend time alone with her. Actually, he was surprised that Draco had not come too, and in any case, Severus did not need to walk to the infirmary; there were other ways to get there.

He sat back in his chair. Could he really give this place up? It had been a part of him—and more of a home than the hovel he’d grown up in—for over half his life time. Certainly, sometimes it had been terrible—but wasn’t that life—and he did have a burning desire to right some wrongs. Perhaps he had been too hasty telling Helen this morning that he was resigning; maybe they should speak further on the matter once Helen had been here and seen the place for herself.

Severus smiled, part of the affinity he felt with Helen was a trickle of untapped latent magic he sensed within her. In short, she was a squib and she’d never known it, and wasn’t that the best circumstance? Now she could discover the world of magic without the tinge of regret that squibs often felt for not having been born with useable magic.

~~~***~~~

While Severus was reflecting, Lucius and Hermione were making good use of their time alone on the revolving staircase. “I had no idea that Mum was going to make me live with her,” she said as she wound her arms up around his neck.

“Yes, I have to admit I was not pleased. I’ve grown used to your presence in a very short amount of time,” Lucius replied.

She smiled cheekily. “And I love being with you both. I could just not move, I suppose,” she said thoughtfully.

Lucius sighed. “No, best do as convention demands.” and he leant down to kiss her. “It is only three and a half weeks.”

She smiled again. “Yes, you’re right,” and she happily lost herself in his kiss, wrapping her leg up around his thigh as they explored one another’s mouths. However, all too soon the stairs stopped at the bottom and the gargoyles opened to allow them to leave.

“Oh, Lucius, I wish…” but she decided to show him instead and reached up capturing his mouth once more as she guided his hand down to her thigh.

Lucius allowed this, but he did not act on her tempting signal. She was a passionate little thing, but he knew they should be on their way just at present.

“As difficult as it is to part myself from you,” he stated as he broke their kiss, and skimmed his hand back up from her leg. “I really think that we should find out what has happened to Miss Lovegood.”

Hermione exhaled and nodded. “Yes, I suppose so,” she sighed.

When they arrived at the infirmary Severus and Kingsley were deep in conversation, but Lucius’ attention was taken by Hermione as they entered.

“Promise me that we will walk out of here together. I want you alone before I leave you,” she whispered.

“Consider it set in stone,” he murmured back, and they walked into the ward.

Luna appeared to be sleeping, and Hermione felt guilt searing through her at having doubted the little blonde’s friendship, and she moved closer to Lucius as they walked over to find out what had happened.

Kingsley nodded to them as they approached. “Ah, Lucius, Hermione. There was an owl waiting to deliver this when we arrived,” he said, handing Lucius the note that Hermione had penned that morning.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Hermione replied.

Kingsley looked at her, his eyebrow raised in question. “That was my knee-jerk reaction to what I read in The Quibbler before I’d had time to think about it. I’m very pleased you intercepted it,” and she plucked the missive from Lucius’ fingers and incinerated it. “I feel terrible,” she said, glancing at the sleeping Luna. “I should have known that Luna would not do what she’d appeared to have done. Is she all right?”

“She will be fine now, and do not feel badly, Hermione, whoever has done this expected people to take it all at face-value,” Kingsley replied.

“But I should have known,” and she sighed, glancing at Lucius.

Kingsley unconsciously glanced once more at the witch he had instantly found himself fascinated with. He swallowed as he recalled that he’d often been mesmerised by Luna Lovegood, strange and comely little thing that she was, but he was drawn from his musings by Lucius.

“What is being done to maintain Miss Lovegood’s safety?”

“She will stay here until Poppy believes her well enough to travel,” Severus stated, having been standing back listening. “Then we will move her to Prince Manor.”

“Oh,” Hermione murmured. “It will be nice to have a friend staying.”

Lucius—ever the Slytherin—was watching how the minister was looking at the pale blonde witch in the bed as he’d been speaking to them, and he realised that he was interested in her welfare in more ways than one.

Hermione glanced at Lucius, and her smile said that she’d noticed too. She looked at Severus, before saying to Kingsley, “You should not make yourself a stranger, Kings, we would welcome you anytime.”

“Indeed,” Severus agreed, seeing what Hermione was up to.

Kingsley nodded. “Thank you, I believe I might enjoy that on occasion. Let me know, okay?”

“We shall,” Severus answered.

“Well then, it’s all settled, that’s excellent. She will be better with you than with us,” Lucius added.

“Yes, my thoughts exactly,” Severus replied.

“Then come, Hermione. I will escort you back to Prince Manor.”

Hermione gave him a hard look, and as he turned her away he smirked. “Did you know that Prince Manor has the loveliest summer house I’ve ever seen?”

“It has?” Hermione replied.

“Yes, very well worth a look on our way.”

They were now heading out of the castle, and Lucius was fondling Hermione as they walked.

She gasped. “Do you think we’ll make it to the summer house?”

“Most certainly. I want you all to myself with your cunt in my face while you suck my cock.”

Hermione groaned longingly at the image of what Lucius was describing, and it was made all the more urgent by the fact that his fingers were down the back of her knickers as they walked, teasing her nether-lips as he rubbed his thumb between her bum cheeks.

She was totally overcome by lust as Lucius guided her out the Hogwarts gates, and apparated them away. He knew that he could breech Severus’ wards without incident, and he apparated them straight into the summer house, and set about getting rid of Hermione’s clothing.

“I want you to be my dirty little girl,” he growled close to her ear, and chuckled wickedly when she only groaned longingly in reply. “Can you do that for me?” he asked, lifting her chin with the pressure of his finger under it.

“Oh yes,” she said adamantly, as she helped him remove her clothing, and she was soon naked.

Lucius knelt in front of her. “Lift your leg,” he said.

She did so, supporting herself on his shoulders.

“Ah, yes,” and his eyes ravenously took in the sight before him in the filtered afternoon light of the summerhouse. “Lovely.”

She shivered in delight at the feel of his eyes on her, and she ghosted her hand over her sex, moaning at the feel of it.

Lucius watched as she opened herself with her fingers so he could see better. “You are a perfect little nymph, my witch. Hold yourself just like that,” he commanded, and heard her giggle softly.

“You know us Gryffindors, we’re very bold,” she snickered, doing as he’d asked.

“That you are,” Lucius stated, his eyes watching the wet flesh she was displaying for him. “Does it turn you on, showing me your cunt like this?”

“Oh yes,” she moaned. “Please, Lucius, it’s been hours since you or Draco have touched me.”

“Naughty nymph,” Lucius snickered and leaning forward, he allowed the tip of his tongue to draw a line through her wet flesh. “Delicious,” he declared, but instead of continuing, he got up and lay himself on the lounge. “Come here,” he commanded.

Hermione allowed him to direct her, and soon she was straddling his head, facing his crotch. Then his words from when they’d been walking down the driveway came back to her, and she started undoing his trousers as she felt his tongue starting to explore her. “Oh, god… yes,” she groaned.

Her nerve endings all seemed to be firing at once as he expertly pleasured her, and her mind started shutting down. His tongue was everywhere. He was holding her pussy open as he licked her, but was also burying the tip of his tongue inside her other entrance each time he reached it as well. No one had ever done that to her before, and it felt amazing. She licked down his shaft and sucked one of his balls into her mouth, but then released it again as she howled in pleasure.

“Fuck,” he muttered, and opened his mouth wider, licking her like a man possessed. “Suck me,” he demanded, over her gasps and squeals of delight.

Hermione knew what he meant and managed to pull herself up enough to take his cock into her mouth again, but all she could do was hold it there as she suddenly came so hard that she gushed all over his face.

“Oh, good girl,” he praised. “We’ll be doing this often,” he told her as he licked everything up.

“Oh god, Lucius,” she moaned around her mouthful. “That was amazing,” she told him, and as boneless as she was she started sucking him again. Her mouth and hands working earnestly together to repay him for his attentions. They both knew that they couldn’t linger too long, and Lucius pulled her up and turned her, so she was on her knees on the lounge. He stood and came around behind her. He smiled as she pushed her naked posterior towards him. “Oh, I cannot wait to have you in my house full time,” he told her as he easily pushed inside her.

“Mmm, me too,” she managed, as she savoured the feeling of his length stretching her.

“Delicious,” Lucius declared, taking hold of her hips and starting to move. “Is this what you wanted?”

“Oh god… yes,” she moaned as he thrust into her strongly.

“Then enjoy, little witch. Let go,” and he brought one hand around, his finger rubbing her clit as he ploughed into her.

She didn’t last long, and the squeezing and clamping of her internal muscles as she came around him pushed him over the edge. “Lovely,” he grunted as he spilt himself inside her.

At this moment, Lucius Malfoy came to see that he had never felt as uninhibited as he did as this moment. This made him think back to his casual words at the start of their encounter, and he suddenly realised that not only was she the ‘perfect little nymph’ she was his perfect little nymph, and this was the first moment that he considered that he had to share her with his son. Did he really want to do that? He would if he had to, but he found this witch more suited to him than Draco, and where was Draco, off riding somewhere… why would he do that. Shouldn’t he have been here supporting their witch?

Then he considered her honestly, after their tortured history, she had accepted them, and his heart swelled. He leant over her and pulled her securely back against his body. “This may sound absurd, Hermione, but I wish you to know that I love you.”

Hermione’s hand came up and cradled his cheek. “I’m glad,” she murmured, still panting slightly. “I love you too,” she whispered, still slightly disbelieving that this had happened so quickly.

She turned in his arms as soon as she had recovered sufficiently, and she lay her head on his chest. “We can make this work, can’t we?”

“Yes, I hope we can, little witch.”

It may have started as something of an adventure, but now Hermione realised that she actually wanted this; she wanted these two men.

Eventually, Lucius started to pull away. “We need to return you,” he said softly.

Hermione sighed and nodded. “Yes, we mustn’t miss afternoon tea,” and she started dressing after cleansing herself as Lucius watched.

~~~***~~~

“I will see you soon,” Lucius murmured, sucking her earlobe into his mouth as they stood on the doorstep of Prince Manor. However, almost as soon as he’d kissed his way around her jaw and they’d started kissing the door opened.

“Thank you, Kingsley,” Severus said, as he opened the door. “We will expect you for lunch on Sunday.” Severus then took one look at the kissing couple who’d just broken apart, and he said, “Ah, there you are,” and he gave them a hard look. 

“Yes, I should get ready for this afternoon. I will see you soon, Lucius,” Hermione snickered. “Thank you,” and she winked discreetly at him.

The blond wizard smiled serenely. “You are entirely welcome,” and he kissed her hand, before nodding to Severus and Kingsley, and turning to leave.

As he walked down the drive to apparate home, Lucius reflected that just a week ago he’d not even suspected that he’d be in this delicious position, and his cock swelled once more thinking about their encounter and the words of passion after it as he apparated away.

He landed in the apparition parlour and spared a moment to make certain that the elves had everything ready for the afternoon, and then he headed towards his bedroom. Alighting at the top of the stairs, he met Draco.

“Hello, Father. You were a long time.”

Lucius smirked. “Was I?” he said, sidestepping telling Draco exactly where he’d been. “Did you have a good ride?”

“Ride? Oh, yes,” Draco said. “I went riding.”

Lucius frowned slightly, but did not say anything about his son’s statement. “Well, if you’ll excuse me I had best shower,” he told him.

“I’m ready. I’m going to go and pick Hermione up at three thirty,” Draco stated.

“Right you are,” Lucius replied, starting towards his rooms, but it was only after he’d shut his bedroom door that he considered that Draco had appeared guilty about something, and he wondered what.

~~~***~~~

Back at Prince Manor, Hermione was sitting in the drawing room with Helen and Severus being informed of what Severus and Helen were planning to do before they came this afternoon.

“I’m taking Helen and Serena to meet Poppy Pomfrey before we come to Malfoy Manor this afternoon.”

“You are?” Hermione said. “Why?”

“Poppy wishes to retire, and Serena will require a nurse,” he started.

“Oh, that’s an excellent idea,” Hermione crowed. “Mum, you’ll love Madam Pomfrey,” she continued, turning to her mother. “She’s such a caring person,”

“I hope so,” Helen said, smiling at Severus.

“I’m certain that you will,” Hermione assured her.  “Well, I better get ready for this afternoon. Where’s my room?” she asked.

“We’ll walk you up,” Helen said, “Serena should be almost awake from her afternoon nap.”

They were just about to walk up the stairs when Severus handed Hermione a note. “This arrived for you while you and Lucius were…” and he didn’t finish his sentence, but raised a raven eyebrow.

“Well, I think we all know what you were doing,” Helen put in, snickering and gently elbowing Severus.

“Yes, well since I’m not allowed to live with them,” Hermione snipped, opening the note she’d received.

“You will have the rest of your life with them, love,” Helen said. “But I wanted you to myself for the small amount of time I’ll have you for before that.”

Hermione suddenly felt awful. She hadn’t thought of it from anyone but her perspective, and she stopped and abruptly pulled her mother into a hug. “Oh, Mum, I’m sorry. You’re right, I hadn’t thought of it in that way.”

“It’s okay, love,” Helen said, happily accepting Hermione into her arms. “Who was your note from?” she asked as they released one another.

“Draco. He’s coming at three thirty to pick me up for the afternoon tea,” and she glanced at her watch. “Bugger! It’s three fifteen now,” she gasped.

“Hermione!” Helen scolded, but then snickered. “Here is the room we thought you might like. All your things are sorted out; a little elf called Pinkie was very meticulous about everything.”

“Yes, she’s a lovely elf,” Hermione replied. Then she looked at Severus. “Do we have elves here?”

“Yes, and before you get on your high-horse, Madam, they work under the same conditions as the Malfoy elves.”

Hermione’s mouth twitched, Severus knew her well. “Good,” she replied. “Well, I best hit the shower,” and she disappeared into her new room.

Chapter Text


When Draco arrived to collect her, Hermione was waiting. It had been the quickest shower she’d ever had, and while she’d been in it she’d decided on the dress for the afternoon just because Draco was coming to pick her up.

It was true she’d expanded her wardrobe vastly at Harrods that morning, but she’d made her decision on what to wear from a comment that Draco had made about a dress she’d tried on that he really liked because of one feature. She glanced down at the rather daring design—well, daring for her—and she smiled.

Draco seemed obsessed with her breasts, and he’d declared as soon as he’d seen her in the dress that it was perfect for easy access, and she’d been glad that her mother had not been listening.

It was currently half an hour before the bridal party afternoon tea, and Severus, Helen, and Serena had just left for Hogwarts. This had also made Hermione hurry to get ready as she was hoping to have Draco to herself for at least a few moments before they left for the afternoon tea.

He Floo’d into the drawing room right on three thirty, and she smiled at him. “Hello.”

“You’re wearing that dress,” he said in answer as soon as he looked at her.

Her eyes sparkled. “I am,” she told him cheekily. She had applied charms to hold her breasts in place, as it had been impossible to wear a bra with the dress. It was red with a jewelled keyhole neckline that dived daringly down between her breasts. It had an empire waist and the flouncy skirt finished mid-thigh.

She stood and took Draco in as he strode towards her. He looked lovely in his black suit, a picture of virile manhood. “I want to see,” he said as he walked.

She grinned to herself and posed cheekily, waiting for what she knew was coming. The dress had captured Draco’s imagination, and his hand was already reaching forward to touch her.

Without any preamble he pulled the material of the dress aside and found what he’d hoped for as her breast appeared when the material was pushed out of the way. He grinned like a child and palmed the exposed globe in his hand, before his mouth came forward taking her tit into its hot depths.

Her hands came up instinctively and started massaging his head as he suckled. “I missed you this afternoon. Lucius said you went riding.” Hermione was certain that he flinched slightly as she inquired after what he’d been doing, but she easily forgot as his tongue curled around her nipple.

Draco didn’t comment, and was quickly becoming lost in what he was doing, especially as his fingers started down under Hermione’s skirt. His eyebrow rose and his lips turned up on one side when he reached his goal. “Oh, you are so delicious,” he told her, allowing the object he’d been sucking to pop out of his mouth. “No knickers. I hope you weren’t planning to go to the party like that?”

“No, but I knew you were coming and I’ve already ruined one pair this afternoon.”

“Have you indeed,” Draco smirked. “What did you and father get up to while I was by myself?”

Hermione threaded her arms up around his neck and looked into his lovely grey eyes. “I went to Hogwarts with Severus to see if I could do anything to help Luna, and Lucius turned up too.”

“Yes. I knew father would want to see to Lovegood, he feels very guilty about her treatment here near the end of the war. We were both very pleased when Potter managed to rescue you all that day.”

Hermione suddenly felt bereft, and she shivered slight. “Draco, let’s not talk about that at present,” Hermione said. “That day above all others still hurts.”

Draco could see that this was going to be an issue for time to come, and he thought back to the night of their betrothal and her initial reaction to being in the entranceway of the house. Without another word he pulled her close. True to their word that night, the entrance had been changed. He understood that the elves had worked all night transforming it, and it was so easy to forget that it had only been a few days since then.

He kissed her temple and held her tight. “We’ll get through it, kitten, don’t worry.”

She rested her head on his chest, and took the offered comfort from him, even though she did not see him as her rock as Lucius was. Draco was so different to Lucius, she loved the elder Malfoy’s control and command, as well as his passion, Lucius felt like home, but she liked Draco’s comfort too, and she hated that the reminder of the war had ruined the mood. She also hated that those same events made her react so badly. “I know we will,” she replied. “It will just take time.”

Draco felt the sadness that settled over her and he gently pulled her back and took her face in his hands. “I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

“It is not your fault. You tried to help us that day, saying how you didn’t recognise us.”

“It was not enough,” he told her passionately. “I wanted to tear the bitch apart for hurting you,” he stated,

She smiled softly up at him.

He chuckled softly, and he guided her head back to his chest and they stood there together for some time, just quietly breathing one another in for comfort.

However, soon, Hermione pushed back from him, she reached up and pecked his lips, and then she took a deep breath. “Well, I better finish getting dressed so we can go,” and she picked up her purse, which was lying on the lounge. She pulled out a pair of lace knickers, but Draco chuckled and took them off her.

“Allow me,” he said, his lips twitching as he knelt in front of her and urged her to use him for support.

Snickering gently, Hermione did as he asked, and felt him lifting one ankle and then the other.

“Lift your skirt out of the way,” he told her as he started pulling the delicate lace garment up her legs.

Hermione suspected that getting her skirt out of the way was not the only reason he wanted her to lift it, but she happily obliged. However, just as she did the Floo flared.

Thankfully, it was Lucius who walked out, because Hermione considered that had it been Severus she would have died of embarrassment at being caught with her knickers around her knees and her skirt above her waist.

Lucius strode towards them as he smirked. “Just as I thought,” he stated. “It’s a good job I’ve arrived to make certain that we all manage to arrive at our appointment on time before any of our guests arrive.”

“We were just going to come, Father,” Draco stated, not moving from his position in front of Hermione.

Lucius cocked an eyebrow, his eyes on Hermione’s displayed nether regions as well. “That was not the kind of ‘coming’ I meant,” he chuckled.

Hermione smiled, she’d stopped herself from allowing her skirt to fall once she’d seen that it was Lucius coming through the Floo, but now she looked at them both and quickly finished the task that Draco had been dawdling over. She noticed that looks of disappointment flitted over the faces of both men, but she also took a deep breath watching Draco giving his father a ‘oh, ha, ha’ look for his comment as he gracefully rose to a standing position. She ignored them both and simply slipped an arm through each of theirs. “Then, shall we?” she said in a very business-like manner.

~~~***~~~

While this was happening, at Hogwarts things were going quite well too. Poppy was an instant hit with Serena, and Helen found herself liking the older woman as well.

“I would be very happy for you to proceed with your plan, Severus,” Helen said quietly, while Poppy was occupied with Serena.

Severus’ mouth twitched into a smile. “Thank you,” he replied, quietly kissing her temple.

They’d come to visit Poppy on the pretext of Severus introducing Helen and Serena to the witch who had supported him above all others since he’d come here as an eleven year old, but really Helen had just wanted to see if Poppy would fit into their family.

Severus had also been interested to see if Helen like Hogwarts. If she did, perhaps she might like living here for part of the year, as the elves at Prince Manor had already proven that they did not need the instruction of a master or mistress to keep the house in good order.

They were in Poppy’s sitting room, and Severus sat down beside her and lifted Serena up onto his lap as Helen came to sit beside him.

“Poppy, we,” and he motioned between himself and Helen, “are looking for a nurse for Serena, and we were wondering if you might like the position.”

They watched Poppy’s face light up, and her hand came forward to cover Severus’. “Oh, dear boy, that would be splendid. Thank you,” and then her hand moved over Severus’ knees to Helen. “Thank you,” she repeated. “Keeping up with four hundred students has become too much for me, but one precious little mite,” and she gave them a cheeky look as she tickled Serena’s chin, “or perhaps two in time, would suit me perfectly.”

Helen laughed, and Severus spluttered slightly. “We haven’t even begun to think that far ahead yet,” Helen told her.

Poppy laughed too. “Now, that is the first time I’ve ever seen you speechless, Severus.”

Helen’s laughter increased. “This is going to be fun. When do you think you could start, Poppy?”

“Well, I would have said as soon as I pack…” but then she stopped and looked at them. “It is a live-in nanny you wanted, right?”

“Yes, most definitely,” Severus assured her.

“Oh, good, but now there’s Miss Lovegood to consider,” Poppy stated.

“When will she be well enough to be released from the infirmary?” Severus asked.

“There is really nothing seriously wrong with her, but she is mentally and physically exhausted. She just needs some sleep in a secure place, and when she wakes she should be right. Well, perhaps not quite ready for life on her own again.”

“Oh, but we’re happy for her to come back with us,” Helen said. “Hermione wants to know that she’s safe, and from what I overheard between Severus and Kingsley, it sounds like her home is not currently liveable.”

“In that case, once she wakes we could move her over to Prince Manor,” Poppy said excitedly.

“Excellent,” Severus stated. “We will await your owl, Poppy.”

Poppy smiled. “I will let you know.”

“We had best get to the afternoon tea,” Helen said.

“Yes, we’ll be late,” Severus agreed. He picked Serena up from his knee and turned to collect Helen. “I will apparate us there to save time,” he told her.

~~~***~~~

Severus apparated his family through the Malfoy wards, and they entered the house to what sounded like a screaming match coming from the family rooms of the house.

“How dare you!” Draco was heard to say. “You came knowing that Hermione is a Muggleborn. If you do not support this marriage, why on earth did you agree to come?”

The next voice they heard was a rather shrill female voice. “To try and make you see sense,” the voice said.

“Bloody Pansy Parkinson,” Severus growled. “What the hell was Draco thinking,” and the Potions master turned to Helen and Serena. “Allow me to apparate you and Serena home, a potential wizarding war zone is no place for people who cannot defend themselves against it.”

Helen’s head rose defiantly, even as she pulled Serena protectively towards her. “I would rather stay, if you do not mind,” she stated boldly, as they heard Draco’s next sentence.

“But you came to the betrothal, and you didn’t say anything then.”

“Well, let’s just say I’ve had some additional information since then,” Pansy yelled back.

Severus looked at Helen and his lips thinned, but he nodded, knowing that she was correct. “Then stay behind me until I have assessed the situation.”

While they’d been talking, the arguing had continued. Now there were other voices raised as well. Severus picked out Lucius and Harry Potter wading into the debate, as well as Hermione, and he knew that this was not going to end well.

He arrived in the doorway to see both Greengrass sisters behind Harry, who was standing defiantly shoulder to shoulder with Hermione, and Pansy Parkinson nose to angry nose with Draco in the centre of the room. Lucius was standing beside his son, as Pansy Parkinson ranted like a witch possessed.

“Have you all forgotten about school?” she yelled.

“What about it?” Draco asked.

“You hated all Gryffindors,” she told him.

“And my option was?” Draco asked, throwing his hands in the air. “You either went along with the political climate or you simply disappeared. I thought you were my friend, and that you understood that.”

“You mean that you’re actually siding with them now, after what they’re doing,” and she swiped her hand towards Hermione and Harry.

“We haven’t done anything,” Harry and Hermione stated angrily in unison.

“I love Hermione,” Draco put in. “I have done for years. You’ve got your partner, allow me… us,” he said, glancing at Lucius, “to have ours.”

“What I’d like to know, Miss Parkinson,” Lucius stated calmly before the witch had a chance to say anything else. “Is, where you have obtained your… additional,” and he emphasised the word, “information?”

Pansy sneered at Draco and turned on Lucius. “I’m not at liberty so say where my information came from,” she stated with a scowl. “But it is a well-known fact that the ministry are paying you to marry her with the money our families donated towards restructuring,” she stated.

Severus had heard enough, he saw Hermione bristling at the accusation, and he swept into the room as he saw Pansy going for her wand thinking Hermione was attacking her. “Expelliarmus,” he enunciated clearly. The wood of Pansy’s wand slapped into his hand, and as he walked he spoke, “Desist your ramblings, Miss Parkinson. You have been grossly misinformed, and we are not interested in your negative opinions, but I’m certain that the Aurory will be. Expect a visit as soon as Kingsley Shacklebolt is made aware of these lies,” the Potions master told her.

“Now, your invitation to participate in these proceeding is withdrawn until you calm down and see sense, or Hermione decides that she does not wish you to stand up with us if you feel as you do,” Lucius added, and he plucked her wand from Severus and restored it to her before a swish of his own saw her transported to outside the front gates.

He then looked at Astoria and Daphne. “Are you ladies of the same opinion?”

“No,” Daphne gasped. “We trust Professor Snape implicitly.”

“Yes, we know that he would not misuse ministry donations,” Astoria added.

“We do know however, that father had a visitor yesterday who made him very angry.”

“Do you know who it was?” Severus asked.

They both shook their heads.

“No,” Daphne said, “But he came out of his study muttering about idiots thinking that they could undermine the good work done,” she said.

“Perhaps a visit to Cassius Greengrass may be in order,” Severus stated. “I will summon Kingsley.”

“Yes, this must be nipped in the bud,” Lucius agreed. “Excuse us. Draco, I’m certain you and Potter can entertain the ladies.”

Draco nodded to the affirmative, and looked to Harry, but Daphne cut in.

“Actually, I think it might be better if we went with Professor Snape and Mister Malfoy,” and she turned to Hermione. “We are very happy to be chosen as two of your bridesmaids, Hermione, but this might be better happening when Luna can be here too.”

As her anger started to settle, Hermione had gone very quiet, but she was pleased to grasp this offered olive branch. “Thank you, Daphne, Astoria,” and she squeezed their arms gently. “That’s a good point, I did feel strange having this afternoon with one of the bridesmaids missing… but now there are two in doubt…” and her words trailed off, and she sighed as she looked to Draco.  He looked just as traumatized as she did.

“We can have it all at Prince Manor tomorrow,” Helen said, finally stepping forward. “Hello, I’m Hermione’s mother, Helen Granger. I’m very pleased to meet you,” she said, looking at the sisters, as her hand reached forward and squeezed Harry’s arm.

“Oh, Mum, I’m sorry. You know Harry, of course, but this is Daphne and Astoria Greengrass.”

Helen came forward and shook hands with both girls, who then excused themselves and went to the Floo, and she turned to Hermione. “Do you want to go home, love?” she asked, pulling her daughter into a one armed hug.

Hermione faltered, but then she cleared her throat and pushed away from her mother. She tickled her little sister under the chin. “Hello, gorgeous,” she said to Serena, but then shook her head. “No,” she said. “I think the best thing we can do is have a good afternoon tea.”

“Well said,” Draco agreed, lacing his hand around Hermione’s waist. “Come, everyone,” and he started guiding Hermione towards the patio.

It was obvious that Pansy had really upset Draco, and Hermione felt a protectiveness rising inside her as she accepted the squeeze Draco gave her as they started walking. She had the urge to apparate to the front gates and hex the stupid cow into next week, but she wanted to show him her support by being here too.

Draco seated them around the table on the patio, and Hermione accioed some things for Serena to play with as Draco went to the bar at the back of the patio. She heard the pop of a champagne cork, and soon Draco returned.

“Champagne, everyone,” he said, glancing around as he poured four glasses. “And how about you, princess,” he said to Serena, crouching down in front of her.

The little girl gurgled happily and handed him the wooden block she’d been holding.

“Thank you,” he said reverently, glancing at Helen and Hermione when they laughed.

“I have some juice in her bag for her,” Helen said, turning to the baby bag on the floor. “Severus made it cold before we left home,” she stated as she handed it to Serena.

Then Hermione leant forward and caught Draco’s arm. “We better send an owl to Celia Doyle telling her of the change of plans, love.”

“That’s a good point. Do you know where we keep the owls?”

She shook her head. “No.”

Draco glanced at Helen and Harry and then said, “Excuse us for a moment, we’ll just send an owl and return.”

~~~***~~~

Lucius was angry. He was a master at hiding how he felt, but he’d finally thought that he wouldn’t have to hide it in his own home anymore. He had felt useless as Draco had been arguing with the stupid Parkinson girl, and he’d been scared, for the first time in his life, that if he’d hexed the stupid little bint—as she’d deserved—that he may have risked ending up in Azkaban, a place he swore that he’d never allow himself to be sent again.

Severus could plainly see that Lucius was not happy. “Is everything well, my friend?” he asked in an undertone as they waited for Kingsley to arrive.

“No,” was the blond wizard’s honest answer. “Never have I been more frightened of losing something as I was just now,” he continued.

“You’re not going to lose Hermione over this,” Severus told him. “I can see that in a short time a strong bond has formed between the three of you.”

“Which only makes it more troublesome… What if I hexed someone… Would it…” but he couldn’t finish his words

“Oh,” Severus intoned, finally understanding his friend’s predicament. “You realise that they have agreed that you do not belong in Azkaban, don’t you?”

“No,” came his second answer, and with it a glimpse of the stressed wizard Severus remembered from the last days of the war.

“You freedom did not hinge on you becoming a saint, Lucius,” Severus said chuckling. “That’s not ever likely to happen,” he said.

Lucius quickly regained his haughty demeanour. “Indeed,” he intoned.

Severus cackled quietly and changed the subject.  “How did Parkinson get here?” he asked instead.

“It all happened this morning when Hermione thought that Miss Lovegood had betrayed her. Draco suggested Parkinson as an alternative, saying that she was his friend.”

Severus tutted. “I’ve long suspected that the Parkinson family defection from The Dark Lord’s ranks at the end was staged, and they’ve easily fallen back into the pit of lies.”

“You did?” Lucius replied.

“Yes, we’ll inform Kingsley when he gets here.”

“And the Greengrass girls…” Lucius asked.

“No, their allegiances are genuine,” Severus stated. “They’re lovely girls.”

“Well, that is good to hear. I fear I’ve lost touch after my confinement. Somethings are the same, but some are vastly changed.”

“That is true, and you, Draco, and Hermione are the most changed. This betrothal is one of the biggest things the wizarding world has seen for some time. It is sweeping us all along with it.”

“True,” Lucius replied. Then he seemed to regain some of his senses, and he remembered what he’d seen passing between Harry Potter and the Greengrass girls before the Parkinson girl had arrived. They’d been flirting with Harry Potter, and the boy-who’d-lived was literally lapping it up. “Before you arrived I watched both of the Greengrass sisters flirting outrageously with Mr Potter,” he told his friend.

“Interesting,” Severus intoned, one raven eyebrow aloft. “Perhaps they’ve decided to grab the conquering hero,” and he chuckled.

“Well, from what you’ve told me so far, that might be more difficult than they think. That Weasley girl seems to think that she owns him.”

“Indeed,” Severus murmured.

However, as he inhaled to speak again the Floo flared and Kingsley walked through. “My apologies, gentlemen. What can I do for you?”

~~~***~~~

When they returned from the Greengrass residence, Severus and Lucius had left Kingsley to deal with the fallout. It seemed that Madams Skeeter and Umbridge had joined forces. They both hated Hermione for things that she’d done to protect herself from them during the war, and they’d been going to visit prominent pureblood families for the past two days.

With Cassius Greengrass’ evidence on the two witches, they’d left Kingsley and his team of Aurors to round up those responsible.

“Do you think that the attack on Miss Lovegood may be related?” Lucius asked.

“There is a distinct possibility,” Severus replied as they walked into the green parlour where the people they’d left were talking quietly while they waited for them. Well, the people minus one: Harry Potter had taken his leave since they’d left, but that was only to be expected as Kingsley had summoned him away.

Helen was nursing a sleeping Serena, and the trio of adults seemed to be discussing Helen and Severus’ wedding on Friday.

Hermione was cuddled up next to Draco and as Lucius entered the room. She smiled up at him and patted the seat on her other side.

Severus walked straight over to Helen and sat beside her. He looked at their sleeping daughter and said, “Perhaps we could postpone dinner. We should get Serena into her bed.”

“Yes, this afternoon has been an unfortunate series of misadventures,” Lucius replied.

“And it is very late now,” Draco put in.

“Then may I suggest that if you gentlemen wished to spend some more time with Hermione that you could drive over to Prince Manor, thereby circumventing all magical tracing methods,” Severus said, smirking. “I’m not saying that you’re being tracked, but after the information that we’re just been told…” and he raised an eyebrow.

“Spoken like a true Slytherin,” Hermione laughed. “I will have dinner organised for us,” she continued, as she stood, then she placed her hands on her hips and said, “Over which I want a blow by blow account of what has happened.”

Lucius and Draco rose up either side of her, and they watched Severus nod before he, Helen and Serena blinked out of sight.

“I will see you soon,” Hermione said, standing on tip-toes to kiss Lucius and then Draco. She walked to the Floo and announced her destination.

Chapter Text


Helen met Hermione in the kitchen of Prince Manor as soon as she had Serena settled in her cot.

“Where’s Severus?” Hermione asked, looking up from her cooking.

“Gone to check things at Hogwarts. He said he wouldn’t be long,” Helen said as she poured herself a glass of wine from the bottle sitting beside Hermione’s glass and picked up a knife to start cutting vegetables for the salad Hermione was making. “You know he says he’s going to retire, but I don’t think he’s quite ready to give up being headmaster yet.”

“I think you’re right, and besides, what would he do? I somehow don’t think he would be good at just being lord of the manor. As long as I’ve known him I’ve never seen him idle.” Hermione put her knife down and went over to stir the pasta sauce. “How would you feel about living at Hogwarts?”

“It’s lovely,” Helen said in a dreamy voice. “But I bet it gets terribly cold in winter.”

Hermione laughed. “Yes, it does, but the new and improved Hogwarts will have central heating.”

“Really?”

“Yes, I saw the plans in Severus’ office.”

“There’s still a lot of restoration work to be done,” Helen remarked thoughtfully.

“Mmm,” Hermione replied, blowing on the spoon she was holding up before tasting the pasta sauce and grabbing the salt. She replaced the salt on its shelf and turned to her mother. “So, you haven’t told me what you and Severus want for your wedding on Friday.”

Helen laughed. “There hasn’t been much time, has there? Besides, Severus and I haven’t even discussed it yet.”

“Discussed what?” Severus’ voice asked from the doorway.

“Our wedding,” Helen said, walking over and giving him a kiss. “Could you organise more wine please, Severus?” she said as he pulled her into a hug.

“Dander!” Severus called over Helen’s head as he pulled her to him. “Mistress wants sufficient red wine for five,” he said, eyeing the almost empty bottle on the counter-top.

“Yes, Master,” the little elf said, and took a lantern from the bench top.

Hermione watched all of this and smiled. She knew that Severus was terribly proper about public displays of affection, and she felt really privileged to be witnessing him relaxing. “So?” she asked. “What do you have in mind for your wedding?”

“Something stylish but simple,” Helen said.

Hermione nodded as she took the sauce off the stove and then took the pot of pasta she’d cooked off as well.

Severus chuckled as he walked over to see what she was cooking. “Those two blonds are certainly in for a surprise with you.”

Hermione grinned at him before bending down to take the garlic bread she had in the oven out.

“I love cooking,” she said as she straightened. “So, who are we inviting to your wedding? What vows have you chosen? What time will the ceremony be?”

“One question at a time, Mina,” Helen told her daughter. “As long as you and Serena are present that’s my guest list. Severus?”

“Kingsley has agreed to bond us, and then there’s Lucius, Draco, Poppy…” He thought for a moment. “Miss Lovegood will be here.”

“How about Harry?” Hermione asked.

Severus sighed. “Yes, I suppose so, and if you invite the trouble magnet, then perhaps we best invite the Greengrass family as well, as they all seem to want to be together. One of those girls and Potter might just be the next match,” he said.

“Yes,” Hermione nodded, “I knew he had the hots for a Slytherin from something he said the other day, but they both seem to want him,” and she cackled. “Maybe it will be another triad. That should prove pretty interesting.”

“Slightly nauseating, is more my thought,” Severus scoffed. “Still, I do approve of your match,” he added quickly, seeing her face starting to fall.

Hermione grinned cheekily at him. “Thanks, Daddy,” and she skipped out of the room before he could say anything. She was laughing as she made her way up the hallway when she heard the unmistakable roar of a high-powered car coming up the drive and then stopping suddenly out the front with a screech of brakes and a flourish of gravel. She ran to the front door, and reefing it open, she watched her two tall blonds unfurling themselves out of a black Lamborghini.

She ran out to meet them. “Dinner’s ready,” she announced grabbing them both around the waist and squeezing.

“You smell like fresh herbs,” Draco said, breathing deeply.

She smiled up at him. “I’ve cooked spaghetti,” she said proudly.

You cooked?” Lucius questioned.

“Yes,” she smiled. “I love cooking, but tonight I chose something quick and easy,” and she laughed as Lucius continued to mutter about her cooking as they walked into the house.

Helen had calmed Severus down by the time Hermione came back, and she smirked at the glare he gave her, but she also had the pleasure of watching his lips twitch slightly as he tried to hold a smile in. Now that Lucius and Draco had arrived the five of them went straight in to the dining room and sat down. They were all famished.

Severus didn’t know what to watch as Lucius and Draco were introduced to spaghetti, because watching them trying to appear graceful and finessed as they tried to work out how to keep their food on their forks was hilarious. However, Hermione stopped his fun when she showed them how to do it.

Once they had the gist of it, then the questions started.

“This is Muggle Italian food, you say?” Lucius asked.

“It’s quite nice,” Draco added.

“Mmm, yes, quite nice,” Lucius agreed.

Hermione preened under their praise, but now her stomach was sated she really wanted to know what had happened after they’d spoken to Daphne and Astoria’s father that afternoon. “So, tell me. What happened? What took you so long?”

“Yes,” Draco agreed. “I am curious. Did you catch whoever attacked Luna?”

“We uncovered a plot by Rita Skeeter,” Severus started, but Hermione cut in.

“That odious, foul beetle,” she shrieked. It appeared that nobody had realised how much wine Hermione had consumed, and she was getting quite excitable.

“Beetle?” Helen asked.

“She’s an unregistered Animagus,” Hermione put in enthusiastically.

“She’d be potions ingredients, if I had my way,” Severus stated in a menacing growl. “She’s lucky the Aurors found her first.”

“Severus!” Helen scolded.

He smirked, but did not retract what he’d said.

“So they caught her?” Draco asked.

“Yes, but the other so-called mastermind might be harder to pin down,” Lucius put in.

“Why, who is it?” Hermione wanted to know.

“Dolores Umbridge,” Severus stated with a sneer.

“Toad lady?” Draco said laughing.

However, Hermione elbowed him playfully. “You’ve changed your tune,” she cackled.

Draco suddenly realised that she was pretty drunk, but he answered her question. “Like I said this afternoon, love, people who did not live up to expectations had a habit of disappearing,” he stated seriously.

Hermione wrapped her arms around his bicep and kissed his cheek. “I know, but you seemed so interested in it all at the time…” but then she suddenly blinked, and she missed Lucius stealthily moving her glass out of her reach.

“Do they think that the attack on Luna is related to this pair?” Helen asked. “Is Hermione safe?”

Severus glared at his adopted daughter and said seriously. “As long as she’s careful and doesn’t do anything silly she’ll be fine, Helen. Don’t worry,” and his hand covered hers.

Hermione then added, “Don’t worry, Mum. I can take care of myself.”

“She certainly can, Helen,” Draco added, changing his grip on Hermione to sling an arm around her shoulders.

Lucius looked on as he finished his own wine. “There is one worrying fact though,” he said, placing his glass back on the table. He saw every eye turn to him. “We are fairly certain that it was not Luna Lovegood who interviewed Ronald Weasley for the Quibbler,” he told them.

Severus nodded knowingly. “Yes, we think it may have been someone disguised as her,” he stated. “Polyjuice seems most likely.”

“It is also fairly clear that neither Skeeter nor Umbridge would lower themselves to taking that hideous potion,” Lucius agreed.

Here Hermione gave a tinkling peel of laughter but then snorted. “Yes, it is truly foul.”

Severus’ eyes narrowed at Hermione. “However, if they did, I have no doubt that they would make certain they had human hair, Hermione,” he stated calmly, his gimlet eyes pinning her.

Even in her inebriated state, Hermione recognised this as his retaliation for her ‘daddy’ comment earlier, and she had the good grace to blush. “I was only a second year, Severus,” she said softly.

“What’s this?” Draco wanted to know, sensing some juicy piece of information.

“Yes, it sounds very interesting,” Lucius added, also turning to look at her.

“I believe that Severus is referring to the incident where Hermione turned herself into a cat in her second year,” Helen put in, watching her daughter’s cheeks suffuse with colour.

Hermione turned to her mother, her mouth opened in shock. “You know about that?” she all but squeaked.

“Parents are summarily informed whenever their off-spring spend time in the infirmary,” Severus stated, in his best authoritarian voice.

“You never said anything,” Hermione said to her mother in an accusatory tone.

Helen shrugged. “When you returned home you were human, and besides, you had also been petrified that year. Frankly, it was all a little surreal.”

“But, I for one would like to hear about it,” Draco said, smirking.

“Perhaps another time, Draco,” Severus said, smirking at Hermione. “I really think that Helen and I should take some time to discuss our imminent nuptials.”

“Yes, we really should get this underway tonight,” Helen agreed, already rising from the table.

Hermione had been looking for her wine glass as they spoke. “Where’s my glass?” she demanded, turning to Lucius.

“I’m preventing you from needing a hangover potion in the morning,” he told her, holding the glass further away. “You’ll thank me tomorrow,” he said smirking when she scowled at him.

Hermione glared at him for some time, but then glanced at her mother and Severus. When she found that they were conducting their own conversation with their back to them, she giggled and leant forward giving him a kiss. “I suppose I have had enough,” and she sighed. “I just wanted to relax, it’s been really stressful today.”

“We know, kitten,” Draco soothed, urging her back to within the circle of his arm. “And we’ve had about the same amount…”

“But you’re smaller than us,” Lucius finished, reaching forward to touch her cheek with his curled finger. “And it’s very late now.” This movement was only witnessed by Draco because Severus and Helen were still deep in discussion.

Hermione missed Lucius watching contemplatively, wondering how he’d become so besotted over her that he was giving in to public displays of affection where she was concerned. However, the woman of his contemplations brought back from his thoughts as she spoke.

“Yes, bed time,” she suddenly announced, and then snickered. “Come on, my two hunky wizards, it’s time for bed.”

This cheeky comment instantly gathered Helen’s attention, and she turned back from her own conversation and looked towards her daughter. “Hermione!” she gasped.

Hermione grinned at her mother, and Helen’s expression softened.

“It’s so good to see you happy,” she replied after smiling at her for a moment.

“Thank you, Mum, I am,” and Hermione’s grin widened as she glanced either side of her. “Come on…” but glancing back to her mother and Severus now giving the trio their full attention she didn’t finish that thought, and merely started to get up.

“Good night to you both,” Lucius offered Severus and Helen, as they started to follow.

“Yes, good night,” Draco added.

“Night,” Hermione sing-songed.

As Hermione and the Malfoys were getting up, Helen started packing the dishes up to take into the kitchen. It was second nature to clean up after a meal.

“Leave that, love, the elves will do it,” Severus said softly, stilling her hands as he started guiding her from the room.

She sighed. “It is rather late, and I’ve been dreaming all day of sinking back into that decadent bed of ours.”

“Yes, I agree, but we really do need to finish the conversation that Hermione started in the kitchen tonight, and send the few invitations we need to send before we turn in.”

“Yes, you’re right,” Helen agreed. “We should do that,” but she glanced back at the dishes. “Are you sure it’s all right to leave the mess?”

“Yes, elves live to serve, Helen,” Severus told her.

 “Oh, the dear little things,” Helen said smiling. “But it’s very late.”

Severus returned her smile. “Yes, it is, and they do their best work at night when everyone else is asleep. They are invaluable.”

“Oh, do they get time off?”

Severus snickered. “Now I can see where Hermione gets her opinions from,” and once they were out of the dining room he leant forward giving Helen a kiss. “Yes, every elf is encouraged to have one day a week off, but it is hard to make them take them as they love nothing better than to be helpful to us.”

“I see,” Helen stated, nodding.

As they walked, Severus, started their discussion. “I believe that we’ve already discussed whom, regarding invitations, it is just a question of the wording of the invitations and the delivering.”

“Well that shouldn’t take too long,” Helen said, as they disappeared into their room. 

Back in the dining room, Hermione had not made much progress in moving away from the table, and when she did Lucius and Draco had to quickly swoop in to support her as she wavered when she stood.

“Oh,” she gasped, grabbing for the edge of the table. “Maybe I have had a little more than I thought. I think I might like to lay down,” she said.

Lucius and Draco watched the pair disappear up the hall and they heard them mount the stairs still talking quietly as they went, and they glanced at one another and then Hermione.

Then after another quick glance out the door to see that Severus and Helen had actually gone, Draco said, “Actually, I’ve been waiting since we were interrupted us this afternoon to have a good look at what’s under your dress, why don’t you lay down right here,” he stated with a mischievous glint in his eye, as his hands parted the neckline of her dress to expose her breasts. “I’d like to see your lovely pussy right now,” he told her, leaning in and flicking one nipple with his tongue.

“Yes,” Lucius agreed, with the sexiest leer Hermione had ever seen on his face. “Come, why don’t you settle here?” he suggested, lifting her onto the table and wandlessly clearing a space.

Draco pushed their chairs together and they sat in front of her and watched her taking their meaning.

She opened her legs, settling her feet on the outside arms of the chairs and she supported herself on her elbows and watched at Lucius’ hand slid under the top of the elastic of her underwear and pulled the front of the garment down. “Oh, yes,” he crooned. “There it is, your pretty pussy, and you smell divine,” he stated, inhaling deeply as he leant forward and kissed it.

“Ah,” Draco murmured, and his hand came forward to stroke her. “Lovely,” he said, glancing up from the attentions of his fingers. “Does that feel good, love?”

“Mmm,” Hermione moaned. “That’s lovely.”

“Aren’t you glad you laid down here?” Lucius asked, his eyes riveted to the sight in front of them.

The only answer they got was a long moan Draco inserted his longest fingers inside her as they both watched.

“Oh, yes,” Lucius said, still holding her underwear out of the way while he watched Draco’s fingers plunging in and out.

Hermione was drunk enough to allow herself to indulge in this rather risky behaviour in a house she wasn’t quite comfortable in yet, and she started panting as Draco’s fingers combined with their eyes on her made that delicious feeling blossom inside her.

Her moans became lustier, and they saw that she was very close to coming undone.

“Come, little witch,” Lucius encouraged, his warm breath tingling over her heated flesh, as he leant forward to suck her clit into his lips.

His words and actions sent her over the edge, and they watched with almost glee on their faces as she arched up off the table when the bubble of tension inside her burst and bliss broke over her.

Hermione lay amongst the dregs of their dinner for some moments, the aroma of spaghetti bolognaise would now forever be in her mind as a smell of comforting warmth because her wizards had brought her pleasure where she lay. The room was spinning pleasantly and she had a deep contentment humming through her. “I love you guys,” she murmured, not caring who heard.

At this declaration she felt herself being pulled up from the table and into strong arms. She didn’t really care whose arms they were, but she found she knew anyway. It was Draco, and in her euphoric state she realised that her senses were on high alert, and that she could discern easily between them.

“And I you,” he whispered, capturing her lips in a searing kiss. “That was so sexy,” he said, holding her close.

Lucius watched the pair from behind, and saw their love for one another as a palpable thing. While he hadn’t said the words, he felt a strong connection with Hermione, even after such a short time together. “Now, we’ll go to your room,” he encouraged, feeling very back-footed by his emotions.

“Yes, do you remember where your room is, love?” Draco asked, his voice tickling her ear.

She giggled prettily. “Mmm hum,” she sighed.

~~~***~~~

They made slow progress toward Hermione’s room. It appeared that her room was actually on the other side of the house, but she was rambling slightly as they led her to where she’d told them it was.

She smiled up at them. “I feel lovely,” she declared. “And I want my two men.”

“Well, you’ve got us,” Draco told her. “All night,” and he kissed her temple.

She laughed prettily. “What’s left of the night… Technically it… What time is it?” She turned to Lucius and blinked, her eyes wide.

“It’s a little past one,” Lucius said gently, obligingly looking at his pocket watch. “And I think you need to lay down again.”

But this time instead of complying, she grinned. “But I feel wonderful,” she cried, and tried to twirl between them.

“Bad idea,” Draco said, catching her. “Keep going, kitten,” he encouraged, guiding her up the hallway.

She giggled and reached for the next door handle they came to.

“Are you certain this is your room,” Draco asked.

“Yes, I hung a rose satchel on the handle, so I’d…” but then she looked at the bare handle. “Oh no, some one’s stolen it.”

Lucius glanced up the hallway to the next door and saw the decorated pouch that Hermione had just described. “I know where it is,” he said, guiding her away from the door she’d been about to open.

“You do?” she said dumbly. “Did you take it?”

“No,” he said, stopping her in front of the correct door.

“Oh, there it is, you gave it back. I love you,” she said, melting into his arms and pulling his head down as she attacked his lips with gusto before he’d had a chance to say anything.

Draco chuckled and opened the door. “She quite a handful when she’s drunk, isn’t she?” he whispered to his father as Lucius guided Hermione into the room as they kissed.

“She’s still charming though,” Lucius replied, breaking the kiss and directing Hermione towards the bed. He sat her down and she started pulling at her dress, trying to get it off.

“Want you… want you both,” she said, as she stood on shaky legs and starting to dance. The wine she’d had coupled with her recent orgasm was giving her an uninhibited buzz and she started striping. However, after another aborted attempt to get her dress off she vanished it as she kept cavorting around the room. “Wee!” she giggled as her clothes disappeared.

The men glanced at one another, and Draco decided to try and wrangle her into bed. “Come on, kitten, let’s get into bed.”

She laughed. “You’ve got too many clothes on,” and without any preamble, Draco’s clothes vanished as well.

“Hermione!” he gasped, as he tightened his hold on her, but when she just laughed at him he smiled. “Well, I haven’t got any clothes on now,” he muttered.

Lucius suddenly found himself laughing. He had not laughed like this for years, and his deep rich laughter brought Hermione somewhat to her senses and she broke her kiss with Draco and turned to look at him.

“You exquisite, witch,” he told her, closing the few steps between them. “You have captured me completely,” and he lifted her out of Draco’s arms and drew her to him. She let go of Draco and instantly curled up against him. He placed her on the bed, climbing on after he’d laid her down. He spared a glance for Draco, but then his attention went back to Hermione.

Hermione smiled up at him and wrapped her legs around his waist. She started rubbing herself on him, and as Draco arrived beside her, she reached forward and wrapped her hand around his cock.

“You two completely undo me,” she sighed, her other hand now rubbing Lucius through his trousers.

Lucius made short work of his coat and shirt, but there was no way he was moving his trousers, not when Hermione was stimulating him so beautifully. She would lose focus soon enough and he could get them off.

It happened quicker than he’d have liked it to, but she soon become absorbed with Draco and he quietly slipped off the bed and removed the remainder of his clothes as he watched Draco moving in to between her legs.

Now naked, Lucius settled back on the bed beside them, and was slightly surprised when Hermione rolled over dislodging Draco and got up on her hands and knees over Lucius’ legs.

Draco did not seem worried by this, and he watched her naked bum wiggling in the air enticingly, and then took the hint, sinking into her from behind while she happily turned to Lucius. It felt lovely, and she sighed as she smiled drunkenly at Lucius and took him in hand.

Her eyes were full of abandoned glee as she watched him while she snaked her tongue out and teased the head of his cock with it. “Mmm,” she moaned, her mouth taking him inside. She worked with her mouth and her hands, her eyes only leaving his occasionally to glance back at Draco and smile.

Then Draco’s finger arrived on her clit and he started rubbing as he thrust. It didn’t take long after this and she flew apart, screaming her satisfaction around her mouthful of Lucius, which sent delicious vibrations through him.

The clenching and delicious squeezing of Hermione’s internal muscles sent Draco careering into his own release, and he pushed into her hard as he came. When this happened, she released her mouthful of Lucius and moaned low and long, her head resting on his thigh.

Lucius watched all this, and as soon as Draco collapsed behind her onto the bed, he pulled her up into his lap and positioned her over his aching tool to gain his own satisfaction.

Being suddenly impaled on Lucius made Hermione’s very sensitized flesh react violently, and she clenched hard around him. He groaned in pleasure and pulled her up by the waist, bringing her down again over him.

She must have looked a little like a rag doll, she was so relaxed, but she allowed Lucius to control her rise and descent, and she gasped and panted as pleasure filled her once more.

They seemed lost in one another, but Draco didn’t care, it was wonderful to see his father enjoying himself, and he happily lay along the end of the bed, his hand pumping up and down his cock as he watched them holding one another.

~~~***~~~

Even though it was close to two in the morning, at Grimmauld Place, Harry and Kingsley were drinking and talking after having had a late dinner together. Harry had eagerly accepted Kingsley’s offer of mentorship, and he really appreciated his support of him. I’d have been lost in all of this if he hadn’t stepped in, he thought as he sipped his firewhiskey. Although, he seems very concerned about something tonight, probably the plot to undermine ‘Mione’s wedding, but Harry voiced his thought. “You seem reflective,” he commented.

“What?” Kingsley said, realising he’d been caught wool-gathering, and he smirked. “Just thinking about that poor little blonde witch we freed this morning,” he stated, hoping that he sounded casual.

“Yes, poor, Luna. Is she going to be all right?”

“I should think so,” he nodded, and then deflected the conversation away from him, to the subject of Harry’s encounter with the Greengrass sisters that afternoon. “You seem to have two fans I noticed this afternoon.”

“Who, Daphne and Astoria?”

“Mmm,” Kingsley hummed. “They seemed to be very open with their regard for you,” he said, picking up his drink again.

Harry chuckled. “Yes, they made certain… suggestions before they left,” he admitted.

“Interesting,” Kingsley replied. “Are you interested in accepting one, or both of them?”

Harry laughed. “I’m not certain I could handle the kind of relationship Hermione has become involved with, although, she seems very happy with it.”

Kingsley pulled two cigars out of his robes and offered one to Harry. “Don’t you?” he said, pursing his lips, as he wandlessly sliced the ends off both cigars and brought his to his lips, and he gave Harry a leering smile. “Have you really thought about that, Lord Potter-Black?” he asked, suggestively. “I can think of many benefits.”

Harry paused, and he blushed, but a slow smile spread across his face. “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,” he said, lighting his cigar.

“Well, think about it,” Kingsley stated blowing a plume of smoke up into the air, and they both sat in comfortable contemplation while they smoked and drank companionably.

 

 

Chapter Text


It was late, and at Grimmauld Place Harry and Kingsley had retreated into their own thoughts, and were sitting in companionable silence as they drank.

An owl tapping on the library window brought them both back to the room, and Harry lazily waved a hand to open the window. The owl flew to Kingsley, and he detached a note from the bird. It was from Tonks, informing Kingsley that they were planning to interview Ronald Weasley in the morning, and that she would meet him at The Burrow at seven.

Kingsley glanced blurrily at the clock on the mantel. “Damn, does that witch ever sleep?” he muttered. He was pleasantly drunk and considering the little witch that he’d safely deposited at Hogwarts.

“I guess she’s compensating for losing Remus,” Harry replied out of the blue.

This comment made Kingsley feel bad for her, and he shook his head. “Yes, guess you’re right.” He thought for another moment. “S’ppose I shouldn’t be so hard on her. Of course she’s missing Remus.”

“We all are,” Harry replied. He was possibly drunker than Kingsley, but he was a smaller man than the burly minister. “I had thought I’d have at least one of my father’s friends as family when the war was over, but I didn’t get any of them,” he said. “It’s not that I don’t apprec’ate you, Kings, but I just thought I would, you know?”

Kingsley nodded. “Yes, I know. I lost people… family too. We have to form new support networks.”

“Tonks is so independent though,” Harry said, draining his glass and immediately refilling it.

“Merlin, I wasn’t thinking of including Tonks in the family,” Kingsley chuckled.

“Why not, she’s my godson’s mother,” Harry stated defensively. “I think I have a duty to look after her, after all she was Remus—my friend… Remus’—wife,” he added, bashing his chest. “Surely we could fit them into our family.”

Kingsley eyed him dubiously. “You’re drunk,” he answered.

“Yes I am,” Harry said, saluting his new mentor with his glass.

“Better get some sleep,” Kingsley told him.

“Oh, right you are,” Harry stated obediently, and promptly passed out, arms and legs akimbo, on the lounge.

~~~***~~~

At six thirty the next morning Kingsley Shacklebolt sat up straight as his wand gave the alarm call he’d asked it for, and he glanced hazily around the library at Grimmauld Place. Harry was still on the lounge in the same position and snoozing loudly. The sun was just starting to warm the carpet through the curtains in a shaft of light, and there were many dust moots dancing in the yellow ray. This old house really needs a makeover, Kingsley thought as he rubbed his hands over his face.

Levering himself up, he headed up the hall to the loo, and another thought flitted into his head. I wonder how Luna is this morning? I wonder if I can get to escort her to Prince Manor. He relieved himself and freshened up before quietly leaving through the front door. In the small park across from Grimmauld Place he apparated to the usual spot on the pathway that led to The Burrow. He greeted Tonks and the two Aurors accompanying her, and gestured for them to head toward The Burrow.

After their words with Hermione on the steps of Gringotts the day before, Ron and Ginny had been taken and interviewed about their view on things. There was a zero tolerance policy in place now to all acts of discrimination against blood status. Of course, this might have been a knee-jerk reaction to events of the war still so fresh in people’s minds, but The Ministry was trying to send a positive message. Their action yesterday was particularly pertinent because of the war hero status of Miss Hermione Granger, and the two Weasley’s acts against her, be they only verbal, were sending exactly the wrong message to wizarding Britain.

However, it had soon become apparent that the pair were being urged on by their forceful mother, and that there was much bitterness and resentment, and because of this they’d been reluctant to take the matter any further. The pair had been fined and released with good behaviour spells attached to them. The matter of Ron’s interview for the Quibbler was thought to be no more than his mother’s pushing as well, until Luna Lovegood was found strung up in her own home.

The Aurors had spent the remainder of the afternoon at the Lovegood residence and then apprehending those involved in the sickening attack. The only person who they had not managed to identify was the person who’d impersonated Luna for her interview with Ronald Weasley, so they were here now to interview the young man once more to see if they could establish more leads.

Kingsley tapped on the kitchen door. “Good morning, Arthur,” he said as the genial redheaded wizard answered the door.

“Kingsley, Tonks,” Arthur replied happily, but then he looked past them to the two Aurors. “Ron and Ginny have not left here since you brought them home yesterday.”

“Yes, we know that, Arthur, but we wish to speak to Ron about the interview he gave to The Quibbler,” Tonks told him. This was very awkward as Tonks had been—and still was—good friends with Arthur and Molly, as well as their older children. So was Kingsley for that matter, and this whole business was very difficult.

Arthur glanced at Molly, and he stepped aside to let the visitors in. They all looked in Molly’s direction when she banged a frying pan down on the stove a little harder than was necessary, and they saw her eyes narrowed in irritation.

“Good morning, Molly,” Kingsley said.

“Is it?” she questioned. “You people are still harassing our family,” and she moved out to the pantry to get the ingredients for breakfast.

While she was gone, Arthur said, “Please take no notice of Molly, she’s not very happy at present. I’ll go and get Ron for you,” and he left up the stairs.

Poor Arthur, Kingsley thought. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place… permanently; he deserves a medal for living with this lot. Kingsley had heard Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore talking one night after an Order meeting where Molly and Arthur had been disagreeing about something. Later they’d reminisced about how Arthur had been sweet on a lovely Hufflepuff witch called Edwina Crabtree, but how he’d suddenly been going out with Molly, and Molly that had been pregnant by the time they’d graduated.

As they waited for Arthur to return with his son, Kingsley started to think about what Molly had organised her daughter to do, and he started to wonder if perhaps something of the same may have happened to Arthur. He was drawn from his thoughts as Molly came back with her arms laden with food, but thankfully Arthur arrived back at almost the same time with a sleepy Ron following him.

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Ron announced as he walked in.

Kingsley smiled slightly. “We’re not saying that you’ve done anything.”

“We wish to ask you about your interview with Luna Lovegood,” Tonk said.

“Oh,” he replied, and he flopped down at the table and yawned. “What do you want to know?” he asked, rubbing his eyes.

Arthur gestured for them to sit down opposite Ron and he glanced at Molly before starting on a pot of tea for everyone. He couldn’t understand why she was being to mean-spirited towards everyone lately, but now was not the time to think on that, and he listened as Tonks asked the first question.

“Did you notice anything unusual the day of your interview?”

“I’ve been thinking about this,” Ron said, “and there was something. It’s bothered me ever since, but I only realised it after she’d—whoever she was—had left.”

“Yes?” Tonk encouraged.

“Well, Luna’s Luna… she’s a bit off beat… weird. It’s something that uniquely her, yeah? Well, that day she was too… umm… too posh. Yes, posh is the right word, and we met at that new upmarket café off Diagon Alley. It was just not somewhere I thought that Luna would want to go. She’s more a picnic in the woods type of girl… Take you to see the Thestrals… Show you the thingy plum tree she’s always raving about.”

It was apparent that Ron had been going to think up more examples, but Tonks cut him off.

“Okay, point taken. Did you notice anything else that might have led you to believe that the person who interviewed you was not Luna?”

Ron took a slurp of the tea his father placed in front of him with a glance up in thanks, and he nodded. “Yeah, the witch used her wand to pay and it wasn’t Luna’s. I only caught a glimpse of it, but it was black with a jewelled grip, a real classy looking wand.” Then his brow creased in thought, and he said, “And she had a real hatred of ‘Mione too. Keep putting words into my mouth.” He glanced at his mother’s back as she disappeared back into the pantry, and he leant forward conspiratorially. “Look, I know Mum wanted me to make a fuss about ‘Mione taking up with the Malfoys, but,” and he shrugged, “Me and ‘Mione wouldn’t have worked, we’re just too different, and she’s my friend, yeah. Anyway, I want me freedom for a while, I don’t want to get married and settle down yet.”

Kingsley finally spoke. “Thank you, you’ve given us some useful information.” He went to get up, but then looked back at Ron. “But I think that if you wish to keep Harry and Hermione as friends, you need to do some apologising.”

Arthur nodded. “Yes, that is a fair comment, son.”

~~~***~~~

As the Aurors left The Burrow with Tonks and Kingsley, over at Prince Manor Hermione was just stirring, and as she did, she realised that she felt awful. Her quick exit from the bed over the top of Draco woke him, and he followed her as she headed into her bathroom.

He held her hair out of the way for her while she was sick, and then handed her wet a flannel to wipe her mouth. “Hangovers are the worst, aren’t they?” he murmured, carrying her back to bed. “I’ll go and see if I can find you a potion.”

“Severus will have them all locked up,” Hermione moaned.

Their talk made Lucius crack and eyelid. “Get an elf to do it,” he mumbled and his eyes closed again.

“Of course,” Draco replied. “Pinkie!” he called.

“Not so bloody loud,” Hermione complained, suddenly struggling up to vomit again.

While she was in the bathroom Pinkie arrived. “Could you fetch mistress a hangover potion, Pinkie?” Draco asked her.

“Yes, sir,” she replied, and popped out again.

“You two are too noisy,” Lucius grumbled. “I’m going home to sleep in my own bed,” and he slipped over the side of the bed and a wave of his wand had him clothed. “I’ll see you both later.”

“Yes, Father,” Draco said, he was more than happy to spend time alone with Hermione. His father had never been one for sick people, even if he did care for them. Neither was he a morning person; he had a specific wake up routine, and if that was ruined he was often like a bear with a sore head for the rest of the day.

Lucius had just left when Pinkie returned bearing the requested potion.

“Thank you,” Draco told her, and took the potion into the bathroom. “Here, kitten. Drink this and then come back to bed,” he encouraged, watching her wiping her mouth again.

She swallowed and murmured, “I’m sorry. Thank you,” and she downed the potion. Her nausea started to settle almost instantly, and she followed the potion with a large glass of water.

“Come on,” Draco said, pulling her arm a bit. “Some more rest will do you good.”

“I just want to clean my teeth first,” she replied. “You go back.”

“Okay, don’t be long,” and he dropped a kiss onto her bare shoulder before squeezing her buttock and walking back to their bed.

Some minutes later, she slid back into bed. “Where’s Lucius?” she asked.

“Never has been a good morning person,” Draco mumbled, having started to settle back into sleep. “Come here,” he growled, pulling her possessively against him and into his arms. It wasn’t long and they were both sound asleep again.

~~~***~~~

On his way out, Lucius met Severus, coming down the stairs in his dressing gown.

“Ah, making a hasty getaway?” the Potions master asked, chuckling.

“Something like that,” Lucius agreed. “Do you have to have such presence of mind this early in the morning,” he grumbled. The man was always so together first thing in the morning.

Severus studied his dishevelled friend for some moments before he spoke again. “Coffee?” he offered, realising that there was a story here on top of Lucius’ usual morning grumpiness.

“Very well,” Lucius agreed. “Then I’m going to head home for some more sleep.”

“Problem?” Severus asked.

They settled in the kitchen and Severus started the coffee.

Lucius sighed. “No, not really. Hermione’s a fabulous witch and I’ve grown very fond of her in a short time.” He took the offered coffee and inhaled deeply. “Ahh,” he sighed, producing his cigarette case from his jacket. He offered it to Severus.

“Thank you,” he said taking one. He lit it and took a drag before saying in a plume of exhaled smoke. “But?”

Lucius took another drag on his own. “But, they both deserve to be young lovers completely wrapped up in one another too.”

“Ah, I see,” Severus intoned thoughtfully. “You do know that Hermione is smitten with both of you, don’t you?”

“Yes, she proved that last night, but she was very drunk, and this morning when she woke up was a hangover, Draco got up and looked after her, organised her elf to collect a potion for her, and no doubt they’re wrapped up in one another now she’s feeling better.” He took another pull of his fag and then a thoughtful sip of his coffee. “Oh, don’t consider for a moment that I’m thinking of pulling out, I’ve already become too attached to her for that, but I want them to have their time together too.”

“That’s very reasonable of you, Lucius,” Severus replied, his eyebrow raised speculatively.

“Well, this match is going to do our family no end of good. The diary you found in the library proved that it did when Brutus and his son took that witch Madeline between them, and Merlin knows this family needs resurrecting. Old snake-featuresalong with Narcissa and Bellatrix did so much damage to us. That can all be rectified now, and Hermione is the key to that.”

“Yes, she is,” Severus agreed. “But is that the only reason you agree to this?” and there was disapproval lacing his voice.

“No!” Lucius gasped. He could be frank with Severus, he was his best friend. “No, I’m completely enamoured with the girl. Perhaps I do not love her as deeply as Draco seems to, but my regard for her runs deep.”

“In that case, don’t worry, Lucius. The three of you will find the way that works for you, you’ll just have to give it some time.”

Lucius nodded and finished his coffee. “Yes, you’re right,” but then he sighed. “I do like my own bed to bit too much,” he admitted.

“There is no rule that says you have to share a bed with them, you know,” Severus snorted.

“Yes, I know. Perhaps we’ll have to speak about it.”

“Perhaps,” and he started pouring another mug of coffee and preparing it how Helen preferred it. “I best get back upstairs. Are you still going back to your manor?”

“Yes, I have some business to attend to today regardless of engagements and arrangements for weddings. I’ll return closer to the afternoon tea if I may.”

“Of course,” Severus agreed.

“Thank you for the coffee.”

“You’re welcome,” Severus intoned as he watched his friend get up and wander out towards the front door.

Severus heard Lucius’ car speeding off down the drive as he mounted the stairs again with the coffee for Helen, and he smiled. His blond friend was finally starting to take other people’s needs into consideration. It was something that Lucius had struggled with his whole life, but it looked like a small Gryffindor witch had finally broken that trait and he was starting to grow as a person.

~~~***~~~

Draco was roused from sleep pleasantly by the sound of Hermione dreaming. She was obviously having an erotic dream, even if she only appeared to be half asleep. Her hand was busy rubbing between her legs and her eyes were closed.

“Hello, minx,” he murmured close to her ear.

His answer was a soft moan.

“Show me,” he said, peeling the sheet back.

Her eyes flicked open lazily and she looked back and smiled at him. “I’m horny, I had a lovely dream,” she moaned.

“I can see that, roll over so I can watch you masturbate.”

She gave him a lovely smile before shifting slightly and rolled onto her back, allowing her legs to flop open and lay there a moment displaying herself for him before she ran her hand over her pussy again.

He watched, and he smiled. We’ve just clicked sexually, that’s only ever happened with one other person, he thought watching her slipping her hand up her body and over her face, but I shouldn’t be thinking about Blaise right now, I’m with Hermione. He sighed. I guess I will have to tell her sooner or later, but then he became lost in watching her. Later, hedecided.

“Mmm,” she sighed, allowing her tongue to lick her fingers before she ran them down her body again, settling it on her pussy and squeezing before giving another rub up and down. She her eyes closed and she allowed her longest finger to slip inside. In and out, several times. It felt lovely, and even more so because Draco was watching her.

Draco watched with ravenous eyes. She looked so lovely, and the sound of her pleasure was exquisite. Little hitched breaths and the wet sound of her hand rubbing back and forth in certain short quick strokes; it was quickly bringing him undone as well, and his own hand started stroking his erection as he watched.

She continued massaging herself, applying firm circular pressure with her flat hand over her clit, and the sound it made was superb. The more she rubbed the more wetness that gathered there, and the better the sound became.

Then he saw her starting to shift her hips in time with her hand and rubbing harder. Soon she was rubbing frantically and groaning in gasping sighs as she spread her juices over her glistening quim, and it was all for him to watch. She was lost in herself, rubbing wildly. Suddenly her hips left the bed and she grunted a little squeal as she came hard.

Once she’d recovered somewhat one finger kept gently plying her still quivering flesh and she opened her eyes and looked at Draco. “Fuck me,” she whispered, still playing with herself. “Fuck me good morning.”

The sheet under her was drenched and the smell was amazing and Draco didn’t need to be asked as he was granite hard and aching after her display for him. He settled between her legs and lifted her hand away from her flesh. He brought it to his lips and sucked her fingers into his mouth at the same time as he used his other hand to stroke up and down her slit with his aching tool.

She sighed as he easily slid into her. He set a slow and torturous pace. “You are so beautiful… that was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he told her as he slowly started increasing the pace.

Their dance began and soon he was pumping in and out of her fiercely. “Rub yourself,” he demanded, knowing that he wasn’t going to last long.

Her hand came back and rubbed as he fucked her, and their voices rose together as they came.

Draco collapsed beside her. “My witch,” he crooned. “My beautiful witch,” and his mouth latched on to her breast.

To his delight, Hermione allowed him to suckle at her while his fingers swirled their combined liquids around her pussy. “I love sucking your tits while I finger you,” he mumbled, as he inserted three fingers inside her mimicking what his cock had just been doing. “Is that nice?” he asked.

“Yes,” she moaned, a hand coming up to her neglected breast and massaging it while he played with her.

Without warning he allowed her breast to pop free from his mouth. “I want you naked like this as often as I can see you today,” he declared excitedly.

“Yes, Draco,” she moaned loudly, coming undone for a third time at his words.

“Are you going to let me see you naked?”

“Yes,” she hissed softly.

“Good girl,” he crooned, starting to plant kisses over her. “Where?” he asked.

A cheeky smile lighting her face. “We better get up. Luna will be here soon, and Lucius hasn’t bid me good morning yet.”

“You aren’t going to let me drive you wild again?” Draco said, pouting, and dropping kisses down her body.

She sighed. “As much as I’m enjoying this, we’ll be here all day,” she said. “And besides, you constantly drive me wild, whether you’re here or not.”

“Cruel witch,” he pouted.

 She laughed. “Your cruel witch,” she told him and rolled over to sit up.

~~~***~~~

Down the hall, Severus and Helen were making a similar decision. Serena was due to wake up soon and they had a busy day. Not only did they have two new residents coming, but they had yesterday’s failed afternoon tea and dinner to re-arrange. This was not even mentioning their own wedding on Friday and the engagement party of Hermione, Draco, and Lucius on Saturday. At least the engagement party was being handled by Celia Doyle and held at the Grand Ministry Ballroom.

Helen sighed softly from within the circle of Severus’ arms. Laying naked with someone without a care in the world was something she’d thought she’d never do again, and she was coming to love it, along with the delicious ache between her thighs that he’d just put there.

Images of their love-making flitted through her mind and she smiled. She’d never thought she’d find such happiness again, and she raised her head to Severus. “I love you,” she whispered to him.

“And I you,” he replied, his lips sealing his words.

They kissed for some moments. “We haven’t tried the shower yet,” Helen said giggling.

Severus knew what she meant. Last night they’d made it as far as the lounge in their sitting room before she’d been naked and bracing herself on the back of it inviting him to fuck her. He’d squatted down behind her and made her scream his name by licking her lovely quim before he’d stood and buried himself inside her and made her scream again.

They’d then checked on Serena, and only then had they discussed their wedding before sleeping soundly wrapped in one another’s arm. However, Murphey’s Law was just about to interrupt their plans for shower sex when they heard Serena, and they got up to start their day.

~~~***~~~

The residents of Prince Manor trickled into the morning room over the course of the next half hour for breakfast, and at nine thirty, Kingsley Shacklebolt arrived unexpectedly and joined them.

“I’ve just come to update you on our progress,” he stated, as Severus walked out of breakfast to meet him.

“That was considerate, Kingsley,” Severus replied. “Would you care for some breakfast?”

“Thank you, I haven’t had the chance yet.”

They were just turning towards the morning room when Mandrake Rochester arrived at the front door as well.

“We’re still having breakfast,” Severus informed Lucius’ secretary.

“Lord Malfoy suspected that you would be. I’m only here to deliver the owl post for Young Master Malfoy and Mistress Granger,” he stated handing Severus what looked very much like a ministerial mail box, but it was brown leather instead of red.

“Very well,” Severus replied, taking the offered case from him. “Good morning.”

“Good morning to you too, Lord Prince… Minister Shacklebolt,” the secretary added, turning towards Kingsley before he turned back down the driveway. He knew that Lucius would be returning with other post later.

~~~***~~~

As they ate their breakfast Draco and Hermione looked through the post, and on the whole it was very mundane, just invitation replies and such. Then they got to the very last item, and it was likely that Lucius had instructed Mandrake to place it last. Hermione took it was a shaking hand.

“It must be safe or Father would not have allowed it through,” Draco assured her.

Of course, this comment garnered the attention of the other adults around the table.

“What is it?” Severus asked.

“It’s from Ron,” she replied, looking down at the scratchy handwriting before her eyes sought Severus’ for reassurance. “What do you think, Severus?” she asked.

“Draco is correct, if Lucius has allowed it through Rochester’s screen process then he is certain that the contents will not hurt or upset you,” Severus replied evenly.

“But why would he be writing to me?” Hermione asked.

“There is only one way to find out, Mina,” Helen said, leaving Serena--who had just finished her breakfast—with Severus and getting up to come around the table to stand beside Hermione.

Hermione took a deep breath and pulled the note from the open envelope. It was only short, and said:

Dear Hermione,

I am sorry. Mum was pushing me and that witch, whoever she was, the one that interviewed me. Well, they put words in my mouth, things in my head. I shouldn’t have said what I did outside Gringotts, it was stupid. I know you probably hate me, but I just wanted to say sorry.

Ron 

Both Helen and Draco had been reading the letter as Hermione did, and when she looked up she found that Severus was watching over her mother’s shoulder while holding Serena. She glanced at them as well as Kingsley sitting back in his chair and watching, before she shrugged one shoulder. “I guess I can be big enough to forgive him,” she said.

“But any more stunts and he’ll find himself at the end of my wand,” Draco warned, pulling her to him and kissing her temple.

Hermione smiled. “And mine,” she added. Then she took a deep breath. “When is Luna arriving?” she asked, keen to talk about something else.

“I will go and escort out new residents here,” Severus stated. “Would you care to accompany me?” he said to Kingsley.

The minister smiled. He was enjoying watching the family interactions and liking spending time here. “Yes, I will happily make the time for that this morning,” he told Severus.

“Excellent,” Severus said.

“Then once Hermione is certain that Luna is comfortable,” Draco put in. “I am going to take her somewhere I believe could be used as the site of the orphanage she wishes to establish,” Draco put in. He had picked up on the fact that Hermione was very concerned about Luna’s wellbeing.

“Really?” Hermione gasped, obviously delighted.

However, a voice of reason from behind them put a halt to that. “And where exactly would that be?” Severus questioned sternly, looking down his hawk-like nose at his godson.

Draco glanced at him, hearing the tone in his voice. “Umm, the old Black Estate.”

“You will not be taking Hermione anywhere near that place until we have ascertained that it is safe for you to do so,” Severus stated, his tone brokering no argument. However, when he saw the look of dismay on Draco’s face he patted the young man’s shoulder. “Your idea is an excellent one, Draco. It merely requires some more thinking through.”

“Besides,” Helen added. “I think between everything that’s going on here today, you will not have much time for outings.”

“True,” Severus replied, as everyone started out of the room to go about their business.

Hermione could see that Severus had upset Draco and she covered his hand, before she said, “Severus is correct. It is a splendid idea, and I can’t wait to have a look.”

“But he’s spoilt the surprise,” Draco stated, turning to her.

She smiled. “No, he hasn’t. I still haven’t seen it. That will be a lovely surprise, I’m certain.”

Draco pulled her into his arms. “I didn’t think of the dangers that might be lurking there for you,” and he started kissing her forehead. “I’m sorry.”

Hermione placed her finger over his lips, and smiled at him; she knew that he meant well. “No harm has been done, and Mum’s right we probably won’t have much spare time until our engagement party is over,” and she leant in for a kiss.

They had only been kissing for a moment when Severus arrived in the doorway. “Trouble wants to speak to you. You can take the call in my study,” he said.

“Trouble?” Draco asked.

Hermione giggled. “It’s Severus’ name for Harry,” and she turned sparkling eyes to Severus. “Thank you. May I invite him over?”

Severus sniffed. “Please yourself. He’ll be there later on anyway.”

Getting up, she pulled Draco along with her by the hand as she approached Severus, and she gave him a stealthy hug. So quick that you could have almost missed it. “Thank you,” she grinned at the stunned Potions master, and she continued on out the door towards his study.

As they entered the room where Harry’s head was bobbing in the fire, Draco grinned at her. “You’ve got him wrapped around your finger. I’ve never seen anyone do that before.”

She smiled at him, and pulled him in to finish their kiss, but a voice from the fire said, “Hey, I’m not going to watch you two snog.”

Really, it did Harry good to see Hermione so happy, but still, it was Malfoy who owned the other set of lips, and he might have been happy for her, but he wasn’t entirely ready to see this side of her.

“Hello, Harry,” Hermione said, a happy smile on her face. “Would you like to step through?”

“Sure,” Harry said, and they watched as his head disappeared and moments later he arrived through the fireplace. He looked around. “So, this is Prince Manor? Nice,” he said. Then looked at Draco. “Hello, Malfoy.”

“Potter,” Draco replied, but they were both smiling.

Then Harry looked back to Hermione. “I got a note from Ron this morning.”

“Yeah, me too,” she replied. “It was an apology.”

“Yes, but bloody hell, ‘Mione, he almost killed me.”

“That’s true,” Hermione agreed, nodding seriously.

“Why, what happened?” Draco wanted to know.

However, their conversation was cut short as Lucius strode through the Floo, and they could see by the look on his face that he was not pleased.

Chapter Text


Lucius’ face softened as soon as he saw Hermione, and he walked towards her saying good morning to Harry as he walked by.

“Umm, hello,” Harry responded, watching the tall wizard closing the distance between himself and Hermione and the cheeky, delighted look on Hermione’s face.

Lucius unceremoniously pulled Hermione into his arms and kissed her soundly. “Good morning, little witch,” he murmured. “I trust you’re feeling better now,” he added, keeping her possessively against him.

“I am, and I’m sorry, Lucius, I didn’t mean to make you leave this morning,” Hermione told him softly.

“You didn’t. I had some work to do,” he replied as he glanced to Draco. “Is Severus here?”

“I think he and Kingsley Shacklebolt have already left for Hogwarts,” Draco replied.

“I’m sure they will not be long though,” Hermione added, happily snuggling into Lucius’ embrace. “They’ve gone to escort Luna and Madam Pomfrey here.”

Lucius took a deep breath and, keeping Hermione against him, glanced at Harry as he nodded his understanding of what they’d told him. “And is Kingsley coming back with him?” he asked.

“I believe so,” Draco continued. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing… it’s nothing,” Lucius assured them, his eyes on Hermione. He firmly pulled her back to arm’s length so he could see her. “Promise me you will not go anywhere alone, dearest,” he told her, a serious expression on his face.

Of course, telling a Gryffindor that she couldn’t do something was like a red flag to a bull, and Hermione glared at him. “I’m not scared of anyone,” she told him. “What’s happened?”

Lucius studied her—so full of passion it was beautiful—and he levelled with her. “We already know you can take care of yourself, but,” and he glanced at the other two wizards before saying, “we care for you, and we do not want to see you hurt.”

“There is something wrong,” she asserted when he conveniently skipped over her question in his explanation.

Harry had been trying to take all of this in. He hadn’t seen such devotion since… well, he’d never seen such devotion, and he recognised that these three had bonded in a way he could not even begin to understand.

Lucius sighed softly and placing his hand in his coat pocket he removed a very formal looking envelope. “There was a piece of mail that I did not include in the items I sent with Rochester earlier.”

Draco recognised the Parkinson crest on the envelope, and instinctively knew what it was. He groaned. “No. Don’t tell me that bitch is demanding restitution?”

“What?” Hermione wanted to know, looking between the two men.

Draco answered. “Pansy,” he huffed. “She’s claiming foul after yesterday.”

“But do not concern yourself, Severus and I will deal with it,” Lucius added.

Suddenly things started to slot into place. “I should have gone with my instincts there, but she was the one who started it,” Hermione snapped, but then turned to Draco. “No offence intended, Draco.”

Draco walked over to where Hermione was still standing with Lucius, and he kissed her cheek. “None taken, love. I was taken in too, I thought she was my friend.”

Hermione patted his arm and sighed, before looking back to Lucius. “What’s she saying?”

“It is of no consequence, it’s simply a matter of settling,” Lucius said, placing the letter back into his pocket. “Don’t worry about it.”

“No, why should she benefit when she was unpardonably rude?” Hermione insisted.

“Oh, there will be no benefitting involved,” Lucius chuckled. “She is in the wrong here, and is in no position to demand anything,” he continued.

“I want to read the letter,” Hermione demanded. However, their conversation was interrupted as they heard people arriving at the front door, and Helen’s steps on the stairs coming down from putting Serena down for her morning nap.

“We’ll discuss this later,” Lucius stated to a displeased Hermione, and he walked out into the entranceway, saying, “Good morning, Helen,” as he saw her heading towards the front door.

However, Draco looked at the angry Hermione and said, “This really isn’t worth your time. Truly, love.”

“Yes, but that’s not the point,” Hermione replied, severely put out. “If the letter is about me then I should be able to see it.”

“It was most likely not addressed to you, love, even if it was about you,” Draco tried.

“No, that bitch has hassled me for no good reason all the time I’ve known her, and I gave in to your idea to make her a bridesmaid even with reservations, but I was trying to be open to change.”

Draco sighed, but he’d honestly thought that Pansy was his friend. “Hermione,” he tried, “I had no idea that she was a hanger-on and not a true friend.”

However, Hermione was now too put out to hear reason. “Well, we’ve found that out the hard way, haven’t we?” she huffed. “Do you have any other friends that you want to foist onto me as demon bridesmaids?”

Draco shrank back like she'd hit him, and he just watched her stalk out of the room.

Harry watched all of this, and when he saw the heartbroken expression that passed over his former enemy’s face, he suddenly realised that they were no longer enemies, and he took pity on him. “You won’t get anywhere, Malfoy,” Harry chuckled.  “Just let her cool down. Once she’s in a snit there's nothing you can do but give her some room, she'll see reason.”

“Do you think so?” Draco said, watching after her.

“I know so,” Harry replied. He watched Draco looking after Hermione, and hoped he’d have the same devotion to his love. Draco Malfoy was completely besotted with Hermione, and he knew that it was time to bury past hatred. He cleared his throat, before saying, “Listen, Malfoy… Draco, we haven’t always seen eye to eye but if we’re going to be both here for Hermione then I think it might be time to bury the hatchet.”

“Bury the what?” Draco replied with some alarm.

Harry laughed. “It’s a muggle phase, it means to put past differences behind us and try to work together,” and he grinned mischievously. “For instance, I’m sorry for thinking of you as a spoilt brat and a slimy Death Eater.”

Draco snorted. “Charming, and so eloquent,” he replied sarcastically. “Then in that case, I’m sorry I thought of you as a brown-nosing busybody…” but then he laughed, forgetting his troubles with Hermione for a moment. “Hey, who am I kidding, it was those very trait that saved us all from snake-face,” and he offered his hand. “Friends?”

Harry smiled. “We’ll try our very best, mate,” and they started out from Severus’ study towards the voices of the others.

~~~***~~~

Meanwhile, Hermione arrived in the hallway just in time to see the party of people disappearing into the sitting room. Poppy was on Severus’ arm, and Luna was being carried by Kingsley. Lucius and Helen were following them.

“I’m certain that I could have walked, Kingsley,” Hermione heard Luna say softly, and she was shocked from some of her anger as she saw the little blonde’s clear blue eyes studying Kingsley’s dark face adoringly as they walked by. I wonder what's going on there? Hermione thought.

She sighed, and glanced back towards the study. I shouldn’t have gone off at Draco, I’m… oh bugger. I should apologise, she thought, but just as she was going to turn back her mother saw her.

“Are you coming, love?” Helen asked.

Hermione glanced back once more, but then took a breath. “Yes, Mum,” she replied, sighing again and walking into the sitting room. She was still angry, but she shouldn’t have blamed Draco.

“Madam Pomfrey told us that you still needed to rest,” Kingsley insisted as he placed Luna on one of the lounges.

Their warm regard for each other became easily noticeable to all those in the room, and Luna’s pale cheeks were very pink tinged. It was obvious that she did not want Kingsley to straighten, but finally he pulled away.

It was also equally apparent that Kingsley very much liked looking after Luna, and the last thing he wanted to do was put any distance between them. However, he seemed to be acutely aware of everyone else watching them, and he glanced at the matron standing by with a blanket ready to cover Luna’s legs.

He managed to move himself away, and he went to stand with Severus and Lucius as Draco and Harry entered the room. The men watched on as Helen and Hermione approached Luna once Poppy had spread the blanket over Luna’s knees. Hermione leant down, a smile on her face and unceremoniously pulled her friend into a hug as she said, “I’m so sorry, Luna. We had no idea you were in trouble until that article came out.” Regardless of how annoyed she currently was, she was genuinely pleased that Luna was now safe.

“Oh, it’s okay, ‘Mione. You weren’t to know,” Luna replied, seeming unperturbed about her situation.

“But you’re here now, and safe,” Hermione continued, “and that’s the most important thing.” She glanced at Helen watching. “Luna, this is my mother, Helen Granger,” she said. “Mum, this is my friend, Luna.”

“Hello, Madam Granger,” Luna replied, one of her faraway smiles on her face.

“Welcome to our home, my dear,” Helen said. “If there is anything that Severus or I can do to make you more comfortable, please just say.”

“Thank you, Ma’am,” Luna replied, as an elf handed out cups of tea.

Hermione took a cup of tea from the elf and watched as Lucius started speaking quietly with Severus and Kingsley. She saw her pater’s brow crease into a scowl as Lucius handed him the letter, and Harry and Draco also arrived to be admitted into the conversation. All five of the wizards huddled around, obviously reading what was written, and this made her anger soar into life again. She was still miffed that the men were coddling her, and she intended to call them out on it.

She watched as Severus said something else that again she didn’t catch, and she realised that the sly bugger had obviously cast a silencing charm. Kingsley seemed to be disagreeing, but finally and they all nodded their understanding, and the group broke up.

Severus approached Helen. “We’ll leave you ladies to settle one another in, we have some busy to attend to,” he stated, and then looked at Hermione. “I’m sure you’ll wish to catch your friend up with all the news, my dear, and you will wish to show Poppy to her room,” he added, turning back to Helen.

Hermione’s eyes narrowed and she inhaled again. “Severus?” she asked tersely glancing at Lucius and Draco and noticing that Draco was being consoled by his father. “I want to read the letter.”

Without warning, Lucius turned to her and he reached her in a stride. “Here, my dear, read it,” he murmured, kissing her cheek. “You will see that it’s pure dribble, and not worth fighting over,” he told her glancing at Draco and then looking back at Hermione.

“Oh,” Hermione gasped. “Umm...”

Lucius’ eyes narrowed. “Read it!” he demanded.

“Yes, Lucius,” she replied almost contritely, and she opened the envelope as she sensed her mother arrive at her side.

“What's happening?” Helen asked, wondering why Lucius had sounded so stern.

Hermione glanced at her mother. “That witch from yesterday, the one I invited to be…” she started to say, but then glanced at Luna and stopped talking.

“Is there a problem?” Helen asked.

“No, not really, Mum,” Hermione told her. “She’s an argumentative witch, she always has been. She behaved very badly yesterday, and now she’s upset that we withdrew our invitation for her to join the bridal party.”

“And so you should, dear,” Helen said, kissing Hermione’s cheek. “You don’t want people making your life difficult, especially when we’ve only got a short time. Will you be all right?”

Hermione smiled. “Yes.”

Helen nodded, she had been about to suggest that she show Poppy and Luna to their new rooms when she’d heard the disagreement. “Good, then I’m going to show our guests there rooms. Are you coming, Severus?”

“I’ll be up in a moment, my dear,” Severus answered.

Hermione sighed and watched her mother leading Poppy Pomfrey out of the sitting room, with Luna in a chair being levitated behind. She noticed the longing look she gave Kingsley as well, but then she glanced at the men waiting for her to read the note, and she cleared her throat and looked to it.

Dear Miss Granger,

I attended your organised bridal party afternoon tea in all good faith yesterday, and you have treated me with complete contempt. It is exactly how I would expect a Gryffindor to disregard the feeling of another, and I demand retribution for this slight on my name. I will expect your attendance for an honour duel today at sunset, or my opinion on your nuptials with be placed in the hands of The Daily Prophet.

Hermione didn’t bother to read the signature, and she could just see the sneer that would have been present as it was written. She snorted, as she looked back up. “Now, even I know that witches do not have honour duels, it brings shame on the family,” she said, her eyes landing on Draco, and her lip slipped between her teeth. “I'm sorry, Draco. You were right it wasn't worth reading.”

Draco quietly walked to her and pulled her into his arms. “It's fine,” he told her, holding her against him. “Will you allow us to deal with the situation?”

However, Hermione pulled back hearing this. “No way,” she snapped and her eyes narrowed. “What she’s written is complete claptrap, and I will not be responding.”

Lucius had watched on and he smiled, all his anger over the situation leaving him in the face of her rebuttal; he loved their witch’s fiery passion. “That is of course is also a valid response,” he stated calmly before inhaling to say more. “And there will be no mention of it in the Prophet, even if they do receive a missive from the silly girl. I have already seen to that.”

Hermione smiled at him. “Good, then it should be forgotten. We should all move on,” but then she paused and her brow creased. “Pansy’s a Pureblood, why doesn’t she know what witches don’t duel for honour? In an emergency, yes, but not like this,” she said, flapping the note in her hand.

It was Draco who answered. “Well, the thing is, Pansy makes a bit of a habit of pushing inappropriate boundaries,” he replied.

“Oh,” Hermione commented. “Well, if she tries pushing any boundaries with me she’ll find herself out of her league.”

Draco snickered. “Yes, I believe she will, and I would not be surprised that her parents are mortified by it all. Like they are with her blatant relationship with Bulstrode.”

Lucius watched the young couple making up, and it made him even more determined to speak to Hermione about having more private time for each of them, which in some respects was what had been at the seat of his talk with Severus early this morning. He had never felt about a witch the way he felt about Hermione, and he wanted more of her to himself. “Everything all right now?” he questioned.

“Yes,” Hermione nodded. “I shouldn’t have let it get to me.”

“Then, people,” Severus stated, smirking, “let us continue with our day as Hermione has spoken.”

Hermione looked at him and saw his eyes positively sparkling with mischief, and she smiled at him. “Yes, we have a very busy day today,” she replied.

“You are correct,” Kingsley stated. “And I for one had best get going.”

Harry had been very quiet—uncharacteristically so—while this had all been happening, but he spoke up now. “Can I walk down the drive with you, Kings?” he asked Kingsley.

“Sure,” Kingsley replied. “Hermione, gentlemen,” he stated, nodding to the others.

Hermione smiled in return, but then turned to Lucius and Draco. “Could we invite Kings this afternoon?” she whispered.

“I suppose he is a part of everything, he’s bonding Severus and Helen,” Lucius said, “Certainly.”

Draco snickered. “You’re matchmaking, aren’t you?”

Hermione smiled sweetly. “Certainly not,” she said primly, but then changed tack. “So, it’s all right?”

“Yes,” Draco agreed.

She ran after Kingsley and Harry, and Draco and Lucius walked out into the entranceway and watched her talking to them.

Severus slipped away upstairs, saying, “I will see you gentlemen later.”

“Very well, Severus,” Lucius answered, and he turned to Draco. “There is a matter I wish to discuss with you and Hermione before this afternoon,” Lucius stated, his eyes on Hermione smiling as she walked back to them.

“There is?” Draco questioned.

“Yes, would you care to accompany us back to the manor?” Lucius said to Hermione.

Hermione smiled. “Certainly, Lucius,” she acquiesced as she walked back from the door.

Without further thought, Lucius swung her into his arms. “The library then,” he said to Draco as Hermione squealed joyfully at being swept up and almost danced around as they apparated before they landed in the Malfoy Manor library. Lucius released her and seated her in the middle of the lounge, motioning for Draco—who had just arrived—to sit on her other side as he himself sat down.

“What do you want to speak to us about?” she asked worriedly, wondering what else may have gone wrong now.

“I have come to see that you and Draco are very much in love with one another,” Lucius started.

“Oh?” Hermione gasped, but then turned as Draco answered at the same time.

“That is very true,” he added, pulling Hermione closer.

Hermione glanced at Draco, but then a devastating thought occurred to her, and then her head snapped back to Lucius. Her lip was wedged between her teeth as she asked rather timidly, “Y-You’re not p-pulling out of…”

Lucius saw her expression of total desolation as she asked her question, and he was filled with something undefined that she felt so strongly about him. “No!” he gasped, cutting her off. “No,” he repeated more calmly as his hands came up to cradle her cheeks, and he inhaled through his nose in preparation to say more. “Hermione, I have come to care for you very deeply in a short period of time, but I am very set in my ways too…” He drew breath again, stroking her cheek and taking the time to study her pretty face watching him so openly. “The fact is that last night was lovely, but while I adore all the times we spend together, being crowded into a bed with two other people… I would feel happier sleeping in my own bed of a night, with my own routine…” and he leant forward and kissed her. “If you’re there with me all the better…” His lips caressed hers once more.

Draco had been very quiet while all this had been said, and now he spoke. “That is why you left this morning?”

“I hadn’t slept well, no…”

“Then you must do what you feel comfortable doing,” Hermione declared. “There might also be times when all three of us wish to have our own space, and I’m sure that I can get used to sleeping in two different beds. I’m fairly easy,” she laughed. “If I’ve managed to survive living on a camp bed for a year, then I can adapt to the lap of luxury,” she said, turning her head on the side as Draco’s lips started adoring her neck. She leant forward to capture Lucius’ lips. “You were right to speak up, Lucius.”

Lucius accepted the kiss, but replied, “I’m not certain that there was anything ‘right’ about what I said, it is essential breaking us a little.”

“Yes, it is,” Draco agreed, “but perhaps some more time as separate couples…”

“And where exactly is that thought leading?” Lucius questioned, a note of steel in his voice.

Hermione sat up and looked around at Draco as well, but then said, “Perhaps Draco is simply voicing that we’re still in early days here. We’re still getting to know one another, and we did agree to begin with that there would be separate ‘dates’. Is that what you mean, Draco?”

Draco was uncharacteristically silent, and Lucius sensed a problem. He knew that what he’d just said could not have been the issue, as he was essentially giving Draco more scope for being alone with Hermione, and he decided not to mention the other thing that had led him to speak up. He would discuss it with Hermione first, and as he watched Draco’s head lower to Hermione’s neck again and his arms enclosed her from behind, and instantly landing on her breasts.

However, it seemed that Hermione also sensed that something was not right because she called him out on it immediately. Standing and turning to face them both. “Draco?” she asked.

He looked up at her. “What?”

“Is there something you’re not telling me?”

The truth was that Draco had just realised how quickly things were moving here, and while he loved and adored Hermione, there were many parts of himself that he hadn’t shared with her yet, and one part in particular that he was fairly certain was going to present them with a problem, especially when Blaise arrived on Thursday.

He had thought that he’d distracted his father from his questions, because it hadn’t taken long for Lucius to take advantage of Hermione’s state of undress, but of course, Hermione was a Gryffindor, and she was doggedly determined once her mind was set. He inhaled and fixed his mind to a half-truth, before taking her hand.

“No, I’m just processing things. You have to admit that this has all been a bit of a whirlwind.”

“True,” Hermione agreed, “and I guess there are many things we’re yet to learn about one another. I mean before this all happened we were virtually strangers… and worse, strangers with a past,” she stated thoughtfully.

“Yes, that is all true, and I’m sure things will become plainer as time progresses,” Lucius added, taking her other hand and tugging gently. “Sit back down, dearest. I have the urge to discover more of you now.”

Hermione sighed and gave in. “I’m pretty sure that not the sort of discovering that I meant, but I do love the way you both make me feel,” and she smiled as Draco pulled her back against his shoulder from behind.

He held her there as he started to undo her blouse and his lips went to adoring her neck while his eyes took in his father’s reaction. “I love you, kitten,” he murmured near her ear, still watching Lucius.

Lucius allowed it to slip, whatever Draco’s problem was could wait until later when he could call him out while they were alone, and he was drawn from his thoughts when Hermione moaned as Draco flicked her nipples. “Yes, you’re lovely, little witch,” Lucius told her softly, but then he smirked. “Entirely too delicious, you addle a man’s brain for him,” he said, his expression starting to turn into a leer as he slipped his hands came forward to cup her breasts once Draco had uncovered them, and they seemed to relax back into their easy union.

Draco hoped that the previous subject was gone at least for the time being, and he knew it was when he saw the expression on his father’s face, so he held Hermione’s stellar tits up, presenting them to his father almost reverently.

Lucius leaned forward, his breath caressing Hermione’s skin as he took Draco’s hint and closed in to pull one rosy peak into his mouth. He knew what his son was up to, but he allowed him to get away with it. He gave the nipple in his mouth a short sharp suck and allowed it to pop free while pulling her skirt up her legs to explore further. “Mmm, matching underwear, pity it has to go,” he murmured, glancing down and pulling her knickers off as she lifted her hips. He unceremoniously and tossed them over his shoulder as he came to kneel between her legs.

Hermione laughed and leaned back harder into Draco’s embrace as he continued to play with her breasts. He watched Lucius opening her legs in the reflection in the mirror over the fireplace. She arched up against Draco and pulled his head around for a kiss as she felt Lucius’ touch and then his hot breath blowing over her rosy flesh before his tongue flicked out over her clit.

Everything felt wonderful; Lucius’ tongue on her and Draco flicking and twisting her nipples as he kissed her. She cried out into her kiss with Draco as and once more it seemed surreal that it was only just on a week since this arrangement had started. Hermione considered briefly—before her world spiralled into pure pleasure—that she’d never considered that she might be able to have everything she wanted, and she groaned as Lucius’ fingers slid inside her and added to her joy.

Moments later her pleasure built to a peak and crested, and she cried out as she came. Lucius got up and leant over her. Her mouth had broken away from Draco’s and she was panting. He licked her lips and then kissed her.

“You’re exquisite,” Lucius told her, and was just about to start unbuckling his trousers when there was a knock on the door. “Yes?” he snapped, irritated at the interruption.

It was one of the elves, and the creature knew better than to enter the room unless being instructed to. “There is a Floo-call for Master Draco in his room,” the elf stated.

“Who is it?” Draco questioned in a voice that could only be described as wary.

“It is Master Zabini,” the elf replied.

Hermione in explicably felt Draco tense as he answered. “I really should take the call. There may be a problem. I’ll see you both later,” he stated, getting up hastily.

Then he was gone, and Hermione was blinking, confused by the chain of events.

Lucius also watched his son disappearing quickly through the door, but then his eyes turned back to Hermione spread out before him, and he caressed her cheek. “His loss,” he stated, and watched her nod. “Come,” and he held out his hand. “I believe I might take you standing up. You would enjoy that, wouldn’t you precious?”

“I certainly would,” Hermione agreed, but something wasn’t sitting well with her, but she forced her attention back to Lucius. The man made her feel so good, and she decided not to worry about Draco for the moment.

Their lips met as he walked her backwards towards the wall beside the door. He reached over and closed the door, locking it. “You’re all mine now,” he murmured, as he head lowered to hers

Hermione snickered into their kiss, his mouth taking her attention away from everything else, and she hitched one leg up around Lucius’ hip. He instantly took advantage running his longest finger up and down through her petal-soft flesh. “So wet, my little witch.”

“Yes,” she sighed, immediately starting to rock her hips in time with his finger. “Oh,” she moaned softly, falling against him and rubbing softly on him, feeling the delicious roughness of his coat on her bare breasts. “I want you,” she whispered, her hands moving to undo his trousers.

He snickered softly and allowed her to release his aching cock, before lifting her legs and placing her thighs over his forearms. “My lovely, wanton girl,” he breathed, pressing her against the wall and thrusting into her velvet heat as soon as he had her supported. “Is that what you wanted?”

“Yes,” she breathed, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I’m completely full of you. Fuck me,” she whispered in his ear.

This witch was lovely; he was so fortunate to be part of this match, and he pulled out and thrust in again, revelling in her cry of pleasure as he did so. He then set a blistering pace, and neither of them lasted long before they were gasping their releases. After all, he’d already been very worked up, and she was just perfect. Her tight channel clenched and squeezed around him so beautifully, perfectly.

Lucius managed to stagger back and flop down in one of the chairs, without dislodging himself from within her, and he kissed her, but he could already sense her quick mind humming over why Draco had left so quickly.

He sighed. “Come, let us make ourselves more comfortable.”

Chapter Text


Gathering his wits about him, Lucius enclosed Hermione securely against himself and apparated them to his private rooms. As they travelled the short distance, Lucius reflected that he was planning to take his son to task for leaving them as he had, but his first priority was to make certain that their witch was made to feel that things were in the customary range of normal.

He’d seen the look she’d given Draco when he jumped up and rushed off to speak with Zabini, and he was also concerned that when he himself had broached the subject of wanting to sleep in his own bed she’d instantly jumped to such a fatal conclusion. It was obvious that she did not yet completely believe that their union as a trio was set in stone, and for that matter neither was he now.

They landed on a decadently soft bed, and just the feel of it made Hermione never want to leave it. She snickered. “Now I can understand completely why you wish to sleep here, it feels like laying on clouds.”

Lucius turned to look at her, wondering if just by bringing her here he’d gone a long way to solving one issue. “Would it surprise you to know that you are the only person I would wish to share this bed with?”

“I’m honoured you would consider that,” she told him.

“You are to be my wife, my dear…” but he didn’t finish the sentence.

Hermione sat up and her expression became thoughtful. “I suddenly feel like I’m missing something.”

Lucius sighed. “Unfortunately, little witch, I agree with you…” and again he didn’t complete his sentence. He knew that while he was only interested in witches—one witch to be exact—that Draco had often bedded both sexes, and he also knew the Zabini had been one of his more persistent paramours. Was there still something going on? Having been under house arrest before these past two weeks had not made for easy communications with the outside world, and whilst Lucius did believe that Draco truly loved their witch, he wondered if perhaps there was someone else as well. He was brought out of his thoughts by Hermione’s soft voice.

“Today has not gone to plan so far,” she mused.

“No, that it hasn’t, and you have to know that Draco can be a little flippant sometimes, but I am certain that he loves you and wants this to work between the three of us.”

Hermione’s brow creased. “I know, and I thought I was certain of that after this morning… but I also sense…” and she paused, seemingly unable to determine what she sensed, and she shrugged.

“It is not my truth to tell, Hermione,” Lucius stated, pulling her closer and wrapping his arms around her.

“But will you tell me anyway?” she asked, happily snuggling into his warmth.

Lucius sighed. “I believe it has something to do with Blaise Zabini,” he told her.

“Why has it to do with him?”

“Again, I do not know the full story, and I beg you, do not judge Draco too harshly.”

She sat up and looked at him. “Lucius, you’re not answering my question.”

Lucius sighed. “No, I’m not…” and he looked like he was planning to say more, but then got up off the bed and walked into the bathroom.

Hermione watched him and she started to fear the worst. This day had started so hopefully, where was it about to go? Draco had been so lovely to her this morning, but now she wasn’t so sure what we happening. She heard water start and then Lucius’ voice as he looked around the corner of the door.

“I’m preparing us a bath, would you care to join me?”

As she got up and wandered to where she’d heard Lucius’ voice, she also wondered something to herself. Maybe I was wrong earlier thinking that it was Lucius who does not want to continue our arrangement, and she instantly realised that having both of these men was not as important to her, as having just Lucius, she couldn’t imagine going on without him, perhaps Draco was an itch that had merely needed scratching.

Lucius was correct when he’d told her that he thought Draco loved her, but she also knew that Draco was something of a passenger in their arrangement. He was happy to be there, but Hermione now wondered if he was simply going along with things because it was easiest. Perhaps he wasn’t ready to commit yet.

Furthermore, she was starting to notice a pattern in her amorous encounters with the Malfoy men; Lucius was usually the driver and Draco second to him, and when they were alone with her, Draco was far more playful than Lucius, but both of them were passionate. She sighed, and as she arrived in a decadent bathroom her thoughts were still mentally dissecting her how her fiancés approached her.

Draco professed his undying love to her often, and she loved it, but he was like a little boy sometimes. He had a real fascination with her breasts, and often just wanted to play with her like a toy, as he’d started to do just before Blaise had interrupted them. Then her eyes went to Lucius, now standing there naked in front of her. She had to say that she felt far more comfortable with him in control, and he seemed to adore all of her, know exactly what to do to turn her on completely, and despite the situation a fresh tingle of arousal shot through her thinking about it.

She quivered deliciously watching him preparing the bath, his body taunt and well-muscled, and her eyes followed the delicious blond treasure trail that wove down his stomach and widened out into his pubic hair, and her eyes focused on his thick cock standing to attention again, and she felt impossibly horny once more.

This new life of leisure that she was currently undertaking made her wish that she could swan around like this all the time, but as she thought this Lucius stepped up to her and started removing her dishevelled clothing. As he did so, he kissed around her jaw and onto her neck and then murmured. “I did not mean to ignore what we were speaking about, but the idea of a bath seized me, and I thought you might like to relax with me.”

His voice in her ear was making her so hot, and she moaned softly, rubbing herself on him as he spoke.

“Come,” Lucius murmured, and taking her hand he led her to the bath, he stepped in and sat, pulling her down to sit next to him. He slung an arm around her shoulders and as he did so his other hand wrapped around his erection and started stroking it.

Hermione reached forward to take over, but he stopped her.

“No,” he said, “you just sit and relax, little witch, I’m perfectly happy.”

Hermione sighed again. “Okay,” she agreed, this certainly was a strange morning, and she still felt very conflicted. She’d thought that she’d had everything so worked out in nice neat boxes, but this morning’s turn of events had almost left her reeling. She settled next to him as the bath was wide enough for two to sit side-by-side.

As soon as they were comfortable, he started explaining. “This morning when I returned I started reading the diary of the union between my two Malfoy ancestors and their shared wife—the very book that started all this—and I noted something important… Something which I feel it prudent to mention.”

“What is it?” Hermione asked earnestly, wondering what else was about to unsettle her.

He was still stroking himself softly, and his head turned to her. His eyes were fully blown with lust, and he leant forward and captured her lips tenderly. “You are a precious thing, my dear. It doesn’t matter about there being a triad, it is you who is the important piece of the puzzle, and this gives you alone the power to bring our family back to power,” he murmured.

She looked at him quizzically, but the heat in his eyes almost melted her, and she couldn’t help wrapping her arms around him, and burying her head in the crook of his neck. They were silent for some moments, but finally Hermione spoke again. “What do you mean?”

“Just what I said, little one. One way to bring stability to a family is with love and with love comes sex. Sex magic is very powerful, and it depends on the witch’s power. In some way the wizards are incidental.”

While he’d been speaking, Lucius had continued stroking his member, and he had a pleasant amount of arousal pulsing through him. He adored the feeling of it; he liked the sensation of prolonging the anticipation, and he smiled as he waited for her reply.

She sighed. “It certainly goes against the pureblood idea of arranging marriages.”

“That’s right,” Lucius agreed, and he inhaled and raised his hands to caress Hermione’s cheeks. “We are very fortunate. There are not many other families who can use this sort of agreement, most of the more powerful families fell victim to Riddle’s nonsense, and they’ve been mostly wiped out.”

“That’s quite sad when you think about it,” Hermione ventured.

He nodded, his hand returning to its task of stroking. “Yes, but most of them would not have even entertained the idea of extending the gene pool to include those outside the twenty eight sacred families. They were fools and simpletons.” His hands rose to her cheeks once more. “How could they not see what a wonderful gift they were squandering?”

“There was a time when I’m certain that you would not have thought of me as a wonderful gift,” Hermione said timidly.

The corner of his mouth tilted upward. “Unfortunately, you are correct,” and he leant forward and kissed her softly. “I was a fool too.”

“You’re not now though,” Hermione told him earnestly, bringing her hands up to his cheeks and leaning in for another kiss.

“Most definitely not. I adore you,” he whispered against her lips.

They kissed passionately for some moments, but finally Hermione asked, “How does it work?”

“What?” he murmured, watching her face.

She snickered seeing that his eyes had glazed over, and he’d obviously forgotten what they’d been talking about. “Sex magic,” she murmured, kissing him again. “Is it the combinations of our magics?”

“Yes, but the future security of our family hinges on these early encounters with you. Magic is a curious and ever changing thing, you need to build up a surplus of positive energies.”

Hermione laughed gaily. “Is that why I’m so randy at the moment?”

Lucius snickered in reply. “That may be part of it, for just as magic is a part of a witch or wizard’s very soul, so is love and hate.” He paused for a moment, and the rhythmic gentle sloshing of the water increased, and Hermione’s eyes were glued to the action of his stroking hand, and she found herself panting slightly in response. She forced her eyes up to his face and saw his eyes closed and his lips parted in pleasure.

Then his hand slowed again and he opened his eyes and looked at her with a lazy expression on his face. Seeing her watching him he smiled, and told her, “That old blowhard, Dumbledore, was almost right when he constantly pontificated about love being the answer, but it was not simply love. It is love and sex, and those are exactly the two elements that most pureblood dynasties are now missing,” and he smirked. His hand increased its speed once more, and he turned to look at her again. “The Malfoy family will not be suffering from that in the future if I have anything to do with it,” and he pulled the passionate Gryffindor witch around so she was straddled over his lap. “Ride me,” he told her, his voice hoarse with lust.

He sighed as she sank down over his aching shaft without question, and he made a mental oath. He didn’t care what his son did, but he was keeping this witch, and he wanted her to himself when they were being intimate, and he wanted her as often as possible. He had no problem sharing her with his beloved son, but when she was in his bed, he wanted her whole attention on him.

Mind you, he would keep taking advantage of every situation when the three of them were together too. He’d be a fool not to, and he chuckled to himself as she moaned when she rose up to sink over him again. There was enough of her to go around as their witch seemed to be insatiable.

Soon she was enthusiastically bouncing on him—and he was pleased for the no-spill charms on the tub—but he was also quickly losing himself to the delicious feel of her around him, and he slipped a finger under the water to massage her clit, knowing that he wasn’t going to last much longer. He’d worked himself up just a little too well, but he didn’t care, there was always later, and without warning she groaned and he felt her tightening internal muscles squeezing his length and he shuddered into his climax.

Lucius pulled her against him, and buried his head in the crook of her neck. “I love you,” he murmured against her ear. He surprised himself by saying it. He’d never told anyone that before.

Hermione’s arms tightened around him. “I love you also,” she whispered, and she sought his mouth to kiss him.

They kissed for some time, and in that time Lucius hardened once more, and she started rocking over him as they kissed.

He chuckled, sending a shiver of want through her. “I think we better save this for later, dearest. We have an important occasion this afternoon.”

“Yes, and I best see if Luna is all organised for this afternoon… But Lucius?”

“Mmm?”

“I want to stay here with you… a-and I still don’t know what’s going on with Draco,” and her lip went between her teeth.

“You leave Draco to me, my dear.” He lifted his head and called over her shoulder. “Pinkie?”

The little elf arrived.

“Please get Madam’s dressing gown,” he said.

“Very good,” Pinkie replied and left again as Lucius offered Hermione his hand to help her out of the tub.

Hermione was shocked to see that it was two thirty when they went back into the bedroom. “My, it’s getting late,” she commented.

Lucius chuckled. “We should have had lunch in the tub,” he told her, taking a little too much pleasure in drying her.

“That would have been nice, but I already feel a bit guilty for abandoning Luna. I better get back there. I’m sure there’s something to eat at home.”

“I’m sure there is,” he agreed, still kissing each part as he dried it, so much so that in the end she was moaning and very hot and bothered once more.

He merely chuckled. “I will see you very soon,” he told her and wrapped the silk dressing gown around her, before pulling her to him again to another heated kiss.

“Promise I’ll see you again before the afternoon tea,” she said, rubbing against him. She just couldn’t get enough of him, and as she apparated away she felt his loss acutely. The pair of them seemed to have become immeasurably closer this morning. However, then she wondered if she and Draco had drifted just as far in the opposite direction in that same space of time.

She sighed as she arrived in her bedroom at Prince Manor and undid her robe while trying to decide what she might wear for the afternoon’s event, hoping that would take her mind off Draco’s strange behaviour. Now she was away from Lucius all sorts of doubts started crowding her mind again. She pulled a scarlet cocktail dress from her wardrobe and hung it on the door before going in search of underwear and something to put on now.

She vaguely wondered if Luna had something to wear this afternoon, as she knew that the Greengrass girls would be stylish and spotless in appearance. Hermione felt something akin to Luna, and she did feel bad for abandoning her and Harry this morning, although Harry seemed to have other things on his mind, and she wondered if he’d made a decision about what he was going to do about Daphne and Astoria’s obvious interest in him.

Slipping into her cotton dress she put on some sensible flat shoes, and sighed again that this precious time in her life would be limited, and that once they returned from their honeymoon she would start her apprenticeship. “So, I’ll just have to make the best of it while I can,” she said to herself as she opened her bedroom door.

~~~***~~~

While Hermione was dressing, Lucius was also, and he was most perturbed. As soon as he was attired he went in search of Draco. He had to know what was going on.

Being the lord of the manor had several advantages. It meant that he could access all areas, even locked rooms, and he went straight to his son’s chambers and did just that. The manor had several Floo connections, and Draco had a private connection in his rooms.

Lucius wanted to know the exact nature of his son’s conversation with Zabini, so he utilized his famous cunning, and after casting silencing and disillusionment charms around himself he entered Draco’s rooms through the locked hallway door from his bedroom and quietly approached the open sitting room door. The sight that met his eyes left him in no doubt as to the nature of Draco relationship with the Italian. Draco was reclining on the chair by the fireplace with his jeans pulled down past his hips, and he was stroking himself while Zabini watched on avidly from the fireplace.

“That’s it, Caro, that’s my boy,” Blaise murmured, and his encouragement made Draco come.

Cum sizzled at it splattered over the head of the young man in the fire, and Draco lay there panting softly.

Shit! Lucius thought. Well, he’s not going to ruin things. I wonder when this started again?

After some moments, Draco seemed to come back to himself and he glanced at the clock. He sighed, and said, “I better get ready for this afternoon.”

“Are you certain about this?” Blaise asked.

Draco snorted. “It is my responsibility to father the next Malfoy heir,” but then he sighed. “And as you know I’ve loved both you and Hermione for many years.”

“I should be jealous,” the dark-skinned young man replied.

“You have no reason to be. You flit around several of us.”

The head in the fireplace smirked cunningly. “True, although it could be said that I might wish a similar relationship to what you have with your Hermione with my own princess. Perhaps we could come to some arrangement.”

Draco stood. “That I do not know, but marrying Hermione beside my father is of great importance to me,” he said, tucking himself back into his jeans.

Blaise snickered. “Do not underestimate your other side, my prince. It will surface again, you can’t just cut it out.”

Draco’s expression turned haughty. “I have with everyone… but you.”

“No, I am special,” Blaise crooned to him. “Go and be with your little Gryffindor, but remember she’s a smart one, you won’t be able to hide this from her. I will see you on Thursday. Farewell, my prince.”

“Bye,” Draco replied, and turned away as the head disappeared from the fire. However, his eyes snapped to the angry man in the doorway as Lucius cleared his throat.

In his anger he had dispelled his disillusionment charm, and he was wearing a dangerous scowl. “You fool! How could you cheat on Hermione?” Lucius all but yelled.

Draco was stunned for a moment, but then smirked. “Actually, I’m cheating on Blaise with Hermione too.”

Lucius stalked into the room with the screaming urge to settle his hands around his son’s throat. “What exactly are you saying?” he asked, his eyes stone-cold with rage.

“Father, I’m bi. I always have been, and I think you know that. I love Hermione to bits, but I also love Blaise…” he said, watching his father cautiously.

“And when were you planning to tell Hermione this?” Lucius demanded.

This left Draco struggling for words. “Umm… Well…”

“When!” Lucius bellowed. “That sweet witch is marrying us in good faith, she does not deserve this shit. She’s already twigged that something is not right. Are you always going to abandon her when the Italian calls you?”

“No!” Draco gasped. “No, I love her… It’s just that when he called me yesterday, you interrupted us wanting to leave for Prince Manor, and well, I felt I owed it to him to take his call this morning.”

“Did you also owe him what I witnessed?” Lucius stated, a sneer twisting his face.

Draco shrugged. “That just happens,” and he sighed.

However, Draco’s face then turned so conflicted that it shocked some of Lucius’ anger out of him, and he also sighed. “You need to make certain that Hermione is fully informed of this issue, Draco.”

“But w-what if she rejects me?”

Lucius sniffed. “She must know.”

Draco exhaled a long breath. “Yes, Father,” and he brushed by his father heading towards toward his bathroom.

~~~***~~~

While Lucius and Draco had been talking, Hermione had met Luna in the hallway outside their bedrooms.

 “I’ve rested enough, I think,” Luna stated in greeting. “Did you have fun with the Malfoys before you came back?” she added with a dreamy little giggle.

Hermione smiled remembering her encounters in response to the word ‘fun’, and Luna giggled again.

“Oh, I can see that you had a lovely time,” and then she sighed. “Isn’t it a pity that we can’t simply exist on sex?”

“Luna!” Hermione gasped, shocked at her friend’s frankness, but then she smiled wickedly. “Yes,” she agreed.

They both laughed as they started down the stairs.

“My men are so sexy,” Hermione confided, as they walked towards the kitchen. Mind you, she still wished she knew what was going on with Draco today.

“What’s so funny?” Helen asked as they entered the kitchen.

“Nothing, Mum,” Hermione replied.

Helen smiled. “If you want something to eat I kept you a plate. It’s in the cool cupboard,” she said, pointing.

Hermione grinned. “You’re great, Mum. Thanks,” and she kissed her mother’s cheek and went over to the cool cupboard. “Do you want a glass, Luna?” she asked, holding up the open bottle of wine.

“Oh, yes, please,” she replied.

“Mum?” Hermione asked, also holding the bottle up to her.

“No thank you, dear.” Helen answered. “I’m still feeding Serena remember.”

“Oh yes, sorry,” Hermione replied as she poured herself and Luna a glass.

They sat down as Hermione started eating, and Luna watched as Helen then left, obviously to do something somewhere else, and she leant over towards Hermione. “I’ve come to realise that I really like Kingsley,” she stated quietly.

Hermione snickered. “That was obvious this morning,” she commented, taking another mouthful of her lunch.

“Do you think he likes me?” Luna asked.

“He’d be a fool not to, Luna,” Hermione commented.

She sat back in her chair and her eyes went fuzzy. “I wonder how big his cock is?” she stated in her dreamy tone.

Hermione almost choked. She coughed. “Was that a rhetorical question?”

Luna laughed. “Of course it was, silly, but I hope I find out this afternoon,” and her pale blue eyes twinkled.

“Do you think you’ll get the opportunity?” Hermione asked. “I’m pretty certain that it will be quite formal…” but then her thoughts went to yesterday and the blatant flirting between the Greengrass sisters and Harry, and she smiled to herself. Maybe Luna’s right, she thought, and the last of her lunch was forgotten as she turned her mind to getting some alone time with one or the other of her wizards during the events tonight.

Both girls sat there sipping their wine, and Hermione’s mind started to wonder about Draco again. Why had he tensed, and why had he been so eager to abandon her and Lucius to talk to Blaise alone? She could have sworn that he’d looked guilty… but then Luna chimed in.

“What will we have to wear this afternoon?”

“Oh… Oh, yes. I was meaning to ask you if you had something to wear. Do you have any cocktail dresses with you?”

“The elves laundered what I’m wearing while I was at Hogwarts, and that’s all I have.”

“Then we’ll just have to get your things,” Hermione assured her.

“You will do no such thing,” Severus’ voice stated from the doorway. “Once we know it is possible, you can send one of our elves to collect Miss Lovegood’s belonging,” he continued, stalking into the room. “Do I really have to remind you of how dangerous it is out there for you? Hasn’t that just been attested in what happened to Miss Lovegood?”

By this time Severus was in full rant, and Helen hurried back into the room just as Hermione stood to fight back.

“What’s happened?” Helen asked hearing Severus’ raised voice, and seeing Hermione’s angry face.

They ignored her as Hermione answered Severus.

“I wasn’t thinking of just going there, Severus,” Hermione countered.

“Weren’t you?” he responded, his raised eyebrow clearing stating that he did not believe her.

“No, I was going to ask Lucius or Draco to come with us, but you had to jump in, didn’t you?” she responded angrily.

“Hermione!” Helen gasped. “Severus only has your wellbeing at heart. You should apologise…”

“Apologise?” Hermione cut in. “He was the one who waded into our discussion making accusations,” she said, waving her arm at Severus.

Severus glared at her. “In any case, I should think that at present the Lovegood residence is warded off as a crime scene. Even if you went there you would not be able to gain access,” he stated, and turned to Luna. “I will ascertain the state of things for you, Miss Lovegood,” Severus added, and then swept from the room.

“Thank you, Professor,” Luna called after him as he left.

As soon as he’d gone, Helen turned to the girls and asked, “Was this a discussion over what to wear this afternoon?”

“Yes,” they replied in unison, Hermione a little more forcefully than Luna.

“Then we will make do for the time being. Hermione, you know that pink frilly number you bought at Harrods yesterday, but then decided you didn’t like? Have you sent it back yet?”

Hermione smiled. “No,” and then said to Luna, “And it would be perfect for you. Come on, I’m sure we can adjust it to fit you,” and just like that her anger evaporated. She started from the room, but then turned back and hugged her mother. “I’m sorry, Mum.”

Helen hugged her back, but said, “It’s Severus you should be saying that to.”

Hermione’s lip slipped between her teeth, and she nodded. “Yes, you’re right. I’ll meet you upstairs, Luna. I better talk to Severus first.”

Chapter Text


Hermione and Luna walked as far as Severus’ study door together and Hermione squeezed Luna’s hand before she watched her mount the stairs and she turned back to knock.

“Come,” came the ever calm voice of Severus Snape.

She opened the door and walked in and was happily surprised to see Lucius standing in the study with Severus. She hadn’t thought he’d be here that quickly, but she instantly knew that something was very wrong. Both men were consummate Slytherins and used to masking their emotions, but Hermione was learning how to read them on a level that most people didn’t.

“Lucius,” she said, moving straight over to him, eager to be reassured as the event she’d allowed herself to gloss over early soared back into her mind and her stomach filled with dread.

He welcomed her, enclosing her with an arm around her shoulder. “Hello, little witch,” he murmured, kissing her temple.

Hermione happily accepted his support, and managed to remember why she’d come in to start with. She turned to Severus. “I’m sorry, Severus, I shouldn’t have snapped at you. I know you only had my best interest at heart.”

Severus inhaled. “Always,” he replied, but then conceded. “However, I am also to blame I should have trusted your judgement.”

“I really was going to ask Lucius or D-Draco to c-come…” and she suddenly realised just how upset she was with Draco. Lucius had been there to make her feel safe and loved, but she now realised that perhaps Draco wasn’t as serious about things as she was. After all, it was always Lucius who sought her out on every opportunity, and her words trailed off.

“What’s this?” Lucius questioned.

Hermione took this lifeline to prolong the inevitable. “Luna only has what she was wearing the day she was attacked. Mum and I have organised an outfit for her for this afternoon, but she will need her things, and I told her that we could collect them.”

“Certainly,” Lucius replied, “but will we be able to? I’m sure the Aurory will have it…”

“That’s what I came into my study to ascertain, Lucius,” Severus interrupted. “And I found you walking through my Floo.”

Hermione listened, but then said, “Well, I’ll leave you gentlemen to your discussion. I promised Luna I wouldn’t be long,” and she looked up at Lucius. “Are you staying here now?”

“No,” Lucius answered. “And actually, Draco and I would like to speak to you at the manor before the afternoon tea.”

“Oh?” Hermione gasped, dread building anew in her belly.

Lucius saw and heard her apprehension, and he leant down close to her ear and whispered, “Courage, my love.”

Hermione searched his eyes, her lip between her teeth, but when he saw her lip quiver he gave her a kiss.

That was when Severus cleared his throat. “Would one of you kindly inform me of what is happening,” he insisted, his brow creasing.

Lucius spared Severus a glance, but then continued to speak to Hermione. “Do not concern yourself. I will instruct Armando to make certain that Miss Lovegood is supplied with everything she needs.”

“Lucius!” Severus cut in a sharp voice.

Lucius offered a warning glance, and he finished what he’d been saying to Hermione. “You go and see to Miss Lovegood, and I will come up to collect you once I’ve spoken with Severus.”

Her brow was still showing a considerable amount of consternation, but she nodded. “Very well, Lucius,” and she accepted another kiss before moving towards the door.

Both wizards watched her go.

Lucius sighed. “She truly is a force of nature, isn’t she?”

“She most certainly is,” Severus replied, but then he raised one raven brow. “What has Draco done?”

Lucius cleared his throat. “Draco has admitted something that I’m expecting to jeopardise our trio.”

“What?” Severus questioned rather harshly. Then his eyes narrowed, his brain running ahead, ever astute. “He is not entertaining anything stupid with Zabini again is he?”

“How do you know?” Lucius huffed, but then quickly added, “I do believe that Draco truly loves Hermione,” even though he realised he did not sound like he believed it at this moment.

“That will not stop him from being stupid,” Severus informed his friend rather curtly.

There it was, the plain truth of the matter, and Lucius really did not have a comeback. Finally he said, “I will make certain that Hermione is protected.”

Severus snorted. “From Hermione’s reaction, I would say it is already too late for that, especially if Zabini’s involved.”

“Severus,” Lucius replied roughly, obviously shocked.

“You forget that I was privy to Zabini’s sexual proclivities while he was a student, and I’m here to inform you that he’s like some twisted variety of incubus, and he was like a drug to Draco, as well as several others. You will remember me expressing my dismay that he was to be Draco’s best man.”

“Mmm,” Lucius conceded, but then huffed. “This is all most unsavoury, Severus. It is plain to see that Draco is totally besotted by Hermione.”

“Lucius, I would give the Italian the boot and start trying to see what damage he’s caused. The smug bastard always creates casualties, he’s got veela blood in there somewhere, I’m certain of it.”

Lucius sighed; he did not know what Draco was going to say to Hermione, but he did know that he had best be honest with her, or he’d have both he and Severus after the boy for hurting Hermione.

~~~***~~~

Hermione left Severus’ study and hurried upstairs, her stomach was rolling ominously as she wondered what was going on. Then her thoughts on how settled she’d felt this morning came back once more and tears prickled at her eyes, but then she saw Luna waiting for her and she swallowed trying to calm herself. “I’m sorry, Luna,” she gasped, coming to a halt outside her bedroom door. “I didn’t mean to be that long,” Hermione said as she opened the door, leaving it open as she went through. She really wanted to be alone to think, but she owed Luna consideration too. “Now, the pink dress…” she said distractedly. “Oh, here it is,” she enthused, a slightly fake happiness in her voice as she pulled it out of her wardrobe. “I bought these shoes too,” she added, bending over to pick up the strappy gold stilettos she’d bought to match the dress.

“It’s lovely,” Luna enthused. “Thank you,” and she surged forward hugging Hermione.

For a little thing, she certainly was strong, and Hermione gasped in surprise as her arms squeezed her. “You’re welcome,” she said. “Is there anything else you need for this afternoon? How about underwear, remember we’ll be trying on dresses later?”

“Mmm,” Luna hummed. “So, I suppose I should wear underwear,” she said dreamily.

The clear inference being that she currently wasn’t, and Hermione wasn’t really surprised by this, but at the moment she didn’t actually care and she said, “Okay,” opening her drawer of lacy underwear to choose a pink strapless bra and matching panties. “Here you go, present.”

“I’ll replace them,” Luna offered.

Hermione laughed. “Don’t worry, Lucius will be happy to have an excuse to buy me more. As you can see, he really enjoys buying underwear,” but then she realised that she’d only said ‘Lucius’, and not ‘Draco and Lucius’ and she felt the urge to cry becoming stronger. Of course Luna noticed.

“Hermione?” Luna asked, “Is there something wrong?”

Hermione closed her eyes. “I don’t know,” she whispered, her voice full of emotion. “I don’t know if something’s wrong… Oh, Luna… but something is going on with Draco… I don’t know what it is, and I’m worried that he might be going to tell me…” but she didn’t finish that sentence.

Luna took Hermione’s hand and squeezed. “It’s plain to me that both Draco and Lucius adore you…” she paused, watching Hermione wiping at the tear that’d overcome her control. The little blonde sighed and levelled Hermione with her pale blue eyes, as she said in her usual casual way. “Has Draco told you that he’s bisexual yet?”

“Bisexual?” Hermione gasped. “No!” and she stood there stunned for some moments. “H-How do you know?” she asked finally, too gobsmacked to rationally dissect this new information.

Luna giggled. “I am too, and I’ve had a couple of threesomes with… well, us Ravens got on well with the Snakes,” she admitted.

“You’ve had… Oh, my god. Luna!”

“There was nothing in them, they were just casual… You know typical teenage things,” and she shrugged unconcernedly. “To scratch an itch.”

Hermione knew that she shouldn’t be surprised, and she really wasn’t shocked, after all she was about to marry two men… well at least she thought she still was, and she knew that both her intended husbands were far more experienced than she was. Of course they’d experimented. “Umm, ah… t-thanks for telling me, Luna,” she managed to say, cringing that she sounded so uptight.

“No problem,” Luna said airily, and squeezed her friend’s hand, but then there was a knock on Hermione’s door. “Well, I better leave you to see who that is,” and picking up the clothing and shoes she all but skipped to the door, and reefing it open said, “Oh, hello, Lord Malfoy,” and with a serene smile and happy wave she brushed past him and disappeared.

Hermione was just using a tissue to dab her eyes, and her mind instantly went to acting casual. She turned around to her wardrobe to grab the scarlet dress she wanted to wear for the afternoon, and as she did she said, “Hello, Lucius. Luna’s just told me the most extraordinary thing,” and she was painfully aware that her voice sounded shrill and uncomfortable.

“Hello, little witch,” Lucius replied, watching her wooden movements and hearing her stilted, breathy voice. He strode into the bedroom shutting the door and gathered her close. He kissed her head. “What did Miss Lovegood tell you, sweet?”

Hermione willingly fell against him and buried her head in his robes. Finally, with a sniff she looked up, her lip wedged firmly between her teeth. “I feel like such a fool.”

“Why?” he asked. “You are far from foolish.”

She wiped her eyes. “I feel foolish for thinking that this would all be so simple.”

“What would, Hermione?” he asked, wanting to draw her out more.

“I’m marrying two virtual strangers, of course there are things that I’m not going to know about you—both of you—but I did think that I held all of Draco’s heart. Do I?”

“You hold all of mine,” he answered, and his words made her cling to him.

“Truly?” she questioned, her voice muffled against his coat.

The corner of his mouth ticked up into a smile, and he brushed the hair away from her face before kissing her. “Truly,” he confirmed, sliding a hand under her chin and drawing her eyes up to his. “Now, I can’t speak for Draco, and I know that he has to admit something to you that is going to upset you, but may I tell you something that I hope will help you through it?”

Hermione’s lip slipped between her teeth. “What?” she asked, her eyes earnestly watching his calm face.

“That first day at my hearing when you administered the cure for my valerian allergy, I wanted you solely for myself, and that is never going to change.”

“You did?” Hermione replied, blinking at him.

“Yes,” and he collected her up and turned on the spot, knowing that she already suspected the truth, and that they were running out of time.  

~~~***~~~

Draco was pacing back and forth, waiting for Lucius to return with Hermione, and as soon as he saw them, he raced towards her.

“I’m so sorry, Hermione,” he said.

Hermione allowed him to hold her, torn between wanting to know what was going on and her deep desire for everything to be normal, but after some moments she pulled back, her expression very uncertain. “What are you sorry about?”

Lucius stood back allowing the two young adults to talk, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and he was poised to intervene and take Hermione somewhere safe at a moment’s notice, afternoon tea be buggered. Bloody Celia Doyle and her stupid ideas, he thought as he watched Draco eyeing Hermione cautiously.

“There’s something I haven’t told you about myself,” Draco told her. “Something important.”

“Has it got something to do with you leaving this morning?” Hermione asked, and when Draco didn’t answer immediately she added, “Is it true that you’re bisexual?”

Draco exhaled a shaky breath. “Yes, I am bi, but I truly love you,” and he said it with such passion that Hermione found her eyes caught in his. “This has all been a bit of a whirlwind, I never meant to deceive you, love.” He shrugged. “I just…”

Hermione glanced at Lucius, knowing what they’d shared this morning, and the promises they’d made, and she said, “I guess that’s reasonable, so tell me now.”

Draco opened his mouth to speak but then glanced at his father, and said, “Would you mind, Father?”

Looking to Hermione, Lucius said, “I will wait in my library. Come to me if this is too much for you.”

“Thank you, Lucius,” Hermione replied, and she walked over and kissed him. “I will. I love you,” she whispered close to his ear.

He squeezed her just that little but tighter, and replied, “And I you.” It still felt strange to be saying it, but this witch deserved to be told, and often. “I’ll leave you together,” he murmured, and stepped back to apparate away.

Hermione turned back to Draco with a smile on her face, but her expression turned to hurt when she looked at his torn expression. “There’s someone else too, isn’t there?” she said, cutting straight to the point. “This is not just about your sexuality.”

“Yes,” he almost whispered.

“Who?” Hermione asked plainly.

“Blaise,” Draco replied. He inhaled to speak again. “It’s not like you. He doesn’t do normal, he’s always on the move, always searching for new experiences.”

“Do you love him?”

He thought about it for a moment, and decided on, “I guess you could say that we’re comfortable with each other, but you’re the one I expect to spend my life with.”

“So Blaise is really just a bit on the side?” Hermione was instantly angry, and she wanted to wound.

“He intrigues me…” He wanted to be honest, but he didn’t know what else to say, and his brow ceased as his words trailed off.

Of course she picked up on his hesitancy, but she also saw that he was quite lost. “Does he? Have you cheated with him?”

“It just happened. I didn’t mean it too,” Draco replied. “I w-wasn’t…” but his words trailed off again as he saw exactly how angry Hermione was.

Hermione felt her world unravelling as anger consumed her. “When? How?” she asked forcefully. She wouldn’t have thought that they’d have had the opportunity, but then the penny dropped. “This morning,” she said, glaring at him.

Draco started backing up, holding his hands up in front of him, but then said something incredibly stupid, and it added to Hermione's anger. “I didn’t mean t to happen, it was just a wank over the Floo.”

“It’s still cheating!” Hermione told him, her eyes narrowing.

“Yes, and I’m sorry, he just seems to be able to talk me into things sometimes, I mean I wanted to talk to you first about this other side of me, but well…”

Hermione sighed. “Are you saying that he coerced you?”

“Merlin, love, there are so many facets of us that we haven’t delved into yet.” He grimaced. “I like being watched… and Blaise knows that, and I was already so turned on from what I’d just done with you, a-and well, before I knew it…” and he shrugged.

“So you used the arousal we worked up together to wank for someone else!” It was no question, and her eyes were warning that she was not going to tolerate it. “So, what’s going to happen when he arrives here on Thursday?”

Draco opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out except a soft noise of confusion. He had no come back for. “I don’t know, love,” he finally murmured.

“That’s not good enough, Draco,” Hermione warned.

“Blaise love’s flirting,” he told her lamely. “He’ll probably flirt with you as well.”

“So, what is he a male nympho?” Hermione asked, her voice strained.

Draco retook the distance he’d moved away and started to raise a hand to caress her cheek; she batted it away and took a step back glaring at him.

“Hermione,” he whispered, pleading with her to understand.

“Draco, I cannot accept this behaviour. I entered this arrangement wholly for you and Lucius, and without question. You’ve cheated on me so casually, and you don’t even appear sorry about it. Then worse than that, you’re trying to make things sound normal, and make a case for it to continue. That’s so wrong. I need advice on what to do, because I cannot just accept this,” and she walked to the Floo. “Malfoy Manor library,” she said, and walked into the fireplace without a backward glance.

As she walked out, she saw Lucius stop in front of his desk. He turned as soon as he saw her and reached her in three strides. “Oh, Lucius,” she sobbed, falling against him. “He cheated on us,” and it was at that moment that she comprehended that whatever Draco did affected Lucius too. “What do I do?” she cried.

“What do you want to do? I’ll make it happen,” Lucius declared.

“I don’t know,” Hermione sobbed, and hot tears surged forward.

Lucius held her while she cried, and as time ticked by she settled, and he lifted her up and placed her in his lap, sitting in his favourite chair in front of the fire. Finally she lifted her head. “Do you still want me?”

“You know I do, I’ve told you so… I’ve told you that I want you no matter what, our magic has told us. I’m sure you can feel it.”

Hermione wiped her eyes shakily. “It hurts that he’s unrepentant. Like it’s all been a game to him. I had no idea about any of this, this morning when I woke up after my stupid night last night, he took such good care of me… I had no idea about Blaise bloody Zabini. Did you?” she asked Lucius blinking at him.

“No,” the blond wizard answered immediately. “Yes I knew that Draco had bedded both witches and wizards in the past, but I had no idea that he was still involved with Zabini,” but as Lucius said this Draco opened the library door and spoke, having heard what his father had just said.

“I wasn’t involved with him again until this morning,” he cried. His eyes showing that perhaps the gravity of the situation had finally dawned on him. He looked at Hermione being cradled by this father. “I swear it.”

“I thought we were happy, and you’ve betrayed me,” Hermione cried, more tears streaming from her eyes.

“I honestly don’t know what happened, love,” he tried.

“But that doesn’t change the fact that you did,” Hermione retorted.

“But I want you to be the mother of our children. It is you I want to share my life with,” Draco pleaded.

Hermione shook her head. “All I asked of you was honesty, and you’ve broken our arrangement,” and she rose from Lucius’ lap and stalked towards Draco. “And for what… a bit of instant gratification… Is that all I mean to you?” and she pulled back like she was going to slap him, but she seemed to gain control of herself, and turned back to Lucius, saying, “I’m sorry, Lucius, would you take me home, please?”

Lucius rose from his chair. “Meet me in Severus’ study in fifteen minutes, I’m going to allow him to deal with this because I’m far too angry with you at the moment,” he told his son.

“But the afternoon tea?” Draco murmured.

“Can bloody wait. You’ve caused this mess. You will face the consequences,” Lucius told him, his voice like steel.

Draco sighed. “Yes, Father,” he replied, bowing his head.

~~~***~~~

Lucius apparated Hermione straight into her bedroom, and her lip quivered as she saw her clothes for the party laid out on her bed. She looked up at Lucius. “Everyone will be downstairs waiting for us, won’t they?”

“If you do not wish to face them…” Lucius started.

“No,” Hermione sighed. “They are our family and friends, it would be rude not to ignore them. I’m sure I can get through an afternoon tea, and then we can speak to Severus and Mum… and perhaps Anthea.”

Lucius kissed her head. “That is very brave of you, little witch, but remember this is supposed to lead on to dinner and a dress fitting.”

“Oh, I guess I’m not thinking too clearly.”

“Understandable,” Lucius told her.

And Hermione cut in. “What are we going to do?”

“We will find a way forward. Do you want to get ready?”

Her expression clouded with confusion.

“For the afternoon tea,” Lucius told her.

“Oh… Oh, yes, but we’re already late,” she gasped.

“Then let Pinkie help you,” Lucius answered, but saw that she didn’t understand. “Pinkie!” he called.

“Yes, Master,” the elf answered, appearing on the bed.

“Assist Mistress to attire herself,” he commanded, sweeping a hand towards the clothing on the bed.

“Very good, Master,”

Before she knew where she was, Hermione found that she was wearing the clothes that she’d picked out, including the red stilettos from next to the bed. Her hair was falling down her back in cultured ringlets and on looking in the mirror she found that her makeup was perfect and there was no sign on her face that she had been very upset only moments ago.

“Thank you, Pinkie,” she said smiling.

“You are most welcome, Mistress,” Pinkie replied and popped out.

“You look very beautiful,” Lucius said, enclosing her in his arms from behind, their eyes meeting in the mirror. “I am so lucky to have you,” and his lips fell to her neck, pushing her hair aside to gain access.

Hermione’s head fell back against his shoulder, and she found herself totally consumed by him. “Oh, Lucius,” she sighed softly.

~~~***~~~

Downstairs, Helen was starting to wonder where Hermione and her grooms had got to. “It’s almost four fifteen, where are they?” she whispered to Severus. “Their guests are all here.”

“Hermione and Lucius are upstairs, I felt the wards ripple some moments ago,” Severus said, glancing at their guests. “I will go and fetch them.”

Reaching the bedroom in question, he was just about to knock when the door opened. “Ah, you’re presence is required downstairs,” Severus said before he saw their resolute expressions, and his eyes narrowed. “Shit!” he muttered. Then he exhaled slowly and said, “So he did it then… Where is he?”

Lucius tightened an arm around Hermione, and he said, “He should be waiting for us in your study, and yes, he’s broken our agreement.”

“The fucking little swine,” Severus hissed. His eyes turned to Hermione’s and saw her valiantly trying to rein in her emotions. His mouth pinched as he looked back to Lucius. “I knew Zabini was bad news,” he told his friend in a voice that literally seethed with anger.

Taking a moment to process things, he nodded to himself and then said to Lucius, “Lucius, collect your stupid son and go and entertain our guests. Hermione, I wish to speak with you privately before we go down. Come.”

Hermione glanced up at Lucius, and he gently pushed her towards Severus, but before he let go of her completely, he said, “I’ll be waiting for your return,” and he kissed her hand, before striding off ahead of them to go downstairs.

Severus escorted Hermione to the master suite. “Please take a seat,” and he indicated the lounge, closing the door behind himself. He sat next to her and pulled his cigarette case from his inner pocket. Lighting a smoke, he exhaled and said, “Hermione, I know that you are very angry at this moment, but allow me to say that I have brutal experience of what happens to a person who is thrown over because of one mistake.”

Hermione opened her mouth to interrupt, and Severus held his hand up.

“Hear me out. I’m not telling you to simply forgive the little swine and act like nothing has happened.”

However, Hermione couldn’t process this. “Sorry… You want me to take him back?” she all but yelled. “He cheated on me so casually,” she said, gesticulating wildly.

Severus watched her for a moment, taking another long drag. Then he leaned forward a devious smile on his face. “That’s not what I’m saying, Hermione.” He watched her troubled eyes rise to him at his statement, before he continued speaking, “I know that Lucius worships the ground you walk on and it is within your power to simply marry him. Bugger tradition, this is a new age, let’s find a new way… Draco has made a mistake, and in the scheme of things it hurts, but it will be very awkward if there is a messy break up.”

 “Yes, I s-suppose you’re correct,” Hermione murmured. “But I’m still very angry with him, and I'm not just going to accept him back as we were before, and if I do… he'll have to earn that right over time.”

“Of course he will,” and a sly smile started to light his face. “And imagine what Potter is going to say when he hears about it.”

“Oh Severus,” Hermione replied. “Today's been stressful enough. I don't even want to think about that.”

Severus rose from the lounge and offered his arm. “The problem is that Potter is such an awful busy-body that he will not leave it rest until he knows,” and a raven eyebrow rose artfully. “Draco will be made accountable, but do not throw him to the wolves. It is better that you find this out before you are married. Now, we will discuss things further later, but for now, regardless of whether this wedding goes ahead with one or two bridegrooms, we have guests in the sitting room.”

Hermione had to admit that she did feel more in control again, and Severus was right, but she'd already decided that she but she was not going to just forgive Draco and forget it, and she was not going to simply take him back without considering this all very carefully.

Chapter Text


From last time “Of course he will,” and a sly smile started to light his face. “And imagine what Potter is going to say when he hears about it.”

“Oh Severus,” Hermione replied. “Today's been stressful enough. I don't even want to think about that.”

Severus rose from the lounge and offered his arm. “The problem is that Potter is such an awful busy-body that he will not leave it rest until he knows,” and a raven eyebrow rose artfully. “Draco will be made accountable, but do not throw him to the wolves. It is better that you find this out before you are married. Now, we will discuss things further later, but for now, regardless of whether this wedding goes ahead with one or two bridegrooms, we have guests in the sitting room.”

Hermione had to admit that she did feel more in control again, and Severus was right, but she'd already decided that she but she was not going to just forgive Draco and forget it, and she was not going to simply take him back without considering this all very carefully.


“Hermione,” Luna cried, making everyone turn towards the doorway as Severus escorted Hermione into the room. It was now close to five o’clock, and everyone was suspecting—especially seeing how off kilter Draco appeared to be—that something unexpected had happened.

Harry was the first to reach Hermione’s side. “What’s happened?” he asked, glancing between her and Severus. “Malfoy’s been cagy as hell ever since he came in.”

“The matter is in hand, Mister Potter,” Severus stated evenly.

Of course this was Harry and he didn’t stop there just because something was supposed to be sorted, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that this matter obviously wasn’t fixed judging by the pained side-long glances Hermione was casting towards Draco, or the younger Malfoy’s guarded expression as he stood off to the side. “What matter?” he questioned sternly.

Severus changed the subject, trying to gloss over things until they had the time and privacy to discuss them. “Let’s get you seated amongst your bridesmaids, Hermione,” he suggested.

However, the saying about the dog with the bone really applied to Harry Potter, because he followed. “What matter?” he asked more emphatically. “Something is wrong,” he asserted.

Hermione sighed; she was still very emotional. “Later, Harry,” she urged, seeing what Severus was trying to do. Then Lucius arrived with a glass of champagne and a kiss on the cheek for her, and even though she just wanted to sink into his arms and hide from what was happening, she tried to act normally. “Thank you, Lucius,” she said, but her smile wobbled and her lip slipped between her teeth.

Of course, this alerted everyone to the fact that there was indeed a serious problem, and Helen saw Hermione’s lip quiver, and it was enough. She arrived grasped her arm softly. “Hermione?” she questioned, also observing the dynamic between her daughter, Draco, Lucius, and Severus, and remembering how volatile Hermione had been even before she’d gone back to Malfoy Manor with Lucius. Hermione was always quick to blow up when there was something bothering her.

“There’s been an incident,” Hermione whispered, her emotion filled eyes glancing at Lucius. “A-And I’m really not sure how to go on with this at the moment,” she continued just as quietly.

Helen saw the look Hermione gave Lucius and turned challenging eyes to him even as she watched him pulling Hermione into his arms. “Lucius?” she asked firmly.

Lucius sighed and glanced down at Hermione, who nodded her permission. “Draco has cheated on Hermione,” the Malfoy lord admitted softly. He heard Severus exhale; they both knew this wasn’t going to end well, and no amount of wanting to wait until later was going to be of any use now.

Severus shook his head. “I’ve counselled Hermione upstairs that we should continue with the afternoon and discuss things further once our guests have departed,” he stated seriously. “However, it appears that things are going to come to a head now regardless,” he told Helen.

“Severus, you can’t honestly expect Hermione to carry on until later, I can understand how she feels. This is a serious matter that could end everything,” Helen said, and then turned to Hermione. “I’m so sorry, Hermione. I should have guessed something was bothering you when you blew up in the kitchen earlier.”

However, Hermione had only just opened her mouth to reply when what had just been said sank into Harry’s mind and he literally erupted.

Everyone was alerted to his feelings of displeasure on the subject by his low growl, and then he was storming towards Draco who suddenly had the look of a stunned rabbit on the tracks with the Hogwarts Express thundering towards him.

“You piece of filth, Malfoy,” Harry bellowed as he reached him, completely forgetting that he was a wizard and cracking him on the jaw with his fist. “Outside… Now!” he demanded.

“Harry!” Hermione cried. “No! Don’t…” she added, starting towards them as she spoke. “Harry!” she sobbed when he took no notice.

Her voice was very emotional and Harry looked around as he grabbed Draco by the collar, pulling him out towards the terrace, and this allowed everyone to see the unspeakable rage in his emerald eyes as he seethed, “Nobody screws around on you and gets away with it, ‘Mione. You deserve the very best for what you’ve been through,” and he pushed the Malfoy heir again, before turning back to him and saying, “And to think I agreed to try and be friends with you this morning, you fucking arse!”

Everyone else was standing there in stunned silence; it was all happening so fast. Hermione had tears trickling down her cheeks as Lucius caught her and pulled her close again, but as he did so he exchanged glances with Severus and Kingsley, knowing that they were the only ones here who might stand even a slim chance of calming down an angry Harry Potter before the matter ended in a very different way.

The fight quickly turned magical as soon as Draco got over his shock at being punched, but he was no match for Harry, and before either Severus or Kingsley could reach them, Harry was standing over Draco’s prostrate and bound form, telling him, “You’re not worthy of Hermione, and if you ever hurt her again, next time I’ll make a Portkey from a cactus, shove it up your arse, and instruct it to take you to whatever gutter your cheating and lying bastard of a lover is residing in.”

Then turning he stalked over to Severus, visibly taking deep breaths to try and calm himself. “I’m sorry for causing a scene in your home, sir, but nobody does that to Hermione and gets away with it,” and he handed Severus Draco’s wand. Then he turned to Hermione. “I’m sorry, ‘Mione, but as I said, you deserve the best, and I will make certain that you get nothing less,” and his serious gaze levelled on Lucius with an unspoken warning as Hermione squeezed Lucius, but then turned from him and curled her arms around Harry.

He accepted the hug from the still crying witch, and patted her back. “We’ll work it out… Do you want to call this all off?” he asked.

“No, Harry. I love Lucius,” she told her friend simply. “And I thought Draco… but apparently not. I’m lucky to have Lucius… we’ll be fine,” and she released Harry and turned back to Lucius. “Won’t we?”

The corner of Lucius’ mouth ticked up at her declaration in front of everyone. “Yes,” he confirmed, taking her back into his arms, and raising her chin with his finger under it so he could kiss her. She tasted of tears and this renewed his anger with Draco, but that could wait. Hermione needed to feel that she was cherished by him, and even if it meant doing it in front of this audience—something he would normally not consider—he was happy to do so.

“Are you certain?” Harry questioned. “This has all been so fast.”

“It has,” and she smiled at Lucius. “But, yes, I’m certain,” and she reached up and kissed him again.

“As long as you’re sure,” Harry told her, slightly put off by watching her kissing Lucius Malfoy, but her happiness was important to him and he wanted her to have who she loved.

Twisting around, Hermione patted Harry’s arm from within the circle of Lucius’ arms. “You’re always going to be there for me, aren’t you?” she whispered.

“Yes,” he stated fiercely, his eyes fixed on Lucius once more. “But I wish I could be sure,” Harry told her.

This made the still upset Hermione think back to the night she was betrothed. “Severus, could you perform the same spell that you performed in the library the night the three of us were betrothed?” and she looked up at Lucius, wiping her eyes. “Is that okay with you?”

Lucius smiled at her. You wish to give your friend his required proof, yes?”

“Yes,” Hermione confirmed, and carefully wiped her eyes.

Hermione and Lucius joined their left hands and Severus lifted his wand, but just as he was about to speak, Harry asked, “Would it be alright if Kingsley performs the spell? It’s not that I don’t trust you, sir, it’s just that I trust Kings more.”

Severus looked down his nose a moment, but then nodded once and glanced at Kingsley.

Kingsley was fairly certain that he knew the spell and he raised his wand. “Revela verum matrimonium,” he incanted, and everyone watched the same bands of white and gold encircled Lucius and Hermione’s joined hands that had when Severus had used the spell the night of the betrothal, but the hint of tarnish that had been there that night with all three of them was now gone.

Severus gasped, but did not say what he was thinking.

“Well,” Lucius chuckled. “That was unexpected,” and Lucius met and returned Harry’s ferocious gaze. “Hermione and I are stronger as a couple than we were as a threesome,” he told him then looked away to speak to the remainder of the people in the room. “I know how I wish to continue after the transgression that has been committed against the sanctity of our agreement.” He glanced down at Hermione, and kissed her head.

Hermione stepped back from him a little, and gazing up at Lucius she added, “So you I,” but then to everyone else, “I believe that we may need to sort this mess out, so if you would humour us we would appreciate it.”

Draco, who had managed a bit of wandless magic to free himself from his restraints, and was sitting out in the courtyard on the ground, his knees bent and his arms resting on them with his head bowed, obviously mortified with himself, was unaware of what had just occurred.

Hermione spared him a glance, and cleared her throat as she laced her arms around Lucius’ waist, unwilling to give him up yet, but aware that there was more than her that needed his attention. “You better make certain Draco’s all right,” she said, her eyes looking up at him. Then she turned to Severus and seemed to gather some inner strength from somewhere. “I do not think this can wait until later,” she said as she felt Lucius drop a kiss onto her head and brush past her to check on his son.

However, it was Daphne who spoke. “I hope I’m not speaking out of turn, but I take it that Blaise and Louisa were involved in some way?” she asked, her eyes panning from Hermione to Severus in the complete silence of the room.

Finally Severus nodded. “Yes, Mister Zabini is involved… But who is Louisa?” he inquired.

“Louisa Delacour,” Daphne answered, “I believe you know her cousins Fleur and Gabrielle,” she added, walking over to where Lucius had just sat Draco and was offering him a drink. “The three of them have been like a drug to one another ever since they met at the Tri-wizard tournament. Louisa was one of the support party who came with the Beauxbaton team,” she added.

“What?” Harry huffed, still glaring at Draco. “He knew he loved someone else, and he still accepted Hermione?”

Daphne held her hand out to Harry to encourage him over to her. “No, it’s more complicated than that,” she told him. She had been a little overwhelmed by Harry’s violent and quick defence of his friend, as well as more than a little aroused by his power, but this was a serious matter; very serious actually. She encouraged him to sit beside her keeping his hand in hers as she moved closer to him and she started to explain. She looked at Draco. “Is it all right if I speak about you, Blaise, and Louisa?” she asked.

Draco did not look up but nodded his permission, and Daphne turned back to Harry as she began to speak. “Up until the war became so serious, and Blaise’s mother made certain that her son was protected, he, Draco, and Louisa were lovers, spending their summers together.”

“It is true,” Lucius cut in. “Draco often commuted by Floo to Italy during his summers, but even I did not know that there was a girl involved too.”

“I believe that they were only occasional to start with, but as I said, there was some sort of bond there, as they kept returning to each other as soon as they could,” Daphne continued, but then turned to Draco. “You would really be better saying all of this,” she told him.

Draco nodded and seemed to find his voice. “Things turned serious during the summer at the end of fifth year while Father was in Azkaban,” Draco told them. “I didn’t want anything to do with Mother and Aunt Bella, so I basically moved to Venice and lived with Blaise and his mother… but it didn’t become serious until sixth year…” but his voice seemed to slip away again as he sighed. “I lost them after that… t-thought I had for good.”

When Draco didn’t start speaking again, Daphne took up the narrative once more. “I believe it all became too dangerous,” but she suddenly paused, and her voice dropped to a whisper. “And V-Voldemort’s,” and she cleared her throat, before glancing around uneasily. She hated that man’s name and all he’d stood for, but she pushed through her unease and started speaking again. “They were frightened of that man’s hatred of magical creatures… You see, both Lousia and Blaise have Veela blood, and I believe that there may be a bond… Draco could be their mates…” but she stopped speaking, the air in the room thick with tension, and it seemed that silence was the best course. Then she watched Astoria hurrying over to sit beside her, needing to be next to her in the strained atmosphere. She gave her sister her other hand to hold, and gave it a squeeze.

Hermione had regained control over her emotions once more and gripped Lucius—who had returned to her side—tightly, but she took Daphne’s words the wrong way. “Are you saying that you knew all this, but didn’t say anything?” she asked.

Daphne glanced at Hermione and shook her head. “No, I know for a fact that Draco wanted this chance with you, and that he hadn’t spoken to Blaise or Louisa until after the three of you became engaged… I believe that he thought he’d lost them… I mean they’d agreed to just be friends… but if there is a bond, bonds have a way of… getting what they want… I’m not excusing what happened,” and she shrugged. “I’m just saying.”

“Wow!” Harry cut in disbelievingly. “That’s just like Ginny and me… Well, not the bond part,” but then his eyes narrowed, and he looked at Draco. “But I wouldn’t become engaged to someone else and then cheat on them with Ginny.”

“Mind you, if I remember rightly,” Severus put in, “I was required to brew the cure for a rather potent love potion that Miss Weasley used on you,” and he raised an eyebrow. “You and Draco are not really that different.”

Harry sighed. “Yes, I guess you’re right, I wouldn’t do anything with her now, but Malfoy cheated,” Harry asserted. “It is different.”

“Yes, it is, but not so much,” Kingsley said, speaking for the first time. “Fidelity is one of the most important things in a relationship, though we all make mistakes.”

“And honesty is the best policy,” Luna added, sitting tightly at Kingsley’s side.

“Yes, Dray, you should have told Hermione about your former relationship. You were a fool not to, especially after asking Blaise to be your best man.”

“Yes,” Draco replied quietly. “I realise that now,” and he looked up from under his fringe at Hermione. “I really am sorry.” At this moment, Draco knew he’d lost her, but he listened as she answered him.

Hermione sighed. “I wish I could believe you,” she said quietly. “You were anything but sorry only an hour ago. I just don’t know what to think.”

Draco remained silent his brow knotted in thought as he watched her.

Hermione cleared her throat and looked around at their gathered friends and family. “Look, I’m sorry everyone, I know this has ruined the afternoon once again, but I can’t just keep going with the afternoon with so much not settled.” She felt Lucius’ grip on her tighten, and she glanced up at him and smiled, and it seemed to clear his stormy gaze just a little.

Helen, being the consummate hostess, also saw how tense everyone was, and she turned to Severus. “We need to allow Hermione, Lucius, and Draco some time to sort this out together, Severus. Make certain that both Hermione and Draco’s interests are cared for, and that they are both safe. How about I entertain the guests on the terrace until you’ve sorted this out once and for all?”

“Yes, we must see if we can get it to a conclusion, one way or another,” Severus replied.

Helen reached up and kissed his cheek. “Well, we can’t move forward until it is,” and she turned to their guests. “It is such a lovely afternoon, how about cocktails on the terrace while we watch the sun setting. Harry, would you escort Daphne and Astoria? Luna, could you show Kingsley the way, please?”

Severus watched Helen handling things with everyone, and he smiled at her confidence as she led their guests out onto the terrace and closed the French doors behind her, blowing a kiss to him as he watched.

“Right,” Severus commented, looking back at the three remaining. “Who wishes to go first?”

“Potter hit me,” Draco snapped.

“Your point being?” Severus drawled.

“He bloody hit me,” Draco tried again.

“No, I agree with Severus here, Draco, you do not have a leg to stand on,” Lucius put in. “Mister Potter did what I’d have liked to do, and you deserved it.”

“Right,” Draco huffed, and he sat there a moment, but then he seemed to deflate, perhaps realising that he had gone about things the wrong way. “I’m sorry, Hermione, I’ve been a bloody fool... I should have told you everything, but well, we hadn’t even broached the subject of past lovers… any of us.”

Hermione was quick with her answer. “I think the problem here is that they’re not actually past lovers,” and she put her hand up when she heard him inhale to speak. “Draco, we’ve not even been together a month, and you’re already wandering, and that’s quite insulting, you know.”

“I do love you, Hermione, and I did genuinely think that I could merely remain friends with Blaise and Louisa, but…” and he sighed. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“Well, it’s more than obvious that you can’t simply remain friends with them, and you do realise that if a bond already exists that...” but she sighed and didn’t finish that thought. “Do you want the chance to find out if you can be more than friends again?”

“That’s more than generous of you,” Draco said, shocked.

Hermione shrugged. “Draco, you may not have heard what I said while you were still on the terrace after Harry…” and she cleared her throat. “Or the results of other things, but I am still marrying your father, you are not the only person I love, and therefore I am not going to tell you that I never want to see you again—which, by the way is how I feel at the moment—I guess it will sting for a while, but I am not going to allow this to ruin my chance with Lucius, because we truly belong together.”

“Father?” Draco questioned.

“Hermione has explained things very well. So, yes, there will still be a wedding, you will just not be a groom anymore,” and Lucius realised as he said it that he sounded a bit dismissive, but he was still livid with Draco’s behaviour.”

Severus watched his adopted daughter with pride; what she had just stated was a very sensible outcome and he wanted to grin at her. He watched the contrite Draco, realising some of the full extent of what he’d done, and he said to him, “I believe you have gotten off lightly, my young friend.” Then he turned to Hermione. “So you request that we dissolve the current agreement, and draft a new marriage contract?”

“Yes, please,” Hermione replied.

“A contract where Draco will be required to pay restitution for being the one to break the original pact,” Severus stated seriously.

Draco was shocked by the words of his godfather, and turning his eyes to Severus as he gasped. “What?”

Severus smirked. “It was a condition of the current contract, along with certain other circumstances.”

“What ‘certain other circumstances’?” Draco inquired, his eyes narrowing.

The smirk on Severus’ lips grew. “There was a fidelity clause in the betrothal agreement that you have just broken, didn’t you read it?”

“W-What does that mean?” Draco asked with a note of unease in his voice.

The usually unflappable Severus was having trouble managing not to laugh as he thought about how best to answer, because regardless of how foolish Draco was currently feeling, he was going to have a lasting reminder of today. “Let’s just say that you’ll be very ‘limp’ for the foreseeable future. Well, most probably until the original contract is voided anyway.”

“What!” Draco squeaked. “You mean…” and he gestured to his groin.

Finally Lucius spoke. “It was written plainly into the agreement, Draco,” he informed him. “If you’re going to be a solicitor for my company, you really should start reading contracts; especially contracts drawn up by Slytherins.”

“But, Father!” he cried.

Lucius looked at Draco, his eyes glaring a warning. “No, Draco. You were foolish in the utmost to even think of inviting Zabini to be your best man to start with if you’d had such a serious relationship with him and his partner. Had I known the full extent of things I would never have allowed it, and now look at what has happened. Hermione has been hurt, therefore it is only fitting that you have time to think about things before you’re released from the charm imbued into the fidelity clause.”

“Now, hang on a minute,” Draco said, rocketing to his feet. “I honestly thought I would be able to deal with seeing them again.”

“Well, it is obvious that you could not,” Lucius retorted,  and snagging Hermione around the waist and pulling her up from her seat, he kissed her temple as she swung around into his arms. “Come, dearest, if nothing else, after dinner you have a fitting for the dress I will see you in on our wedding day,” he stated, and after distancing himself from Draco he added, “Draco, you are welcome to stay, and you are welcome in my wedding party, but you are very much on probation right now,” and he turned and marched towards the door, taking Hermione with him.

When they reached it, Lucius addressed Severus. “I am escorting Hermione upstairs because I feel that we need a little time alone presently. We will be down for dinner, and I would appreciate you contacting Anthea Greengrass, we need to see to this matter before the bloody press get their claws into it.” He glared at Draco, before taking Hermione from the room.

Chapter Text


As they walked upstairs, Lucius couldn’t help thinking that his son was a capital fool to do this to Hermione, even though he was ecstatic to have his witch to himself. However, as they ascended, things started to slot into place in his mind, and he started to wonder if part of his son’s apparent depression and malaise following the war and their time of house arrest could have been attributed to his inability to contact his former lovers… and lovers, plural, he hadn’t known about that. He sighed, suddenly realising he was walking alone. He’d been so caught up in his thoughts that he hadn’t noticed Hermione stopping two stairs below him.

He quickly arrested his progress upwards and retraced the steps that separated them. “Hermione?” he ventured, even though he could see confusion clouding her pretty eyes. She was so expressive, and she was wearing a resolute expression.

She looked up at him as his hands touched her shoulders. “Do you think he was ever really genuine?” she asked softly, thinking of the numerous times that he’d appeared to be so. It had seemed that he’d been unable to get enough of her. Had he just been trying to forget someone else with her? Had he been using her to scratch an itch? Had he indeed been lying to her about his feelings for her?

“Honestly, I do not know,” Lucius answered, because he really didn’t, and this irritated him further; Lucius Malfoy did not like missing pieces of the puzzle.

She shook her head. “Then he lied to me numerous times. I thought we were all happy,” she stated, confused eyes blinking at him.

Lucius enclosed her in his arms. He had no answer for her. “I’m just as shocked as you are, but we are fortunate to find it out before we were bound as a trio, especially if the Greengrass girl is correct and there might be an additional bond.”

Hermione sighed and pulled back slightly as she rubbed her temples with her fingers. “Yes, but if that were the case, wouldn’t he have had no interest in bonding with someone else… Wouldn’t it have shown up violently in that revealing spell Severus used… the same one that Kings used just now?”

“Yes, from what I understand about Veela bonds they are aggressive and all consuming,” Lucius agreed. “But there has to be some reason for his behaviour,” he considered.

She straightened and nodded. “You are correct,” she told him, and suddenly she turned to start back down the stairs, taking Lucius’ hand as she did. “And we deserve to know what,” she stated determinedly, and then they were hurrying back down the flight of stairs they’d just gone up.

They marched back into the parlour and Severus looked up from speaking to a contrite looking Draco; apparently they’d remained talking after Hermione and Lucius had left.

Hermione tore straight into Draco. “What you said was not enough,” she started. “You owe us more explanation than that,” she told him.

“What? What do you want to know?” he all but yelled, rocketing to his feet. His head was very clouded and it was making him angry.

“I want to know why you felt the need to cheat on me,” she countered just as angrily as she waited for him to answer. When he just looked at her, she continued, “You know we’re all tempted by people outside our relationship from time to time, but when you’re in a serious relationship you don’t give in, and saying that you’re bi and that’s why you did it is bullshit too,” she ranted. Then she stilled. “Were you ever genuine?” she whispered, slightly afraid of the answer to her question.

“Yes!” he exclaimed, finding his voice. That was something he was very certain about.

“Really?” Hermione replied, her eyes narrowing dangerously.

“Yes,” he repeated emphatically.

“How? According to you, you were seriously involved with two people before our arrangement was even drawn up.”

“I was involved with more than two, but Hermione, it wasn’t serious…” and he watched her eyes narrow further. “Well, I guess it was, but it wasn’t like that, it was only as in long term,” he quantified. He sighed, running his hand through his hair. He glanced around at his father and godfather watching and he sighed again. “Do you think we can have a drink, please?”

Severus nodded once, still trying valiantly to hide exactly how angry he was, and he turned towards the drinks cabinet. “There, drinks have been provided,” he stated, plonking a bottle of whisky and glasses on the table in front of Draco, before glancing at the clock on the mantel, and wishing that this whole ordeal was over. “Start talking.”

Draco’s eyes narrowed at Severus’ tone. “It would be easier to speak,” he said, tossing back the drink he’d just poured in one gulp, and picking up the bottle to pour another. “If it was only Hermione and me.”

“Oh no,” Hermione answered. “I wish Severus and Lucius to be here. They deserve an explanation as much as I do.”

“I’m not in a relationship with Father or Severus,” Draco countered in a slightly spiteful tone.

“You are no longer in a relationship with me either,” Hermione pointed out haughtily. “But we all deserve some reason…” she glanced at Severus and Lucius. “So, please be good enough to provide it.”

Draco exhaled loudly, and downed his third drink.

“Steady with that whisky, boy,” Lucius warned, his face hardening into a scowl as he poured himself a drink and glanced at Hermione. He watched as she shook her head no and he levitated a glass towards Severus.

“Dutch courage is the only way I’m going to be able to tell this at the moment,” Draco replied, looking at his father.

Hermione’s hand covered Lucius’ and he glanced at her. “It’s a small price to pay for the truth,” she told him softly.

Lucius cleared his throat and pulled his cigarette case from his inner coat pocket. He offered it to Severus, who had not sat with them but was standing behind Hermione with his arms folded over his chest.

Hermione glanced around at Severus and was about to tell him to sit as well, but the words died on her tongue when she saw his fierce expression and it made her want to hug him for being so protective of her.

Finally Draco started his explanation. “Daphne got most of her facts right earlier with what she said, however, while we were serious about one another, we were all still engaging other people, and Blaise, Louisa, and I only got to see one another during holidays. I was still with Blaise during our time at Hogwarts, but his sexual appetite was too large for just that…” he paused and glanced around once more. “I do not think that Blaise could ever be satisfied with a monogamous relationship… he is a bit of a casanova, there is no doubt there,” he stated seriously, but with a bit of a glint in his eye. He stopped talking and took a mouthful of his fourth drink. “However,” he continued, “Whilst I realised that I loved both Blaise and Louisa, and in his own way, Blaise loved us… With the war and everything… we’ve not spoken… well not until I asked Blaise to be my best man, and I have to say that he was terribly shocked… W-We even fought about it before he agreed.”

“Why didn’t you say anything then?” Hermione asked, unaware that any of this had happened.

“Because, as I said earlier, none of us have ever spoken about other relationships, and it was my problem,” and he shrugged. “T-They knew I’d always wanted a chance with you, but they’d thought—like me—that is would not happen, a-and when it did…” he gulped another drink and turned troubled eyes back to Hermione, but he just sighed.

“It’s still no excuse,” Lucius said angrily, finally picking up his drink and downing it in a gulp.

Draco scowled at his father. “Yes, I realise that I’ve done the wrong thing here,” he snapped, but having said that he turned to Hermione. “Hermione, I truly would be happy with you… you are a wonderful witch, so very easy to love,” he sighed, and glanced at his father. “And I shouldn’t have been so cocky about it all when you caught me out, I don’t know why I did that,” and he paused here again, bowing his head so he wouldn’t see the tears that had started to trickle down Hermione’s cheeks. “I did try to resist, and I should have spoken to you about it, but…” and he fell silent.

Hermione however didn’t, she knew that this would be her only opportunity to know what was going on. “And the Veela thing?” she questioned.

Draco sighed. “No, I haven’t bonded that way with anyone, and no, I’m not simply being overcome by pheromones, that’s where Daphne was wrong.” Draco suspected that he was being overcome with something, but then he couldn’t remember whether it was just the alcohol and he continued with what he was saying. “Blaise only has suspected Veela in his distant past, and I’m not as feebleminded as Weasley, overcome by the allure of a part Veela passing me in a hallway,” he said, a small smile ticking at the corner of his mouth remembering hearing about Ron asking Fleur to the Tri-wizard ball.

Hermione took a deep breath. “So, exactly what are you going to do now?” she asked.

“What do you mean?” Draco asked. There was the confusion in his mind again, but looking at the amount of alcohol he’d drank he considered that it might be that finally coming crashing down on him.

Inhaling a long breath, Hermione felt the emotion in her chest physically hurting her because what she was about to say was so very difficult, but it had to be said, and she looked at Draco seriously. “Well, it’s obvious that if things do not work out between you and I,” she stated with more pragmatism than she felt, and she cleared her throat. “Well, you’re going to have to form another attachment fairly smartly then, aren’t you?”

“Now, wait a moment,” Lucius said, he wasn’t ready to let go of his anger yet.

Hermione turned her eyes to Lucius. “Darling, I’m just as angry as you, but we must be practical,” she said, linking her fingers through his calmly, even as releasing Draco was tearing at her heart. She was very angry with Draco for his subterfuge but she did not want any serious harm to befall him because that would hurt both her and Lucius. “It’s the only practical thing to do. Draco still needs to be safe, regardless of how angry we are with him.”

“She has a good point,” Severus stated. “If Draco is cut adrift from this relationship, he will be in just as much danger as Hermione was, and Mister Potter still is. Perhaps not for his power, but for his family connections.”

Hermione was pleased that Severus could now make Lucius see what must be done, even though she wanted no part of it. She rose from her seat, and quietly slipped her engagement ring from her finger. “I do not want this ring anymore,” she stated sadly.

Lucius rose beside her and turning her with his hands on her cheeks, he kissed her softly. “Then you should give it to me,” he told her, taking the ring and pocketing it.

“Thank you,” she whispered, and then glanced at the three wizards one after another. “I wish to go and freshen up before dinner. I’ll leave you gentlemen to discuss this issue further.”

“No,” Lucius stated. “I will escort you upstairs as I originally intended,” and he turned and addressed his son. “We will discuss this further once tonight has run its course,” and his tone brokering no argument. “Our guests have endured enough drama at our expense, and you will make very certain that you apologise profusely when Severus takes you back to the terrace.”

“Yes, Father,” Draco replied, watching his father escort Hermione away. He exhaled a long breath. He had just had something wonderful ripped from him, and it was all his own fault. How had he allowed this to happen? He sighed. “Fuck!” he murmured and rested his head in his hands.

“Yes, that adequately sums it up,” Severus intoned dryly. “I do hope that this bloody pair are worth all this, Draco, because this is going to be a long night for you.”

“I’d really rather go home,” Draco stated his mouth loosened by the alcohol.

“No,” Severus snapped, his eyes flashing a warning. “Part of your penance will be to remain,” and walking around to be in front of him, he finally sat opposite his godson and added, “And you will be civil and polite. You will not inflict anymore pain on Hermione with bad behaviour,” and with that he walked out of the room. “Do not be too long in joining us,” he called as he left. He needed a moment to overcome his anger, and as he entered his study—his sanctuary—and he started cataloguing the events in his mind.

Early this morning seems like such a very long time ago, Severus thought as he shut the door behind him and recalled the details of his early morning conversation with Lucius. His friend had just been handed the greatest outcome he could have hoped for. Severus had no doubt that the meaning in between Lucius’ words that morning had been that he wished to have Hermione all to himself. He was uncertain what would happen now, but it certainly was a complete mess. Foolish boy, he thought to himself.

Then he thought of the extenuating circumstances and he chided himself for not investigating Draco’s relationship with Zabini more closely. Mind you, he’d not known a thing about their connections with an unknown Delacour girl and he wondered what else he did not know. He thought about those families who had cut off communications with everyone in England to protect themselves during the war.

Many prominent foreign wizarding families had invoked an ancient law once the war in England became serious and cut themselves off until a date in the future that they hoped would be safe. The Delacour family on the whole had not been one of the families who’d used this method to keep themselves safe, and perhaps that was because one branch of the family had had a daughter involved in the war, but Blaise Zabini’s mother—as the head of their family—had.

It meant that Blaise was unable to enter England until the date she’d specified. However, as the spell waned Floo-calling back and forth was possible. You could not Floo-call someone with nefarious intent if the appropriate wards were in place, and this was why as the spell lost its power; Draco had been able to speak with Blaise, even if Blaise had been unable to travel into the British Isles.

Severus sighed as he left his study again, eager to be back with Helen. He opened the door leading to the terrace and heard all conversation suspend on his arrival, probably in the same way that it had when Draco had arrived.

He glanced at his godson, looking surly in a lone chair off away from everyone, and he wanted to laugh at the daggers Potter was glaring at him as he sat between his two admirers, but then Helen was beside him and he watched her eyes turning to the door looking for Hermione.

“They’re having a moment of privacy. They’ll be here for dinner,” he told her softly.

Helen sighed. “Very well, and we should go into dinner,” she stated.

“Agreed,” Severus replied, turning to their guests. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience. May I suggest that we all make our way into the dining room and start dinner? Hermione and Lucius will join us after Hermione has had a moment to compose herself.”

Severus gestured for everyone to move and he waited by the door as they passed. Helen stayed by his side and held him back from following once Draco—who was last—had gone through.

“And?” she questioned softly, seeing how very tense he was.

He sighed, and after glancing at the back of those leaving, he pulled Helen into his arms and kissed her. He inhaled. “And,” he stated tiredly. “Everything is very much up in the air.” They started to walk. “I’ll tell you the entire story once we have this interminable bloody evening over.”

“Yes,” Helen replied. “I wonder if I should see if Hermione is all right.”

Severus chuckled. “Lucius will care for her, my love,” he said, watching Draco’s back disappear into the dining room. “She’ll make a sound decision. She’s deporting herself well,” and his eyes narrowed remembering how Draco’s head had gone down and his eyes had skittered passed Helen’s disapproving gaze as he’d passed them at the French doors, ducking by without a word.

~~~***~~~

As soon as they arrived in her room, Hermione slid her hands up to rest on Lucius’ cheeks and pulled his head down for a kiss. “I love you,” she said against his mouth, inhaling slowly as she broke their kiss and smiled at him.

Lucius watched her, his mouth turning up into a smile as she spoke. “And I love you,” he replied easily.

“And no matter what happens we’ll still marry, won’t we?”

“We certainly shall,” Lucius quickly assured her. “We are meant to be.”

“Yes,” she continued cheekily. “I do love Draco, but I’ve always been utterly fascinated by you… even when it most certainly wasn’t amorous, or perhaps the correct thing,” and she paused and snickered quietly. “I guess that’s why I took such a bold line in my in my potion administering the day of your trial. I took my chance while I could.”

A smile ticked up at the corner of Lucius’ mouth. “Yes, you did do that, didn’t you? Kissing me like that... Tutt, tutt, tutt, my dear.”

She smiled, but then sighed. “Although, I had not thought that Draco would deceive us so thoroughly.” She took a deep breath, she still couldn’t believe it. “I feel like part of my heart is torn away,” and her words ceased once more as her eyes filled with tears.

Lucius started kissing her face. “We will work it out, Hermione,” he replied against her lips.

Hermione smiled in return. She adored everything about Lucius, and she inhaled deeply in between kisses. His scent was that of his cologne, the expensive tobacco that he smoked, and something elementally him, and in her mind his scent—along with the smell of the Italian food they’d had last night—was now forever as where she belonged, and she couldn’t get enough of it. “I genuinely am dedicated to you,” she murmured. 

He smiled. “Being completely devoted to you is something that I’ve longed to do in the short time we’ve been together,” he agreed, nuzzling into her hair, before he kissed down and claimed her lips. He kissed her deeply, exploring her mouth as his hands explored her body. “Tonight, once this is finally over, I will worship you,” he promised, breaking the kiss.

“I can’t wait,” she told him, resting her head against his chest. She sighed. “What about the power of the Malfoy family… hasn’t this ruined things?”

Lucius shook his head. “I have the feeling that not all has been revealed yet, but remember, we are us, and every relationship is different. No, whatever happened in that diary is them, and as such is unimportant to how we do things.” He paused and watched Hermione considering what he was saying.

She smiled at him. “That’s incredibly brave of you, Lucius. Thank you, I know how traditional you’ve always been, but I needed to hear that,” and she hugged him tighter.

He kissed her head. “It is true that the House of Malfoy as a whole may have prospered in the arrangement in the diary, but I’m starting to believe that more power might come to our house if you and I are happy, and if we love one another and work together regardless of whether we’re a duo or a trio, then our house will prosper regardless.”

“That is quite true…” Hermione agreed, but then her lip slipped between her teeth. “Perhaps we did rush into things… maybe each of us should have questioned our hearts closer first.”

“I have no regrets where you are concerned,” Lucius declared.

“Nor I with you,” Hermione murmured, her eyes bearing a softness that spoke of devotion.

“I love you,” Lucius told her.

“And I you.” She replied, but then sighed. “I best do what I came up here to do.”

A lecherous smirk tugged at his mouth. “And what was that, allow me to undress you and have my way with you?”

“Lucius!” she gasped, batting his arm. “As much as I’d enjoy that, we need to keep this evening progressing.”

Lucius sighed in a put upon way, and as much as they wanted to linger, he allowed Hermione to simply repair her makeup and they went back down.

As soon as they arrived at the base of the stairs, they heard conversation coming from the dining room, and Lucius placed his hand in the middle of her back and led her that way.

“Ah, finally,” Severus stated on seeing them. “It is seven-thirty. Madam Malkin will be here at nine, therefore we have just enough time for dinner.”

“It could not be helped,” Lucius stated, as he seated Hermione and took the chair beside her.

“Very well,” Severus said, raising his glass to his lips. “A toast is rather redundant at present, so let us just eat.  

They all went through the motions of agreeing with Severus. Hermione’s eyes wandered to the very quiet Draco and her emotions tried to overwhelm her once more, but she fought it. This all still seemed surreal to her, but then she thought about her whole situation; it had all been bizarre, right from the beginning. She glanced at Lucius and her heart filled, and that settled her significantly. She smiled, knowing that while it might feel fantastical, she couldn’t imagine life without him, even after such a short space of time. They were truly destined and he had been her rock today, but she’d also hoped that would be true about Draco too.

Then she thought back to Draco’s attempt to comfort her from reminders of the war the previous afternoon; he had not had the ability to make her feel as secure as Lucius did, but they were different people and she loved them in different ways. She swallowed and quickly changed her mind’s focus and started to eat her soup.

It didn’t take long to notice that the table was quiet; the only sounds were the soft clinks of spoons brushing against the fine china bowls. No one was saying a word, but she guessed that after the crazy events of today, no one really knew what to say. Her chest hurt thinking about it all, but she ignored that too as her eyes moved further around the table, turning to Harry. Dear Harry, he was the brother she’d always wanted, her fierce protector, and glancing to the witches sitting either side of him, she smiled softly. It looked like he was also about to become abundantly happy.

However, it was as she looked at Daphne and Astoria that a thought occurred to her. Now Draco might no longer be a groom, would they still wish to be bridesmaids? They all looked surprisingly content, but even with their obvious interest in Harry, would they wish to remain in the wedding party? 

She exhaled a long breath which made Lucius glance at her, and she tried to convey that she was settled, even if she wasn’t. While she was excited to see the wedding dress that Madam Malkin was bringing to show her, all she really just wanted some time to process everything that had happen.

Seeming to sense her daughter’s train of thought, Helen sighed also. “I think we all deserve an easy day tomorrow.”

“Yes, I’m certain that I could stay in bed for a week after this,” Hermione decided.

“Mmm,” Helen concurred. “Just a lazy day around the house.”

“Agreed,” Severus said, his eyes only just come back to his coffee when his head elf arrived beside him.

“I is being your pardon, Master, Sir, but there is being a Floo-call for you,” the small creature stated.

Severus glanced around his guests and cleared his throat quietly. He knew that his elf would not interrupt him when he had guests unless it was important, so he said, “Please excuse me,” and he rose from the table. “I will not be long,” he murmured to Helen, leaning in close as he rose from his chair.

She smiled at him and as he walked from the room, Severus considered that all his adult life he’d expected to be alone or dead following the second war, but here he was, headmaster of Hogwarts, a position he had realised some weeks ago that he was not willing to give up yet; something he’d have to discuss with Helen. He inhaled a breath thinking about her. Lovely Helen, he thought.

His relationship with Helen had been fired in the depths of the war, and he had quickly realised that he loved her, and this made him think of the little cherub who was the product of that love safely asleep upstairs. Their beautiful daughter; that had been a surprise, and this moved his thoughts along to Hermione. He felt fraternal rumblings deep within himself on that count too, and his anger over Draco’s foolishness surfaced again. She dealt with everything so beautifully, of course, I don’t know what Lucius had to deal with upstairs just now… he thought, as he glanced back towards the room he’d just come from before entering his study.

He found Madam Malkin’s head in the fire. “Madam,” he said, confused. “We are expecting you here in fifteen minutes.”

The witch appeared to be quite flustered, and she greeted him hastily. “Yes, Professor, b-but there has been a problem. I am unable to come this evening.”

Snape wanted to roll his eyes, and he thought, isn’t that just on par for this whole bloody day. “May I ask why, Madam?” he inquired.

Instead of telling him, she said, “I have served the wizarding community in England all my life, and my family for many generations before that, and our establishment has never been subjected to what I have just discovered, and now my best seamstress is in St. Mungos, Spell Damage Ward.”

“What on earth has happened, Madam?” Severus asked.

“At an unknown time this afternoon, some person placed a curse on the partly finished dress I was bringing with me tonight for Miss Granger…” she opened her mouth to say more, but Severus cut in.

“Have you informed the Aurors?”

“Not yet, I have only just returned from St. Mungos,” and she shook her head. “I only instructed Felicia to make certain that the dress was not wrinkled, but as soon as she touched the dress on opening that garment bag she screamed and fell unconscious to the floor.”

Severus took in what had just been told to him, and his mind was already fathoming which curse may have been used, but he said, “Do not worry any more, Madam Malkin, Minister Shacklebolt will be at you shop momentarily, and most likely accompanied by Commander Tonks.”

“Very good, Professor,” the still flustered witch replied.

“In the meantime, I advise you not to go anywhere near the dress,” Severus told her

“Oh, I do not intend to. I will await their arrival,” she stated, and cut the connection. 

~~~***~~~

Severus pinched the bridge of his nose, but the threatening headache pulsed cruelly anyway, and he walked back into his dinner guests. He entered the room, and said, “I think we should all go home. Madam Malkin is unable to come tonight, one of her seamstress’ has fallen ill.”

“Oh, dear,” Helen murmured, at the same moment as Hermione’s eyes narrowed.

“Why?” the Gryffindor witch wanted to know.

Severus grimaced. “Perhaps I should have substituted the word cursed for ill,” and his eyes rose to Kingsley’s. “I promised that you and Tonks would go to her shop. I believe it is most probable that this incident is linked to the bogus newspaper article.”

Kingsley rose swiftly, a Patronus message flying from his wand as he did. “Yes, you are most likely correct, and I’m on my way,” but before he left, he leant down to Luna, offering his hand. “I am sorry, my dear, perhaps you can show me the wattle-spunks another evening.”

Luna smiled serenely, even though she was obviously disappointed, and she grasped his offered hand. “Yes, I would enjoy that,” she replied.

Kingsley brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. “Then it’s a promise,” he responded, and looked up to everyone watching them. He looked to Harry. “Harry, I would appreciate it if you stayed somewhere more secure than Grimmauld Place tonight,” and he glanced at Severus.

“Yes, Mister Potter,” Severus responded. “This seems to be escalating, and who knows where it will end. I should think that the pair of you ladies should also take extra precautions,” he said to the Greengrass sisters. “I will speak with your father.” He watched Daphne nod as Astoria glanced at her.

“Thank you, Professor,” Daphne replied. “We’d appreciate that, but our parents are away for the remainder of the week.”

“I should be going,” Kingsley cut in. “Good night, all,” he stated and swept from the room.

Helen looked to Harry, Daphne, and Astoria.  “Then you are all most welcome to stay here,” she said.

Lucius glanced at Hermione; he would have offered too, but tonight he just wanted time alone with her. “Then we will leave you to your decisions, if there is to be no fitting tonight I think Hermione needs some time to reflect on things.”

Hermione sighed. “Yes, please,” she said. “I’m sorry, everyone, but today has been very stressful and I have a killer headache.”

“Then that is settled. Come, Draco,” Lucius stated coolly. “You can Floo back,” he continued. “I will drive Hermione… and son,” and he waited for Draco to turn. “I will be coming to find you very soon, so do not go anywhere,” he warned.

“Yes, Father,” Draco stated, and literally bolted towards Severus’ study and the Floo connection.

Chapter Text


It shouldn’t feel like this, Draco thought as he sank down onto the lounge in his sitting room after walking out of the Floo. He allowed himself to fall sideways so that he was lying down with his feet still on the floor, but then he curled his legs up without bothering to remove his shoes. “Oh fuck,” he moaned to the empty room, slapping at his face as some insect arrived from nowhere to bite him. “Can’t everything leave me alone,” and then a strange thought struck him. Why the fuck are my insect repellent charms suddenly failing? He didn’t stop to think that whatever had bitten him was suddenly gone again which was most unlike an insect, and now he was overcome with complete confusion again.

At this same moment, Hermione and Lucius were walking arm in arm from the sitting room at Prince Manor. Lucius could see that Hermione was far more upset than she was letting on, and he leant down and whispered into her ear, “Come, my love. Severus gave me the keys for the Mercedes in his garage so we can drive home.”

She simply beamed at him, relieved that she could be alone with him and escape what had become such a huge mess for a few moments. “Oh, Lucius, yes,” she replied, glancing at him as they walked in the cool darkness to the car. This had to be hundreds of times worse for him than he was letting on; his son had just betrayed them both. Oh, Draco, I think you’ve made a grave mistake, she conceded silently to herself, tightening her grip on Lucius’ arm.

She was still incredibly angry with Draco, but she couldn’t just stop loving him, so she was also very concerned about him. In fact, her concern was warring with her anger and she found that concern was starting to win. As rational thought started to seep through the hurt, Hermione wondered if there was more going on here than what met the eye.

Lucius opened the door for her, she stepped into the sleek black car, and as soon as the door was shut she felt secure. It reminded her of landing on Lucius’ bed this morning, and she couldn’t wait to loss herself in that beautiful cloud-soft bed again. She’d only had a taste of it this morning, and she’d adored it. “I love you,” she told him as he slid into the driver’s seat beside her.

Leaning over, he kissed her. “And I you,” he whispered, his hands coming up to cradle her face in the darkness. He covered her mouth once more and their tongues tangled passionately. “I want you as soon as we get things settled,” he told her, his voice husky with want as he pulled away and turned the key in the ignition in his apparent haste to get her to his bed. Logic told him that it wasn’t going to be a simple as that. He could still sense Hermione thinking hard; this was by no means over.

The car roared into life and he backed it out of the garage, and as he did so Hermione started dissecting things in her head again. There was something about all of this that didn’t add up. Could it be that it was too much of a co-incidence along with all the other trouble?

As they travelled, they were both consumed by their own thoughts, processing the events of the day over again.

~~~***~~~

As Hermione and Lucius made the short trip from Prince Manor to Malfoy Manor, Draco was now kneeling on the rug, trying to contact Blaise and Louisa, but neither were answering him. Without warning a feeling of cold dread settled in his stomach. Had Blaise been toying with him? He touched his face as he felt hot tears overcoming his flimsy control. Had he blithely tossed Hermione aside, handed her to his father without a thought? For Merlin’s sake, he loved Hermione, and he’d hurt her, and he found himself really confused at his actions. Could Blaise be in the same category with people like Pansy who were against him marrying Hermione? The man certainly hadn’t been pleased about it. Draco shook his head; he couldn’t think straight.

He sat back on his heels, not caring that his tears were still tracking over his face. The problem was that the conclusion was almost inescapable when you thought about it. Since reconnecting with Blaise, the young Italian had always been at Draco’s disposal when he’d called, so it was beyond strange that tonight—when he needed him most—there was no answer.

“But Blaise doesn’t know yet what’s happened,” he muttered, trying to console himself. “Daphne would know what’s going on; surely if anything… Oh fuck, she’s not home,” he moaned. “Everything is against me,” he muttered to himself.

He was not able to think about it anymore, it just hurt. It felt like his heart had been ripped from his chest. He’d hurt Hermione, let his father down, and generally disgraced himself, and for what… an empty promise from someone who’d initially disagreed with his happy news. He curled up on the rug in front of the fire not caring anymore. He loved Hermione, how could he just throw her away?

~~~***~~~

Lucius escorted Hermione through into his bedroom. “What do you want? I will procure anything for you… anything that will help relieve your mind,” he told her, nothing was too much trouble if it made her settle. He’d noted that she hadn’t spoken since they’d left Prince Manor and he wondered if simply giving her a sleeping draught might at least give her some peace. “Would you just like to sleep, love?” he asked.

She curled her arms around him and rested her head on his chest, simply breathing him in for some moments, appearing to gain strength from the action, but then she looked up at him. “I want to go with you to speak to Draco,” she told him.

Lucius caught her whisky coloured eyes in his, but said, “Do you think that’s wise, Hermione.” He’d resolved to keep her only to himself, and he did not want to jeopardise that, and taking her to speak with Draco… well, it was a slippery slope. However, her next words had him resolving something of a modification to his first resolve.

Hermione sighed. “I love you deeply, Lucius, but I can’t simply stop caring for Draco,” she said, and watched him for his reaction, before inhaling to speak again. “I’ve been thinking, and I don’t think we’ve heard the entire story yet. Also, I’m finding that as my anger ebbs that I need to know that he is cared for and safe, especially tonight. He must be feeling very alone right now.”

“I could inform you of the situation when I return,” Lucius suggested, in a last dig attempt to hold to his original purpose.

“You could,” she answered, “but if I am not to be a shared wife… I am still going to have to be some sort of family member to Draco, and I still care greatly about his welfare, regardless of anything else.”

Lucius chuckled darkly. “You can’t expect me to believe that you truly intent on mothering him if you don’t marry him.”

“No,” she replied, taking a step back to better look at him. “I, couldn’t do that, but if we do not marry as a trio I have realised that I will have to modify my passion for him somehow… He not simply going to become invisible to me. There will have to be some kind of outlet for my love for him,” she declared. “And I think, seeing him happy in life would be part of that,” but saying that—even to her ears—sounded like she was fooling herself. She knew that there was no way she’d be satisfied with just that, that if Draco didn’t want her as she wanted him that this had just become a very painful journey.

“That’s bloody ridiculous,” Lucius snapped, his grey eyes flashing dangerously. “You’d be better to marry him than trying to pretend you’re his friend.” Lucius couldn’t believe that he’d just said that, but there you go. Perhaps he did have some altruism in him after all.

Hermione’s eyes challenged him at first, but then she swallowed and changed the subject slightly because she knew he was right. A tear trickled over her lashes and she wiped at it viciously. “But if he doesn’t want me… I can get over the cheating… shit happens,” she told him bluntly. “But I’m truly uncertain that he really wants me… if he’s got it into his head that he wants something more,” and she sneered. “Isn’t that what this crap is all about?” she replied passionately, her lip quivering.

Lucius enclosed her in his arms, and after a time she looked up at him. “Lucius, you and I are solid, and it will be my honour to be your wife, but even as early as tomorrow breakfast time it might be too late to look over what has happened tonight because new arrangements will have to be put in place because of our circumstances.” She took a deep breath and a step back from him as she started to pace. “So we need to be very certain about things… everything,” and she gestured between them. “What we’re doing,” and she watched him as she inhaled to speak again. He was listening to her, albeit with a troubled countenance, but he was hearing her out without interrupting. “Well, it also occurs to me that perhaps—like that Parkinson bitch—others may not wish me to marry into such a prominent pureblood family. This hasn’t exactly come completely out of left field if you think about it… So perhaps it is another plot to stop our union, because our marriage as a trio will make us the most powerful wizarding family, won’t it?”

Lucius huffed out a breath in shock, but then strode towards her, arresting her pacing and crushing her to him. “You could be correct that is very possible, but how?” he wondered, more to himself than anyone, but then he took Hermione by the upper arms. “Well, they are going to be sorely sorry because I for one am going to marry you, and we are very powerful together, but...” his words trailed off and he suddenly knew they would be better as originally intended. However, there was still a chance that Draco did wish to be with the others more. “Come, we will speak to Draco,” and he released her and took her hand leading her from their chambers.

~~~***~~~

As they walked towards Draco’s rooms, Lucius’ thoughts were all a swirl of confusion. His usual stone cold logic was failing him. What his beautiful witch had just said to him had all sorts of horrid scenarios popping into his head. Could this, the bogus newspaper article, the cursed dress and the situation with Draco—his treasured son—could they all be linked to the same outcome? Was someone, or more than one person, trying to break them up?

By the time they’d reached Draco’s rooms, Lucius had devised several inventive ways to dispose of Madams Umbridge and Skeeter and whoever else was behind this. It was very possible that the Parkinsons were also involved. They had always been one of the more ruthless Slytherin families, and to this point he’d approved of that, but now they were playing with those who were most precious to him, and they would pay dearly for that.

He glanced at Hermione’s resolute expression as they walked. As much as he wanted Hermione solely for himself, the only other person he could even consider sharing her with in a carnal way was Draco; his own flesh and blood. Of course he would gladly share her with their children—he couldn’t wait to see her as mother to their children—but that was completely different, and that would keep to be considered later.

With his realisation, Lucius knew that he had to accept Draco back into their relationship if that is what Hermione wanted, and he turned the door-knob to admit them to Draco’s rooms, not bothering to knock. However, the rooms were dark and there was something not quite right, Lucius could sense it. He pulled Hermione closer, but then the moon came out from behind a cloud, shining through the long windows directly illuminating a miserable looking lump on the rug, and all other concerns fled his mind.

Hermione gasped and rushed forward, dragging Lucius with her. “Draco!” she cried, crashing to her knees beside him.

“Son?” Lucius said, helping Hermione to lift him.

“I think I’ve been a fool,” Draco told them with a dejected sounding moan.

Suddenly, everything became clear, and she knew that she couldn’t give him up without a fight. He’d told her that he’d been involved with more than two people before their agreement, so where were the other people. Obviously they were not as important to him, but he’d said they were all casual…Then she remembered telling him that he was no longer in a relationship with her, and she cringed at how haughty and cold her words had sounded, but his words had hurt her, and she’d been so angry with him. Now all she wanted to do was soothe him, her eyes went to Lucius’ and she pulled Draco to her bosom and held him as he cried.

She felt him melt against her and sob as she watched Lucius’ frosty eyes thaw. He blinked before pulling Hermione against him so that she was in the middle between him and Draco. “This is by no means over, son,” Lucius informed his distraught son. “However, Hermione is a caring and loyal witch who cannot stand the thought of you suffering. There is still much to discuss, but know this much: No matter what happens Malfoys remain united against the world.”

Draco recognised his father’s words for exactly what they were, a life-line, and he lifted his head to look at his father. “Yes, Father,” he managed in a hitched voice, as the thought occurred to him that Hermione had changed both of them so much since she’d been with them. There would have been no way that his father could have witnessed him breaking down like this before Hermione and not scold him for his weakness, but now… They were both growing as people because of this extraordinary witch.

Lucius seemed to be reaching the same conclusion, and he leant around and kissed Hermione on the neck near her ear. “Assist him into bed, I will return with a sleeping draught for him,” he murmured.

She nodded and watched over her shoulder as Lucius rose and strode purposefully from the room, and that was when she saw it. A small shimmer, hovering on the edge of the shaft of moonlight near the curtains in the corner of Draco’s rooms. She watched it out of the corner of her eye as she rocked the still distressed Draco while slipping one hand down to the hidden pocket she created in every dress she wore that held her wand. “I’m going to raise my wand towards something near the curtains, Draco, don’t startle,” she whispered into his ear.

Not knowing what she was dealing with, Hermione used a blast of several different containment spells, and it was just as Lucius arrived back at the door.

“What the fuck?” he growled, instantly bringing up the lights as he took in the small creature Hermione had captured with her spells, directly in the shaft of moonlight.

It resembled an evil looking Cornish pixie, but it was larger. It was an acid green colour with two pair of legs like a doxy, and it was buzzing angrily at the edge of the bubble it was contained within.

“What is it?” Hermione asked, as she and Draco joined Lucius by the window.

“I believe you’ll find that it’s a present from Miss Parkinson,” a voice said from the doorway.

The three of them turned to see Severus standing in the door frame.

“Kingsley sent me a message to inform me that they’ve arrested Pansy Parkinson over the cursed dress, so I’m assuming that this piece of mischief is down to her as well,” he said, walking over to join them. When he stopped he explained further. “It transpired that once Kingsley and Tonks started to learn who had visited Madam Malkin’s store yesterday that they discovered that Miss Pansy Parkinson had attended along with a Miss Louisa Delacour,” and he gave Draco a significant look before adding, “And once they’d fed Parkinson Veritaserum…” and he gestured with his hand that things had only become clearer from that point. “Kingsley suspects that Draco may have been duped, and I have come to inform you of his finding.”

“Pansy and Louisa were friends, but I hadn’t thought they still were,” Draco murmured distractedly his eyes pinned to the creature glaring at him.

“Well, it appears they’ve joined forces,” Severus stated, examining the creature baring it’s fangs at them. “And this little gem,” he said peering closely at the angrily buzzing creature.

“What is it? It looks a little like a doxy,” Lucius said.

“You’re correct, it’s Doxy gigantica,” Severus said, “Well, perhaps, Doxy gigantica var viridi,” and he glanced at the three people beside him. “I’ve never seen one this colour,” and he circled it, walking the entire diameter of the bubble. “It’s a type of doxy whose venom causes confusion and lapses in rationality, a bit like a confundus spell each time it bites. It is only visible in moonlight, and it has a ministry classification of five X’s. It attaches itself to specific types of people like a niffler seeking gold, and because it’s not visible in most conditions and the effects of its venom, the person in question does not know its there. Who found it?”

“Umm… I did,” Hermione muttered. “I-It w-was in the corner,” and she pointed. “I saw a shimmer when Lucius walked passed to go and get Draco some sleeping draught,” Hermione looked at Severus. “H-How does it attach itself?”

“It is attracted by righteous anger,” Severus explained, and turned to Draco. “I presume that it is attached to you. Apparently Miss Parkinson was smarter than we thought, for not only had she planned to break the trio up, but if you fell for her plan she was testing to see how strongly you felt strongly about your attachment to Hermione, and was no doubt going to use that against you. It’s no wonder they backed down so quickly over the letter she sent. It was simply another stab to get you angry again.”

Both Draco and Hermione gasped, and Hermione turned pulling Draco into her arms. “Oh, no,” she cried. “I didn’t know all this was happening. This explains so much.”

Draco’s arms wrapped around her. “Neither did I,” he admitted, breathing in her scent. He truly did love this witch so much. Yes, he may have had fantasies about other people too, but Hermione was real and here in his arms. He’d been a fool to doubt his feelings for her. “So, this,” and he pointed at the doxy. “This has caused all this?” he asked Severus.

Severus looked at his godson. “No, not entirely, but that is for the three of you to work out between you,” and he took a breath. “Did you feel anything bite you the day you had the disagreement with Miss Parkinson?”

“Y-Yes,” Draco lifted his head and nodded. “I thought it was a mosquito.” Then he gasped as he thought of how many times he’d thought in the last two days that the insect repellent charms on his rooms must have been failing.

“What do we do with it?” Lucius asked, his eyes narrowing, as he gestured to the bubble with his hand.

“I would turn it in to Kingsley. Now, I really must return to Helen. Good night, all,” Severus replied, and with that he turned to leave, eager to get back to Helen.

However, just before he turned the corner into the hallway, he said, “Come to Prince Manor for lunch tomorrow,” with an upward twitch of that famous raven eyebrow. Then he was gone.

Hermione pulled away from Draco as soon as they were alone again and she said to him, “We have much to speak about, Draco, but I think we should all try and get some sleep now and start fresh in the morning. I’m not simply going to just dismiss things due to these circumstances, as they’ve made you admit things that I hadn’t even suspected,” and her expression was deadly serious.

“I understand, love,” Draco said. “And I agree, there is much to talk about, but I need to tell you again that I am desperately sorry that I’ve hurt you,” and he pulled her head gently forward and kissed her forehead. “I love you,” he whispered against it, before glancing at his father using the Floo to contact Kingsley. “I hope you can forgive me too, Father,” he said as Lucius turned back towards them.

His manner was a little stiff but Lucius nodded. “We will all have to be more vigilant. Kingsley is coming in a few moments. You are not sleeping here tonight son, Hermione will be with me; you sleep in her bed. I wish to have these rooms fully evaluated before you return to them.”

Draco wasn’t going to argue, this experienced had unnerved him terribly.

~~~***~~~

Kingsley, who was still in his office—the poor man was having a beastly night—was very upset that he’d been torn away from the witch he wished to become better acquainted with, and he sat back in his chair and sighed after receiving the call from Lucius. Would this situation ever stop throwing up new heads? He rose and walked through the Floo into Malfoy Manor after calling his destination. He examined the still angrily buzzing green creature and said, “So Severus knew what it was?”

“Yes,” Hermione replied. “A type of doxy, Doxy gigantica var viridi, I believe is what he called it.”

“Mmm,” Kingsley replied, and he turned to Lucius. “I trust Severus’ estimation of the situation, but I would like to bring in a small team from the magical creature department with your permission, Lucius.”

Lucius’ eyes narrowed, he was over this whole situation. “If you think it best,” he said stiffly. “Exactly who is to blame for this fiasco?” he asked sternly.

Kingsley could see that the lord of the manor was obviously nearing the end of his patience, and Kingsley couldn’t blame him. He had felt the same anger when he’d discovered Luna hanging up like a stored puppet at the beginning of this, but he did not betray his feelings on the subject. “We currently have three witches in custody over this matter, and we are making further inquiries in Italy and France. It appears that the mastermind behind this plot was Dolores Umbridge,” and he turned to Hermione. “Both Umbridge and Skeeter were seeking revenge on you, Hermione.”

Hermione snorted. “That doesn’t surprise me,” she scoffed. “But they were in the wrong on each occasion.”

Kingsley smiled. “No one is questioning that. I believe that history may speak for itself there, Hermione. However, they saw their chance at revenge and took it. No doubt Skeeter would have been writing a very damning expose on you if she wasn’t currently under glass in a jar in my office.”

Hermione cackled, but Lucius and Draco gave her confused looks. “She’s an unregistered animagus, a beetle,” she told her wizards, and looked back to Kingsley. “So that solves the newspaper article and the cursed dress?”

“No,” Kingsley replied. “We still haven’t found the person responsible for impersonating Luna. Veritaserum has not given us that offender yet.”

“Oh!” Hermione gasped. “I thought, Pansy…” and her words trailed off.

“So did we, but it wasn’t her, which is why we’re broadening our investigation. If you’ll excuse me I’ll organise to dispose of this,” he said, indicating the bubble with the glowering large green insect in it.

While Kingsley was off summoning his workers, Hermione said to Draco. “You said earlier that Zabini was shocked and angry that you were marrying me.”

“Did I?” Draco replied thinking carefully. “Yes, I did.”

“Why was he so out of sorts?” she asked, watching Lucius taking in her words too.

Draco spluttered slightly. “I d-don’t know,” he admitted. “I assumed it was because he wanted me for himself, but maybe that was presumptuous of me.”

“Look,” Hermione said. “I remember Zabini from school, and while you and I had our differences, some of the looks that guy gave me were far worse. Is it possible that he’s involved in these occurrences?”

“I think that is what Kingsley meant by saying that they’d broadened their inquiries,” Lucius put in in a gentle tone.

“Oh… oh, yes, I see what you mean,” and she smiled at him, as she watched two more people walk through the Floo, nod politely to them and start examining their captive.

~~~***~~~

Within ten minutes their creature was gone as further evidence of the plot that was building against them.

Draco settled for the night in Hermione’s room, and Lucius possessively took Hermione back to his room, and all three were sound asleep, exhausted from the day’s events.