Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy
When there was a knock at my door, I was very surprised. I quickly opened it and saw a rather angry looking Hermione in front of me, who, without a word or giving me the chance to invite her in, stormed past me and started pacing wildly up and down my living room. What a glorious picture!
"Lucius, I'm moving into Narcissa's rooms today already. I am not prepared to share a room, let alone a bed, with Draco tonight," she declared, upset and determined, putting her hands on her hips, stopping her pacing back and forth to give me an unyielding look.
I was really surprised. What had my son done to make her so upset? I was stunned. But that she was already moving into Narcissa's rooms, that was totally out of the question! So I answered her calmly but very firmly, not tolerating any contradiction:
"If at all, you will stay in one of the guest rooms in my wing tonight. You will not use the rooms occupied by that woman who tried to kill you as long as even a little bit in them might remind you of her, do you understand?" She looked at me with wide eyes, seemed very perplexed by my firm statement and finally simply nodded tentatively, but that was enough of an answer for me.
Very curiously, but in a calm and soothing tone, I asked:
"What has my son done to upset you like this, Hermione?" She was similarly good at hiding emotions as Draco, Severus, and yours truly, so if she exploded like that, he must have made a huge faux pas.
Still standing in the slightly open doorway, which I finally closed behind me, I had to grin when she abruptly started pacing back and forth restlessly again and suddenly ranted:
"Do you all actually only see one thing in me? Do all three of you see me only as a sex object? I'm so sick of this, Lucius! Am I only good for ONE thing?" She looked at me for a moment and I raised an eyebrow questioningly, still amused by her behaviour but also curious to know what she was going to tell me. Her reply did not sound like an answer to my question, but it seemed that, for now, she had to vent her anger. How nice, so now the table had turned and I would be the quiet listener. It was very interesting how everything was developing between us.
I was sure that just a few hours ago it would not have been possible for her to come and talk to me about her aggravation with Draco. Or was she just so upset that she did not care that it was me who was listening to her?
"First Severus, who thinks he can just have me if he feels like it... It's just a good thing you had him summoned to you. Do I need to thank you for that? If so, thank you, Lucius." The sarcasm just flowed from her words, she really was a lot like Severus in that respect. I couldn't help smirking. Even though I did not realise when I was supposed to have saved her from him, I had done so gladly and just nodded kindly. For Severus, I'm sure she was simply a sex object; after all, he still would not admit that he had feelings for her. The way I assessed him, it would be a long time before he did. While I was thinking, however, she was already lamenting further, now throwing her hands in the air.
"What you see in me, Lucius, I don't know. Until a few hours ago I would have said that you too just wanted me in your bed, to get into my knickers, to fuck me and nothing else, but now... I'm not so sure. You're as transparent as a murky pond, your behaviour is really unusual, I'd say. And then Draco, that jealous idiot!"
Questioningly, I looked at her and stepped towards her.
"What has my precious son been up to, dearest?" I inquired again with a wry smile.
Yes, what I wanted from her was, indeed, a good question. That remained to be seen. She was right, the evening had changed a lot, but the fact that she could not see through me pleased me very much. I was sure only my son's behaviour could explain why she was so upset and beside herself right now. So what had he done?
She stopped and looked at me, remaining calm for a moment, but then began to explain in a contemptuous tone:
"Your son is parading me around as if I was his trophy. Something that shouldn't have escaped you, after all, you've already witnessed it and just now..." She took a deep breath, shaking with suppressed anger, probably had to calm down, clenched her hands into fists and opened them again, first taking another deep breath in and out. She must have been really upset.
I reached out an arm to her, put a hand on her shoulder.
"Calm down first," I advised her quietly. "Can I offer you something? You are welcome to tell me everything." I was burning to know what my son had just done to make her so enraged, which was unusual for her. She gave in to my offer and went to the sofa and sank down on it while I went to the bar for the third time that evening to get us both a drink.
I handed her her glass, even nodded at her with a smile, and then settled down on the sofa opposite her, making myself comfortable in my scantily clad state. I spread my arms on the backrest, leaned far back and crossed my legs, moving nonchalantly despite my light clothing.
"So, what did Draco do, dear?" I prompted her laconically calmly.
In the meantime, she had taken a deep sip from her glass and now answered, looking at me firmly but reproachfully:
"I came back to our suite and the idiot had already drunk a whole bottle of whiskey and was just about to get head from the little whore! And it's all because of his fucking jealousy because he thinks I'll end up in your bed as soon as an opportunity arises and not only that, would develop feelings for you. It pisses me off so much! Even now he doesn't get it, not even after..."
After what? She broke off in mid-sentence and drank another big gulp instead. Yes, my son was really an idiot at times when he behaved the way she had just described. He literally drove her to me with his behaviour. Actually, I should be happy about it, but after my objective, and somehow even feelings, had changed so much, I did not want it that way any more. I no longer wanted her to get into bed with me to get even. Before, I would not have cared, but I did not want to be her revenge. No, I wanted her to do it because she wanted me.
I took my arms off the back of the chair, leaned forward and asked curiously, eagerly, but quietly:
"Hermione, after what? What happened?"
She measured me appraisingly for a moment, then, all at once, a diabolical grin showed on her face, which, because it came so abruptly, sent a cold shiver down my spine. I had rarely if ever seen her like that and certainly not now had I expected such a look from her.
"I punished him for his impertinent behaviour while we were out," she explained with a grin. "Believe me, Lucius, he should actually have learned his lesson. At least he still hasn't got it into his head that I have a mind of my own and wouldn’t just get into bed with you like that. Sorry, but you know that anyway!"
She seemed to have calmed down and I was burning to know what she had done with Draco. I replied with my own wide grin.
"Yes, I'm aware of that. But if you made it that easy for me, it would be kind of boring, would it not?" That was the old Lucius playing again, I noted with satisfaction. Even if I had other goals now, I still did not have to show them openly all the time. I had been honest enough with her today. "What have you done to my son?"
By now she had also leaned back comfortably in the sofa cushions, really snuggling into them.
"Sorry, Lucius, that'll be my secret. Ask him if you want to know, but I treat you all the same there: your secrets remain mine too," she said in a firm voice.
I nodded. That was fair enough and so I did not ask any further, turning to another subject and pretending disinterest:
"Well, Hermione and what do you intend to do now?" She seemed to think for a moment and I beat her to it, rising and setting down my empty glass. "Well, my dear, as you can see, I was just about to retire for the night. Originally, I was going to read some more and then go to bed. If you like, you could join me for a chat and another drink, or I could also offer you a book and we could read for a bit. I will have a guest room made up for you in the meantime."
I was surprised at myself for saying this, but I must have had my soft episode today, or something, anyway I did not recognise myself at times. On the other hand, showing her that she could also spend time with me without me trying to push her into bed could also bring her closer to me. I would only be able to captivate her mind if she got to know me, got to know my intellect, because I knew men like Severus, with sharp minds, attracted her. I had to show her that I too possessed those qualities in abundance.
She seemed to think for a moment. Meanwhile, I went briefly to my bedroom and put on my red brocade morning robe, tying it up. Then I called a house elf and instructed her to prepare the large, genuinely beautiful guest room opposite my suite and then returned to the living room. Hermione looked at me in astonishment, but said nothing in reply.
"What do you have to offer... to read, I mean?" she asked instead, looking honestly slightly nervous. So I managed to break down her reserve and unsettle her. Very nice.
"Come," I offered her my hand, which she took trustingly and let me pull her to her feet, suddenly making her very close to me again. I saw her gaze latch onto my face, her eyes moving from my eyes, to my lips and back to my eyes. Unconsciously, it seemed, she licked over her lips, which were so beautifully soft and pink, with the tip of her tongue.
It took me a lot of self-control not to kiss her. Instead, I chose to take a step away and she followed me. I had broken the magic of the moment. Even though I was unsure why I was doing all this, one thing was clear to me, I had to possess her, fully, without reservation. Not just her body, but her mind as well.
I pulled her purposefully towards the second door that led out of my living room into another room and she followed me willingly, leaving her hand in mine. In the meantime, I explained:
"A house elf is preparing the guest room opposite my suite for you." I guess she nodded and I heard her give a soft thank you behind me. Briskly, I opened the door I had pulled her towards.
"My private library!" I presented to her proudly. "Take your pick, whatever interests you. I am sure you will find something here!" I let go of her hand and saw her astonished look, then walked along the shelves and explained, "Here black magic, there is Arithmancy, ancient runes and in the back you will find some history, as well as more economic and legal treatises. So much for a rough overview, what might interest you?"
She just shrugged her shoulders. I decided to show her my particularly rare and valuable pieces, to impress her a bit more and maybe she would find something interesting there. The room was furnished in relatively light colours, with a lot of gold decorating the individual shelves made of white wood. The wide windows let in a lot of light during the day and the white and gold seating area invited to linger; only the dark green carpet made a nice contrast to all the gold and white.
"Come, let me show you some books that I am sure will interest you," I said kindly to her as she was just scanning the Arithmancy shelf. She nodded and followed me, then we stopped in front of a shelf containing my rarer and more antique works. She let her gaze slide eagerly over them, with me watching her, then she turned and looked at me. Amazed and delighted, she declared:
"Your collection is really impressive and there are so many subjects that would interest me. I think I could spend hours here!"
I nodded in satisfaction, having once again hit on exactly what she liked. Then I noticed she was not looking at me at all, but at the shelf behind me, spellbound. Questioningly, I raised a brow, turned around and checked:
"Do you see anything that might interest you?" My eyes fell on the books she was staring at. Aha, immortality, yes, I had dealt with that once, but it was truly not a good subject. I turned back to her and explained as she walked up to the shelf and looked at some books. "Not a good subject, you really ought not care about that, as young as you are. Who likes to live forever?"
Abruptly, she turned around quickly, looked at me in surprise and then asked:
"But you've studied up on it, haven't you? Where does the disapproving attitude come from?"
Slowly, I stepped towards her, now standing very close to her again, so that she had to look up at me considerably, being so small. It was too cute, I thought.
"Yes, I did," I replied, nodding, "in great detail even, but I think the price you pay for that magic is too high, apart from the Philosopher's Stone. Besides, why would you want to live forever? You lose everyone you care about little by little, over and over again. I am more of the opinion, since wizards have a long life expectancy anyway, that you should just create something in that time so that you are remembered by future generations, and as you know, I am on a very successful path there!" I looked at her a little arrogantly, proud of my work so far.
She nodded slowly, seemed to be thinking about what I had said and then gave me a surprisingly beautiful and open smile as she replied:
"An attitude I didn't expect from you and which really impresses me. You are full of surprises today!"
Well, that was nice, to be able to surprise her again and again, the only question left was whether it was good or bad. However, now it was time for her to choose something.
"I hope I surprised you in a positive way today. Just choose something. If you need help, I'll be over there!"
Astonished, she eyed me as I grinned at her. She nodded slightly, whereupon I headed back to the living room.
She was already absorbed by the books, walking between the shelves in amazement, not seeming to be looking for anything in particular. Smiling, I left my private collection, which was actually small, but still respectable, and nothing compared to the large library. The only books stored here were those I often consulted, those I needed personally, or those that simply interested me. In other words, everything I wanted to have at hand. And, of course, my valuable unique books, rarities, first publications and collectors' items.
I made myself comfortable again on the sofa and picked up my book, began to read, even though my thoughts kept wandering. A little later, I noticed that she too had returned with a book and sat down on the sofa opposite me and began to read. I did not speak to her, just let her read. I would never ask stupid questions like, 'Have you found something that interests you?', that was just annoying.
We read in silence, surprisingly amicably, and I found that I liked it a lot. At some point I peeked over my book, wanting to watch her and see what she was reading. Smiling, I realised that she had dragged her bare feet onto the sofa and was sitting cross-legged, totally absorbed, with the book resting on her thighs and eagerly absorbing the information. Obviously she had found something that captivated her. I looked at her for quite a while. I really liked what I saw there.
Eventually, however, I turned back to my reading. When I finally realised that I had not heard the soft rustle of pages turning for a while, and that it was also quite late, and that it would certainly not be good if she were to ride the Hogwarts Express tomorrow sleep-deprived, I closed my book.
I put it aside and saw that she had sunk to one side on the sofa, somehow managed to rest her head on the open book and fall asleep. The position did not look particularly comfortable. Smirking, I stepped next to her, lowered myself into a crouch and carefully pulled the book from under her hands and head. So calm and gentle as she slept here, as if butter would not melt in her mouth, this little minx. Astonished, I looked at the book she had chosen. It really did contain deep black and high magic, but with her I really should not be surprised. Perhaps I should rather wonder if she was planning to try some of those deadly spells on my son, I thought spitefully.
Carefully, ever so gently, I slipped my arms under her pliant, sleeping body, lifting her slightly. I somehow disliked the idea of waking her up, and I rather did not like the idea of sending her away either. I was reluctant to leave her alone in the large guest suite, even if she was very close to my rooms. So I carried her in my arms over to my bedroom. Her curly hair tickled my face, her short black dress hung down. This time, I managed to relish carrying her in my arms, because last time it had been a matter of life and death. Then I had to rush, but not today. I now gently laid her down on my large bed with its golden silk sheets, kneeling with one knee on the bed, then slowly, careful not to wake her, I pulled the covers from under her as I lifted her again and then covered her. Reverently, I looked at her face. She made it to my bed tonight after all, I smirked, amused. Thank you, Draco!
Slowly, almost lovingly, I leaned forward and brushed a few tangled strands from her relaxed-looking, beautiful face, taking in her long, dark brown, thick lashes, her beautifully curved cheekbones and her rosy, shapely lips. She would sleep here in my bed; I would certainly do the same later, but I rigorously forbade myself to get too close to her in any way. No, she should approach me. I clearly forbade myself sexual advances here.
I was about to get up from the bed, read for a while and only then go to sleep, but at that moment, as the mattress moved a little when I got up, she woke up. I thought she was still half asleep when she reached for my hand and blinked tiredly at me, I was sure she thought I was Draco, but then she murmured, so softly I barely heard:
"Stay, Lucius, please."
At first I thought I had misheard. Had she really asked me to stay? Did she know who she was talking to? But then she repeated:
"Stay, Lucius!" She punctuated her request by moving further over in the bed, all the way to the middle and flipping back the covers. She was actually inviting me into my bed! With a wry smile, I shook my head, unable to believe or understand this right now, but well, if she wanted to, I would not deny her.
I must have hesitated in her eyes, because she was giving me a sleepy but encouraging look now.
"I'm getting cold, come on," she commanded briskly and I was amused by her carefree manner. Then again, this was the woman I wanted, not timid or afraid of me, but the one who cheekily asked me to come to my own bed. Very few would dare to do that!
I nodded, got rid of my dressing gown and threw it over the little bench standing at the foot of the bed. Then, hesitantly, I climbed into bed next to her. I clearly left space between us and heard her sigh blissfully beside me as she snuggled into the duvet and pillow, then she murmured:
"Good night, Lucius!"
"Goodnight, Hermione, sleep well," I replied, before magically extinguishing the light with a wave of my hand.
I turned on my side, facing her, but trying not to think about the fact that she was in my bed with me, by choice, and not only that, even with me under the large duvet, only less than an arm's length away. If I reached out, just a little, I could touch her. Her curly hair, fanned out on the pillow, was almost tickling my face, so close was I to her. But no, I could not and did not want to push her, would not get closer to her.
I suddenly realised that this was going to be a long night, because falling asleep next to her was almost impossible. Yet now there was no turning back. I was a dreaded Death Eater, I would not let a woman in my bed deprive me of sleep, I thought sarcastically.
I tried to focus on her calm, steady breathing, to calm myself down and thus fall asleep, almost managing to do so when she began to shift next to me, her back, hidden under the black fabric, moving closer and closer to me.
Instantly, I tensed internally as I felt first the fabric of her dress against my naked torso, then her bare shoulder blades against my chest, and finally, as I raised my arm, her head under my chin. I was very sure, she probably thought I was Draco in her sleep. I did not recognise myself when I did not dare to put my arm around her. Stiff as a board, with my arm raised uncomfortably, I now lay there while she snuggled closer and closer to me, her bottom touching my pelvis by now, which severely tested my self-control, as only a few thin layers of fabric separated us and I had to take a very deep breath and clenched my teeth tightly.
My reluctance to embrace her fell away from me, however, when she purred softly:
"Hold me, Lucius!" She was aware that I was lying next to her and wanted this and so I put an arm around her waist, pulling her close to me, pressing myself against her and holding her as she sighed softly and I forbade myself to make any sound. I enjoyed feeling her warm, beautiful, youthful, trained body against mine so snugly and holding her in my arms. I clearly felt that she had fallen asleep. Her breathing was calm and even. Slowly, very carefully, I finally released my arm from her waist and lovingly began to gather her soft curls, laying them forward over her shoulder as they were tickling my face.
Probingly, I felt for something that had interested me for days: her mark. How big was it really, or rather how small? I gently ran my fingers over the surprisingly small bump clearly hidden under her hair. Almost lovingly, I breathed a kiss on her head. A soft sigh escaped me, very uncharacteristically, as I put my arm around her waist again, pulled her possessively against me, imagining how I would love to caress her neck and whispered:
"This is my fault. You gave me freedom and I could not even stop you from losing yours!"
Yes, she was under my protection and even if she had defied my orders, I should have protected her. After all, I myself had not wanted her to get so deeply involved, but well, we all had to live with that now. She had freed me from Narcissa and as a reward she had to become a Death Eater. That was really unique, quite fantastic, I thought sarcastically. My last thought before I fell asleep was that this was already a good step in the right direction. I certainly would not win her over with explicit sexual advances, as her outburst today had shown me. With respect, though, understanding and a little restraint, but only a little, I would surely get her.
I let my hand slide a little higher, briefly grazing her small, beautiful breasts before placing my hand just below them, unable to suppress a low growl. Oh yes, she would be mine, even if I had to fight my son for it. Then I slipped into a deep and restful sleep.
End of Lucius' POV
I awoke truly refreshed and rested, taking only seconds to have the memories clear in my mind's eye. The soft bed I was lying in was Lucius' huge ostentatious bed and the arms that held me so securely and comfortingly were also Lucius', as well as the broad, warm chest I felt against my back.
I didn't know if he was awake, for his breathing was steady and even, so I began to stretch slowly, about to wriggle carefully out of his arms, when I heard a whisper in my ear, which immediately made me stiffen like a board.
"Should you not wish for my self-control to go right out the window, you might not want to writhe against me so seductively!" His rough but again surprisingly gentle voice sent shivers down my spine and I tried to answer in a confident voice:
"Then would you please let go of me, Lucius?" I felt that his threat was probably not in vain. Oh well... He had a little - or rather massive - problem in the nether regions there.
I heard a low grumble, but then he raised the arm he had been holding me with and I moved a little away from him. Then I turned around and looked into his clear, dark grey eyes and again he surprised me with his tender gaze. What was wrong with him? Since yesterday, I haven't understood him at all.
First he allowed me to storm into his suite twice like a wild-eyed fury without comment, let me grumble one time, then complain the next. I really wondered why he had allowed this; after all, I had invaded his privacy without a second thought. He, who usually put so much emphasis on forms and rules, allowed me to forget all decency! Hopefully this would not result in a punishment.
He still held my gaze, didn't move and I didn't move either. We continued to look at each other and in my mind I was replaying last night. Without any objections, he had listened to me, probably also because he was curious about what was annoying me so much and had even made sure that I calmed down.
I had been very puzzled by the mood, because for the first time since I had arrived at the Manor and was alone with him, there had been no permanent sexual tension instigated by him. No, on the contrary, he had managed to create a very pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.
This time I had to give in to my curiosity and asked:
"Why, Lucius? Why all this and why your reticence? I like it, but it surprises me a lot!" A broad grin stole onto his face, then he shook his head.
"You do not need to know everything, dear," he explained, "but you did enjoy the evening after my idiot son almost ruined it, did you not? Now, though, you should get out of my bed, unless you want to know what I tend to do to women who wake up in it!"
That was an unmistakable statement and prompted me to peel myself out of the covers, under which I furtively squinted to see if I could get up without a second thought, or had to fix my clothes first, for I didn't want to provoke him any more. Sleeping with him was not an option for me even after this evening and this night, even though I had felt surprisingly comfortable with him.
I wasn't quite sure where I had got the certainty that he wouldn't try anything I didn't want. Perhaps because in the one moment when there had been intense sparks that night, he had deliberately stepped back and not taken advantage of it. I had needed warmth, affection and security, but had been unwilling to return to Draco. His behaviour had hurt me. Was this my way of getting back at him? No, not really.
I climbed awkwardly out of the high bed. It was too annoying that I was so small and then I clearly felt Lucius' stare, which was certainly lustful, at my back and heard him get up and leave the bed as well.
My gaze went to him, I could not avert it. I had not seen his back before. Again, he had a lot of little white lines, scars, but the play of muscles that showed in his broad shoulders and arms as he now put on his dressing gown just caught me and held me captive. I liked it very much. Yes, somehow he had been right yesterday, he really was a mature, seductive version of Draco in some ways, but Draco's words were also ringing in my ears that Lucius was a cruel, calculating man and that was exactly what I needed to keep in mind. Especially after that evening and night when he had presented himself so uncharacteristically.
I stood up. My eyes fell on the large dressing mirror, which showed my reflection. The dress was all wrinkled, which I didn't care about, but my hair... It was sticking out like a mop in all directions. Of course it did. Annoyed, I began to fix it at least a little. I didn't like Lucius seeing me like that, I don't know why. Suddenly, I heard something behind me that I had never heard before and that sent cold shivers down my spine: a hearty, simply mirthful laugh from Lucius.
He was standing behind me and laughing, I realised when I looked up in the mirror. Yeah great, he was laughing at me, right? Too bad, my wand was in the living room. I could have used it to fix my hair quickly. That's when I took a good look at him. He should do that more often, laughing so heartily, it suited him immensely! I swallowed hard. Did I have to like him so much?
With determination, he grabbed one of my raised hands, with which I was trying to fix my hair, by the wrist and turned me to face him, instructing with a grin:
"Let me help you!"
Lucius was still chuckling, while I was totally taken by surprise by his actions. He was standing very close to me again, had raised his wand and was now running it through my hair, murmuring, which made my scalp tingle. Finally, I saw him put the wand away and then felt him gently run both hands through my curly mane.
Tensely I waited, trying not to stare at the bit of bare chest that was in front of my face where the dressing gown was gaping open, as he hadn't tied it very tightly, and trying not to think about how comfortable I had felt in his strong arms.
Finally, his hands still in my hair but slowly pulling them back until they were lying on my cheeks, he stepped back and lifted my head slightly, making me look at him.
"Much better," he explained with a grin. Briefly, I saw something flash in his eyes that I didn't recognise from him but couldn't define either, before his mirthful amusement turned into a sly grin and he slowly approached me.
I had an idea of what he wanted, but I simply couldn't defend myself. He had done it, captured me. I had relaxed too much, lowered all my shields too much. It was thoughtless of me, but this was just too different, too unusual. I still didn't understand it. He was opaque, really had become an enigma to me, which didn't suit me at all, and I didn't like the fact that I was reacting to him with ever decreasing defensiveness. Damn it, I didn't want that!
He must have sensed that I was tensing up, stopped in his slow movement and looked at me knowingly but kindly.
"You are going to pay your debt now, Hermione. Yesterday was a nice idea, but you did not settle your debt with it, I am sure you are aware of that. You had your chance, now I will decide what I think is appropriate as payment!" I swallowed nervously. No, I didn't want to go to bed with him. I was sure that was what he wanted, but I wasn't ready for that. Slowly, still feeling his hands gently on my cheeks, I shook my head, but he just nodded with a smug grin and explained, "Don't worry, I'm not asking for that. All I want is a kiss, a single real kiss, coming from you. I want you to enjoy it, to give it to me with pleasure, and I want it today, as a goodbye!"
Okay, one kiss. I could do that, couldn't I? If my debt would be paid in return, yes, I could. Slowly I stood on my tiptoes and was about to come towards him, to kiss him, when all of a sudden he disengaged, shaking his head dismissively. He put a finger to my lips and said:
"No, not now. As a parting gift, when you leave, in front of Draco!" There it was, the big catch; it would have been too good if he let me off so easily.
Damn it, though! I was supposed to kiss him willingly, with relish, and in front of Draco, add fuel to the fire? I couldn't do that. I wanted to refuse right away, but he still kept his finger on my lips and a smirk on his.
"Think it over, do not give an answer now. It is your decision. One kiss and your debt is paid. I think that is a small price to pay for saving your life! Now go, Draco is probably waiting for you."
I nodded, whirling around as he released me from his gentle grip. I quickly ran into the living room, slipped on my shoes and took my wand. How careless to leave it here! Or had Lucius taken it from me and put it there? I couldn't remember. My gaze went briefly, regretfully, to the book I had chosen yesterday, which I probably had to leave here, but which would have been of burning interest to me.
I was about to rush towards the door to leave the suite, when Lucius entered the living room. He looked serious again, wearing his normal mask.
"I have one more condition!"
Startled, I stopped. What was next? Draco having to see it was enough, wasn't it? A devilish grin showed on his face as I nodded dutifully and he continued:
"You are not going to tell Draco why you kiss me. He will not know that you are paying your debt with it, nor that you are not really doing it willingly, even if it is supposed to feel and look like it!"
I liked that condition even less. I had just started thinking about actually doing it, but telling Draco beforehand what I was going to do and why. Without that, it would only incite his jealousy. Great, now I was getting my comeuppance for being so stupidly trusting and venting my feelings in Lucius' presence. He had found out new, intimate details about our relationship and used them immediately. There he was again, the dangerous Lucius, always playing, keeping control in every situation. A dark, foggy memory flashed briefly in my mind, but I shook it off inwardly, because that couldn't be right, what I was remembering.
I had the dull feeling that he had traced my Dark Mark and sighed, muttering something that sounded as if he was saying it was his fault. But I'm sure that was just my imagination, just like him muttering something about me giving him his freedom back. Lucius didn't say stuff like that.
I eyed him for a moment, not knowing what to say in response to his demand, but he probably didn't expect an answer either, because now he instructed me, as I still stood there unmoving:
"Go, Draco is waiting. I'll expect you for breakfast at the usual time!"
I gave him the curtsy he deserved and quickly left his suite, dashing down the corridors to our rooms, even though I was not at all comfortable facing Draco right away. Neither of us had covered themself with glory last evening. However, would I find a remorseful Draco or an angry, jealous Draco reproaching me for where I had been? How was I going to explain to him what had and hadn't gone on last night?
I couldn't even explain to myself why I had done this. The side of Lucius I had seen yesterday had made me forget - rather stupidly - what he was like. He had truly managed to lull me into a sense of security and I was sure he had been playing with me. At the very least when I had stormed his suite the second time, he had only been playing. The first time, his emotions had been stirred up too. I think that was when he had really given me a glimpse of his innermost self, his mask totally lowered, but when I came to him again, he had been so composed again; there he had been back to his old self, but somehow also not, unless he had played even the kind, calm one.
The atmosphere he had created had been so cosy and homely for me that I had even dozed off on the sofa in his presence after being totally absorbed in the really interesting book I had been too keen to take with me.
I carefully, slowly opened the door to our rooms, took another deep breath and was relieved to see that the living room was empty. In front of the fireplace I saw many small shards, probably from a glass bottle, obviously Draco also tended to throw things in anger. In addition, I now saw another half-empty bottle of spirits on the table.
I crept into the bedroom quietly, leaving my pumps at the door, because I hoped he was still asleep, as I couldn't hear any noises coming from the bathroom, and indeed he was.
I stopped for a moment and looked at the picture. Apparently, he hadn't been in the mood to change after I had left, because he was still wearing his shirt, but he had opened it, and he was still wearing his trousers. I smiled as I watched him lying across the bed on his stomach, his arms wrapped around a pillow as if he was looking for something to hold on to, and his legs stretched out across the bed.
He practically took up the whole bed, had rumpled the blankets but was lying on them and I was sure that if he woke up he would have a bad hangover after all he had drunk.
Feeling compassionate, I quietly went to my suitcase and took out a hangover cure and a headache potion, then carefully climbed onto the bed with him. Last night had absolutely not gone as we both had hoped. Our last night together at the Manor should have been markedly different. Starting tonight, I would have to sneak back to him as Abraxina and not be able to just go to bed with him, as I had been doing for the last few weeks. I would really miss that.
That idiot! Anger rose up in me again. Inside I was still upset with him and hurt. Even though the night I spent with Lucius and venting my anger had soothed me, there was still the fact that Draco's behaviour had hurt me. I wouldn't be able to forgive him for that so easily, even if the pragmatist in me said that yes, I had done similar things, and would continue doing so when Severus put his mind to it. But it still hurt me that he had almost cheated on me with the whore. On the other hand, he had even given his consent for me to go to bed with Severus, but at the time that was probably more out of his pragmatism than anything he really wanted. I should be pleased that I was still capable of such feelings, shouldn't I? But they hurt and I didn't want that, nor did I want him to know how much I blamed him for what he had done and almost done.
This was all hard enough and I didn't think Lucius should be able to come between us and thus I would show him now that I wasn't angry with him anymore. I would keep my hurt and disappointment bottled up inside me and hope that this would all work out. I didn't want Severus or Lucius to come between us.
Gently, I put a hand on his shoulder, shook him briefly, then leaned down to him, brushed an unruly strand of hair from his rather pale face and began to gently kiss his face, whispering over and over:
"Wake up, Draco."
Yes, this was who I wanted, my Draco, and I wasn't going to let Lucius or Severus take that away from me. Draco had hurt me, but we would sort that out between ourselves, it was our business and none of theirs. I could be awfully stubborn when I wanted to be.
Slowly he woke, grumbled sleepily and finally opened his eyes, looking at me bleary-eyed. I realised my suspicion that he would have a hangover had been correct. Without saying anything, I uncorked the first vial and handed it to him. After he had freed his arm from under the pillow, propped himself up on it, he grabbed the potion with his other hand and downed it greedily, but with a grimace because the taste was really not good. While he was doing that, I opened the second vial too and he drank it down without asking, then he turned onto his back, sank back into the pillows and put one arm over his eyes while he reached for mine with his other hand, having to search for it before he could grab it.
He gently squeezed my hand and I heard him murmur softly with a sigh:
"Come to me."
He really had to be exhausted from the way he was acting and so I slowly lowered myself down beside him, resting my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around me. Silently we lay there, me snuggled against him and him holding me. My thoughts went back to the previous night and yes, even though I had felt very comfortable with Lucius and he had given me exactly what I needed last night, the feeling here next to Draco was different, more familiar. It felt right, I mused as we stayed silent. Eventually he began to speak quietly, his voice raspy and slightly hoarse.
"I don't even want to know where you were or what you were doing. I can guess and that's enough! I overreacted again, behaved like shit, unforgivably, and got the reward for it. I can live with that, but not if you won't forgive me, please forgive me," he said bitterly.
I rose a little, gently put my index finger to his lips.
"Shh, don't say anything. We went through a lot last night and yes, I was with him, all night, but Draco, nothing happened, believe me!" I affirmed quietly.
I couldn't forgive him, not yet, but I could take away his worry that I had slept with Lucius and so I did. He was punished enough, even if he didn't know it yet, by what consequences that night might have brought, because that the relationship between Lucius and me had changed, that was clear to me. But what consequences Draco's behaviour and also my reaction to going to Lucius and staying with him would really have, we would still have to find out. Eventually I would be able to forgive him, I hoped, but I didn't want to talk about that now.
Surprisingly quickly, he took his arm from his eyes, looked at me in surprise and scrutinised me inquiringly, probably realising the honest, open look and the friendly smile I gave him. He didn't need to know that I had slept in Lucius' arms and had enjoyed it. It was the truth, we hadn't slept with each other, just next to each other, and that was all that mattered right now.
I couldn't react at all before he was on top of me and kissed me passionately. He took my face between his hands and looked at me urgently. The joy and relief blazed in his eyes, just like his deep feelings for me.
"You wouldn't believe how relieved I am! I don't deserve you at all," he said in a voice that was both reproachful and contrite.
Smiling, I returned his kiss, glad that our reunion was developing this way. For the moment, I pushed away the thought of what Lucius expected me to do, which I would hurt Draco right back with if I did. The temptation to pay off my debt so easily was strong. But would I want to do that to Draco, even if he had hurt me so much? I didn't want revenge, certainly not; I didn't want to do that to him and it would be beneath me!
I would have loved to give in to my desire for him now, but we didn't have time for that. Lucius was expecting us and we had to go back to school today. I therefore broke away from our passionate kiss and pushed him away a little, which he let happen with a sigh.
"Yes, I know we don't have time. That's the reason, isn't it?"
I nodded and added:
"Lucius is expecting us for breakfast and we still have to pick up the others!"
He nodded, gave me one last, incredibly gentle kiss, then got up, reached out his hand and pulled me up to him.
We still had to get dressed. I decided on a chic, brown-beige summer dress that had wide straps and a deep V-neck. It was set off by a waistband under the bust that was decorated with three large oval beige mother-of-pearl stones. It was knee-length and the abstract patterns in brown, earthy tones made it look very elegant. I really liked the look of it.
End of Hermione’s POV