Updated: 12 October, 2015 (fixed some typos, plus a bit of a timeline problem I didn't clarify well, and edited a few parts)
Author's Notes: I've been wanting to do a fem!Harry story for a while, and this is the first I've finished. It's just a oneshot, and not terribly long, but I think it wraps up all it's loose ends well enough. Being that Harry was born a girl, you can assume some AU-ness. Any relevant deviations will be mentioned, the rest is left to your imagination. Oh, and title is from the lyrics of that 'Matchmaker, Matchmaker' song.
Warnings: No real warnings apply except adult content. Yeah, there's smex.
Chapter 1: Hazel
The problem of Hazel's chronic fatigue and unreliable magic had started three years ago, after the Battle of Hogwarts. But with war still raging, Voldemort still terrorising, she hadn't had time to deal with it. She'd forged onwards even as it worsened, hoping against hope that her magic wouldn't fail at a critical time, and by some miracle it hadn't. By some miracle she'd made it through the war, and won.
Once peace settled in however, Hazel immediately set to consulting various magical medical specialists from all around the world, hoping for an answer to her health problem. For long months she searched, even visiting a few Muggle doctors. Though of course, no Muggle could be made be privy to the whole story behind her illness, nor the full breadth of her symptoms. Statute of Secrecy, and all that.
Finally though, finally, she had her answer.
It didn't fix things.
She had managed to obtain a consultation with a famous wizarding shaman known only as the 'Sage'. The man was older than any she'd ever met, approaching two hundred years and looking every bit of it. She had worried, as he performed his rituals and chants, that he might break apart just from the strain of standing on his own two feet.
The Sage had been a desperate gamble. She knew at that stage that it was either confess the whole truth, even about the Horcruxes and her visit to Limbo and the Deathly Hallows—all things she had intended never to speak of again, for it was too risky, could attract the wrong attention or give dark wizards ideas—or else resign herself to her situation. Well, Hazel had never known how to give up. She confessed.
Apparently that was all that was needed, that little extra information. Or perhaps it was simply down to the skills of the legendary shaman who was diagnosing her. Either way, she finally knew that becoming a Horcrux at such a young age had twisted her soul. It had grown around the Horcrux, almost intertwined. Now that Voldemort's soul was no longer a part of her, Hazel's own was faltering. If her soul were a building, it would be missing walls and beams and in danger of collapse. She wouldn't die. No, it wasn't fatal. But she would eventually find herself almost bedridden. Worse still, her magic would degrade to such a state that it would rarely respond, and then only in weak fits and starts.
It made Hazel sick to know Voldemort was such an integral part in who she was, and that even after everything, even after he was gone for good, he was still ruining her life.
"There is a way," the Sage had told her in his whispery voice, "that you might compensate for what was lost."
She had to find another soul to take its place. Oh, not a Horcrux or anything dark. Rather, Hazel needed a spiritual connection, something that would allow another's essence to fill those empty places in her, support her soul which could not stand strong alone anymore.
She needed to undertake a magical marriage bond.
Hazel's first and thereafter best friend was Neville Longbottom. She met the shy boy on the train to Hogwarts searching for his lost pet. Sitting alone in her compartment with nothing better to do, she offered to help. Together they searched, and as they did so, chatted as new acquaintances were wont to do. She found him shy but sweet, and genuinely kind.
They gravitated together after that.
The other girls in her house and dorm weren't really her sort of people. Lavender and Parvati were fashion-obsessed, gossipy ditzes who spent most of their time talking about boys and makeup and fashion, and cared little for actually learning magic unless it was a cosmetic charm. Hermione was the opposite, but to the extreme. She was obsessivelystudious and bossy in a way that reminded Hazel unpleasantly of her Aunt Petunia, for all that Hermione, at least, seemed to have good intentions behind her attitude.
And so Hazel mostly stuck with Neville, and their friendship grew from strength to strength. She learned that she couldn't have befriended a more loyal and stalwart boy. He was a well of hidden depths and strengths. Really, if not for the godsibling relationship they shared due to their mothers being each other's godmother, Hazel would have fallen head over heels for him. When she learned of it however, her affections became locked as firmly platonic, sisterly.
It was through Neville that she got to know Augusta Longbottom, when he invited her to visit over the Christmas break of first year. A more intimidating woman Hazel had never met, and she worried at first that Madam Longbottom disapproved of her. But Neville assured her that it was simply his grandmother's way to be so stern and aloof. If she didn't like Hazel, she would not be invited back to Longbottom Demesne. And so it was with great joy and relief to Hazel that, when next they met at King's Cross at the end of the school year, she found Madam Longbottom personally inviting her to visit over the summer holidays.
Augusta Longbottom had taken Hazel under her wing. Slowly, she found herself learning the wizarding culture and customs she had been deprived of, becoming aware of her inherited estate and how to manage it, and understanding her position in wizarding society. Before she knew it, Hazel looked at herself one day and realised she'd transformed from a scrawny, unsure girl with oversized clothes and sellotaped glasses, into a young, blossoming witch of grace and poise, dressing and acting as befitted the heiress of House Potter.
When she visited during holidays after fourth year, seeing Madam Longbottom for the first time since that revelation, Hazel presented the woman with a bouquet of flowers carefully chosen to convey gratitude and thanks and appreciation, and a full, deep curtsey of intense respect. For the first time she saw the older woman's countenance turn fond, outside of the very rare occasions she bestowed a soft look on Neville or his parents in St Mungo's.
"Call me Augusta, dear," she had told Hazel, patting her cheek and laying a kiss on her brow, while Neville looked on with pride and happiness.
Naturally, on learning of her predicament and only hope for a healthy and full life, Hazel's first stop was Longbottom Demesne.
"Hello Tipple," she greeted the house-elf as she came through the Floo. "I'd like to see the Mistress of the household if she's available."
"Of course. Please follow Tipple to the receiving room and he will fetch Mistress."
Hazel sat with back straight, hands folded lightly in her lap, and her ankles demurely crossed to one side as she waited. She stared out the window at the impressive gardens, spotting Neville halfway up a ladder by a flowering fire-blossom tree, pruning branches with an Aguamenti Charm.
"Hazel. It has been far too long."
She stood and greeted her host with a bobbing curtsey, then graced her with a genuine smile.
Truly, it had been some time since she visited. Too long. They'd barely caught up at all since the Final Battle. She'd even missed the now-traditional joint birthday celebration she and Neville usually held, and their twenty-first at that, because she had been too busy chasing her cure. Hazel felt a bit guilty about it, but knew they understood.
"Augusta," she greeted, "how are you?"
The woman sighed and limped over to Hazel, taking the seat opposite. Hazel waited until she was settled before sitting back down herself.
"Tired, first of all," Augusta confessed. "Also relieved, that Neville and I, and you of course, made it through it all. Glad, that Voldemort is finally defeated. Delighted," she said, with almost vicious satisfaction, "that the last of the Lestranges is finally dead. And, of course, frustrated beyond the telling about having to hobble about on this thing."
She rapped the walking cane on the ground for emphasis, before dropping it unceremoniously on the other end of her lounge with an expression of distaste.
Hazel wasn't surprised that the strong, capable woman hated having to depend on such a thing.
"And you?" Augusta asked with a piercing look that bespoke her concern. "You look more wearied each time I see you. Has there been any progress from the Healers?"
Hazel took a deep breath, and then told Augusta about the Sage and everything she'd learned.
There was a long, thoughtful silence after that. Hazel's gaze returned to the window. Neville was now bare-chested in deference to the heat, lugging a heavy bag of fertilizer across the lawn. He carried the weight with impressive ease.
"If only he wasn't so very much my brother," she lamented.
"Yes," Augusta agreed. "You two would have made a fine couple. I would have approved wholeheartedly."
Hazel was naturally touched by the compliment. She knew Augusta loved her grandson fiercely, despite her usually reserved manner. The witch to whom Augusta gave her blessing to marry Neville would have to be something special indeed.
"Have you any prospects in mind? Would-be-suitors?" Augusta asked.
Hazel sighed. "Too many to count. I've had more expressions of interest—proper, improper and highly improper—than I know what to do with since defeating Voldemort."
"You will provide me with a list of these improper and highly improper suitors," Augusta said in a tone that brooked no argument. "I will eliminate them as candidates at once."
"Candidates?" Hazel asked.
"Of course. Surely you don't intend to ask someone else to be your Matchmaker," she said, tone all prickly, affronted dignity.
Hazel blinked, and considered the possibility.
A Matchmaker was an old tradition. It was rarely used these days. Most children, even pure-blooded ones, were allowed to seek their own partners and initiate courtships as they wished, provided their intended object of matrimony was approved of by the family. Only in cases of important heirs who showed no sign of settling down and continuing the line did such interference become warranted. But, now that she thought about it, Hazel supposed that having a Matchmaker was exactly what she needed. She had to marry, no two ways about it—she would sooner die than lose her beloved magic, or become so weak and defenceless as to be confined to a bed—and she had no established preferences or sweetheart. Wasn't that exactly what a Matchmaker was for?
Hazel nodded. "Yes," she said slowly. Then, with more surety, "Yes, a Matchmaker would be a good idea." She bit her lip and looked out at the garden once again. Neville was by the flower beds now, looking quite industrious. "I have to marry of a necessity. I should have liked more time to find someone, but it is what it is. And so long as I must marry, I truly hope to find someone I could love, if not right away, then at some point." She turned back to the other woman and smiled warmly. "There is no matriarch I would trust as much as you, Augusta, to know me well enough to make me a promising Match."
Augusta graced her with of her exceedingly rare smiles. Just a small thing, barely a twitch of the lips, but it made Hazel feel loved and reassured.
"I will do my utmost to ensure your happiness, my dear."
"I know you will."
"Marriage?" Neville said, flabbergasted.
Hazel nodded, and flopped onto her back.
If they were anything but godsiblings it would be highly improper, her being alone with Neville in his room, let alone on his bed with him. But godsiblings they were, and more besides. When she had tried to convince Neville that she could hunt the Horcruxes alone, he unequivocally refused to back down no matter how dangerous it might be. He told her she was an idiot to think he would, because he could never abandon his sister. To prove his point, he cut his hand right then and there and offered her a bloodsibling oath. Knowing that to reject the offer was to reject him, and unable to fathom doing such a thing, Hazel returned the gesture.
She unconsciously traced the faint, golden scar on her palm, which remained as evidence of their bond.
They were as good as bornsiblings now and there was no impropriety in their familiarity.
"It's the only way," she reminded him.
Neville winced. "I know. You explained it. I hate that Voldemort did that to you."
"But still, marriage. We're so young. I've not even considered it myself yet."
"Nor had I, not seriously, not until the Sage told me."
Her voice was quiet, sad. She hated that her choices were being taken away from her. Too much of her life had been controlled by outside forces, and this was just one more thing.
Neville, empathic and quietly perceptive as always, understood the direction of her thoughts and pulled her into a hug. Hazel sighed and snuggled closer.
"It'll be okay," Neville promised, voice ringing with determination. "We'll make it okay. Somehow. Even if I have to kidnap all the candidates and illegally dose them with Veritaserum to make sure they're really what they present themselves as."
"You'll make sure they're good enough for me, huh?"
Neville scoffed. "No one will ever be good enough for my sister." He kissed the top of her head. "Sorry Hazel, you'll have to settle for grudgingly acceptable."
She laughed, her heart feeling lighter.
"What?" Hazel gasped, breath escaping in a great whoosh.
Surely she had heard wrongly. Surely, surely, Augusta hadn't just said who Hazel thought she said. Surely she hadn't said Lucius Malfoy.
Yes, technically the man was a valid candidate. He'd been widowed at the Battle of Hogwarts—what should have been the last battle, if only they could have gotten to Nagini sooner—and three years' mourning was a more than respectable time to wait before remarrying. But that didn't change the fact that it was Lucius Malfoy.
Hazel gripped Neville's hand tighter in her own and looked at him. He didn't look surprised.
"You knew. And you didn't overrule it?" Her voice broke, and she blinked her eyes rapidly to hold back tears. "Why?"
"Hazel, please, just let gran explain." When she looked doubtful, he squeezed her hand back and met her eyes unflinching. "You know gran would never lead you wrong. And more, you know me. You know how much I love you, care about you. Sister, trust that if the situation was really as you fear, I'd have taken up arms before letting it happen. There's more to the story than you're aware of."
Hazel swallowed around the lump in her throat. She took a few steadying breaths and pulled back, nodding. He was right. If she couldn't trust Neville, who could she trust?
"Okay. Okay." She looked towards Augusta whose expression was painfully neutral and ducked her head guiltily. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to doubt you. I trust you, I do. I wouldn't have asked you to be my Matchmaker if I didn't."
Augusta's expression turned stern, which from anyone else would have been disheartening. From this naturally-stern woman however, Hazel knew it merely meant she had let her blank mask down, and she sighed in relief to know she was forgiven.
"It's understandable," Augusta allowed. "My choice for you is doubtless a shock."
"Completely and utterly so," Hazel agreed, and politely asked, "Will you explain it to me?"
"Of course. Simply put, apart from the obvious strike against him–"
"Which is no small thing," Hazel muttered to herself, but was ignored.
"–he is the most ideal Match for you, based on the needs, wants and personal preferences I determined."
And hadn't it been a huge task, working those preferences out? For hours on end Hazel had been questioned and quizzed on topics from the expected, to the strange, to the embarrassingly personal. Augusta had been exhaustingly thorough, and from what Hazel knew, she had also extensively questioned people close to Hazel, explaining that a person could not always see themselves clearly in all aspects, so it was best to get outside opinions as well. She'd grilled Neville, Hazel's three dorm mates from Hogwarts, all her professors, especially her Head of House McGonagall, and even bullied her way into interrogating Professor Dumbledore's portrait.
The only relevant people she hadn't bothered with were the Dursleys, sniffing dismissively and declaring that, "Given what you've confided regarding their treatment of you, their opinions wouldn't be worth so much as the breath they used to speak them."
And so, naturally, Hazel asked, "Which preferences, specifically?" Because there had been an awful lot of questions for an awful lot of people, and she hadn't been told yet what conclusions Augusta had drawn.
"You need someone mature, someone older," Augusta said with certainty. "You've endured much, and it has made you wiser than your years. No childish boy would suit."
"Which was Ron right out of the running," Neville commented.
"Wait– Weasley?" Hazel cried. "He was a candidate?"
"My dear," Augusta said dryly, "half the wizarding world responded to the Match Call I put out."
"There were even a fair few witches in the mix."
Hazel flushed. "But I don't– I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I–"
"I know," Neville assured her. "Which is why they were out of the running too."
"Right. What else did you base your decision on Augusta?"
"You professed a desire to see the Potter family continued, and to keep the name yourself in some fashion. A very understandable wish. The Potters have a long and noble history and it would be a true shame to see the line die out. However, a lot of men—be they pure-blood, half-blood, or muggle-born—take immediate offence to the idea of a wife who keeps her surname and wants their child to bear it too."
Augusta actually rolled her eyes as she sniffed derisively. She, as Hazel knew, had insisted on keeping her own name when she married, and passing it on to her children. Really, Hazel hadn't been surprised. Augusta was a proud witch, and a proud Longbottom, and it seemed inconceivable that she should ever cast her name aside. Hazel had gathered enough hints, however, to know Augusta's conviction had made it hard for her to find an interested husband.
"I thought that might be the case."
"And so I eliminated all those who were unwilling to allow you to keep the name Potter, or grant it to your firstborn so they might be the Potter heir. My choice agreed surprisingly freely, but as he pointed out, he already has an heir for his own family name."
"Yes," Hazel said slowly with a frown as she thought of Draco. She worried how he would react to this. They'd never exactly gotten along. "Yes, I suppose he does."
"Next I demanded that the candidates not even think that they would have access to your estate, including rights to your image, and profit from your fame. You are to retain full control."
"And I suppose the Malfoy family is rich enough that it doesn't matter to him."
"Got rid of a bunch with that condition," Neville said, scowling. "Gold-digging bastards."
"Sorry gran," he automatically responded.
"Yes, well, while poorly-phrased it was not an inaccurate summation of their characters," Augusta allowed primly and inclined her head when Neville snickered and Hazel allowed herself a giggle. "I also sought someone who would love your children as fiercely as you will."
"But–" Hazel paused and considered.
She never would have described Lucius Malfoy as 'loving', but with what she'd seen in the war, she supposed it wasn't inaccurate. He, his belated wife, his son … all of them had displayed a devotion to one another in the midst of all the chaos. It spoke well of Lucius really, that he not only possessed such a value himself, but had sought it in his spouse and taught it to his child. No doubt he would teach it to any other children they had. Hazel shied away from the thought of their children. It was too bizarre to consider, and she'd yet to be convinced on the wisdom of such a match.
"Okay," she said slowly. "Fair enough. On paper he does sound great so far, but what about integrity and honour? I want to marry a good man. Someone who would not only treat me well, but who wouldn't do anything I'd find morally reprehensible. He was a Death Eater. Even if he honestly came to regret it, it still shows he's capable of bad decisions and has deeply questionable morals."
"Oh, this is where it gets good," Neville said happily. "I insisted on this part when I realised who gran was leaning towards, because I had the same concerns as you. He swore an Unbreakable Vow."
Hazel gasped. "He what?" she whispered, eyes wide.
"I was shocked at Neville's gall in asking," Augusta said, understandably. Such vows were very serious business, not demanded except in extreme circumstances. "But then, to my utter surprise, Malfoy agreed. He swore it to me on your behalf, and Neville acted as bonder."
Augusta seemed very satisfied with that. Smug, almost, even though it had been Neville's doing rather than her own, though doubtless she had negotiated the wording. In spite of his many virtues, Neville would never be a wordsmith.
"What– what was the vow, exactly? The wording?"
"That if you married, he would: respect you, both your person and your freedom; that he would be faithful and true, seeking no mistress and telling no lies; and that so long as you were wed, he would do nothing to shame you, including immoral actions that would make you shamed to have him as husband."
"All things considered," Neville said seriously, "there might have been others who were more obvious choices, with less troublesome pasts. But only he offered that sort of ironclad assurance of his character going forward, and your wellbeing as his spouse, if he were chosen. I think this is your best option, Hazel. I really do."
Hazel just sat silently, staring blankly ahead for a long moment. He would respect her, treat her well. He would not inhibit her freedom and choices—a condition she attributed to Neville's suggestion, because he knew how much she despised being controlled. He wouldn't take a mistress, even though it was acceptable in pureblood circles after an heir was born—and this part she laid at Augusta's feet, for Hazel had mentioned during her long questioning that she would hate for a husband who cheated on her, even if the marriage was an arranged one. And the last part, that he would do nothing immoral that would make her ashamed to be his wife? It sounded vague at first glance. But actually, when she really considered it, she realised it was simply widely-inclusive.
All in all, the vow was perfect, as if made just for her. And it had been, of course, by the two people who knew her best.
The question now was whether she could accept the Match.
Hazel closed her eyes, reminded herself that Neville and Augusta loved her, knew her, and would not lead her wrong, and then took a leap of faith.
"Okay," she said, opening her eyes to look at them both. "I'll do it."
The wedding was small. Hazel had never been one for flashy, overdone shows, nor attention. The last thing she wanted was a great spectacle with hundreds of guests and reporters and photographers. She had expected her betrothed to object, but if anything, Augusta told her, he seemed to highly approve of her choice of a simple hand-fasting. She realised, on second thought, that Lucius was a traditionalist, and would of course appreciate so traditional a ceremony
She came to the altar in nothing but a simple, undyed robe—albeit with a flattering cut—as did he. They were both barefooted, their hair unbound. Hazel wore a crown of flowers that Lucius had made her: ivy for marriage and fidelity, red carnation for admiration, and blue iris for hope, with Stephanotis for marital felicity and yellow plumeria for a new beginning. All in all, he had chosen quite well for their situation.
They each had only one person to stand for them—he had his son of course, while she had Neville—and then there was Augusta to officiate the ceremony. They let her make a shallow cut on their wrists with a silver dagger, before joining hands so their pulses touched and their blood mingled. Augusta led them through the vows, wrapping a ribbon around their hands after each was spoken, symbolically binding them.
While her betrothed chose her crown, Hazel chose the ribbons: white for marriage of course; light blue for patience and understanding, for they had a lot of bad history to overcome; gold, expressing hope for stability and a successful marriage; and finally green, for prosperity and fertility. The last had been a little awkward to add, but she couldn't leave it out. Hazel had always known she wanted children, a family of her own, and wouldn't pass up the chance of a blessing on that wish because she was embarrassed.
As the last vow was made, Augusta, Neville and Draco rested their wands over Hazel and Lucius's bound hands and incanted the Matrimonial Chant, and then they were wed.
Hazel's heartbeat raced as Lucius led her into the bedroom with a hand lightly resting on the small of her back. She'd known this part was coming, known that the bond would only be finalised with consummation, but the necessity didn't lessen her nerves any. Her romantic experience was extremely limited: a crush on Oliver Wood in third year, plus a date to the Yule Ball and a lot of kissing with Cormac McLaggen in fourth, before she realised what an utter prat he was. Her sexual experience was non-existent—she'd been too busy fighting a war in the years since then to spare time for boys.
"Tea, Miss Po– apologies, Mrs Malfoy-Potter?"
She startled at the question, and turned to find Lucius staring down at her with knowing eyes, as if her nerves were written plainly on her face. She winced at being so transparent.
And then there was the other part. Mrs Malfoy-Potter. Yes, that was her name now wasn't it? That would take some getting used to.
"Please, I think under the circumstances just Hazel would be more appropriate."
As olive branches went it wasn't bad. It wasn't brilliant either.
Hazel was married now, but for the one last thing she was trying not to think about. She was married to Lucius Malfoy. This was the man she would be with for the rest of her life. This would be the father of her children. It was a terrifyingly overwhelming thought. But Hazel had resolved herself, in the lead-up to the wedding, that regardless of their less-than-amicable history—and yes, she knew she was vastly understating things—she was going to try her best to bridge the gap between them. She would be open to any hint of friendship or affection they might develop, rather than remain aloof and eventually descend into resentment and bitterness. She'd suffered enough already. She owed it to herself to grasp any happiness she could, no matter how unexpected the source.
To her utter relief, Lucius seemed to be of the same mind. He actually offered her a slight smile as he returned the courtesy.
"If you'll call me Lucius."
Good. This was a good start.
And had he offered tea before? As that finally registered she felt a great well of relief. Yes, tea would be perfect right now. Something to help calm her nerves. And they could chat a little while they drank, something they hadn't had a chance to do yet. That was how a Matchmaker worked. You didn't meet your spouse-to-be till you were at the altar. Technically, you weren't even told about them, but August and Neville had guessed—quite rightly, too—that if they hadn't explained themselves and won Hazel around before the day, she might have called the whole thing off.
"Lucius, then," she said. "And yes, tea sounds lovely."
They settled side-by-side on a lounge by the fire. As Lucius produced a tea tray and Hazel served them out, they chatted. The usual, pointless small talk strangers made seemed almost comical given the intimacy of their situation. It was several minutes later, as she sipped her tea, that Hazel finally worked up the nerve to ask a deeper question.
"Why did you want to marry me?"
"A number of reasons, some, I confess, quite pragmatic."
He watched her closely, as if judging her reaction before saying more. Hazel could easily guess what he meant though—had taken it into consideration before she agreed—and only nodded.
"The Malfoy name," she said, without resentment. "It's taken a hard blow with your positions in the war. The Witch Which Won marrying into the family will restore a lot of its reputation."
"Yes. You're not offended?"
"No," Hazel said honestly. "We've both got some selfish reasons for going into this. I only initiated a Match Call because I need the bond." She paused. "Augusta explained that, yes?"
Augusta had said she would tell him—just about Hazel's symptoms and the cure, not the cause, not about the Horcrux—but verification didn't hurt.
"You said a number of reasons?"
"The other concerns Draco. His preferences, you see, lie … with the same gender."
Her eyes went wide. "He's gay? But what about Pansy?"
"Miss Parkinson? Yes, I understand she was quite smitten, but Draco told her he didn't return her affections." Lucius grimaced faintly. "He had to be delicate about it though, her father being an important business associate. Unfortunately they'd been acquainted since they were toddlers, and Miss Parkinson knew Draco well enough to know he had no problem being bluntly honest about a lack of interest or dislike in general. So she took his gentle refusal and continued courtesy towards her as a sign that he was merely 'denying his feelings', or some such tripe."
Hazel thought of Pansy, obsessed and sickeningly doting, and could easily see her deluding herself into that sort of thing.
Just then a thought struck her. A horrible, terrible, hilarious thought. If obsession could be an expression of attraction and Draco was gay… Suddenly, Draco's obsessive rivalry with Ron Weasley took on a new light. Pulling pigtails? Hazel decided not to mention the possibility. It would probably give Lucius a heart attack.
"While Draco would consent to a marriage to beget an heir," Lucius continued, "I know he'd be unhappy tied to a woman. Ideally he would have had brothers or sisters to depend on to carry on the line, but Narcissa was never able to have any more."
"But a younger half-brother or sister could as easily be named his heir," Hazel said with understanding. "If you're depending on me to provide a Malfoy heir, why did you agree for our eldest to carry on the Potter name instead?"
"If all else fails, Draco has promised to marry. But Madam Longbottom did say you were interested in a large family. There will be other children."
"Well, I don't know about large, but certainly above average. Probably four or five." She eyed him a bit nervously. "Is that okay with you? Having so many?"
"More than," he said softly. "I confess, even outside the necessity of continuing the Malfoy name, I always wanted more children. And Draco always wanted siblings too."
"So all things considered, he's really okay with this? You marrying me, I mean?"
"All things considered, he is very pleased."
"I'm glad," Hazel said with relief. "I was worried how he'd take it. We didn't get off to the best start." She remembered that their first year at Hogwarts was especially contentious. "He didn't like that I wouldn't ditch Neville on his say-so. I'd think he was jealous if I didn't know better."
"He probably was. Draco never lacked for anything growing up, material or otherwise, until he couldn't win your friendship," Lucius said, surprising her with his frankness. "He certainly sent enough letters complaining about Mr Longbottom to support the jealousy theory as well. He stopped early into his second year though. Just a mention in a letter, asking if I knew you and Mr Longbottom were godsiblings, and that was it."
"He did back off just after that fact came out," Hazel said with realisation. "Focussed all his school rivalry on Ron Weasley instead. I suppose it's one thing to be rejected for another classmate, and another that I was merely sticking by my brother."
"Precisely. He was raised to understand the importance of blood and magical ties."
"Neville and I have both now."
She held out her right arm. As she displayed the scar on her palm to his eyes, her own gaze was drawn to her left arm. On her wrist was a new, silvery line. That scar would turn gold as well, once the marriage bond was finalised.
"Bloodsibling oath," she explained to him as she turned her attention back to her right palm.
"Ah. Well, that would make Mr Longbottom my brother-in-law then, I suppose," Lucius said bemusedly.
Hazel froze for a moment, taking in that fact. That utterly ridiculous fact. And then a couple more, even more outlandish, struck her. She was unable to help herself. She started laughing.
"What?" Lucius asked.
"Draco, calling Neville 'uncle'," she managed to get out. "Or me 'step-mother'."
Lucius actually grinned in response to her mirth, and Hazel's breath caught. Not only was the sight unexpected, it was also a stunning look on him. No wonder Lucius was so dour in public, she reflected ironically. Otherwise he'd have people drooling over him every time he went out.
Hazel blushed as she realised the direction of her thoughts. She'd never really given thought to Lucius Malfoy's attractiveness before. Why would she have? She was embarrassed to be doing so now. Except … there was nothing wrong with it, was there? He was her husband. Why shouldn't she admire him?
Defying the urge to look away, Hazel kept right on staring. She absently noted that his eyes crinkled when amused. And also, his grin had faded, and he was giving her a look that made the flush return to her cheeks.
She didn't object as he brushed a strand of her hair behind an ear, revealing the silvery line on his own wrist, then leaned down to kiss her.
She had expected this evening to be very business-like: under the blankets, get it done and go their separate ways the rest of the night. This was an unexpected development. But not, she decided after a moment's consideration, an unwelcome one. If this night could be more than a necessity between them, if it could in fact be pleasurable, then all the better.
And so she kissed him back.
Hazel loved kissing. It had been her favourite part of dating Cormac. She always got caught up in it, throwing her whole self into the process. Kissing, Hazel was of the firm opinion, should be savoured. And so she was unsurprised to realise that, without even intending to, she'd crawled right into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Lucius looked down at her with an expression of … surprise, perhaps? The sort of surprise where you'd found something unexpected, but not something unwanted. It was a pleasant surprise. He ran his hands up her back and watched with approval as she arched against him in response, breasts pressing into his chest. And when he buried his fingers in her hair and gently tugged, Hazel let her head fall back and her eyes flutter shut.
Lucius made a pleased sound and ducked his head to pepper kisses on her throat and Hazel hummed, her own hands dragging down his arms, his chest, feeling the strength of him. He was very nicely proportioned, she acknowledged, as she began to tug at his robe.
"Up," Lucius said in a gravelly voice.
They stood from the lounge and he began backing her towards the bed with hands on her hips. With each step closer he rucked up her robe a little more. When her knees hit the mattress, he tugged it off entirely.
For a moment her nerves returned. Her hands fluttered, unsure whether to cover herself or not. Lucius grasped them and pressed a kiss to the tip of each finger, slowly, one at a time. She felt herself relaxing.
"You've nothing to be self-conscious about," he assured her, blatantly admiring.
She flushed and bit her lip, freeing one hand to tug shyly at his robe again. He obeyed her unspoken request and quickly disposed of his own clothes. And then they were both naked before one another.
Hazel was torn between staring and looking away. She wanted to look, because he was a sight, and she was becoming increasingly less surprised by her attraction. But wasn't staring rude? Or would it be rude not to look, would it make him think she wasn't pleased with him? Gathering together all her courage, she forced herself to speak.
"You're very handsome as well."
He didn't smile, per se, but his eyes did that crinkling thing again.
"I'm glad you think so," he said.
And then Lucius was kissing her again, and her breath caught at the feel of her nipples rubbing against his chest, and the press of his hard cock against her stomach. She let herself be eased back onto the bed, and let her legs fall apart when his hand wandered downward.
Hazel gave a disappointed huff when he pulled back from their kisses. Lucius chuckled—a deep, rumbling sound. He lay on his side beside her, chin in his free hand, watching her with an almost uncomfortable intensity. Hazel closed her eyes against it, and licked her lips and just let herself feel.
His fingers explored her folds, outer then inner, sliding through her slickness. When he pressed a finger inside her it made her breath catch because, oh, was that what it was all about? Hazel had never gotten any particular satisfaction from that sort of thing—from anything penetrative—when she pleasured herself alone in her bed. When it wassomeone else pressing a second finger inside her however, it seemed pleasure was all she could feel, even before a thumb began to rub at her clit.
"Oh," she cried out as a third finger entered her. Her hands fisted in the sheets as she twisted and her breathing grew more rapid. "I'm going to– I'm going–"
And then she could say no more, just cry out as she crested that wave of pleasure, and as he kept working her till she reached a second, smaller peak, and weakly pushed his hand away because it was becoming too much.
When her eyes fluttered back open, Hazel let her head fall lazily to the side. She was too sated to be nervous at the dark, passionate look now directed at her. When Lucius kissed her again she welcomed him lazily but eagerly, parting her lips so he could lick into her mouth. And when he settled himself in the cradle of her thighs, she just hitched her knees over his hips and let him press inside.
A sudden stinging pain broke through her afterglow. It wasn't the terrible, being-torn-in-two sensation the girls at Hogwarts sometimes whispered about. Evidently that was an exaggeration, a silly schoolgirls' myth. But it still wasn't pleasant.
"Hush," Lucius soothed her as he seated himself fully. "Just breathe through it."
She did as Lucius suggested, while he propped himself up so he could slip a hand between them and rub slowly at her clit. It was still a little sensitive, and she jerked at the touch with a strange squeaking sound. He quirked an eyebrow at her, almost smirking, and she surprised herself by giving a breathless laugh.
"Yes," she said honestly, and experimentally shifted her hips.
He groaned and rested his head on her shoulder, pulling out and then pressing back inside. The pain was duller this time, and with each thrust it faded a little more. Soon all she could feel was her next orgasm building, higher and higher. The stroking of his fingers against her clit, the feel of his tongue on her nipple, the stretch of his cock inside her all combined to make her whimper and moan and run restless hands over every inch of his skin she could reach.
This time when she came it was less sharp, less sudden, but it seemed to drag on longer until all she could do was gasp and clutch at him as he groaned one last time and pressed deep, finding his own release.
Hazel briefly noticed the now-golden line on her wrist, knowing his would be the same. She revelled in the feeling of her magic becoming strong and whole again.
After a long moment to gather themselves, Lucius pressed a tender kiss to her breast. As he pulled out, her breath hitched.
"Sore?" he asked her solicitously.
"A little," she admitted.
He leaned over to pull a jar, bowl and soft cloth from the drawer of his bedside table. After what they'd just done, Hazel would have thought embarrassment behind her. But when he knelt between her legs and gently washed her, then smoothed a cream on her tender parts outside and in, she felt her face grown warm.
She didn't try to object though. It was another sign that Lucius also wanted this relationship to be functional, affectionate. And besides, the cream was obviously a potion of some sort, because her aches eased at once.
He put the items aside when he was done and looked down at her. He seemed to hesitate before reaching out a hand to run through her hair, and visibly relaxed when Hazel hummed in contentment and leaned into his palm.
"Thank you," she said softly.
"Thank you," Lucius returned. "You were lovely."
Hazel bit her lip, feeling quite flattered by the compliment. She gave him points too, for managing to say 'great shag' without being vulgar. She found herself giggling, feeling a bit giddy. She'd had doubts—had she ever had doubts—but Hazel was more sure than ever that she had been right to trust in Neville and Augusta. This could work. It could reallywork.
"I've had the lady's chambers remodelled for your use. They're through the adjoining door there. Consider it your sanctuary, for I shall never enter without invitation. You're welcome to retire there. However…" Lucius added slowly, thoughtfully, "you would be equally as welcome to rest here with me, in my bed, as often as you wish."
Her eyes opened and she gave him an assessing glance. Was he offering to be polite, or did he genuinely want her to stay? It seemed unfair to ask, to expect him to bare more of himself, when he'd already made the first move in offering. But Hazel really needed to know. She wouldn't stay if she wasn't completely welcome.
"Which would you prefer?"
He paused, then trailed a hand down her body. It brushed over her cheek, dragged across breast and stomach, and finally came to rest possessively at her hip. His look became sultry as he admired her nude form.
"You look stunning against my sheets," he drawled.
She hid a smile. What a Slytherin answer. He managed to clarify without making himself any more vulnerable at all. Still, it was enough to clear up her uncertainty, and her own decision was easy to come to.
"I'd like to stay."
And stay she did, and fell asleep soon after, held in his arms.
She dreamed of a happy future.
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