A/N: My gosh! It's been forever! Sorry about that. I hope you enjoy this chapter, and I hope to keep updates more frequent, moving forward. My love and my thanks to my fabulous reviewers. I'm blown away by your love for this fic. More soon, I promise.
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief when her parents finally left without any further arguments about Thorfinn, despite the number of snarky comments Thorfinn made and the number of barbs her father fired back in return.
"So," Thorfinn said when they were gone, leaving the two of them alone on the couch in her living room. "On a scale of one to ten, how cross with me are you right now?"
Hermione looked over at him, narrowing her eyes ever so slightly. The truth was that, once everything had been put out in the open and her parents had stopped being horrified, she wasn't really that annoyed by the fact that he'd told them all about his past. Mostly she was just baffled. Baffled that he actually seemed so intent on being her boyfriend, and on overcoming her infertility for the sake of bearing the children he needed to sire to keep out of Azkaban. He seemed genuinely intent of laying claim to her as his woman, and she couldn't for the life of her figure out why. She was hardly easy to live with, and he could easily find much more agreeable witches than her to date.
"Why me, Rowle?" Hermione asked quietly. "You barely know me. We have a messy history. We're incompatible. Why in Merlin's name are you so determined to… I don't know… be with me?"
Rowle's brow furrowed slightly in return and he traced his eyes over her wild curls, all the way to her toes, ensconced as there were in a pair of thick socks. Hermione wondered what he saw. Did he see a messy-haired witch who hated her job, but probably wasn't going to quit, despite the past three years being wasted? Did he see a stubborn little mudblood who'd once wiped his memory and fought on the opposing side in the war that had ripped their community apart? Did he see a frigid ice-queen who could rip strips off of him with a few well-worded sentences, or a bitch who could run rings around him with her vocabulary and cleverness, just to make him feel stupid whenever he annoyed her.
And Hermione didn't doubt that if they were really going to try this, he was going to annoy the stuffing out of her. How could he not, given that even in the brief amount of time she'd spent with him thus far, he'd prove to be a shit-stirring torment who enjoyed provoking her just to watch her lose her temper before he fucked her all over again.
Thorfinn shrugged his shoulders after a long minute of silently eyeing her as though he were trying to figure out why she felt the need to ask in the first place. Hermione got the distinct impression that he actually, genuinely liked her and couldn't fathom that she had flaws.
"I like fucking you," he said, as though that was reason enough to risk everything, from his freedom to his sanity and maybe even his life – or at the very least, his pretty smile if her father decided to use the dental drill on him, after all.
Hermione raised her eyebrows, waiting for the rest of the explanation as to why he actually wanted to be with her, but he didn't offer any further reasons and she frowned.
"If you're only in it for the sex, I'm sure there are easier witches to deal with, Rowle," Hermione said coolly, getting to her feet and stomping over to the kitchen to put the kettle on once more, feeling the need for a bracing cup of tea before this turned to a fight.
"Don't like fucking them," Rowle replied, getting up and following her. Hermione narrowed her eyes when he stood in the entrance way of the kitchen, trapping her there. "I like fucking you. And I like that you're so willing to fuck me whenever I want."
"Oh, please," Hermione rolled her eyes. "You might have a dark reputation, Rowle, but if you walk around looking like that all the time, I'm certain that the only witches likely to turn you down would be lesbians."
Rowle snorted. "I've fucked a few of the bent girls too, I'll have you know."
"Before or after they realised they were bent? Maybe you made them gay. I wouldn't be surprised."
"Witch, I will spank you," he threatened, smirking and obviously more amused than he was offended by the suggestion.
"Don't look at me like that. If I fuck you again, I'm certain that something will tear," Hermione warned, holding up her hands as though to ward him off though he hadn't moved a step in her direction.
"Want me to run you a bath with some Epsom salts and healing potions?" he offered with a kind smile, and Hermione almost dropped her teacup and the casual way he did so; almost nonchalantly, as though he wasn't even really thinking about how unusual it was to have a former Death Eater offer to do anything nice for her.
She frowned up at him, trying to fathom whether or not he was actually serious about this. Surely, he was just having her on? She was, at best, the flavour of the month and next week he'd run off after someone leggier. Someone with more manageable hair. Someone who would more easily make time and make room for him in her life, rather than being a workaholic who stayed too late at the office every day. Hermione blinked when the kettle boiled, glancing between it and Thorfinn's face, utterly confused.
"Why are you looking at me like I'm an idiot?" he wanted to know, frowning at her. "We've already been fucking, Granger. And we're pretty good at it, I reckon. We keep going back for more, anyway, and usually before we can just take our kicks and be on our way. What's the problem? Are you still hung up on this Death Eater versus Order member thing?"
"No," Hermione frowned. "I just… why me, Rowle? Of all the witches you've fucked and all the more agreeable options as a… girlfriend… why on earth are you pursuing me? And don't just say it's because you like shagging me. No matter how good the sex is, we're not evenly matched. We both have explosive tempers and you need an heir or they're going to lock you back up."
Rowle shrugged his huge shoulders.
"I keep telling you, you're wrong about the fertility thing, Princess. And you're smart. And pretty. And fierce as hell. What's not to fancy?"
"Now you're saying you fancy me?" she frowned at him.
"I don't tend to ask people to be my girlfriend if I don't fancy them, baby-girl," he chuckled. "And your parents like me. So, what's the problem? You don't want to give it a go with me, after all?"
Hermione sighed. "I didn't say that."
"Then let's run you a bath and I can bathe you until you feel better, and then we can fuck all over again," Thorfinn smirked at her.
"Is that all you want me for?" Hermione frowned at him.
"Got to fuck my kid into you somehow, Princess," he shrugged.
"It's not going to work," Hermione said quietly.
"Maybe it will, maybe it won't," Thorfinn said. "But trying is half the fun, right?"
"You're incorrigible," Hermione informed him, smiling in spite of herself.
"You kind of like me this way," he said.
Hermione hated that he was right. Fixing them both a cup of tea while he winked and sauntered off to her bathroom to run the bath, Hermione was beginning to think that, as annoyed as she had been with him during her parents' visit, she actually was rather fond of him. When she followed him into the bathroom, carrying the cups of tea she'd made, she found him already stretched out and naked inside her bathtub – which he looked to have enlarged to make room for the two of them to comfortably share it.
She shook her head when she looked at him, unable to keep from admiring the fine lines of his chiselled chest and abs. His broad shoulders would've been cramped inside that tub were it not for the enlargement charms, and his long golden blond hair hung about them. His eyes were closed as the tub slowly filled with warm water, giving off the sheen of the potions he must've added to it.
Setting down their cups within reach, Hermione began slowly and carefully peeling herself out of her clothes. She closed her eyes as she pulled her shirt off over her head and when she opened them, Thorfinn was watching her undress with heat gleaming in his sapphire blue eyes. Hermione kind of hated herself for wondering what it would be like to have a child with him that had those brilliant blue eyes. She hated herself, because the very thought, combined with his insistence that she could get pregnant with the right person – and that he was that person – were going to get her hopes up and Hermione wasn't sure she'd be able to take the heartache when they were dashed.
"You're staring," she warned him quietly.
"I am," he agreed, nodding his head as his eyes traced over her semi-naked form. "You asked why I'm so interested in you, Princess?"
Hermione frowned, nodding at him as she unhooked her bra, letting it slide down her arms to the floor and baring her breasts to his hungry gaze.
"Because I'm not sick of fucking you," he told her. "I'm usually done with a witch after a round or two. But I've fucked you half a hundred times, or more, and every time you strip out of your shirt, I'm hard for you all over again."
Hermione's cheeks flushed pink and she pressed her lips together, trying to hide her pleased smile at the admittance.
"You don't find me frigid?" she asked, recalling one of Ron's favourite insults for her.
"Frigid?" Thorfinn scoffed, offering her his hand to help her balance when she stripped out of her clothes until she was naked before stepping into the tub with him. "Princess, you and the word 'frigid' don't even belong in the same universe."
Hermione laughed, letting him help her down until she sat between his legs in the warm water. The sting of the water against her over-used parts was almost instantly soothed with the potions and salts he'd put in the water and when he looped an arm around her middle, gently urging her to lean back against his chest, Hermione smiled contentedly, letting her eyes drift closed. After such a tense brunch, and such a long time spent working on her project for work, only to have been denied the grant, it felt good to just take a few minutes and relax.
Thorfinn pressed his lips to the side of her neck affectionately, lightly tracing his fingers over the purple scar that danced upon her midriff. He didn't grope her, or try to talk; he simply held her there in the hot water, snug and secure in his embrace, and Hermione would admit that she'd never felt so content in all her life. Exhausted from the late night and many rounds of love making, she wouldn't at all mind just drifting back off to sleep.
Thorfinn seemed content to let her, his fingers tracing hypnotizing patterns over her skin and his lips routinely kissing her neck, lulling her toward sleep. Hermione hummed softly in appreciation and sighed contentedly before drifting right off to sleep in his arms.
Thorfinn chuckled softly to himself as the witch in his arms fell asleep. She was a funny little thing, he'd give her that. She'd gotten so funny about him admitting to his past, and he'd been willing to stake his chance with her on telling her folks the truth. She just didn't get it yet, he supposed. She might've confusedly accepted to be his girlfriend – at least, he thought she'd accepted – but she still didn't comprehend that he planned on keeping her.
The lads were going to laugh at him when they found out. Bass had already found it funny enough last night to learn that he'd been fucking the curly-haired little witch. To admit he was seeing her would likely get him a few hexes and maybe a couple of sneers, but Thorfinn didn't care. He liked the witch. She was fiery and feisty and unafraid to speak her mind. She'd spoken up in defence of him, and she had obviously done something to the Skeeter woman at some point to make her fearful of Hermione's wrath.
All of that, combined with her intelligence, her magical power, and the fact that she was an insatiable minx in bed just made him want to keep her. And he would. The witch might not know it yet, but she belonged to him, now. He almost couldn't wait to watch her fight him on it, too. And she was going to fight him. He knew that. She might be willing to nap in his arms, and to ride his cock like a fucking queen, but she still doubted Toshka's theory that Thorfinn could impregnate her.
She was going to try and push him away at every turn, insisting he'd be better suited with someone who could easily get knocked up and someone who would carry him the kid he needed. Someone whose friends weren't going to give him trouble at every turn. Not that Potter was going to be too much, trouble, he reckoned. The git knew. He was obviously her confidante and she'd told him they'd been fucking. He might not approve, but he seemed mature enough to know better than to try and intervene unless Thorfinn did something that put the witch in danger.
She was in danger, all right. In danger of stealing his bloody heart, if he didn't watch it. The sweet little sounds she made and the way she swatted him and tried to tell him off when they'd been cooking together and he'd been tormenting her father, had almost brought him undone. It took more than he'd thought he had in him to resist bending her over the kitchen counter and fucking her there until she screamed, parents be damned.
As he traced his hands over her skin, feeling how soft and pliant she was in his hold, Thorfinn felt a surge of protectiveness well up within him. Hell, he was so fucking screwed with this one. Part of him wanted to run. To go out and find some witch he didn't give a shit about, fuck a kid into her and then never have to speak to the bitch again once the kid was in his hold. If he did that, he knew he'd never be in danger of turning into a ninny who was more interested in staying in and goofing off with his witch than he was in having a couple of pints with the lads down the pub.
Hell, if he never went to the pub again, he probably wouldn't even mind, as long as he got to fuck Granger instead. So screwed. He should leave.
He should, but he wouldn't. He knew that. She'd looked so utterly surprised when he'd offered to run her a bloody bath, that he wanted to stay, even if only to prove that even though he was an arsehole with a dodgy past, there were still decent blokes out there who knew how to treat their woman right.
And fuck, he wanted to treat this one right. He wanted to coddle her and baby her and take care of her, even knowing that she was a fully capable and independent witch who didn't need some git to fetch her dinner, or handle her bills, or hold her in the dark to keep the monsters away. His witch was brave – hell, she was probably braver than him, where monsters were concerned, and she was going to laugh her arse off when she discovered his deathly fear of doxies – but Merlin, he wanted to look after her. He wanted to make sure that she forgot words like 'bitch' and 'frigid' and 'condescending whore'.
Her used Weasel had done a number on her psyche, though she probably didn't realise it, and Thorfinn was thinking he'd be only too happy to prove that words more apt for describing her were 'goddess' and 'sexy' and 'wickedly clever'. Hell, he wanted to hear her screaming his name when she came on his cock until they were too fucking old for sex, and he wanted to fix her cups of tea and toy with her curls while she read her books.
Fuck, the witch made him want to be better and Thorfinn that that was a very dangerous thing, indeed. He'd been a criminal, and he was still paying for his mistakes. He couldn't afford to give her a fancy life filled with pretty things and posh parties. Well, he could, but the Ministry had frozen his accounts, so right now his meagre pay checks were all he had to go on.
He needed to meet with the Weasley boys today, too. He'd have to figure out if he wanted to risk his probation moving product for them, legal or not, because this little witch in his arms made him want to avoid ever going back to prison or risking his freedom ever again. Toshka was going to give him hell for it, he was sure. Hell, the bastard was already giving him hell for it. Thorfinn was surprised the git hadn't invaded Granger's flat looking for them. He never tended to do so well when left to his own devices, and his go-to for distraction was stalking Granger. With the curse and its effects revealed, he was likely itching with the urge for more answers, even if they came at the cost of her privacy. He'd have to keep an eye on the git, and make sure Granger understood that even if he was a right nosy prick, he didn't mean any harm. At least, not to her. The used weasel was another matter entirely.
Closing his eyes, Thorfinn supposed that it would be perfectly acceptable to wait until this afternoon to meet with the Weasley twins about the job. Right now, he had more important things to do. Like holding Hermione Granger while she tried to sleep off the effects of so much time spent fucking him.
Thorfinn chuckled to himself once more and pressed a kiss to the side of her neck before reaching for his wand and casting a stasis charm over the bath water to maintain the toasty temperature. Curling his arms more snugly around his witch and letting his head rest against the rim of the bath, Thorfinn followed her into slumber.