A/N: Hello everyone, to the end of the 6th month of our Jumanji year. I hope everyone is staying healthy during this crap show we call life. Here is the next chapter of this incredibly long section of the story. I was hoping to have the rest of the engagement party in this chapter, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't want to have to imagine a party (introvert up in here) or the stuffy, fancy crap that would normally come in a Malfoy event. Let's face it, Narcissa would have pulled no stops and I don't really see Hermione as a fancy girl. While this is still party night, there is basically no mention of it past the beginning, but I assure you, you will not be disappointed in this whopper of a chapter. I have to clarify, I don't actually know if this chapter will make sense, I wrote it mainly in the early mornings before bed and it kind of took a turn that I couldn't foresee happening when I started it. It's actually, probably, 2 chapters, but I couldn't be arsed to shorten it or find a good spot to end it. Needless to say, you have a huge chapter read. I hope you enjoy it, I certainly enjoyed writing it. Next chapter will be more wedding prep, or hell, maybe the wedding. Idk, my brain doesn't tell me what it's doing anymore.

Until then,

Peace, Love, and Slyther.

Gimi aka Jess

"Hermione," Thorfinn whispered as they passed suspicious guests, making their way over to her father and Augusta Longbottom. Taking a glance to her left, she saw Hannah and Neville deep in conversation. The room was buzzing with gossiping witches, only stopping once the family passed by.

"Little one, calm down," Thorfinn continued to whisper, squeezing her arm to him. After making quick eye contact with Neville and giving him a small smile, she looked up at her wizard, hearing his words, she felt her stomach begin to unfurl.

During the interaction with her father and Neville's grandmother, how a woman of her age had managed to surprise everyone, she had no idea. Still, she only hoped she could be as formidable as Augusta Longbottom as she aged.

"Why are these people here in the first place," Hermione said quietly behind a fake smile as she continued to hear the low hum of disapproving guests.

Thorfinn chuckled and held her closer, kissing her on the forehead before saying, "This is a pureblood tradition. It is considered most unbecoming if you do not accept the invitation of a Sacred 28 wedding and if you miss the ball, you miss the wedding, and if you miss the wedding, it begins a feud. Between the two of us, we are some of the most well connected and purest houses," Hermione scoffed, and Thorfinn snickered, "Yes Love, I know, but it is still our custom and our traditions. No matter how low my station in our world is now, I am still the heir to House Rowle, the last male and therefore Lord. A bunch of bullshit, if you want my opinion. Ingrid is far more suited to be Lady than I am a Lord." He pulled her onto the dance floor, filling his arms with her body, holding her close.

Hermione snickered slightly, nodding in agreement as the two of them began to sway to the song that filled the room, between the two Rowles, Ingrid was the more level headed. She did not doubt that Ingrid could take care of all business concerning her house.

"Actually," Thorfinn said, continuing his thoughts, "I will probably relinquish my title to her and give her the home when we marry."

"What?" Hermione turned to her, fiance, "Can you do that? Why would you want to?"

Thorfinn smiled down at his girl, "Hermione, I am a Death Eater, or was one. Granted, a bad one, but still. No one will want to be associated with a Rowle if I am Lord. We do not have the connections of a Malfoy, a Black, or a LeStrange, wizards or witches will not want to do business with a former Death Eater, sacred 28 or not. Having you as my wife may help, but I don't want to put that on you."

"But, it's yours," Hermione argued slightly as he twirled them between a pair of dancing couples. "Thorfinn, it's your legacy."

Thorfinn snorted, "Hermione, Death Eater, my only legacy was forced upon me by my father. It is not one that is looked on with fond memories. All I've ever wanted was to be a Potions master, that is no longer an option, so I will just have to find something else to fill my time. I won't bring my house down any longer."

"Finn, you are being unreasonable," Hermione said, stepping out of his arms, "You are no longer a Death Eater."

"Hermione, look around," Thorfinn whispered, glancing around at the people staring at the couple, "I will always be a Death Eater. Even if I never took a life, I never wanted to do any of it, I will always be what they think I am, a muggle hating, no good, evil man. I have to come to accept that, so do you."

Hermione shook her head, "No," she said simply, "I do not accept that. I'm tired of what people tell me I have to accept. Tired of all this protocol bullshite," Thorfinn's eyes grew as her voice began to get louder, "I do not accept that to be some pureblooded princess. To allow these people to stare at me like I'm about to grow a second head, and smile about it. So fuck them all. Fuck tradition. These people want to stare at us like we're lions in a zoo about to eat our keeper."

Harry snorted as he looked around at the confused faces.

"Oh for fucks sake, it's a bloody muggle thing," Hermione shouted, irritated at the crowd, "Bloody fucking hypocrites. Spitting on my father and you, because of some fucking tattoo on your arm, one that neither of you wanted, I might add, but they don't know the first thing about muggles. Happy to get out the pitchforks and fire to charge my family with guilt, but hide their heads in the sand and never actually learn about the people they don't know anything about. Happy to pay behind the scenes, not to serve openly, but still look down on muggles, like they are the ones behind the glass at a zoo."

"Hermione," Ingrid whispered, concerned that the woman was reaching her limit for drama for the evening, "Do you need a moment?"

Hermione shook her head, her eyes finding a centrepiece of peonies on a table. Her face lit up with emotion, remembering the many holidays her father would bring home the very same flowers to her mother. Her loving and amazing muggle parents. Who never saw her as anything other than their daughter. Her heart ached, missing her muggle parents, but knowing that they likely wouldn't have had a warm reception at this party either. They were muggles after all, and no matter the war, muggles were still the outsiders.

"I can't do it," she said softly, looking around at the surrounding wizards and witches.

Thorfinn's heart jumped into his throat as he stood up, straighter, "Can't do what, Princess?" He said a bit more harshly than he intended.

"I can't marry you in this… this setting. I refuse to be married in front of these people who never wanted me as Hermione Granger and don't want me as Hermione LeStrange."

A buzz began around them.

"Not marry?!"

"What does this mean?!"

"No good…"

Hermione scowled as she followed her fiance out the door as Thorfinn turned and walked away, not wanting to hear anything else. Rodolphus and Andromeda both trailed after, leaving Narcissa to tend to the angry crowd in a manner that only a Black could.

"Hermione, dear," Andromeda said, walking up to her niece as she closed the doors to the courtyard behind her.

"Hermione, you must marry. You've been bonded, you must seal it or-"

"What?" Hermione asked, turning to her aunt, "Of course I'm getting married, Andy, just not in front of people who don't care about us."

"I don't understand," Andromeda said her grey eyes furrowed.

"I mean, I don't want a wizarding wedding," Hermione said out loud, "I don't want this. The pureblood treatment. A room full of gawking witches and wizards who hate my family, who don't know anything about me, but forget who I am, just because of a circumstance I had no control over."

Looking at Thorfinn, who had turned to stare at her, she smiled, as her favourite memories of her parents filled her mind, "I want to be married the way my parents would have wanted me to. On my terms and not because it is expected of me. These people don't wish us well, they wish to see a train wreck. That is not how I want to start my life. This is my first official event as a LeStrange; I want to crawl out of my skin at the stares. I don't want my wedding day to be the same."

"I have been having difficulty merging life as a Granger with the expectations of being a Black and a LeStrange. I find myself warring because of my past and what is expected of me now. At first, having Aunt Cissa and you planning this wedding, it was a relief because it didn't seem real, but… Tonight, seeing the crowds of people sneering behind their hands, why would I want that at my wedding. I admit, I was not enthused about the wedding in the first place, but I would like to enjoy my day."

"Hermione," Rodophus said, "Whatever you want," his voice was a bit rough, the legilimens still at the forefront of his mind.

Andromeda nodded, her black curls bobbing around her face, "Narcissa and I just want what is best for you. These are our traditions, but you didn't grow up with them, they are meaningless to you. We don't want you to feel any less," stepping to her niece, "You bring nothing but pride to our family, as dark as it is, you are the brightest star. You demand respect because of who you are, not your name. The purebloods, we rely on a name, even myself, who has been disowned by our wretched ancestors, who rebelled. I am still a Black, as was Sirius. But in name only. You, my loving niece, you command respect despite your ancestors. No matter what those people think. They are upset because they cannot ignore you. They prefer to think badly of us crazy Blacks, but you. You are Hermione Granger first. Your entire wizarding life has been defined by being a proud muggleborn. All that they could accept, but only just, now you are a pureblood, not just any pureblood, but from two of the 28, as well as Harry Potter's best friend, not to mention accomplished in your own right. They are mad, they prefer the Blacks and the LeStrange families stay in the mud."

"If you don't want anyone there, but you and your bridegroom, so be it," Rodolphus said with a bit more conviction. He had taken a space next to his sister in law and smiled at his daughter, "You deserve to be blissfully happy."

With that, Rodolphus took Andromeda by the arm and led her back inside. He hadn't a clue what Hermione would do… well, that wasn't exactly true, he was pretty sure that Narcissa's big debut of a wedding was out of the mix. The family would deal with that as it came, his daughter's happiness was more important than tradition.


The room was still buzzing, though the crowd had thinned considerably. One look from Narcissa Malfoy was all it took for the most outraged to leave the party. It also helped that her husband was, well... Lucius Malfoy. He knew how to command a room.

Ron and Pansy had been talking with Neville, Ron had thought his friend needed more support after hearing the actual events of that night many years ago. From his spot, he could see Hermione and Rowle clearly. His heart clenched, though noticeably less than it had earlier.

Pansy, looking over at Ron, put her hand on his forearm softly. Looking over at the witch, he gave her a small smile. "I'm okay Pans, I promise. I-" He couldn't finish his sentence as he watched Rowle pull Hermione by her hand and walk into the garden, out of his sight. Ron let out a sigh, "Do you think he will make her happy?"

Pansy, looking at the redhead. His face looking older than she had remembered seeing, even a few weeks ago, gave him a sorrowful smile, "I think it will take time, but I think if he keeps his head, they could be happy. Thorfinn was not a bad guy, nothing like Warrington, Crabbe, or Goyle. We aren't all evil Weasley."

Ron chuckled and took her hand into his and pulled her onto the dance floor, joining their friends. Putting his other arm around her waist, he held her close as he led her around the floor. The clumsy boy of his youth, gone, replaced by a more assured dancer, thanks to the many events he was forced into attendance over the years.

"I can say without a doubt, I have learned that we aren't defined by our houses in school Pansy," He said, a smile gracing his lips for the first time that she had been aware of. She noticed that his blue eyes were a bit brighter in the light of the room. "I just, I need to make sure that she will be taken care of. Not that she can't do that on her own, Hermione was a mother hen when she was eleven. But she… she needs someone who will hold her when she falls. She's brilliant yeah, makes her failures that much more of a hard fall. I always tried my best, I knew she was holding back, only letting me help as much as she thought I could handle."

Pansy laughed, "You figured that out, huh?"

Ron smiled at her as they twirled, "I'm not fourteen anymore Pans, I do have a bit more range than everyone gives me credit for."

"How are you, Ron?" Pansy asked curiously as they danced. His arms warm around her waist.

He shrugged, as they danced passed Harry, "Dunno, I keep busy, but at night…" His eyes looked toward the couple outside. Their forms out of sight, he took Pansy by the hand and led her into an adjacent room. Once inside, he let out a sigh of defeat, "I... I am so angry sometimes. I loved her for years ya know? Before I even really knew what that meant. She was… it was supposed to be us. Now, it's just me, and I don't know what to do with that. It's been the three of us since we were eleven, even when Harry married Daph, I still had her. Now… Now I have no one." Turning away from her, he stood by the window, looking away.

Ron wasn't sure why he was confessing to Pansy, to be honest, they hadn't been that close. Sure they walked down the aisle together at Daphne and Harry's wedding, but they hadn't spent much time together, never having a chance. When he had been injured a few months ago, that had been the first time they had spent any one on one time. She had become the confidante he hadn't been expecting.

Usually, he'd have Harry, but Harry had his hands full with his own family. His family were spread around these days and living their own lives. Besides he couldn't talk to them about this, they wouldn't understand. Pansy though, she seemed to see through his false bravado. They had spoken a few times since his accident, he had found her easy to talk to. First coming to her office at St Mungo's, then a cafe, eventually to the new flat he had purchased in Balham. He couldn't return to the family home, and he just couldn't go back to the London flat.

He hadn't noticed Pansy behind him until he felt her fingers on his shoulder, "Ron," she started as he turned toward her, "Ron, you aren't alone. Harry and Hermione are still here for you."

He smiled, "Yeah, I know, but it's not the same is it? I can't go to Hermione and talk about losing her now, can I?" He said as he took her hand in his own.

"What about -"

"Harry has Daphne. That's the problem innit? Harry has Daphne, Hermione has Rowle, not to mention the rest of you, and I am on my own." Pansy opened her mouth, and Ron put a finger on her lips, "I'm not complaining Pans, she needed you."

Pansy took the hand that rested on her lips and pulled it away, "Weasley, you sure are stupid." His blue eyes got bigger, not expecting those words to come from the black-haired witch, "We know you are going through a rough time, your family knows as well. You and Hermione have been inseparable since the war, to be bonded for life. You know you have every right to break down."

"I know-"

"No Weasley, you know Hermione worries about you, even if her life is up in the air, she still worries about you. She wants to hear how you're faring."

He shook his head in disagreement, "Pansy, I can't burden her."

"Ron, you forget, I've been there, I know how much pain…"

"Stop Pansy."

"Ron, it's oka-"

"STOP." Ron hissed out, walking away from her, ripping his hands out of hers.

"Just stop, I need you to be there for her. She needs you, I'll be fine."

Pansy snorted and rolled her eyes and pushed him against the table, "Shut up with that shite. You don't have to punish yourself, you know. You are important to her, you're important to m- to all of us."

"How?" He asks, his shoulders hunched, the defeat in his voice again, "I know that I am not the smartest bloke. I know that my temper gets the best of me a lot of the time, ya know. I try, but I feel so lost. Pans, I feel so lost, like there is nothing out there for me. So I work, I throw myself into work so I can forget that once again, I'm the odd one out. You know, being the youngest of six boys, I was always the one left out. Bill and Charlie were always too old, Percy too studious, the twins had each other. Ginny was the only girl, so of course, she was a favourite. I was kind of leftover. Never good enough, even my best was no better than any of the others."

Pansy began to rub his back, and he continued, "Then I met Harry on the train, and finally I had something none of the others had, I had a famous friend. I mean, after a while, he was just Harry, but it was nice to have a friend who was just like me, not great, but the same. Then Hermione came along, and we just all fit. I finally found my place. Yeah, we had a rough time of it, "Pansy snorted at the thought of war being just rough, "But everything had fallen into place. I got the girl, even next to Harry. Then that fucking test, was just destiny telling me, fuck off Ron, you don…don't get the girl."

Pansy laid her head on his shoulder, putting her arm around him, lending him support as he continued to stare into the empty garden. "You know, after the test, I went back to work and requested to be relocated to the field. I went to my parents to let them know and then went back to the flat. Once there, I broke every single thing we owned. I was so angry, angry at Hermione. She wanted to wait. I would have married her the day after the war, but she wanted to finish school, she wanted to start our careers, she wanted a traditional fucking bonding. We could have had years as man and wife."

Pansy lifted her head, confused.

"I wanted a muggle wedding," Ron explained, "A wizarding wedding, without the bonding, it would have rejected our bond. But I had wanted us to marry like muggles, with just a muggle paper, in honour of her muggle life. But Hermione, ever the logical one, wanted to be settled, wanted to be ready. Now I've lost her forever. No… now I get to watch her fall in Love with Rowle, even better."

"Better than death," Pansy whispered, giving his side a squeeze. Ron huffed, clearly upset that she was right.

"I know," he said quietly back, turning his head to look at her hazel eyes again. He pulled into a hug, his arms settling on her waist as she moved her own arms from his own to his neck. Her head cradled automatically into his throat as he rested his on her hair. Jasmine slowly wafting and surrounding his senses. "I know, but I just… I needed to be angry, I needed to blame her because as mad as I was, I knew I had to do it before I saw her again. I had to because I couldn't lose her for good. We aren't kids anymore, I can't just stop talking to her in hopes that it'll go away. I mean, I know I went away, but that was… I needed time to process. To think, or I'd lose everyone. Harry, Daphne, Ginny, you."

Pansy chuckled, lifting her head off his chest, her fingers had been playing with his red hair without her even realising it. She gave him a small smile, and said, "What happened was hard on everyone, even you. You wouldn't have lost anyone." Moving her head closer, she went on tiptoe, to give him a kiss on the cheek, when Ron went to look back out the window to their right, and their lips collided sloppily.

Surprised, Ron went to move away, but the feeling of soft lips on his was too hard to resist. Turning more into the kiss, he moved slightly against her mouth slowly. Wanting to give her time to pull away if she wished.

After a moment of shock, Pansy came back to her head and was thinking of an awkward exchange to say after he pulled away, when he began to move against her mouth, she felt herself melt slowly. Her brain had been screaming at her to pull away, but she couldn't find it in herself to care. Not with his arms so warm around her waist, her hands in his soft hair.

The couple continued to kiss, not realising that they were being watched from the garden.


Hermione gasped as she witnessed her two friends from a distance. Thorfinn, standing next to her, pulled her away. They had stepped into the garden. Apart from the prying eyes of the ballroom while they talked about their new plans for a wedding. He had worried for a moment, when she said she didn't want a wizarding wedding, thinking after all the work they had put in, that she preferred death. Though, after she explained to her father and aunt, he had been more open to a muggle wedding. Yes, they would still have a bonding, that was not to change, but he had never really felt attached to the dramatics of wizarding etiquette.

Grasping her hand, he pulled her into the LeStrange gardens, towards a corner so she could do what she needed to. He could see she was in shock, Pansy and the Weasley bloke snogging had to have caught her off guard. Coming to a small clearing, he let her go and watched her begin to pace, wringing her hands as she did.


"What was that," She interrupted, not hearing him speak, "Ron and Pansy? I mean, they don't even like each other that much."


"I mean, they are supposed to be my friends, so what was-"

"Hermione," Thorfinn said, raising his voice and causing her to jump in surprise. Seeing that she was pausing her steps, he continued, "Hermione, it's okay."

"Is it Finn? Cus it looked like my friend and my fia," Thorfinn raised an eye at the incomplete word, and she sighed, realising what she was saying and who to, "I'm sorry alright, I was surprised."

Thorfinn nodded, "I know, but you know it was going to happen sometime. As much as I lo-," he cleared his throat, "Uh, as much as he loved you, you are getting married next week and not to him. If he is going to stay in your life, then it is going to happen."

"Did it have to happen now? With Pansy?"

Thorfinn laughed, "Who would be better than Pansy? She is a friend, isn't she?"

Hermione huffed, turning away from him, her navy dress almost invisible in the darkness, but the sparkles glittering along her body. She knew he was right and deep in her own head; she did not mind the match. Once Hermione got over the shock of it all, her heart would rather see Ron with Pansy than with another witch. Pansy was a beautiful witch, she more than proved herself a good friend over the years. Ron could do no better than Pansy Parkinson.

Thorfinn could see her visibly relax after her brain processed whatever information it took to realise he was right. He chuckled again and stood behind her, "Hermione," he purred in her ear as his fingers danced down her arms. He was pleased that on a warm night, he felt the goose pimples dimple her soft skin beneath his hands. He was enjoying the way her body felt. The reaction he could invoke with minimal effort on his part. Little effort, but massive restraint still.

"Hermione?" He asked softly, gliding his fingers up and down her arms. He was sure, had she been any other woman, reacting to his touch this way, he would have torn off the gown and fucked her into the soft earth beneath their feet. She whimpered, nodding her head in consent.

He reached around with one arm and splayed his hand across her stomach, the slight thought of a future child to be homed there flitted into his brain almost as quickly as it left. His rough hand moved slowly upward, to the round mound he was beginning to become familiar with. He could hear her breath quicken, as well as feel the soft tremble of her body beneath his hand. Slowly, he cupped her breast, noticing the dress she wore had shown more cleavage than any proper pureblood would dare to wear. Making a mental assessment, that he felt her soft skin from her stomach, along with the bumps from the beadwork.

"Finn," She moaned, slowly letting out a breath, he could feel her skin vibrate under his fingers as he began to fondle her. His cock, straining almost uncomfortably, trapped within the layers of his pants and trousers. He longed to take it out and plunge deep within her flesh. Whether her mouth or pussy, he was not sure, but be damned if he could restrain himself for much longer.

"What, Love," He whispered, his voice turning gravelly with want, as the image of her pushed against the trees, legs haphazardly wrapped around his waist as he continued his adoration of her body, worshipping her core with his cock, deep within her. His lips on her neck, wrists in his hands or scratching as his back as he fucked her harder and harder until he came deep within. Another image of her riding his face, grounding her core harshly against his lips and tounge, chasing her own end, once more her on her knees, lips around his cock or pushing her bum against him, inviting him to take her arse. Each graphic image assaulted his mind, more inviting and salacious as the next. He hadn't realised that he had pulled her against his body, his cock hard above her backside. Thorfinn was rutting slowly behind her as he massaged her breast, which escaped her dress, rolling her nipple between his fingers.

She moaned loudly, grabbing his other hand and pulling it to her core. That was when he noticed that what looked like solid fabric were in fact, panels attached to the waist, giving the illusion of a full skirt, but gave access to their little tryst without much hindrance. He quickly pushed the scrap fabric to the side and slid his middle finger deep within her wet hole as she let out a slow sob of relief. She then began to rock against his hand, doing what had only been in his mind's eye only seconds before. Had he not been as tall and as strong as he was, they may have been in a more precarious predicament. However, as he was, he was able to shift his stance a bit and hold her tightly, still grasping her freed nipple, pinching it hard as she began to groan in pleasure, while he continued to pump his digit deep within her, using his thumb to draw circles around her round nub. If the shaking in her legs were any indication, she was close to releasing all the stress that had occurred, and he couldn't wait to feel it around his hand.

"Cum for me, Love," he whispered into her wild hair. "Fuck my hand, find that release. I want to feel you. Fuck, do I wish this was the time to fuck you into the ground. I'd rip this dress off you and fuck you raw. Would you like that, Hermione? Do you want to feel my cock deep within your pussy?"

Hermione moaned, her head nodding, gripping his arms as her body involuntarily stiffen as the wave of pleasure crashed over her, spreading upwards towards her limbs. She could feel her body humming under the surface. That was the one thing Hermione was sure about in her future marriage, her husband did know how to make her body respond to him. She was almost positive, if he just used that voice, he didn't need his hand, she'd cum only to his voice.

"Fuck," Hermione whispered as she gained control over her legs and stood up shakily, she felt the warmth of embarrassment spread throughout her body, she could not remember acting so brazen in the years she spent with Ron. She supposed that was because their Love was one of childhood sweethearts. While sweet and loving, and at times filled with passionate nights. This bond with Thorfinn seemed to be one of a different kind of passion. It was new and exciting. She was learning that he was not who she thought he was.

Thorfinn inhaled deeply, her hair smelling sweet, like a clean soap, then an underlying scent he recalled from their last encounter. That undeniable scent of her sex. He growled, his cock straining to be released. Taking a slow breath, he closed his eyes, trying to will his organ to calm down. He could not take it out now, if he took it out now, Thorfinn would be sure to end up enacting one of his fantasies with his wife to be, he needed to feel-

His eyes shot open as he felt his cock spring free before he heard the zip on his trousers. The undeniable softness of slender fingers wrapped around the head of his cock, the warm air cooling the strained and purple tip.

"Hermi? Ooo, fuck," He said, moaning as he felt her tounge on the underside of his dick. He wasn't sure when she had managed it, but the minx was on her knees, in her fucking gown, sucking his dick with her mouth. The witch was fucking perfect.

Thorfinn was too preoccupied with the feelings that were taking over his lower half. It had been years since he had a woman's lips around his cock. Sure when he was at Hogwarts, Violet and many others had given him pleasure. He had spent many afternoons in alcoves deep down her throat, but he had never experienced this. It had been many years since he had such an enthusiastic partner. No, his mother may have been hands-off in his upbringing, but he was still raised to be proper.

"Fuu, Hermione… fuck, love stop," He said, his words staggering as her lips ran up and down his hardened flesh, glistening with the wetness of her mouth, he curled his fingers into his palm, feeling his nails cut the skin. He was sure if he touched her face, her hair, he'd lose his composure and the last of his control, to thrust rapidly into her throat, chasing his release and that was not what she needed right now.

Taking a deep breath, he pulled away, his cock weeping with spit and pre-cum. Groaning, he put himself back in his pants and trousers and dragged Hermione to her feet, confusion and rejection in her eyes. "Don't give me that look witch, this is for your own good," He said, groaning at the feeling of his pants chafing his hardness. "As much as I love to feel your lips around my cock and would love nothing more than to take you here, you are not in the right state of mind for it. You're still upset overseeing your ex with your friend. And while I do not mind helping you release some much-needed stress and tension from what you witnessed, I don't want you to regret your actions due to impulsiveness."

"Why? What if I want you to?" She asked, confused. She never thought he would refuse her. The haze of lust fogging her brain was lifting slowly, and the wantonness of her actions was enough for her to be humiliated, but she had expected him to take her, make her forget what she had seen. Remind her of the lust she felt for him, her body still hummed from his touch. The outline of his thickness under his trousers; if that was any indication. He was always very in tune with his own lust.

Thorfinn swept a stray curl behind her ear, caressing her face, and looked into her eyes, seeing the grey hues and striations of blue, and he smiled softly, "While I believe you do want something, I also know that as much as I want to give it to you, it's not what you need. Be warned though, little witch, next time I fully intend to use every bit of your body. But for now, the image of you in this dress, with those lips wrapped around my cock, it'll suffice until I have you laid out."

"Finn," She started again, the full realisation of what she just did finally breaking through. The embarrassment took hold, but so did the anger. "Do you think I am not aware of my wants? My needs? If this wasn't what I wanted, I wouldn't have lowered myself to the ground, to take what I wanted."

"Hermione," He said, the tone of her voice showing the anger and hurt. That was enough to soften his cock. "Hermione, love, that isn't-"

"Isn't what Thorfinn?" She asked, her voice getting more robust with the pain of rejection, "I know I'm not as beautiful as Violet Park-"

"That's not what this is about Granger," Thorfinn said, his own anger getting away from him. He had been terrific about keeping his temper at bay. While he enjoyed their spats, he hadn't ever been actually upset at any of them, he just enjoyed the fire she had while they debated. This was different, though, bringing up Violet was different.

"What Finn," Hermione said, her irritation peaking, "What? I remember you in school, remember seeing you leave alcoves with Parkinson, her wiping her mouth, her clothes rumpled and her hair out of place. I remember the smirks you used to give the other Slytherins as you passed them in the corridors. It's not like I am pure in that sense, so what? Rather Parkinson was here instead?"

"Granger, you are bloody impossible right now," Thorfinn growled, pacing a few steps away, "Do you think I gave a fuck about Vi? No, she was a warm hole, that was it. She meant less than nothing as I did to her. It was fucking Hogwarts, who cares?"

"You were bonded to me, Finn," Hermione said, her voice louder in the silence of the night, "You were to be married to me."

"You were fucking dead Lyra," Thorfinn sneered, "As far as I knew, I was free. You cannot hold something against me when you weren't even aware of who you were."

"That doesn't matter Thorfinn," Hermione shouted, tears flowing now. Even as she said the words, she heard how ridiculous they sounded. Hermione wasn't aware of why she was angry at him. All she knew was that it felt right to yell. "It doesn't matter because you were supposed to be mine."

Thorfinn stopped pacing and stared at Hermione. He looked at her, really looked at the woman standing in front of him. The little witch, in the navy dress, wild dark hair that had begun to frizz along with her anger, the tears falling from her grey eyes and yet, under the surface he saw her. Hermione Granger. The small child she once was. The brains between her friends, the girl that was used to being on the outside looking in. Who just watched the man she thought she'd marry, kissing a friend, a Parkinson. The girl who once walked in on him in a very compromising position with another Parkinson. Who he just stopped, for her own sake, from… well, from making a decision that her head was not ready for.

"Granger," He said, letting a sigh out, he knew she was hurt, he was almost positive her anger wasn't at him, but at all of it.

"My name is LeStrange," She said with a hard edge, "Hermione Lyra LeStrange, your fianceé."

"I know that Hermione," He said tightly, "But you are also not thinking straight, my Love. If we continued down that path, if we finished what we started, while you were angry and upset over Weasley and Pansy, then you would have regretted it."

"How dare you presume to know what I would regret," She denied, her hands in hard fists at her sides, "I let you touch me, let you feel me, I was doing what we both wanted."

"You want a distraction Love," Thorfinn said, his anger rising again, if it was a fight she wanted, he could give her that, "I will not be a distraction."

"You didn't mind when Violet was a distraction," Hermione threw back at him.

"Of course not, Violet could never be more than one," He said, "She was made to be one, she was a distraction to a lot of boys at school. I am a Rowle and your husband, I will not be a distraction for your feelings for someone else. I am not asking for you to love me, but I am not a stand-in for Weasley. I got you off because I knew you could probably use a little bit of stress relief, but I won't be used now so you can blame me later for taking advantage. I gave you time to stop me, you pulled my hand there, and I obliged. But going further, that would have been for you to get back at Weasley, not because you wanted me. Especially not after seeing that."

"So you claim to know me now Finn, after only five months," She said sarcastically.

Thorfinn sighed and looked at her, tired of this fight. He knew she was used to long and drawn out fighting, Gryffindors seem like that type, where a duel would be required at the end, but that is where they differ. She would continue to blame him, and he was supposed to take it until her brain was back to normal and possibly apologise, but he would not play along.

"No, no, I don't claim to know you at all. Ever since you've found your true identity, you've been struggling on how to act. Struggling about who you are, but you are still the same person Granger. Your hair has changed, your eyes as well, but you are still that pain in the arse thirteen-year-old girl who gave me a dirty look in the fifth year—the girl who wants to fit into the world as a witch. But you don't need to fit in, you already fit. You're used to fighting, I'm tired of it. You don't want to marry with a bunch of onlookers, that is fine. Can't say I mind, I'd rather not have them either. You want to keep Weasley in your life? That's fine too, it's not like I can say no, he's been there always, but you have to realise that he will date, he will fuck, Weasley will marry, and one day will have kids with another witch. And YOU have to be okay with that. But I won't distract you from your feelings of inadequacy, I won't apologise for the girls or women I had fucked before I knew you were alive. Not when you insist on having Weasley in yours when you were in love with him." With that, Thorfinn walked away, going further into the garden to get away from Hermione and her tantrum. And, he thought quietly to himself, I've always been yours.


Thorfinn walked away, knowing that while it probably wasn't the right time to lay into Hermione, he knew that she needed to hear it. Her friends, he had thought her friends coddled her for too long. He supposed a little bit of coddling was in order, her whole life had changed, but was he to just sit there and be yelled at like a child. Because she wasn't ready to honestly reconcile her two lives. They all tiptoed and validated her feelings and allowed her to flounder for longer than was truly necessary. To him, it seemed to be too much.

Thinking it over, he realised he was following a path, it was dark, but he could see in the moonlight that it was not one that had been cared for in a while. The cobblestone was being overtaken by the greenery, but he continued to follow it. Stopping in front of a small kissing gate, he knew where he was, what was on every pureblood estate. He had reached the LeStrange family crypt. Opening the gate, he began to wander the stones, Seeing different names that he had heard over the years. Some were distant relatives of his own, through various marriages or whatnot. Then he saw it.

Lyra Capri LeStrange

September 19, 1979


Beloved Daughter

Here it was, he wasn't sure how he was to feel. He knew he shouldn't really feel anything, Hermione was here, she was alive, but here, here was the stone for the infant that he was betrothed to before her birth. For the first time, he thought of what their life would have been like. Had their families made different choices. Would she have been his from the beginning? Never falling for the Weasley boy, because they would have run in the same circles. She would have been a Slytherin, never a Gryffindor. Would he have loved her? Would he have turned to others? She was younger than him, but not by much. Only three years.

Thinking back to their youth, he tried to remember what she had looked like. He never paid much attention to the trio of friends, not like Malfoy. He had no interest in Potter or his friends. No, he only remembered their one encounter, in the fifth year. That look of incredulity of soiling her precious books, while he was snogging Violet. That glint of animosity in her… brown… yes, brown eyes. The wildness of her hair, still matched in its new colour. That was something that no one could forget, the untamed tresses, though now… now he rather liked its ferocity. The way it got bigger as she got angrier.

No, he wouldn't have paid much attention to her at thirteen, even the thought of acting as betrothed couples did at all ages, at fifteen and thirteen, just the idea was not appealing. No, he never noticed her before or after that one meeting. But he remembered her words, she had seen his trysts with Violet in the alcoves. He supposed she recognised him as a quidditch player, and maybe because of his stature, she remembered him after that time in the library. He didn't know her until she was fighting against him in that blasted cafe. Remembered her quick spell work and her standing above him before his mind went blank. Even that encounter was scattered, her spellwork was excellent, and the reversal had hurt like a blast ended skrewt.

Had they lived in the world they were meant to live in, they would have been married by then, maybe with a child already. It was a tradition to be married after Hogwarts. Though he knew Hermione to be ambitious, to want to work and prove herself, would she have been the same if she had grown up as Lyra?

Thorfinn was sure she would be a bit like Hermione, smart and quick-witted. Wild temper as well, she gets that from her mother, but he thought she'd been more like Potter's wife, or maybe Pansy. More princess than ordinary. She would have grown up with Draco as her cousin, Pansy and Daphne as her playmates, and him as her betrothed.

No, Thorfinn was sure he would not have enjoyed Lyra as his future wife. What he loved most about Hermione was how she wasn't like normal purebloods. She thought differently, spoke up for herself, had friends that would die for her. Growing up, he was not sure any of his friends would do the same.

He was deep in thought about the world that would never be when he felt her next to him. He felt her hand slip into his, and he squeezed it reassuringly. They stood there quietly for a moment before she bent down, putting her hand on the empty stone.

"I thought it would have disappeared when I returned," She said quietly. Thorfinn heard the quiver in her voice, and he squatted down next to her, her head on his shoulder, "I suppose it is good it stayed. Lyra did die that night. The night Hermione Granger was born."

"You don't have to be Lyra, Hermione," Thorfinn said, "You are Hermione Granger, muggle raised pureblood. Death Eater family be damned, you are a proud witch. You belong here and in the muggle world. You don't have to choose."

Hermione laughed, "Don't I? I am the daughter of two Death Eaters, soon to be the wife of a third, the niece of another."

"Best friend of Harry Potter; defied the Da- Voldemort," Thorfinn said, saying his name for the first time, "You are more than the daughter of Death Eaters, more than muggle raised. You are Hermione. Stop trying to define yourself by other people's expectations. Your parents, all of them, they are proud of you."

"I feel like I'm rejecting my parents Finn," Hermione confessed, "My muggle parents were so upset with me when we restored their memories, I could tell that even though they forgave me, they were scared because I used my magic against them. And Roddy, we… we are trying, but he has so many regrets, and it drips off him in buckets, he holds me at a distance and I… I want to know him, but I'm scared. I'm scared I'm betraying my parents by accepting him. Bella, I'm terrified of her. I can't help it, but at the same time, I'm sad for her. They are both broken."

Thorfinn nodded, "We've all broken Hermione. No one survives war, whole. We all have cracks, we have triggers, no one is unscathed. But you can't stay stagnant, you want to be upset about Ron and Pansy, you have no reason to be upset. He's still in your life. He's here, watching you about to marry me. You ask him to stay in your life, but you can't ask that of him if you aren't ready to see him move on. Not when you are forced to move on first."

"I know," Hermione said softly, "I also know that what I said earlier was not about you. I'm just… I feel lost. I feel like I've fallen off my broom and just watching the world fall alongside me, but I'm grasping at clouds to slow my fall, but it just makes me fall faster."

"Hermione, I was supposed to be abroad right now, finishing my potions mastery. In that time, I was forced to be something I had no interest in, hurt people I never wanted to hurt, imprisoned, then released and made to marry someone I had thought was dead. Roddy and Bella went mad thinking that they caused your death, You lost a love that spanned childhood. We are all falling along with you."

Hermione sighed, she had never thought about that. She knew, logically, that her life was not the only one to change, but she had been so preoccupied with her own changes, she never considered the lives around her. She laughed, "Maybe the hat was right when it said I'd excel in Slytherin."

Thorfinn chuckled, leaning in and kissing her crown, giving up and sitting on the overgrown grass and pulling her into his lap.

Hermione turned to him, bringing her hands to his face when a glint on her wrist caught her attention, and she smiled at the jasmine bracelet that Thorfinn had given her. Strength and Grace and her heart swelled. Again remembering he cared for her, even when he was an ass, Thorfinn always showed her he was there. She caressed his cheek, a smile on her own face as she looked into his blue eyes again. She no longer saw him as that scary Death Eater from her past, but as Finn, her betrothed.

Hermione leant in, her soft lips meeting the coarse whiskers above his mouth. She ran her fingers through his long mane as she continued to give him light kisses. Not unlike their previous kisses, she enjoyed the feeling of his lips on her own. At the same time, there were different feelings now, especially when he began to return them with his own.

"I'm sorry," She whispered into his lips, "I know you were right to stop me, but I couldn't help myself. It just brought up so many feeling of rej-"

"Hermione, I understand," He said, holding her in place.

Hermione looked at him again and said, "Don't relinquish your title Finn. I don't know if Ingrid wants it."

Thorfinn smiled, "Hermione, it's fine, I don't mind it. I was never planning on using it the way Malfoy does, sitting on the Wizengamot or so forth. Ingrid will be able to, she's always been fascinated with it. Now, she'll be able to. Besides, we don't need it, you have two titles as is. Need to bring some respectability back to the houses of Black and LeStrange. Let's face it, you have a big enough journey with that than Ingrid will with Rowle."

Hermione snorted and nodded her head in agreement, "I guess that's true. If that is what you want, I don't want you to give up…"

"Give up what? A life I never really wanted? Despite what people think, I don't want that. I don't want to make laws, I want to make potions. Lucius has offered me a position, one where I can learn under his potions masters. That's what I wanted in my life. Maybe quidditch, but never law."

"And what of us Finn?" Hermione asked in a whisper. "You say you're okay without a Wizarding wedding, but are you okay with me."

As Thorfinn went in for another kiss, he didn't answer her, but he had come to realise that he did not mind being bonded to this witch. In fact, he was fairly certain that he was looking forward to the day she carried his name and his child. Thorfinn only hoped that one day, she would be okay with it too.