Author's Note: This is the first fanfic I have written in awhile (I had another account and I plan to merge it with this one at some point). I am finally dusting off the cobwebs and getting back into it, and this is the first thing I've finished in a very long time! I may continue it at some point, but as of now it stands alone as a one-shot.

Typical disclaimer: I own nothing except what I've written here, but none of the characters or source material.


I've seen the way he looks at her when he thinks I am not looking, the way his eyes trail after her like a lovesick puppy whenever she is in the room. He isn't supposed to look at her like that. She's his assistant; she is supposed to be the one inappropriately besotted with him, with a foolish girl's crush on a powerful man completely out of her reach. That is the other half of the problem, though: she is.

Both are completely enamored of each other. It's obvious to anyone with eyes from the moment they see one another. Ministry events have become unbearable. They both have to attend, of course, as employees, and while I hang from my husband's arm like an afterthought she meanders about attached to the redheaded boy, smiling too brightly at everyone who clamors for her attention.

My husband always catches her eye at some point in the evening. She blushes and he smirks, and neither seem to realize how obvious the tension between them is, how it stretches across the room like a thick twine that pulls them toward each other. Her escort never seems to notice, always too busy with the company at his table or the food on his plate. It leaves her open to my husband's gaze, and she receives it willingly.

The truth acknowledges itself at the Ministry Christmas party. The banquet hall is more crowded than usual as it is the most popular event of the year. Witches and wizards dressed in formalwear take up seemingly every available space, sitting at tables decorated with miniature Christmas trees or navigating a dance floor beneath dozens of floating candles placed to create an atmosphere of romance.

She is there, of course, in a red silk dress that remains modest enough apart from how its short sleeves fall from her shoulders and its neckline dips just enough down her chest. She clashes horribly with the boy at her side, whose unkempt orange hair and ebullient grin betray her strange elegance. I sense my husband's observation of her arrival. He watches her as she moves through the room, a predator in sight of his prey. His prey seems all too willing to put herself in danger, however, given her smile whenever she sees him.

"Miss Granger," my husband greets her when we are close enough that the need to acknowledge her becomes mandatory. "How lovely to see you here."

Her smile remains polite, but there is an unmistakable flash in her eyes. "Good evening, Mr. Malfoy, Mrs. Malfoy," she replies. "It's lovely to see you as well."

The redhead grumbles out an unconvincing greeting at us. He obviously cares little for social convention and sees no issue in sharing how he dislikes us. Tiring as it is, I almost wish the young woman at his side would do the same; it was somehow far easier when she only hated us.

I notice the redhead on his own later in the evening, his companion nowhere to be found. My own escort had disappeared nearly half an hour earlier under the guise of vaguely-worded "business." I hadn't been naive enough to believe him, of course, but Miss Granger's date seemed none the wiser. He is enthralled with his conversation amongst a small group of people I don't know, his easy laugh assuring me he feels no need to go and find her.

The wife of the head of the Foreign Affairs office pulls me into a conversation just as I remove myself from my chair. She chatters at me for a few minutes about the decor, the food, the people that surround us. I extricate myself from the conversation as soon as I am able and continue on for the door, determinedly avoiding catching anyone else's eye.

The corridor is quiet enough, though a few people mill about without any urgency, obviously enjoying the quiet away from the ballroom. I see no sign of my husband, whether or alone or in the company of anybody else. Instead of turning back I press on, wandering down a darkened hallway off to the side that seems entirely deserted. It seems to lead toward places no one would care to see. I find one closed door marked "Storage", but the few others along the corridor are unhelpfully blank.

A nondescript door at the very end has been left carelessly open just enough that it seems accidental. A few muffled sounds escape, and though my stomach gives an unpleasant lurch and I face a sudden desire to turn back to the light of the ballroom I step closer, silently pressing myself to the wall and looking in.

The moonlight that filters in through the one small window illuminates their silhouettes in a mystic silver glow. My husband's hair seems to shine of its own volition, and her dress looks darker, like ink in the pale light. As my eyes adjust I see the more subtle lines of their bodies pressed together, her dress rucked up around her waist and his pants still on but undone, both increasingly disheveled as he ruts against her like a teenager. She doesn't seem to mind, given her wanton moans.

"Lucius…" His name falls like velvet from her lips. She whimpers, and it echoes with her urgency.

"Yes, my darling," he growls back. "Tell me what you need."

"Please...you know what I need, you always know...I'm so close…"

In the darkness I see one of his hands slip between them, disappearing beneath the folds of her dress. She soon cries out to the corners of the small room.

"Oh...Lucius...yes!"

Mere moments later he releases his own guttural cry, "Yes...oh, my Hermione…"

She clings to him through the aftermath, and he clutches at her like he might at any moment float away and she is the only thing keeping him on the ground. Slowly they return to normal, their panting not quite so harsh but reduced to slightly labored breath. Still they hold onto one another, their foreheads pressed together, twin smiles upon their lips.

"Gods, how I love you," he murmurs, first to break the silence.

"And I love you," she replies in a sweetly hushed voice.

I step away then. It is obvious they will soon leave and I have no desire to be seen by them. I turn on my heel and escape with as much finesse as I have within me, sure to keep quiet on my return down the corridor.

Only upon my return to the ballroom does reality crash itself down around me. I had suspected everything I'd seen, of course, but there is a world of difference between harboring suspicion and seeing the truth as a concrete fact before your eyes. Now there is simply no denying it- denying them.

The redheaded boy is still delightfully unaware of anything but his own company. He scarcely moves when his date reenters the room, taking her place once more at his side. A few minutes later my husband appears. He rests a hand on my back and I know he feels me stiffen, but says nothing since I make no move to back away. I allow myself to be guided along for the remainder of the evening, from Ministry official to Ministry official, through inane conversations that thankfully require only minimal reply.

When we say our goodbyes, he maneuvers us so skillfully that it almost seems accidental to run into her and her red-haired companion.

"Delightful to see you as always, Miss Granger," he tells her, extending a hand toward hers. When she complies he raises it to his lips in a rather brazen display which causes her to flush suddenly pink and the boy at her side to look on in confusion.

"Mr. Weasley," my husband acknowledges him before we leave the hall.

Late at night in our bed the usual distance between us hovers larger than ever. I'd never noticed just how far away from one another we generally keep until I noticed how tightly he pulled her to him, how he clung to her with force nearly enough to draw her inside of him. He is asleep now, unaware that I've not yet closed my eyes. I cannot help but wonder what the scene might be were she here instead of myself.

I picture unbidden the thought of him wrapped around her in the silken sheets, their legs entwined, her head on his chest while he strokes her unruly hair. They fall asleep like that, breathing in rhythm, one ending where the other begins. In my mind they awaken in the purple depths of pre-dawn, his body searching hers in the dark, finding it immediately as if drawn to her by unseen force. She welcomes him openly, her legs around his waist and her arms around his back, allowing him into her without hesitation.

They move together in perfect symphony. Her soft cries echo throughout the room, met with his own moaning. They rise together and plunge as one over their peak, clinging to each other as always, practically one being. As they fall they convey in hushed tones their declarations of love, their devotion to each other, their unwillingness to part. They fall asleep once more, entwined together, as the first rays of sunlight break across the horizon.

I realize with unpleasantness that in my thought of them I had fallen asleep, and that morning indeed rises outside the windows. Even in dreams they haunt me; not even sleep has given me an escape.

It seems my husband has no such issues. He is still asleep across the bed, and makes no change when I rise out of it to step over to the small wardrobe room. His cloaks hang neatly along one wall while my own clothes line the opposite. I step between and find a particular trunk, small but enchanted to hold more than its size bears. Into it I pack a decent collection of whatever I might need and close the latches tight.

Almost immediately I set it down behind a few of my longest coats where it will not be easily seen. I will not use it yet; but it is there if I should have the need.


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