Author's Note:

I picture this version of Pansy like Margo from The Magicians, in personality, not appearance. As gorgeous as Margo is, I still love me some Scarlett Byrne 😉

Chapter Three

The Fox and her Hunters all stood before the grand desk of the Minister of Magic. Each of them wore a confused expression as they watched the elder witch, awaiting her verdict. Minister Minerva McGonagall appeared equally perplexed as she read over the ancient proclamations outlining the terms of the Foxhunt.

Uttering a weighted sigh, she set down the scrolls and looked up at the small assembly. "Due to the tenuously specified nature of the Magic which governs the Hunt, this . . . highly unusual circumstance will proceed in accordance with that of a successfully concluded Foxhunt. Therefore, the necessary arrangements will be made shortly, with a few minor—typically unheard of—adjustments to make, of course."

Hermione shook her head, pressing her fingertips against her temples as she let the Minister's words sink in. She knew this woman—Minerva McGonagall had served as Headmistress of Beauxbatons before being elected to this post. The younger witch trusted her judgment . . . or rather, had, until this very moment. Now, she was certain the woman had gone 'round the bend.

"You're joking! I have to marry both of them?"

Orias tacked on just as fast, "You're joking! You expect me to share?"

Thorfinn's only contribution to the collective outburst was to let out a scoffing breath and shake his head.

At the sound, the Minister looked toward the slightly shorter of the two Viking wizards. "No bellyaching from you about this, young Lord Rowle?"

Thorfinn granted her a pointedly exhausted look. "Would it make any difference?"

"It would not."

He shrugged, a sagely, if mirthless, grin curving his lips.

"Very well. Lord Malfoy? Lord Dolohov? Have you any objections to the outcome of your Hunt?"

Lucius frowned in thought, but shook his head. Antonin scowled, remaining silent as he stared back at the old woman.

Minerva arched a suspicious brow at the dark-haired wizard's reticence. "Lord Dolohov?"

"You ask as though it would actually matter," he answered, his tone sour. "According to your own words, you will do nothing to overturn this madness."

"The Magic deems what it deems, and it is not our place to question its will, you know that."

"Then why even bother to ask if we object?" He was speaking through lightly clenched teeth, now. "Never mind, My Lady. I believe we're done here."

Antonin cast a quick glance toward the younger woman and her soon-to-be husbands. "I'll find some other way to deal with this . . . gross injustice, myself," he said, all but spitting out his words.

With that, he stormed from the Minister's office. No one was terribly surprised when he slammed the door shut in his wake.

"Well . . . ." Thorfinn's brows drew upward as he clasped his hands before him. "I guess that's one person who won't be invited to the wedding."

When he turned back to face his future bride and her . . . other groom, he gave a little start at the glares they were shooting him. "What? Everyone loves weddings," he said in a forced jovial tone. He held up his hands in a mock cheer. "Yay, weddings!"

Orias' angry stare melted into a bored frown. "I swear, I'm going to kill him."

Though she'd only just met him, Hermione could already feel that she was mirroring his expression, just based on his tone. "Not if I do it, first."

Lucius had backed up to lean against a corner of the Minister's desk, his arms folded across his chest. As he watched a strange argument break out between the three of them—he wasn't even certain if they were all angry or trying to hold back laughter, as each of them seemed on the verge of both at any given moment—he considered how lucky he was to not have the 'honor' of winning the Hunt.

Fenrir was in a surprisingly good mood the following morning. He sat on the forest floor, his back against the trunk of a large, ancient tree. His eyes closed in a peaceful expression, he had his hands clasped behind his head.

He knew the scent that neared him even before he heard the delicate, barely audible crunch of her steps through the grass.

"What's with you?"

Cracking open one eye, he tilted his head, meeting Lavender's inquisitive—if bored—gaze. "What'd you mean? I've not said a word."

His pup laughed, shrugging. "Ah, yeah. That'd be my point, oh fearsome alpha. You're usually tearing about the caverns at this time of morning, having a go at anyone who's wasting our sleeping hours."

"I'm 'bout to start a nice round of that here and now, Lav. Why aren't you sleeping right now?"

The young woman glanced back toward the mouth of the cave. "I was trying to, but then Luna and Remus elected me to come out and see where you were. The quiet was making everyone worried something happened to you last night."

He chuckled so hard at that his shoulders shook. "Something happen to me? Like what, exactly?"

"Oh, c'mon," she said, frowning as she combed her fingers through her long, blond hair in a gesture of utter disinterest. "We all know you hate wizards. They're no match for us one on one, of course, but you're brazen—hear: stupid—enough to try and take on a gaggle of them all on your own."

"Did you just say 'gaggle?'"

"Oh, shut up." She shook her head. "Look, they were worried, not me. I still hate the sight of you, but here we are."

"Well," he couldn't help another chuckle as he spoke, "hatred, really?"

"Don't act like it's a surprise. It's the unfortunate side effect of the person who's trying to kill you accidentally turning you simply because he didn't bite down hard enough." Rolling her eyes skyward in thought, she sighed and hunkered down before him to sit on her heels. "You still haven't answered my question."

"I'm just . . . feeling good, is all. Happy, I suppose is the closest word for it."

A wary look overtaking her features, she watched as he nodded and let that one eye close, again. Nodding, she stood up and backpedaled.

"A' right, then," she said, keeping an eye on him as she started back to the caverns.

"Happy?" Remus echoed, though he was careful to keep his voice down so their conversation would not wake the others. None of them wanted their little pack to be responsible for a lousy hunt due to interrupted sleep later. "Fenrir doesn't get happy. He doesn't even know the meaning of the word!"

"I know, I know." Lavender agreed nodding. "I thought it was odd, too. However . . . ."

Luna arched a brow, her light musical voice chiming into the conversation and doing exactly as their reluctant beta had done a moment ago by repeating Lavender. "However?"

"I think . . . I think I smelled a female on him. Not a werewolf, either."

Remus' face fell in shock. "A non-werewolf female? You think he encountered the wizards' precious Fox?"

"It's possible. I hadn't thought about it before, but what other woman besides her, or one of us, could he have run across in the forest last night? And if it didn't smell like one of us, then . . . ?"

Remus and Luna exchanged a glance at that, even as they were all aware their elders would frown on their gossiping. Even more would they frown on idle chatter about the Fox and the Wolf.

"Interesting," they said in the same breath.

"Two wizards," Ginny said again, shaking her head as Pansy fluttered about her and Hermione while they dragged her to the bridal boutique. "Unbelievable."

"No, it's not . . . well, I suppose it is. But the wedding night is going to kill me," the bride-to-be answered as they ushered her inside. Pans all but tore the scroll from Minister McGonagall out of the other girl's hands and held it out to the proprietor.

Upon opening it, the elder witch immediately jumped from her seat behind the counter. She rounded the glass display and led them to the back of the shop. "Here we are. As your generation's Fox, you are welcome to select any dress that strikes your fancy!"

Hermione's brow furrowed. She had always understood the fuss made about the Hunts, but she had no idea there were this big. "Any dress?"

"Mm-hmm." The proprietor smiled broadly as she nodded. "All costs covered by the Ministry of Magic, my dear. Shout if you need assistance."

Pansy emitted a sound that made Hermione think she was about to burst into about a thousand tiny, gibbering Pansies as the shopkeeper went back behind the counter. "Will you stop living vicariously through me for five minutes, please?"

At that, the dark-haired witch's petite shoulders slumped. "I will the next time I have a friend who's marrying two giant, muscly blond wizards."

Ginny frowned, waving the other witch off toward the selection of dresses. After Hermione took a breath, the redhead turned to face her. "So, I walked in at the end of what you were telling Pans earlier. What exactly is the arrangement?"

"You just heard me say the wedding night is going to kill me?"

"Your wedding night has to be with both of them, like . . . at the same time?"

Wincing, Hermione nodded. "'Course, I'm going to have to get creative on that one, I've never been a big fan of . . . shall we say backdoor entry."

Ginny slapped her hand across her mouth, stifling a laugh. "I'd say too much information, but I remember the stories from when you dated Krum. Okay, so the honeymoon is the three of you being sent off together?"

Pivoting on her heel to watch Pansy picking about ten different hangers at once, Hermione sighed. "Yes. Two weeks. Two weeks that I'll be essentially trapped in some resplendent honeymoon suite with those two."

"From your tone, I can tell you consider that notion torture. Hate to break it to you, but if you're ever actually tortured, you're in for a nasty surprise."

Hermione snickered at herself, shaking her head. "Okay, so perhaps I am overreacting. I'm only thinking of the downsides. I can barely handle a relationship with one man, now I'm stuck with two? But . . . maybe you and Pansy are right—"

"I'm always right," the other witch called from across the shop floor.

Ginny and Hermione both feigned a frown at that. "Anyway," Hermione continued, "I suppose I could try looking on the bright side of things. I mean, they are both . . . both . . . . Wow, the two of them are just amazing to look at on their own, you know? And I'm going to have both of them. That's a little, um, well, it's enough to make a witch's head explode."

"But in a good way," Pansy said in a tsk'ing tone as she came back to the other two young women, her arms loaded down with bundles of white silk and satin.

Hermione arched a brow as she started combing through the pile to see just what her friend thought was a good idea to wear on the occasion of marrying two modern day Vikings.

"Okay." Ginny folded her arms under her breasts, nodding. "But what about after the honeymoon?"

Pansy answered, in sing-song notes this time. "Worst question in the history of time."

"No, no, it's an expected question." Finding one she liked—and of which Pansy clearly approved, two things which rarely meshed—Hermione pulled the dress from the pile and turned her head, looking for the changing room. "And well, this is the first time they've had to deal with this sort of situation, so Minister McGonagall is trying to be as reasonable as she can about the unique circumstances."

"Which means?"

"We're sort of going to be trading off time." She shrugged, aware how odd this probably sounded. "One week with Thorfinn, one week with Orias. Holidays all of us together, that sort of thing."

"Wha . . . ? What sort of weirdo rubbish is that?" Shaking her head, Ginny scowled. "It's like you're a living timeshare!"

"But think of the upsides," Pansy quipped, her perfect brows shooting up her forehead.

Ginny spread her hands in question."I didn't realize there was an upside to a mess of this magnitude."

"Oh, c'mon. One week with one, next week with the other?" Pansy looked between the two witches before going on. "Think about it. They'll both be climbing all over themselves trying to outdo each other."

When Hermione looked like she didn't quite want to think on what that could mean, Pansy leaned closer and gave her a meaningful once-over. "And I don't just mean lavishing you in presents, you leggy little bitch."

Hermione's brows lifted as a blush flared in her cheeks even as she tried to avoid picturing Orias Mulciber and Thorfinn Rowle trying to one up each other in her bed. "Oh, well, now . . . ." Toss Fenrir Greyback's promise that they'd see each other again—along with those steamy werewolf kisses of his—into the mix, and it was a wonder her face didn't catch fire.

Smirking, Pansy started for the shoes. "Told you, upsides."