Disclaimer: it's all, as always, J.K.'s

Title: Learning to be a Malfoy

A/N: Below

Chapter 4

Dumbledore looked at the six people occupying the sitting room and paled. There were only three possible combinations that could have occurred, and he was sure that Hermione and Lucius were engaged. Especially given how close they were sitting to each other.

Even as Albus thought this, Lucius glanced down at his letter and raised an eyebrow. "Ah, Hermione. It appears that we have been summoned to the Ministry for a two o'clock appointment. We should begin getting ready."

Hermione nodded, and stood. "Draco, Harry- do you know when your appointment is?" she asked, totally ignoring the fact that the rest of the Order was watching the drama unfolding with the same expression that watching a house of cards collapse evinces. The boys looked to their letter for the information, and glanced up in surprise.

"Two ten. How fast are they going to marry us?" Harry asked wonderingly, and Remus snorted.

"They want us to get married legally as fast as they can before we decide to create an uprising." The others nodded. That made a fair amount of sense, given what Hermione knew about Magical politics.

A voice from behind Dumbledore made every head turn. "So we are all getting married, I assume?" Severus asked in a politely inquiring voice. Hermione nodded, lips pursed.

Severus surveyed her reaction and looked to Lucius. "And who, may I ask, is going to be the next Lady Malfoy?" Lucius smirked, the first such expression on his face in a long time, and Severus felt his stomach clench.

"Ms. Granger has done me the honor of accepting my hand in marriage, Severus. And may I return the favour?"

Severus grimaced as a too-cheerful voice called from behind him, "I'm going to be marrying Severus!" A mop of brilliant fuchsia hair peered around the dour man's side. The looks that greeted this sight were exponentially more amusing than the looks that had greeted Hermione and Lucius' announcement.

A raised eyebrow was all the reaction Lucius gave, however, and he stood, offering his arm to Hermione. "Shall we, Hermione?" As she placed her hand on his arm, feeling like this was more a masquerade than an actual happenstance, they walked over to the Floo and began their preparations for leaving. Draco, Harry, Severus, Tonks, Sirius, and Remus also lined up along the fireplace, getting ready to Floo to the Ministry.

Albus watched as most of his Order members prepared to get married, and sighed as he admitted to himself that no other business would be accomplished today.

Hermione and Lucius went through the Floo first, Lucius calling out "Ministry Lobby!" as they stepped into the emerald flames.

They emerged in the lobby, and brushed off their clothing as they waited for the others. As they came through two by two, Lucius asked Hermione if it would be permissible for him to step out for a minute, and meet her in the waiting room that the couples were to use.

Nodding, Hermione watched as he walked away with a faint frown on her face before turning to the others and grinning at the state of Tonks' clothing.

Lucius arrived in the waiting room about fifteen minutes later, ten before they were supposed to be called. He gestured for Hermione to follow him, and they walked off to the side of the room, standing so that a huge fern hid them from the others view.

"Hermione," Lucius began, "The Ministry is apparently offering another choice for the couples brought together by their Marriage Law. Instead of the life-long partnership that is what they would have originally planned, they are offering a ten-year contract, to expire after the ten years or the birth of the third child, which ever comes first." he paused looking into her eyes, and added, "I want to give you the choice."

Hermione listened, shocked. She had thought that she would be bound to him in the traditional Wizarding Marriage- the life-long commitment that Lucius had just brought up. But here was another option- one that would allow her to regain control of her own life after a mere ten years. But she wasn't sure what she should do.

Take the ten years and be grateful that it isn't longer, or go with the life-commitment and the knowledge that she would probably never find another man who she respected as much, or could even like as much as she liked and respected Lucius.

"I'll take the long-term commitment, it it's all the same," she answered slowly, and Lucius nodded. He had been hoping she would say that.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring- a silver band that displayed a gorgeous diamond to it's full advantage. He took a breath.

"Will you marry me?" he asked, praying silently that she would not laugh.

But his fears were in vain, because Hermione looked from the ring to his eyes, and said solemnly, "Yes." They both watched him slide the ring onto her finger, and stayed in that position until they were called.

"Lord Malfoy and partner, please come forward."

The entire room seemed to hold its breath. Most had forgotten that Narcissa Malfoy had been murdered by Voldemort. They waited anxiously to see who he would bring forward.

It was with a certain sense of satisfaction that Hermione and Lucius walked forward, dismissing the surprised glances of the rooms inhabitants. They would get used to it in time.

Entering the room, Hermione was surprised to see that Rufus Scrimgeour was there. Probably to make sure that Lucius actually takes a wife and doesn't try to weasel his way out of it, she thought snidely, and promptly ignored the Minister.

Lucius smiled as he watched his soon-to-be-wife. Ignoring the Minister like a true Malfoy already, he thought proudly, and immediately followed his own advice. Rufus just watched, knowing better than to try and start a conversation with the one who hated him so much.

The officiator began. "These vows will be short and to the point, as we have well over two hundred other couples to marry today. That being said, are you doing the traditional wedding, or the ten year plan?"

"Traditional, please," Lucius said smoothly as he felt Hermione tense with what he assumed was anger.

"Very well then. Do you, Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, take this woman, Hermione Jane Granger, as your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to protect and defend, till death do you part?"

"I do." His voice was calm and self-assured, and it succeeded in calming Hermione.

"Do you, Hermione Jane Granger, take this man, Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, as your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to obey and respect, till death do you part?"

"I do." She was surprised by how steady her voice was.

"Then exchange rings."

Hermione glanced at Lucius, horrified. How could she have forgotten something so integral to a marriage? But he merely reached into his pocket once again and pulled out two more rings, and handed one to Hermione.

She slipped it onto his finger, and he put his onto hers, pushing it right up to the engagement ring that already adorned her hand.

"You may kiss the bride."

Hermione stilled, remembering the last time someone had tried to kiss her, and looked up at Lucius with wide-eyes. He bent down and pressed a kiss to her cheek before she had time to react, and squeezed the hand he still held reassuringly. The officiate held out a piece of parchment for them to sign, and it was over.

She breathed a sigh of relief as they were dismissed, and walked out into the waiting area. Draco and Harry were gone, and for the first time Hermione noted the existence of three other doors, all either permitting or releasing couples. Severus and Tonks were already seated on a couch, watching the proceedings with amusement on their faces.

"What is so funny, Severus?" Lucius asked as he and Hermione came and halted before them.

Severus smirked as Tonks answered. "It's great watching all the people going in and then coming back out like they've just survived an encounter with the Loch Ness Monster." she said, and Hermione laughed even as she grimaced a little. Tonks had very little tact.

"So, Tonks. We can't call you that anymore, Mrs. Snape, so are we calling you Dora, or what?" Hermione asked teasingly, and Tonks shrugged.

"I honestly haven't thought about that, Hermione. I guess everyone will come up with one name or another that they decide to call me." Hermione laughed for real this time. This was just an indication of how little Tonks cared for society.

"I guess we're just going to keep calling you 'Tonks', then?" Hermione asked, and grinned as Tonks nodded her head emphatically.

"It's as good a name as any, I guess. And you'd better spread it around before I start getting called 'Snape'." Everyone laughed that time, and Harry and Draco came over, brilliant grins lighting their faces.

"Hey guys!" Harry's exuberant greeting caused four eyebrows to raise, but he ignored them studiously. "You shoulda seen their faces when me n' Draco walked in!"

Draco agreed. "Yeah, it was pretty pathetic. Kept calling us 'Mr. Potter' and 'Mr. Malfoy' and 'Sir' until I thought I was going to explode from the ass-kissing."

Every one had a chuckle that time, and Lucius asked with his eyebrow still raised, "And what last name did you decide on?"

Harry answered. "We're Mr. and Mr. Malfoy now, Mr. Malfoy. But since we figure that at some point you and Herm are going to give Draco siblings, we'd call our children Potter."

Lucius was the only one who noticed Hermione stiffen, as everyone else was still laughing at the younger couple. He resolved to tell her as soon as they were alone that he didn't expect any of the more traditional duties of the wife any time soon.

Once Sirius and Remus had joined the gathering, Lucius invited everyone over to his house for some 'after-marriage drinks' as he put it, and went ahead to get everything ready as everyone agreed readily enough. Hermione was forced into conversations with Draco, Harry, and Tonks as they made their way out to the Floo- fireplaces, and stood on the line.

"Hey! Hermione!" a voice from their left called, and they swung around, surprised to see Ginny coming over to them dragging a sullen Gregory Goyle behind her. "Hi guys!" she said as she came to a halt next to them, and added, "How are all of you?"

"Hey Ginny! We're good. Are you and Goyle married now?" Harry asked, and Ginny nodded as she held out her hand.

"You're looking at Mrs. Gregory Goyle," she proclaimed, and Goyle stood next to her silently. "Greg and I had been dating for like six months when we got the letter." she explained as Harry shot her a questioning glance.

Draco held out his hand to Greg, and said, "Congratulation, Greg. Though how you're planning on living with this hellion for the rest of your life, I'll never know." Ginny huffed indignantly, but Greg relaxed as he realized his wife's friends weren't going to ostracize him.

They continued talking- mainly on the subject of how Ginny could have hidden her relationship from her friends while they were still in school- and saw to their astonishment Fred and George walking over to them with Angela Johnson and Luna Lovegood attached to their arms, respectively.

It was quite the group that was waiting for a Floo to open up, and Hermione jumped as Draco nudged her. "Aren't you going to invite them to the Manor, 'Mione?" he asked in a low voice as the others continued talking.

Hermione stared at him- she'd never even seen the inside of the Manor, and told Draco so. "I've never even been in the Manor, I've been married to your father for a grand total of twenty minutes, and I don't even know if he'd want me to invite these people!"

Draco looked at her as if she were crazy, then gave up and explained the things that were clear- to him. "You're Mrs. Lucius Malfoy now, Hermione. The Manor is yours, even though you've never seen it. And father would be more than happy to have his house full on a night like this, when everyone is in a rage against the Ministry, and he'd rather you invite people you know than ones you didn't."

Hermione kept staring at him, and he sighed. But he never got the chance to continue his explanation of the rules to her, because Ginny caught Hermione's hand and stared at the rings adorning it.

"Hey Hermione," she began, "You didn't tell us who you've married." And Hermione realized that while she and Draco were talking the others must have done just that. She looked at Ginny, and smiled wanly.

"Well, you're all looking at the new Mrs. Malfoy." The reaction was not what she had expected. Ginny shook her head slowly.

"Draco and Harry are already married. What do you mean, 'Mrs. Malfoy'?"

Draco butted in, exasperated. "'Mrs. Malfoy'. As in 'Mrs. Lucius Malfoy'. As in 'my step-mother'."

Ah, Hermione thought as the group of her one-time fellow students gaped in shock, that was the reaction I was expecting. Draco apparently agreed, from the look on his face. Then all at once everyone began talking, wondering what exactly had made Hermione agree to marry the elder Lord Malfoy. But as they spoke, a Floo opened up, and Hermione glanced at Draco to see if he meant it about inviting everyone.

Draco nodded as Severus, Tonks, Sirius and Remus took the Floo to the Manor, and Hermione turned to look at the rest of her group. "Do you guys want to come to the Manor with us for some drinks?"

They all looked at Draco first, questioning him with their eyes, but he just watched them, daring them to believe Hermione. Finally everyone agreed, and they stepped into the Floo, Draco crying out "Malfoy Manor" as they went.

Upon their arrival, Hermione staggered away from the group, sneezing on the dust that so many Floo-ing all at once kicked up. She felt a hand grasp her elbow as she continued sneezing, and leaned on the form she recognized as Lucius while she waited for the sneezes to stop. She could vaguely hear the others having the same reaction, and smiled to herself even as another sneeze rocked through her body. At least she wasn't the only one.

Once they had, she looked up at her husband and smiled, saying "Thank you, Lucius," before stepping away and dusting off her clothes. Once everyone else had calmed their sinuses, Lucius greeted everyone.

"Thank you all for coming. The house elf will take care of your things until your ready for them. When you are finished, follow me."

As he spoke three house elves appeared, waiting to accept the light jackets and bags the others had with them. One came up to Hermione and introduced itself.

"I is being called Indy, Mistress, and I is going to be taking care of you. Mistress will please give Indy her jacket so Indy can take care of it." Hermione stared at the little creature, trying not to remember her S.P.E.W. days. But they were long past, as she really hadn't had the time to care about it in recent years, so she just took the creatures advice.

Shrugging off her jacket to let Indy take it, she noticed as she did so that her friends- those who hadn't believed she had married Lucius- were looking on in shock. Hermione hid a smile as the house elf disappeared with a crack! I see it takes a House Elf to get them to believe me, she mused as she moved over to stand by Tonks.

Once everyone was ready Lucius asked them all to follow him. Hermione walked along with the rest of the group, and stood in shock as she came into the hallway. When they had appeared in the Floo room, she had noticed the surroundings, sure. Nothing spectacular, and she had mistakenly assumed that the rest of the house would be like that.

But as she stood in the hallway, she realized the foolishness of that assumption. This was a Malfoy she had married, and though their Floo room might be common in order to save the good furniture from the dust of a Floo-travel, the rest of the house was opulent.

Hermione started as a hand came down on her shoulder. Spinning around, she found herself face-to-face with her husband. "It is a little much to take in at first, isn't it?" he asked softly, and chuckled as her eyes widened.

"Are you kidding me?" she responded, shocked still. "I'm sure Buckingham Palace isn't as lavishly decorated as this!" And it was only the truth. The carpet under her feet was a deep, rich emerald, the walls painted a lighter yet matching shade. The crown molding was gilded, the portraits were framed in solid gold (and staring at her, but she refused to allow that to creep her out), and even the random chairs that dotted the hallway were some of the most beautiful works of art Hermione had ever seen.

She turned to look back at Lucius. He stared down at her, then removed his hand from her shoulder and offered it to her. "Shall we rejoin the others?" he asked politely, and Hermione nodded as she took his hand.

Lucius tucked the smaller hand into the crook of his arm and began leading her down the hallway, pointing out as he did so some of his family members. It seemed that the Floo room let out into the Hall of Portraits, and Lucius explained as they walked.

"They like to know when important people arrive. Of course, they also like to intimidate the important people, and usually they have some plan or another in place to implement. The only reason our guests are passing through in peace is because I have informed them all of the recent passing of the Marriage Law, and they wished to know who I would be marrying."

Lucius stopped in front of a huge portrait with a frame that extended from floor to ceiling. "This is my Great-Grandfather forty five times Horatio Malfoy." Hermione, even as her eyebrows flew into her hairline at the evidence of the longevity of the Malfoy line, nodded to the portrait. The portrait studied her even as she studied it.

The man was tall, taller than Lucius, and wearing what seemed to be a Military uniform with his horse standing in the background. He seemed nice enough, from appearances, and Hermione smiled nervously at him. He humph'd, and turned to Lucius.

"This is your wife?" Lucius nodded. Horatio went on. "She's not like the others. No- they would have never married a brunette." Hermione stiffened, and Lucius patted her hand. "But she seems good enough, sturdy, intelligent." Horatio studied her further. "Yes. I like her. She seems much more pleasant than that female who used to live here."

Hermione was a little confused- that other female? Did Horatio mean Narcissa? But before she could even look at Lucius to ask Horatio was talking to her.

"Don't be shy, girl," he chivvied, and asked, "What is your name, hmm? How old are you? What job do you have?"

After an encouraging look from Lucius, Hermione said, "My name's Hermione-"

"Good. Good, sensible name. I like it." Horatio didn't even seem to realize he'd interrupted her, and Hermione took a breath as she went on.

"I've just turned 18-"

"A nice age. I remember being 18. A good time."

"And as of yet I do not have a job but-"

"Well, good. You don't need a job. You're a Malfoy now, girl. Remember that." Horatio turned away from Hermione's bemused face and looked back at Lucius. "You may keep her, boy. And Hermione," he added as he turned to the brunette, "Do come and visit every now and again, hmmm? Keep in touch with your past, and all that?"

Horatio turned away, and walked over to his horse. Swinging up on it, he looked back at them and frowned. "Why are you still here? Don't you have a party to attend? Lord knows what those heathens are doing to my house." With that he turned and galloped away, leaving the two Malfoy's alone in the corridor.

Lucius steered a still bemused Hermione towards the end of the hallway. "He's right, you know. We do have a party to host."

-hides behind computer screen-

Um... hi? please don't kill me... i know you all thought i'd died, or had a prolonged stay in the Hospital, but...no. Just haven't had the creative juices for this flowing... but its back now...

I'm so sorry it has been so long... it will NEVER be that long agin, i SWEAR. So, the next chapter won't be up for another week, but i promise I'll try to update regularly.

...sorry again. And, as an aside- i'm editing the first four chapters now, and fixing them up a bit. So you might want to check them out in a few days.

okay- i'm going to crawl back to my laptop and start typing some more, so you'll see me soon, i hope.