Hello everyone. I told you I was back and I will be finishing all of my stories, just working on one at a time.
I don't know how many of you are religious or even spiritual, but my sister who is only a few years older than me was diagnosed with oral cancer from smoking last Friday. She goes in for a full body scan on Tuesday to make sure she is cancer free everywhere else before they can do surgery to remove her lymph nodes and part of her tongue. I guess what I'm asking is for you to keep our family in your thoughts. My sister is young, only 35, and has a lot more living to do so fingers crossed that she is cancer free everywhere else and her treatment goes smoothly.
Professor McGonagall paced Dumbledore's office like a nervous cat as the headmaster viewed her memories of the day in France that had been plaguing her and interfering with her sleep. She had been trying to come to a rational conclusion for what she had seen and each new scenario she came up with was always worse than the one before it. The entire situation was maddening to her.
What if there was a love spell? Severus was certainly capable of creating a strong brew that would render the Granger girl love struck. But she had known the man for years, since he was a student, and knew in her heart that he would never do something of that nature.
Or maybe Malfoy? Yes, Lucius was certainly capable of promising a young witch the world… but Hermione wasn't that type of girl and Severus surely wouldn't allow such antics on a student.
She grunted in frustration.
"Calm down, Minerva." Dumbledore's voice came, breaking her train of thought.
McGonagall turned towards the old man and instantly hated the fact that he was smiling, "Oh, honestly, Albus… this is not a time for smiling. Ms. Granger is being bamboozled by two of our professors and I cannot figure out why."
"Perhaps Ms. Granger is perfectly alright with the bamboozling." Dumbledore stated as he sat down, "She wouldn't be the first witch to come under the spell of an older man."
"Two older men, Albus, two." McGonagall sat down harshly into the chair she had frequented over the years, "not to mention the fact that this whole situation is just so…so... unusual… especially considering the players."
Dumbledore nodded in agreement, "I agree, Minerva that it is unusual for those particular people to be…entwined, but I found no traces of ill intent or deception in your memory. Is it out of the realm of possibility that they have indeed entered this willingly? We do not know the full story."
"But they have nothing in common? Severus and Lucius have common ground, but Ms. Granger?"
"Has been through more in her short life than any girl her age should have ever been." Dumbledore stood to stretch his legs, "Consider, Minerva that all three of them have been through war. All three of them have seen and have done things that were not exactly considered a normal part of life and not even you can deny that Ms. Granger is wise beyond her years. I cannot even think of one young man her age that would be able to keep up with her."
"But we also have rules against things like this, Albus."
"Which none of them have been broken." Dumbledore added, "Ms. Granger is of age and was previously involved with Mr. Krum, so she is not some innocent that was corrupted by older men. Our rules pertaining to teachers and students don't fit in this situation. All parties are of age and whatever their arrangement, it appears to be consensual. Who are we to tell her that she is old enough to fight in a war against a dark wizard but cannot be involved with whom she wishes."
McGonagall sighed, "I understand, Albus, I do, but I will rest better knowing that we have our facts straight. I would like to talk to them and make sure that everything is in fact consensual."
Dumbledore smiled, "If it will put your mind at ease, so be it."
The next day, Hermione looked up to the staff table and noticed that she wasn't the only one with a letter from Dumbledore. By the looks on both Severus and Lucius' faces, their minds were searching for a reason as to why they were being called, any reason other than what they all feared.
Hermione swallowed the lump in her throat and despite her best intentions, was having a hard time hiding her emotions. She knew this would happen eventually, but not yet. She hadn't had time to prepare for any of this. She gathered her things and left the Great Hall as fast and with as much grace as possible. She didn't need the entire school knowing something was up.
At the staff table, Lucius and Severus both witnessed Hermione's departure and both knew at that point that she too had gotten a letter and with it only being the three of them with said letter, the gig was up.
Hermione sat in the chair across from Dumbledore, hands in her lap and head hung low. She had very little time to prepare for this meeting. She honestly had no idea what to say or even how to react. This wasn't she something she ever really expected to happen, not in school anyway.
But she did know that she would stand up for herself and defend what she wanted. She had been through hell over the years and if push came to shove, would make damn sure that nothing ruined what had made her happy, she deserved it, and they deserved it.
She heard the click of the door and the sound of two sets of boots, boots she knew very well. As Lucius came to the seat on her right and Severus to her left, she took a deep breath and felt relieved that she would not be the only one trying to explain the situation.
"Relax." Severus whispered in her ear
Dumbledore smiled at the three in front of him, "No need to be nervous, Ms. Granger, I assure you that none of you are in any sort of trouble."
Hermione finally gathered her nerve and looked over to Severus and Lucius before turning her attention to the headmaster.
"I'm sure you are all aware of why I have called you into this meeting?"
Severus was the first to speak, "Forgive me, Headmaster, but you are not dealing with insolent children. I assure you we are aware of why this meeting has been called." He replied, sarcasm not void in his voice. He was irritated.
"Yes, well, I assure you that this will not take long." Dumbledore stood and started a slow pace, "You three were spotted in France together and while I am confident that this… arrangement is consensual on all parts, it is my duty as headmaster to ensure all of you are agreeable to your current situation."
Lucius and Severus, as if on cue, rolled their eyes. "I assure you, Albus, that we have not done anything against Ms. Grangers will." Lucius stated
Dumbledore smiled, "I have no doubt about that, Mr. Malfoy. I just needed to ask to calm the person who spotted you."
"It was McGonagall." Hermione finally stated, "I remember her telling me that she went to France every Christmas to stock up on some perfume that she could only find there."
"You are correct, Ms. Granger." Dumbledore finally stopped pacing and once again took his seat, "No rules have been broken. All three of you are of age and are of sound mind to make your own decisions… just try to keep this between yourselves whilst Ms. Granger is still a student. Parents would not understand, students would have the rumors going in an instant, and some of the staff may raise concerns. I feel it is in everyone's best interest to keep this on the quiet side."
"I can assure you, headmaster that it was not our intention to have anyone know about us." Severus replied.
"I have no doubt about that my boy, no doubt."
"Is that all Headmaster?" Severus asked, wanting out of the office as fast as possible and being well aware of his rudeness. He hated when his business was brought to anyone's attention, especially business that was of no concern to anyone but himself, Lucius, and Hermione.
"You may go." Dumbledore replied with a small chuckle, knowing that Severus was not a happy man right now.
As the three stood to leave, Severus, without thinking twice, grabbed Hermione by the hand and led her out of the office so she didn't get caught by any last minutes questions from a nosy headmaster. Lucius wasn't that lucky.
"Uh, Mr. Malfoy, may I have a word?"
Lucius again rolled his eyes but reclaimed his seat.
"Why her?" Dumbledore asked bluntly, "I can wrap my head around Severus and Ms. Granger as they have a lot more in common that many outsiders will ever see, but you? I know your views on blood purity have changed but this is a pretty drastic step for someone who used to believe that people with Ms. Grangers blood status were essentially no better than the dirt you walk on."
Lucius' mouth opened and closed. He wasn't used to being asked a question about his past beliefs so bluntly and even he had to admit that Dumbledore's words stung. He had done everything he could to forget the ways of the old Lucius Malfoy, especially since Hermione had come into his life and he hoped to never think on his old behavior ever again. His defenses dropped. Lucius sighed and sat back in the chair, an uncharacteristic move for a man who aimed to always be strong no matter the situation.
"She accepted me." He stated, no air of arrogance in his voice or body language, "When I changed sides, everyone avoided me. I was a leper, the outsider that had no right to ask for redemption and I rightfully deserved every sneer and name sent my way. But Hermione, the one who should have hated me with every bone in her body, came to me and talked. I was an equal in her eyes, not a pureblood, not a deatheater, I was a person just like she was and she… she changed me. It's not something easily explained."
"Do you care for her? She is not just a passing fancy?" Dumbledore asked.
Lucius looked into the blue eyes of the headmaster, "I care for her a great deal." He grew quiet for a moment, "Albus, I'm being completely truthful when I say this, but I don't just care for her, I love her and would do everything in my power to protect her and make her happy."
Dumbledore knew the saying that 'eyes were the windows to the soul' and in that moment, he was never more sure that the once pureblooded bigot, had truly changed his ways and that his feeling towards the young witch were strong and pure.
"In that case, you and Ms. Granger have my blessing and I will do everything in my power to help you along the way."
Lucius chuckled at that moment, it was all surreal, HE had the blessing of DUMBLEDORE.
"Well, Severus and I plan to make an honest woman out of her when she graduates, she doesn't know this yet, but any help you can give us on how to get passed the silly law of one wife, one husband would be a start."
"It will take some time, but I believe I can be of some help."
Lucius nodded, stood from his chair and bid the headmaster farewell. As the door clicked shut, a grey tabby cat walked out from behind the headmaster's desk.
"Are you satisfied, Minerva?"
The cat, which had a hell of a time restraining herself when Severus and Lucius first walked in the door, was now peaceful and claws retracted. Her mind was at peace.