CHAPTER SIX - Tout amuse, tout plaist / Everything's A Joke, Everything Pleases
The sofa wasn't really made to accommodate three people, but sitting nestled between the two men, with their arms around her shoulders and sipping a glass of cool white wine, was actually very nice. Lucius's fingers were toying with the loose strands of hair at the nape of her neck, and Severus's hand was gently stroking her upper arm. Hermione snuggled deeper into the upholstery and sighed. 'Didn't somebody mention plotting?'
Fingertips wandering to her right ear to caress the lobe, Lucius held up his wineglass to admire the play of the sunlight through the straw-coloured liquid. 'Don't be so annoyingly eager to work, my dear. Relax, and enjoy the wine. And, I might add, our company.'
'But,' she objected and drew a sharp breath when the tips of Severus's fingers strayed towards an already overexcited nipple, 'but we need to capture McNair and…' She fell silent and closed her eyes. Those light caresses were playing havoc with her ability to think.
'Beasley,' Severus finished her sentence. 'Yes, of course we have to capture them. But not necessarily today.'
'Not… But if we don't, they might find us!'
'Absolutely,' Severus agreed gravely. His hand was now tracing gentle circles on her throat.
'So why… I mean, you didn't want to go to my hotel, because they might be waiting for us. I don't see the logic in waiting for them here, then. I thought you wanted to avoid direct confrontation.'
'Avoid?' Lucius bent down to press a kiss on her other earlobe, his tongue darting out to tease. 'Nobody ever said anything about avoiding them. But there's a difference, my dear' – he softly bit her earlobe – 'between walking into a trap and setting a trap. We are on our home turf, so to speak, which gives us all the advantage we need.'
Hermione bent forward to snatch the bottle out of the cooler. 'I think I need more wine.' She looked at their smiling faces and leaned back into the cradle of their arms. 'So what you're suggesting is, basically, to stay here and wait till they come for us?'
'That,' Severus said, 'would be Plan A, yes.'
'But we might have to stay in this room for days!'
'That,' Lucius said, mimicking his friend's tone, 'would be one of the undeniable advantages of Plan A, yes. Seeing as we certainly won't be bored.' He breathed a kiss on her temple. 'Or do you think we will?'
She looked at them in turn. 'You're serious about this threesome thing, aren't you?'
Severus smiled down at her. 'There never was any doubt about us being serious. The question is: were you?'
'I… well, basically yes. In, erm, theory. It's the practical side that… You have already done this, haven't you? Because I wouldn't have the first clue what to do.'
'Being naked and on your back doesn't seem too difficult,' Lucius purred.
'Yes, but… I mean, there's got to be some sort of choreography involved, if you know what I mean. All those, uh, body parts, and I only have…' She fell silent and bit her lip, unable not to blush, although she would've wished she could have stopped the blood from rushing to her face.
'I assure you,' Severus said, 'we're well able to get around this problem.' His hand returned to her breast, a little more firmly now. 'Are you feeling tipsy already?'
'I, yes, I'm beginning to… Tipsy, and, well…'
'Wet?' Lucius murmured into her ear.
The blood that had previously suffused her cheeks decided it was needed elsewhere and followed the pull of gravity. 'Oh my god,' Hermione said weakly.
'Just call him Lucius. It wouldn't do to give him ideas.' Severus got up and held out his hand. 'Sex on a full stomach doesn't seem very attractive, does it?' He smirked at Lucius.
'No time like the present,' the blond wizard agreed. He stood up as well and pulled Hermione to her feet. 'Or does the lady have other ideas?'
'I think I pulled a muscle,' Hermione murmured, rubbing her right thigh.
Lucius looked up from the breast he was nuzzling. 'I don't think so. You're just not used to this kind of activity. Yet,' he added huskily.
'But I could try to kiss it better.' Severus, on her other side, propped himself up on his elbow. 'Even if it doesn't help with the soreness, it might take your mind off it.' He bent down for a long, lazy kiss.
'But we just…' Hermione tried to protest, when she could again use her mouth to speak. 'You can't be ready for another round.' Her head fell back into the pillow when Lucius started gently to suckle her nipple. She buried her hands in his short, blond hair to pull him even closer. 'Oh, that's good!'
'Yes, isn't it.' He gave her an insolent grin. 'Lesson number one: one of the undeniable advantages of having a threesome with two men is that recovery periods aren't necessary. One of them is always ready, unless of course…' His mouth returned to her breast.
'You simply can't stop asking questions, can you?' Severus said, already sliding downwards, so he could apply the healing powers of his mouth to her thigh.
'I don't quite see why you should complain, if I'm trying to learn more about sex,' Hermione snapped.
'Even if' – he nudged Lucius to make room for him and lowered his head – 'such knowledge might be of a disturbing nature? Like, for example, your two male partners not devoting their attention only to you?'
Her squeak was silenced by Lucius kissing her, quite thoroughly. 'You wouldn't…' she finally said weakly.
Since Severus's tongue was otherwise occupied at the moment, Lucius graciously took it upon himself to answer. 'We would, but I think we ought to leave that for later, shouldn't we? One step at a time, we wouldn't want to get ahead of ourselves. For now, let us see' – he took her hand and guided it to his cock – 'whether I am, how did you put it, ready for the next round. Careful now,' he admonished, when Hermione's hand involuntarily clenched around his length.
'I can't really control it,' she panted, trying not simply to faint under the onslaught of sensations. 'It's Severus, he – oh GOD!'
They had to have done this quite often, she thought vaguely, when Severus ceded his place to Lucius in unspoken agreement and moved up and behind her. You didn't reach that level of smooth, effortless teamwork without lots of practice. She felt Severus's chest against her shoulder, and his leg pushing hers apart to give Lucius easier access. Then Lucius was over her, and then inside her, and she cried out again.
Moving very slowly, Lucius grinned down at her. 'You're a remarkably polytheistic young lady. That rather takes the fun out of being called god, you know?'
They'd skipped lunch in favour of sex and a bit of a kip in between rounds – the perimeter of alarm spells around the hotel was sure to alert them in time to get dressed and ready, Severus had explained – and ordered dinner once they woke up shortly after half past seven. Severus, who had gallantly offered to brush the tangles out of Hermione's hair, was working his way through the knotted mess, while Lucius was busy transfiguring two towels into a negligee for Hermione to wear.
'That's the right colour, I think,' he said, cocking his head and squinting at her, letting the creation dangle from his outstretched hand. 'Well, maybe a bit darker.' The negligee slowly darkened from deep mauve to light claret. 'Yes, that seems about right.' A flick of his wand, and Hermione was clothed. Or rather, her skin wasn't naked anymore.
'It's completely see-though,' Hermione protested.
'Yes, but there are two transparent layers, so it's practically decent.'
'There's nothing decent about this flimsy thing!'
'Well, no.' He smiled at her, the nice smile that made the corner of his eyes crinkle. She would never have dreamed that he could smile that way. 'Any fundamental objections to stockings?'
'Oh, good,' Severus said from behind her. 'Excellent thinking, I like stockings.'
Lucius snatched another towel, and soon Hermione was wearing sheer black silk stockings under her negligee. They felt sinfully good on her skin, as did the whole ensemble. 'Hermione Granger, wanton sex goddess,' she said, leaning back against Severus and sliding the toes of her right foot up her left leg. 'Sounds good, doesn't it?' She had the satisfaction of hearing Lucius gasp. When he advanced on her, eyes hungry, she quickly ducked out of his reach. 'But I think we ought to have dinner now.' Smiling back at him over her shoulder, she slunk towards the bedroom door.
'You're a fast learner,' he growled.
Severus chuckled. 'I always had an inkling that this quality, annoying as it sometimes was in the classroom, might be put to good use outside it. Dinner, then.' He nuzzled Hermione's ear and gave her a gentle push towards the table.
The staff had outdone themselves – glass and silverware sparkled amongst stark white linen, and the silver domes covering various plates reflected the light of the chandelier. When Lucius lifted the cover off the first dish, Hermione's stomach rumbled loudly. 'Is that pâté de foie gras?'
'Well spotted, Miss Granger.' Severus pulled out a chair for her. 'I daresay we've more than earned a hearty meal. And I swear I'm going to kill McNair very slowly and inventively, if he dares show his face before we finish dinner.'
It wasn't McNair, though, who interrupted their meal. They'd just started on the main course, when a whoosh of green flames from the fireplace almost made them drop their cutlery.
'Really, Kingsley,' Lucius said, getting up from his chair to crouch in front of the hearth, 'you ought to time your appearances more carefully. We're eating, and this delicious duck won't taste as good reheated.'
'Never mind your dinner,' Kingsley said curtly. 'Where the hell have you been, Malfoy? Where's Severus? And where, for fuck's sake, is Hermione Granger? We've been searching for her everywhere, while the two of you were obviously spending ministry money on lavish feasts! I'm warning you-'
'I'm here, Minister.' Hermione rose and joined Lucius, careful to keep her arms crossed over her chest.
'Hermione!' Kingsley closed his eyes in relief. 'Where have you been?'
'With, erm…' She pulled herself together. Using the two wizards' first names probably wasn't a good idea. 'With Professor Snape and, uh, Mr Malfoy.'
'What? All the time?'
Hermione nodded and desperately tried for an expression of utter boredom. 'Yes, well, we've been, erm, watching TV and… and talking.' She heard Severus snort softly and half-turned to shoot him a reproving glare. 'They said I'd be safe with them, so I thought that was all right. I had no idea you were looking for me.'
'Well, we were,' Kingsley said grimly. 'After what happened at your hotel – Lucius, have you been contacted by the French Aurors?'
'I don't think so.'
'What do you mean, you don't think so? Did they or didn't they contact you?'
'Not as far as I'm aware, no. But you see, Minister, we were rather caught up in our activities here, watching TV I mean-'
'We had the volume turned up quite a bit,' Hermione supplied helpfully, 'so we might not have heard if somebody knocked. It was an action movie with lots of explosions,' she added, hoping that this detail would lend verisimilitude to the lie.
It obviously had. 'Well, I guess the lazy bastards simply forgot,' Kingsley grumbled. 'Anyway, they got McNair and Beasley. They seem a bit reluctant to extradite them, so I'll be going to Paris tomorrow to oversee the negotiations myself.'
'Oh, that's good news!' Hermione beamed at Kingsley. 'So I'm safe now?'
'For the time being, Hermione, for the time being. You're quite a public figure, so I'd still advise you to be careful.'
'I could stay with Mr Malfoy and Professor Snape,' she suggested. 'I'm sure they'd look after me.'
'Lucius and Severus have more important things to do,' Kingsley said. 'Really, Hermione, I'm sorry, but I think it would be best if you came home right away. You could stay at The Burrow, or go back to Hogwarts, whatever you'd-'
'Miss Granger would be very welcome to stay with us,' Lucius interrupted smoothly. 'As she correctly assumed, we'll look after her. Not that she needs much looking after – her contribution to the success of our mission was absolutely invaluable.'
'Which mission?' Kingsley looked puzzled. 'Are you saying you had a hand in Beasley and McNair being caught?'
'That's exactly what I'm saying. And let us not forget Baxter, she helped us with him as well.'
'That's not what you told me yesterday.'
'Of course not,' Lucius replied without missing a beat. 'For one, there wasn't enough time, and I also didn't want to worry you more than necessary. But once you receive our report, you'll see that Miss Granger here was indeed being very helpful.'
Kingsley shot him a glance full of doubt. 'If you say so… Does this mean, then, that you'd like Miss Granger to become part of the team?'
'You must be reading my mind, minister. That's exactly what I meant to say. The Invincible Threesome, er Trio. Sounds good, doesn't it?'
The minister's broad shoulders rose and fell in a shrug. 'If that's what you want… You're of age, Miss Granger, so you're of course free to choose. What about school, though? You haven't yet sat your N.E.W.T.s!'
Hermione, who'd been doing some very quick thinking indeed, made a show of pondering the question. 'Oh, that's a bit of a bother. I hadn't thought of that.' Severus snorted again. 'You know what, Minister, maybe you could arrange for me to take my N.E.W.T.s at the Embassy here in Paris? I really don't need to return to school anymore, but I'd like to formally finish my education. Do you think that might be possible?'
Kingsley rubbed his bald head. 'It's a bit unusual, but I suppose it could be done. I'll get back to the board of examiners and ask them. Since you're in Paris, too, we can meet tomorrow and talk it through.'
Hair flying, Hermione nodded, genuinely happy. 'Thanks a lot! I hope they agree.'
'So do I. We wouldn't want to deprive Messieurs Snape and Malfoy of your company, now would we?' He winked at her. She was still searching for an appropriate answer when he interrupted her train of thought. 'Nice stockings, Miss Granger. I'm sure the two gentlemen know how to appreciate them.' He gave a merry little wave and broke the connection.
Lucius and Hermione turned towards Severus, who was still sitting at the table and looking every bit as speechless as his two companions. 'Devious bastard,' he finally said.
'Definitely.' Lucius rose and helped Hermione up. 'But, surprisingly, not judgemental in the least. Considering he's a Gryffindor.'
'We're not all bad, you know,' Hermione said, elbowing him in the ribs. 'We do have our qualities.'
Severus got up and walked over to them. The two men were standing very close now, both looking at her intensely, rather like Crookshanks stared at her when she was opening a tin of food.
'Oh, yes, you certainly do,' Lucius purred.
'Lots of qualities,' Severus echoed.
'To be explored in minute, not to say painstaking detail,' Lucius said.
'Incessantly and without regard for your thigh muscles,' Severus said.
'Or your pleas for mercy,' Lucius added.
'Or soreness in delicate places.'
'Or oversensitive nipples.'
They really wouldn't have needed to demonstrate their intentions right there on the carpet, she wouldn't have protested anyway. But then they didn't need to know everything.