Title: Ladies in Waiting
Characters: Madam Malkin/Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Almost-but-not-quite infidelity, improper use of a wedding dress, table!sex... yeah, I'm grasping at straws here. :P
Themes/kinks chosen: Hyphephilia: arousal by touching fabrics or garments
Word Count: ~4400
Summary: I'm acutely aware of how this garment will cover her body, how every square inch that I've touched will touch her, in turn. It makes me wet.
Author's notes: According to HP Lexicon, Madam Malkin has no canon first name, which would generally scare me off from writing from her POV, but there was no way she wasn't being the one to get this kink (professional robemaker + fabric kink = destiny, y/y?). So for convenience's sake I went ahead and named her Melvina. And then I went and wrote the fic in first person because seeing the made-up name all over the place weirded me out. LOL. ...there was a point to this note, at some point. Many thanks to woldy for the beta!

"Let me make a dress for you."

Wilhelmina fidgets with her teacup, reaches for another spoonful of sugar and stirs it in, tiny rhythmic clinks lost in the bustle of the tea shop. She takes a drag of her cigarette, saying nothing.

"Wil, please, let me do it. What would you wear, this?" I gesture at the smart tweed suit she's wearing now; we both know it's her only good set of Muggle clothes.

"Yes – maybe – it's not like it matters, Mel, we're not going to have a ceremony. And it's only a week away, you wouldn't have time."

"Let me try," I say, and grab her hand, because suddenly this idea has taken hold. I don't just want for her to have a dress, I want to be the one to make it; I want to run my fingers through those luxurious materials and make yards and yards of stitches so tiny my eyes will hurt from it, knowing that even if her Muggle is a boor and not half as good as she deserves, I'll have done my best to make some small part of the whole perfect. It's the least I can do. "I can't let you get married in tweed," I tell her, and she smiles.

"Oh, fine. You never fail to get your way, do you?"

"Don't marry Michael," I say, pressing my luck, the words spilling out in a rush. "He's a stupid sod and not half as good as you deserve, and not even getting away from your parents is worth chaining yourself to that."

She rolls her eyes. "Right. And I'm making a huge mistake, and I should just sit around wasting my life until someone you think is worthy comes strolling down the path. And then chain myself to him. Not going to happen."

We've had this conversation before; I should have known better than to start again. Her Muggle is good enough, ready to take her away from her parents and give her her own house (and a bellyful of babies, no doubt), stupid enough to think she won't get tired of him the second she has what she wants. I've tried convincing her we could share my tiny flat, but she says her father would never countenance it. Surely he'd never countenance his daughter eloping with a steelworker, either, but it won't matter once she's gone.

There's no reason for Wilhelmina, once she sets her mind on wanting something.

On our way home we stop into a second-hand shop and buy a bolt of silk that's been bleached by the sun on the side facing the window. I know I can work around the stain, and it's far better than we could afford to buy new.

"Come back with me," I say. "I need to make measurements before I can start."

"Tomorrow," she says, glancing at the twilit sky. "I'll miss supper."

"So? Miss supper. Stay the night, even."

"Mel, I can't. Not this time. You know how they get when I spend too much time away, and I can't risk that this week. I'll need to go out to meet Michael."

"Next week you'll be in Wales. That's practically the end of the world," I point out, but I can't seem to hold onto a bad mood. The uncut silk is heavy in my arms, whispering muted promises from under its cover of brown paper. I can't wait to unwrap it, spread it across my table and see what it can become.

She tsks. "It's not the end of the world, Mel, just far enough away from everything for there to be proper wilderness – Michael doesn't know it, but his home town is practically on top of the Dragon Reserve. Just think – whenever we go to see his parents I can visit it..." Her eyes sparkle, but she sighs when she sees my crestfallen face. "There's always the Floo."

"There is," I concede. "Tomorrow morning, then."

"Bright and early," she grins, then ducks into an alley and Apparates away.

~

If there's a good side to Wilhelmina's stubbornness, it's that she always keeps her promises. She comes through my Floo at precisely half eight, just as I'm finishing my second cup of tea. I pour one for her, and avoid looking at the neat little parcel in the centre of the small table. I'm waiting to unwrap it until I have her measurements, because I know as soon as I unfold it the need to get my hands on it and make something out of it will overtake me, and not to be able to follow that urge would be torture. Not that this hasn't been torture enough.

Wilhelmina must have picked up on my nervous anticipation, because she polishes off her tea quickly. "Here?" she asks, already unbuttoning her blouse.

I nod; the kitchen is my workspace. My bedroom is hardly large enough to hold my bed, and my sitting room isn't much larger, and dark as well. Still, it's strange to see her standing here half-naked.

"The skirt too," I say, swallowing past my suddenly too-dry throat. "I'll need to get an accurate waist-to-floor measurement."

She hums her agreement, doffing the stiff, full skirt, and draping it over the chair with her blouse.

I swallow again. "Have you always worn French lingerie under your clothes?" We've seen each other naked before, dressing and undressing in the warmth of the Hufflepuff dorms, and I think I would have remembered something like this.

"No, of course not." She laughs. "It's what I'm going to wear under my wedding dress; I thought it might be good to wear it now."

"Can't hurt, at any rate," I say, taking in the construction of crisp white lace against her creamy skin. I suddenly want to reach inside the cups of that bra and weigh the soft flesh it offers up, unclasp her stockings and roll them down inch by inch, caressing her bared skin all the way down. But these aren't thoughts I can entertain; she's my friend and I have a job to do. I summon my tape measure and charm a quill to take down the measurements as I call them out.

"Lift your arms just a little," I say, and she complies as I slip the tape under them. I know I should be able to avoid touching her, but I can't stop my fingers from brushing against her skin as I wrap the tape around her most vulnerable parts. My fingers linger on the swell of her breasts as I read off numbers to the quill; they brush against her skin as I adjust the tape at the dip of her waist; my knuckles travel across lace and silk as I smooth the tape down the length of her leg. The kitchen is warm, but her skin shivers as the cool tape passes over it. I keep my eyes on my work, and hope that somehow she doesn't notice.

"All set?" she asks as I rise from my knees.

"Yes," I say, checking the paper. I've got everything I need to start. My fingers start itching again.

She dresses without speaking as the Muggle family from upstairs makes a cacophony out of leaving for church, feet echoing on the stairs and children (dozens of them, doubtless; though I've never bothered to introduce myself and meet them formally) chattering loudly. The building goes quiet again as soon as they leave.

"You'll need to come back for a final fitting at some point," I say. "It won't take long." I know Wil's going to have packing to do, and mother always keeps her busy around the house – that was her parents' excuse, last time she tried to get a job out of the house: she was already busy helping them, there was no time for such nonsense.

"Friday?" she asks. "I can tell my parents I'm seeing a film with you after supper, it'll give me a head start."

"But they hate Muggle films," I say, silently cursing myself for arguing this. Now I have what I need, every minute that she's here is a minute less that I could be sewing.

"But they know I go to them sometimes, and they know I wouldn't get back until after they're asleep," she counters. "It's the perfect excuse. And I'm meeting Michael at midnight, so I can just bring my things with me here and they'll never know." She leans over and kisses me on the cheek, impulsively. "It'll be brilliant. And now I should go, I can tell you're dying to get started."

"No, stay. We hardly ever get to just talk anymore." Maybe she caught on to me, maybe she's just saying that because she doesn't want to be in the same room with me anymore.

"No, really. I told mum I'd de-gnome the back garden for her in the morning."

I make a face. "De-gnome the garden? Isn't that what your parents hire the gardener for?."

"He's away visiting his niece for the week, and it really can't wait. It'll be fun though; you never know what you'll turn up out there. It's practically gone wild." She smiles, warm and bright. "I'll be back. Don't work too hard, yeah?"

~

I don't try not to work too hard; I don't even know what that means in relation to this. She needs a dress, I need to make it.

From the moment I unwrap the brown paper and unfold the old silk, time seems to evaporate. Sunday disappears in a flurry of cutting paper and fabric, measuring and cutting and adjusting again, and midnight catches me by surprise with an empty stomach and a pile of perfect pieces. This could never be boring; I love the snick of the heavy shears as I cut through the fabric, how it parts so cleanly under the sharp blades and slithers away where you haven't pinned it down. Almost indecent, the way it moves. I want to do everything in one go without stopping, want to see them come together and take shape, but instead I wrap them in paper and eat and sleep.

My shift at the bookshop passes in a blur. Paper holds no interest for me now, not when I have silk at home, slick and soft and pliant to the touch. There are faster ways to construct a garment; I could look them up in a book if I really wanted to know, but I have just enough time to do it this way, and I don't want to stop touching.

By the time the dress is half-finished, I know things between Wil and I will have to change. It's the silk that makes me see this, more than everything. I've always had a thing for cloth; touching it is comforting, working with it even more so. It's why as a child I volunteered to do all the mending, why I make most of my own robes. Ordinarily you sink into a sort of trance, sewing, you get intimately acquainted with the fabric and how it behaves under your needle; you find a certain comfort in the repetition.

This is entirely different. The worn silk feels all too much like those brushes against Wil's bare skin did; it excites me instead of soothing, and the more I focus on the stitches the faster my mind races. I'm acutely aware of how this garment will cover her body, how every square inch that I've touched will touch her, in turn.

It makes me wet.

I cross and uncross my legs restlessly, sitting in the straight-backed chair with the unstitched silk spilling across my lap, looking for some kind of relief. I can't tell, anymore, if it's just the sensuality of the fabric that's doing this to me, or its comparison to her. Holding the fabric between my fingers, I find myself thinking, against the nap, does this feel like her stomach would? Her arm? Under her breast? Along the nap, it's so smooth it's almost impossible to feel, like touching water. Does it feel like her cunt would?

On more than one occasion, it gets to be too much, and I have to put the sewing down and go to my room to get myself off before I can focus again, and I think It's her, it must be her, I can't let her marry without knowing. But then I take a nearly-finished sleeve with me to my bed, and run it across my lips, and come harder than I ever have, and think maybe it's about something much bigger than her.

I drape the dress over the armchair every night when I go to bed, taking time to arrange it just right, hiding the parts that are still incomplete as best I can. Every night it looks more like a dress, and I can't keep my hands off it, can't bear to put my needle and pins down and stop adjusting it. It's going to be beautiful, already is if you squint just right.

When Friday comes around, the dress still isn't done. I've been taking too many breaks. I go upstairs and introduce myself to the mother of the dozens of children, and use her phone to call the shop and tell them I'm too sick to come into work today. The mother – a Mrs. Harkness, I think – remarks on the dark circles under my eyes, and says it's better I'm staying home, I should get some rest. She even sends some soup down with me when I excuse myself.

Wilhelmina is smaller than me, and the dress is a fitted one. It's torture not to be able to try it on. I hem the skirt, yards and yards of aching to simply open the skirt and pull it over my head and feel what it's like. Feel where Wil's going to be, mere hours from now. I'm still working when she comes through the Floo, late in the afternoon. She heats us up some soup and we chat as I sew the last few buttons on the back, trying not to focus on how it's bloody Michael who'll get to undo them, not me.

"Done," I pronounce, cutting the last thread. Wil applauds.

"You're a wonder, Mel, you really are."

"Try it on," I urge her, but she insists upon making me eat first. I hang the dress on a wire coat hanger and we eat Mrs. Harkness's soup. The dress keeps catching the corner of my eye, bright white in my peripheral vision. For a second, I imagine that I'll miss this dress as much as I'll miss Wil: I've poured so much into it over the past week. Silly, of course. And even if she's going to Wales there is still the Floo.

We joke as we clean the dishes and it's almost as if we do live together. This feels so right; even if it is doomed I can't keep myself from wanting it.

"You'd better try the dress on now," I say when we're done. "I'll need to have time to make adjustments."

"What, in case I'd magically dropped a stone between Sunday and now? It looks fine, I'm sure it'll be perfect." She grins as she strips down to her underwear, the same ones she was wearing when I measured her. My heart beats fast in my chest. Can I really do this? But I must; even if it changes nothing, she needs to know. I can't be the only one.

"Let me help you get this on," I say, and she obligingly raises her arms as I lift the dress from its hanger and drape it over her head. The sleeves are snug, cut tight but not too tight, and I circle each wrist with my fingers as I fit the fabric over her arms, my touch an open caress. There's nothing to hide now; I smooth the bodice over her front with confidant hands, and begin to do up the long line of buttons in back, silently telling her of my discovery with deft fingers on her skin, refusing to hide how much I want this.

Doing up the last button, I lean in, mouth coming to rest on the the thin skin behind her ear, hand sliding up her neck to insinuate itself into her softly curling hair. "Stay with me," I whisper.

Her breath comes out in a long, low exhalation as she relaxes against me. "Melvina..." she says, and something sparks inside me. I've never heard her say my name like that.

"Stay," I urge, dropping my other arm to her waist and holding her tight. "Stay."

"I can't," she says, even as she moulds herself into my embrace.

"Please," I say, barely more than a breath. My hand splays across the plane of her stomach and I press kisses into her neck, trailing down the curve of her shoulder to the boatneck collar of her dress and following its line to the other side. I can't get enough of the warmth of her, the way she seems to breathe in time with me and give herself up to these small touches. She tilts her head to give me better access and a corded tendon stands out; I nip at it and she moans my name again.

She twists her head around and catches my mouth in a clumsy kiss; I cup the back of her neck and deepen it, our tongues meeting in a velvet glide as I try to taste every corner of her mouth. Her fingers tangle with mine on her stomach and she drags them down across smooth silk – rubbed along the nap, it feels like touching water – until my hand is pressed between her legs. I can feel the heat of her through all the layers of the tulle. My heart quickens, and I press the heel of my hand against her where she's already canting her hips to meet me. This'll be over before it starts if we keep goading each other on like this, but I can't stop and neither can she.

She's moaning softly now against my open lips, having found the right angle to rut against my hand. The sound goes straight to my cunt and I press against her back helplessly, needing something to relieve the pressure. My hand dips down to the front of her dress and my fingertips play at the edge of the wide neckline, drawing another breathy sound from her. "Mel..." she says. I don't stop and she grabs my hand, the one she's been rutting against, and brings it up to brush against her mouth. "Mel, I want... we should get this dress off, get in bed, I want to fuck you."

"The dress will be fine," I say, undoing the top button and kissing the ridge of her spine that is exposed there. I do this for each button, until she's making those breathy little sounds and fidgeting restlessly. I turn her around in my arms and kiss her hard, open-mouthed, my hands playing across the bared skin of her back. She clings to me as we kiss, urging me with grasping hands to get undressed. Between the two of us we manage to get my clothes off, and I press myself against her as soon as I'm naked. The feeling steals my breath – her, solid in my arms; the silk of the dress, everywhere.

I kiss her fiercely, walking her back until her thighs hit the edge of the table. She makes another protest, but I muffle it with my lips. Things like bed and naked and horizontal don't matter anymore, it's too late for that. Now all that matters is to show her she's mine, only mine.

Merlin, but she's intoxicating. She hops up to sit on the edge of the table and wraps her legs around my waist, and I'm engulfed in a cloud of softly rustling cloth, with her in the centre. I kiss the line of her jaw, move down to suck a pink patch on the side of her neck, push her open dress off her shoulders and down her arms, following it with my mouth. The dress gets caught around her elbows and pins her arms to her sides, but she doesn't seem to notice or care, only squeezes me harder in the circle of her legs and rocks her hips imploringly.

My cunt throbs in answer and I jerk against her, a moan escaping my lips. I'd meant to turn my attention to her breasts, now exposed, drive her wild piece by piece until she was begging for me, but I can't hold back anymore, need to see her come undone now.

Finding the hem of her skirt, I burrow past layers of tulle and endless folds of silk until I find her wet heat. She's soaked through her expensive knickers. I push the material aside, impatient, and scissor my fingers into her, past slick folds and into her clenching heat. Her head falls back and she gasps; all her breaths are coming in gasps now, and as I quicken my pace they grow faster. Her legs fall open and she moans, a low, guttural, elemental sound as the new angle allows my fingers to plunge deeper. She's coming apart around me, and all I can do is fuck her harder, deeper, an almost punishing speed.

She gasps out a wordless Oh and then says "Don't stop," repeats it over and over, so I don't; I keep fucking her through her first orgasm and into another, until she flies apart entirely, the last shred of her control gone for a minute. Quaking, she arches back with sharp cries on her lips, until spent, she sags onto the table, legs unhooking from around my waist.

So near to my own climax now, I clamber up onto the table, pushing the dress out of the way as I swing my leg over her stockinged thigh. There's a seemingly endless cloud of fabric between us now, the skirt all bunched up around Wil's waist, but she manages to find me with her hands and pull me down for a kiss before I'm rutting recklessly against her, my juices soaking the silk of her stocking, and oh, it feels like heaven.

Dimly, I can feel her trying to get herself off, but her hand gets stuck in the yards of crumpled fabric between us, making her grunt in frustration. I lean my weight into the thigh between her legs, an invitation, and slip my fingers past the hem of her panties into that slick heat again. I crook my finger, seeking out that spot inside her that'll make her come undone – we've never done this before, I think with a sort of wild amusement, I've barely had time to start learning how her body works – and she arches against me, and that's it, I can't hold on any longer. White noise fills my ears as pleasure wracks my body; I can't concentrate on anything anymore, could never concentrate on anything but her, only her...

We collapse in a sweaty, sticky heap, her breathing uneven and mine none better. I should feel sated, but there's still that itch under my skin, masked by the momentary exhaustion, this need to take and be taken, until everything is emptied out and there's nothing left to give. I glance at the clock above the sideboard.

"It's only half eight," I say. But it's not going to work, I can feel it in the way her breath is evening out already; she's building herself back up and I can only grasp after more.

"We should really," she starts, and it's her tone more than anything that makes me hum agreement to something she hasn't said yet, pick myself up off her and look for my clothes.

She knows some pretty good cleaning spells, and I know a few useful ironing ones, and after a concerted effort we have her dress and lingerie looking as if nothing had ever happened.

"I've not even seen what this looks like on," she says, laughing. I help her into her dress again, using magic this time instead of traitorous fingers, and we stand in front of the floor-length mirror in my bedroom.

"Oh Mel, it's gorgeous," she breathes, turning to catch the side angle. "I don't own anything half this nice, I mean, really, Mel, it's stunning." She sounds amazed, and I feel something warm swell in my chest.

"It is your wedding," I say, managing a sort of smile.

"Oh, Mel," she repeats, turning from the mirror to squeeze my hand. "At least I won't have to be Wilhelmina Grubbly anymore, right?"

I laugh. "No, you won't have to be a Grubbly anymore."

She turns back to the mirror, wonder evident in her eyes, and suddenly I feel too full – pride, longing, regret, they're all fighting to the surface and it's nearly too much to hold in.

"You could do this for a living, you know," she says, smoothing her hands down the skirt.

I nearly choke. "Shag my best friends on the night before their weddings? I only have one best friend, Wil."

She meets my eyes in the mirror; I fancy I can see something tender under all those layers of resolve. "I mean make dresses. Or robes. You don't have to go on living in Muggle London, you know, there's bound to be a place for a witch as talented as you in Diagon Alley."

Her words sound all wrong to my ears; Muggle London means freedom to me, a place where it's not so unusual for a single girl to have her own job and her own flat. But at the same time, making dresses for a living. My ears burn just thinking about it, but once she's said it I can hardly imagine myself doing anything else. I wonder if she knows just how much I get from working with cloth, feeling it run through my hands and turn into something beautiful. Probably she does; not much gets past Wil.

She clears her throat and I realize I've been staring into space.

"You think?" I say, voice about an octave higher than usual.

"I do." She nods. "People will line up for this." Her eyes flick down to her dress and she smiles. And I can't help but smile too, because in her eyes, it's all so possible, so easy, like it's already happened and I just haven't caught on yet.

I slide my hand into her hair and kiss her softly. She doesn't open up to me, but I wasn't expecting her to. "Good luck in Wales, all right?"

"I'll owl you as soon as I get settled in," she says.

"Hey, if he ever starts beating you, you know where you can come, right?" I can't help myself, even if it is meant as a joke. Her Muggle doesn't seem like the beating type.

"Of course," she says.