1. A long update for you - over 10,000 words this chapter (whew!) to apologize for taking so long to update. A lot of very important character development in this chapter, plus overall future plot hints everywhere (see if you can point them out). Enjoy!

2. Also, how many references to "three" can you find in this chapter (be it the number or the number of times something is said or the number of emotions in a single sentence). First one to guess right gets the next chapter dedicated to them!

3. Finally, PLEASE REVIEW! This fic isn't getting enough reviews for my curiosity. Are you liking it/hating it? Is there something/someone more you'd like to see? *singing to you* "Why am I so desperate for your voice? Why do I need to know you better?" - you've reduced me to begging you through show tunes! ^_~

On with the chapter now...

December 17th, 2001

After the announcement of Draco and company's acceptance into the Third Order of the Phoenix, the general meeting continued in the Living Area, with he and his three friends allowed attendance. Everyone took seats on the couches or conjured chairs to sit in. Some, like Nott, chose to lean against the wall instead so they could take in the room. Hermione led Draco, Blaise, Tori and Daph to the largest couch and they all sat together. She explained that although they were Order members now, none of them would be tattooed, for everyone's protection (Draco and Blaise in case they were needed to be used for spying on Voldemort's camp, although Draco assured her that now that they were A.W.O.L., it would be "kill on sight" for he and his best friend; Daphne and Astoria for the same reasons, if they were required to be activated in the future, which Draco thought preposterous, as neither woman was an Occlumens and would be ferreted out quickly). Basically, they could not leave the confines of the cottage interior without an Order member, or else they wouldn't be able to find their way back.

At first, this bristled Draco, but after some contemplation, he saw the wisdom in the idea. None of them had been put to Veritaserum, and were being accepted solely on the basis of Granger's faith in them. She'd staked her reputation on the four refugees-slash-recruits not betraying them. Could he have been so trusting were their roles reversed?

That night, he and his wife went to bed right after dinner and he made love to her slowly for the first time, spending several hours pleasuring her. He'd made sure to cast the appropriate privacy spells in advance, too (as well as the Contraceptive Charm), so that when she orgasmed and shouted for him throughout that night, no one else would hear (Draco was a jealous man and didn't like sharing such personal, privileged moments with others, and his name drawn from her lips in such a manner was for his ears alone). Zabini would have no smart remark for him again, he vowed.

He took her with his fingers and mouth initially, exploring every crevice and curve on her body, discovering nerve endings or sensitive spots that would make her whimper or moan, relentlessly exploiting the sites that made her cry out or caused her to quake with desperate longing. She came several times for him before he finally joined his aching, hungry body to hers, working his thick cock into her tight, wet channel centimeter-by-centimeter, watching her sweaty, yearning, pleading expression the whole time, letting his own pleasure at the little sounds she made entice him further. It was the most emotionally fulfilling coupling he'd ever experienced with a woman, and when they came together, he felt her aura through every pore of his body, cocooning and permeating him with its warmth. He kissed her with all of the years of pining he'd been carrying around in his chest, and moaned her name into the damp skin of her neck as his body emptied itself into her thoroughly. In the glow after, he held her, playing with her lovely curly hair before falling into his slumber.


December 18th, 2001

On Tuesday morning, Draco took his wife in the shower against the wall in a hot, fast fusion that was totally the opposite of the night before. She let him press her into the tile, shuttling his cock into her to the point of pain for them both before exploding into her just at the pinnacle of her own climax. It was a perfect harmony of physical pleasure between them, as he'd always fantasized it might be, and he knew right at that moment, as he held her pinned to the wall, holding onto her trembling frame and struggling to regain his breath, that he would never regret his decision to bind them together. Hermione was his – had been from the moment they'd first kissed – and he would do whatever it took to keep her at his side forever.

Later that day they spent relaxing with Lupin, who Draco discovered was a very perceptive and cunning man (he attributed it to the wolf within), as he had his arse handed to him repeatedly at Wizard's Chess (a game he prided himself on being rather adept at playing). To his amazement, his former professor also beat time and again Blaise, who was an even better challenger, but he then lost to little Astoria Greengrass. Draco didn't see any deceit in the man to make him suspicious that the guy had thrown the game to the girl; instead, he saw a Master strategist in his former Housemate's thought-process. Clearly, she was an excellent tactician - which finally accounted for why she'd been sorted as a Slytherin (something Draco had always questioned, as the girl never seemed to fit in very well socially).

That evening, after dinner, he retired to the living area to speak with his friends. To his utter delight, his wife came and sat next to him, even reaching for his hand to hold. Her desire to touch him in front of others warmed his heart, chasing away the chill that always seemed prevalent whenever she wasn't about and near to his body. Zabini and Daphne noticed, of course, but Astoria was too busy playing another game of Chess, this time against Dobby, who had come out of the kitchens to join the group as an equal (Moppy stayed constantly at his side, he noticed). Apparently, his family's former house elf had evolved mentally; he no longer referred to others as "Master," or "Mistress," but used their first names. It was enough of a shock to Draco to make him question Hermione about it.

"He saved my life," she explained softly, looking at the little elf with fondness and affection. "The day we escaped your Manor House, it was Dobby who provided the distraction so we could get away. Your aunt would have murdered me, but Dobby prevented it by dropping the chandelier just in time. During the break out, he was stabbed by the knife that your aunt threw at Harry, and it almost killed him. It took him a year to recover, which is why he couldn't help during the Final Battle. He was devastated by Harry's death and blamed himself for months." She stopped and wiped at the corner of her eye with the back of her hand, composing herself with amazing strength. "We nearly lost Dobby several times to his despair and injuries since. It was then that we realized that he saw us as sort of his children, not his masters. Everything changed after that. We started insisting he call us by our names. It took some time, but... he's more than earned his place as an equal amongst us."

Looking at the situation through her eyes, Draco realized that he owed the miniature creature a debt of honor as well, as Hermione would have surely died that day at his ancestral home if Dobby hadn't rescued her. The elf had done what he could not do then: stood up to the Death Eaters at great personal risk to rescue innocents. Feeling shame in the face of such bravery, Draco made what could be considered his first real selfless decision then. "Do you think if I freed Moppy into his care, that they would both like that?" he whispered the question in his wife's ear, not wanting the others to hear him being so soft.

Hermione's eyes widened, lit up. The expression on her face, the soft, "Oh!" of surprise and happiness, made his heart patter madly under his ribs. She leaned in and whispered back, her breath warm and tickling on his throat. "I think that is a wonderful idea… husband." It was the first time she had voluntarily called him by that title since the night of their renewed sex life, ten days previous, and it brought a thrill to hear it escape her lips again. Without thought, he slid the side of his cheek into hers, keeping her face pressed to his neck, while his knuckles brushed the exposed planes of her throat. They didn't speak, but he knew she relished the coziness such closeness allowed, the same as him.

Blaise cleared his throat, bringing him back to their situation in a flash, however. Draco abruptly sat back, letting his hand drop, realizing that he'd been much too emotionally revealing in too open a space. It wouldn't do for this group to see him exposing his feelings this way; it could prove to be dangerous in fact, especially with Nott prowling about somewhere. Nodding once in thanks to his friend across the way, who watched him behind enigmatic, dark eyes, Draco looked at his wife and spoke in a low murmur. "I'll see it done."

She gave him a tentative smile, as if she hadn't understood his abrupt withdrawal and it had somehow stung her. "I have… the duty roster to go through with Lupin still." She stood to escape, clearly ill-at-ease by his sudden requirement for distance. "If you'll excuse me?"

As she made to pass, he watched her carefully, aware of the straightening of her shoulders, and the commanding presence that she cloaked herself with once more as a protective measure. She traded nods and smiles with some of the others in the room as she headed up the stairs to find Lupin, who was no doubt in his room resting, but Draco could feel her disappointment following her out. It bothered him, like an itch he couldn't scratch, and he knew he'd have to rectify her understanding of the situation soon.

He gave it an hour, and then he went in search of his wife, and when he found her sitting on their bed in their room, legs crossed tailor fashion, paper in hand, a Muggle pencil readjusting the duty list, he shut the door quietly, bespelled the room for privacy, and proceeded to make up his earlier treatment of her by seducing her again. At first, she was somewhat stiff in his arms, but soon he had her writhing under the skill of his mouth and tongue once again.

As he brought them together fully, inserting himself through the undulating sheath of her saturated, velvet muscles until he was buried deep inside, he held quite still and gently rubbed his fingers over her jaw line, pulling her full attention to his face. "It's dangerous for me to show too much emotion for you in public," he explained as gently as possible. "There are some here who would see me fail or worse, and I have too much to protect to appear weak before them." Slowly, he withdrew from her body until he was almost fully out of her, and then he inched back inside just as leisurely. "I know you don't want to think of your friends that way, but I must. It's all I know how to do to survive, Hermione. I have to safeguard you, and not just for the Vow either." He kissed her with tenderness as his hips went motionless again. "I want you to understand why I pulled away from you earlier, and why I may have to in the future – at least in public. I need you to understand that it has nothing to do with my want of you, and everything to do with my... care of you."

Very hesitantly, her fingertips smoothed across his cheek in return. Shimmering golden-brown orbs considered him carefully. "I'll try. I really will. But… I need you to understand me, too, Draco. Despite all of the evil I've seen in this war, I have to believe that these people I live and fight with can be better than how to paint them. I'm not trying to be naïve; I see how much Theo hates you, and Neville, and how the others look at you with suspicion. And I know you've had to be suspicious and careful because of where you came from, but here… I have to believe in my friends to do the right thing. I have to believe that someday, all of this will change for the better – including how people treat you. It's all I know how to do to survive. It gives me hope."

He kissed her again, resuming the rhythm in and out of her snug, warm body. "I know. You're too good for this world, Hermione. Too good for me." His tongue snaked out as his growing hunger for her began to race through his veins. "So beautiful, and too fucking good for any of us."

Their love making heated up exponentially after that, and all too soon, they were rocking the bed again with the powerful collision of their hot, sweaty bodies. Draco called out for her as he unraveled, unable to contain the urgency of his driving need, but thankfully his wife crested the wave of her climax soon after, so that by the time he'd stopped pulsing inside her, she'd collapsed weakly in his arms. Minutes later, as he pulled them under the covers together, knocking her pad of paper and pencil to the floor with a nudge of his foot, thus leaving the world outside their bedroom door to turn without their input for the next few hours, Draco found that sleep eluded him immediately, despite having just ejaculated in a more than satisfying manner.

Summoning his wand to his hand silently, he cast the Contraceptive Charm over her belly as his wife slumbered, dead to the world already. It was as if she'd known he wouldn't forget to do this (he hadn't once since she'd asked him to respect this wish of hers, in fact), but if their roles had been reversed, he wouldn't have been able to sleep a wink until he'd done the bespelling himself. She had such trust in him…

And that was the major difference between them; the line that divisively marked them as character opposites: Hermione's greatest strength lay in her belief, his in his suspicion. They truly were the epitome of their House axioms, clashing and meshing together in strange ways. They stood as red and gold versus green and silver, courage versus cunning, faith versus skepticism. They were opposites that needed each other to exist, to compare and contrast, to learn and grow, otherwise they would stagnate. It was this push-and-pull dichotomy that had always captivated him, and had enslaved him to her eventually.

Yet, such contradictory, conflicting outlooks on life could easily tear a lesser partnership to the ground, and bring them both to their knees, Draco knew. He determined then and there not to ever let that happen. He liked this freely given, untested trust Hermione placed in his hands, and he wanted to keep it, cherish it, and nurture it.

They would make this work somehow. He would never rob her of her hope.

Snuggling her close to his chest, he fell asleep to the sound of her deep, even breathing, unconsciously synching his own to match.


December 19th, 2001

Draco awoke to find Hermione in the shower ahead of him again, this time humming. He snuck in and joined her, washing away all of last night's sins, only to commit them all over again this morning. This time, though, he came into her from behind as her palms pressed against the tile wall. It was pure fucking, old-school style: fast, sweaty, with lots of naughty language whispered to coax the other on towards a swift release (as if they were playing at being locked in a broom closet back during their Hogwarts days or something equally arousing). He gave in first, unable to hold back – she always made him lose control quickly! – but he brought her soon after with his fingers toying with her clit, his mouth pressed against her ear, charming her with profane cajoling, continuing to shove his still-hard dick into her roughly (like she wanted it, begged for it even). Her rippling explosion half a minute later pulled at him, coercing an extra spurt of his own residual seed to find its home deep in her cunt, and he groaned at the fiery ecstasy that unexpected release created deep inside his gut, never having experienced such a thing before.

After he pulled out, he turned his beautiful wife about and pinned her into the wall, shoved his dripping come back into her with his fingers, feasting at her lips with his mouth and tongue. He worked his way back down her body expeditiously, licking and kissing and sucking every centimeter until he was able to finally bury his tongue between her legs. He tasted their mingled release and moaned at the combined flavors of sweet and salt, loving their sexual mix. Using all his skill, he worked them both back up without delay (her with his suckling mouth and nipping teeth and flickering tongue, him with his own hand, stroking hard and fast up and down his taut length). Pulling back just as she inched towards her peak, taking his hand off himself at that same moment, he lapped back up her body with delicious intention, latching onto her lips again, sharing their united essence in a clash of wet, greedy tonguing.

As he opened his eyes, he watched her face as she fed upon his mouth. Her lids were shut, the lashes fluttering softly, and her expression was so intent and desperate – so honest. In his chest, Draco's heart slammed repetitively against his ribs, attempting in its rhythmic beat to entice him to acknowledge the feelings he had held himself purposefully distant from for too long. It was a losing battle, though; it had always been so with her.

As soon as he conceded the truth deep inside, Draco felt his body burn with need and his cock spasm, begging to be sheathed within her again. Quickly shutting off the water, knowing they'd return later to finish cleaning up, he fast-dried her with a towel, then carried her over to the bed, laid her back into the soft, white sheets and entered her again with one fierce thrust, gasping at the feel of her perfect body gripping him so firmly, securely. He moved right away, giving no quarter, pounding into her with passionate determination. His eyes locked on hers as he wed their flesh together with fiery adoration, sinking her deeper into the pillows and the mattress as he loomed over her with his body's greater weight.

"I love you," he stated simply.

It didn't feel strange to say it. It felt right, ordained almost, as if the words had always been there hiding behind his tongue and teeth, waiting for the correct cue to grant them their freedom.

Hermione's eyes widened, and quickly filled with wavering tears. Her pretty, pink mouth parted on a sob as her arms came up around his neck, her fingers fisting his shaggy, silver-blonde hair and dragging his face down to hers. The hot tracks of salty water poured down the sides of her cheeks, lost in the dampness of her hair in their passing as she pressed their mouths together in an intense kiss.

"Say it again," she implored as she pulled away, her eyelashes fluttering open.

He never slowed his rhythm down, grabbing the headboard with one hand, his other hand bracing his weight on the cushion. He ground into her with every thrust, burying himself to the hilt each time. "I love you," he grunted, his words coming as agonized pants as he quickly felt the lava burning up through his blood, causing all his muscles to tighten up. "I think… since the moment… I woke up in the hospital… back in Sixth Year… and you yelled at me for almost dying… and fuck… I'm going to come in you soon…"

Pulling his head down to hers once again, Hermione captured his lips in another ardent kiss that left him silently begging for oxygen. "I love you, too, Draco," she gasped in return, her forehead pressed to his, his long, platinum bangs brushing against her flushed, wet cheeks as they rocked together, both frenzied for completion. "I watched you… for months… I couldn't stop watching you… because I knew I loved you, even then." The tears kept pouring from her eyes, as she kissed him, her hips shoving upwards to meet his down strokes with possessed strength. "For years, I've known… no matter where I ran… I've known I was always yours."

"Oh, god," he exhaled in one heavy rush, feeling his heart clench with fear and love simultaneously. He'd waited so long to hear those words from her!

Deep in Draco's soul, he knew that from this point forward, things would never be the same between them. This moment marked the Enguesis not just of their bodies, but of their feelings.

"You're mine - finally mine," he squeezed his eyes tight and nearly cried with relief.

Increasing his tempo, he felt the burning warmth envelop him again, felt the eruption of feeling melding with emotion, and as he released his seed in powerful bursts into her already convulsing pussy, he shouted in blissful surrender. His wife echoed his cry, and they locked together in light and warmth as her aura shined around them both once more. Her legs wrapped aggressively around his waist, and his arms completely around her shoulders, and both had their faces buried in the other's neck as they swallowed and exhaled hard, fighting to regain sanity, even as their bodies died and came back to life together.

As soon as the last surge of come shot out of him, and he knew he could give no more, Draco rolled them onto their sides. He remained sealed inside Hermione, however, refusing to let go. They stayed like that for long heartbeats, sculpted together as a single entity, connected by their most intimate selves, their cheeks resting on the pillows as their heavy, gulping breaths began to slow and calm. They watched each other with some small amount of vulnerability and trepidation in those seconds.

"Say it again," she finally pleaded with an exhausted sigh.

Draco was quiet a moment to gather courage back up. Saying it in the heat of the moment had been easy, because it had been Fate, and because the truth had eagerly sought its escape, but this time was a bit harder on his wretched, blackened heart. Draco wasn't used to loving anyone, not even himself. He pretty much subsisted to this point only because he'd been too much a coward to die. What little amount of such a positive emotion there was to be found in the core of his being was for his best friend's unswerving loyalty, for his little house elf's tireless devotion, and for this woman's unearned, undeserved faith. Yet, he would give it all up to her – this fragile, undernourished, hesitant part of his soul, praying he didn't break it in the transfer, and that she didn't shatter it hatefully someday.

"I love you," he murmured so softly it was barely sound, his eyes seeking out and holding onto her attention. "Until I meet my end, Hermione, I am yours."

The sleepy smile she gave him was real and sincere, and it burned into him with the same strength as the sun. Her fingertips danced over his lips tenderly. "I love you, too, my husband - to the end. I will never betray you."

That seemed a decidedly strange thing to say, Draco thought. He was determined to ask her specifically what she meant by those words at a more appropriate time. Right now, though, he just wanted to enjoy the post-coital glow. They'd finally come to the important juncture in their relationship, and he wasn't going to ruin the moment with questions.

They stared at each other for several long minutes after that, finally succumbing to a small cat nap in the warm, comfortable hush to recoup their strength, waking an hour later refreshed… and lusty for each other again.

They spent the remainder of the day in bed (and the shower), screwing and loving and learning in small, observable ways – a touch here, a sound there - stopping their play only when necessary for food or restroom breaks, or to recast the Contraceptive Charm. People knocked on their door several times throughout the morning and afternoon, until Draco (in a fit of exasperation, for this last visit had come right as he was pounding into Hermione from behind – one of his favorite positions, for the depth it allowed him to plunder) finally summoned Moppy and asked her to announce to Lupin that they were not to be disturbed until Thursday morning, sometime after nine. Hermione interjected that they were enjoying a one day honeymoon, in case anyone was truly curious to know. Moppy grinned, cheeks pinked and blue eyes shining knowingly, and promised to bring them dinner later when they called, then snapped back to the kitchens below.

It was the best day of Draco's life, in all honesty. He couldn't remember every feeling so emotionally and mentally free or so utterly physically satiated (despite his physical exhaustion).


December 20th, 2001

There were no sexual games that morning when Draco finally awoke, as he found Hermione already gone from their room. The mirror in their bath was fogged, indicating she'd showered without him. Apparently, he'd been so done in from their previous activities the day and night before that he hadn't even felt her slip out of bed, nor heard the water flowing against the echoing tiled room as she'd cleaned up.

Crawling back into bed, he laced his fingers behind his head and stared up at the gabled ceiling above. He hadn't shagged so thoroughly in his entire life as he had yesterday, and although his balls were tender and sore today, he felt bloody fantastic! He closed his eyes and went over every minute of the previous twenty-four hours in his mind, feeling himself growing hard almost immediately with the conjured memories.

Hermione really loved him.

There was no lie in her eyes as she'd said those three words to him (and he'd made her tell them to him a lot after she'd let that particular cat out of the bag, sweet-talking her into it with wicked, pleasurable sensations each time). This was no rebound thing for her either, as she'd made it clear that she'd loved him for a long time. She'd even admitted to never having loved Ted, which was why she'd broken things off with him. Her heart had only ever belonged to him, she'd explained. That meant that what his little wife felt for him was genuine and faithful, and she was all his in every way now. The thought made his chest ache, and he rubbed a hand over his left pectoral in circles to ease the tightness.

He wondered, though, about some of the things she'd said yesterday during her confession. She'd been watching him for months, she'd stated. When was that time exactly, he wondered? Was it back during their Sixth Year together, or did she mean recently? And the reference to betrayal bothered him immensely. He knew Lupin and the others had a plan for him - that they would use him for their own ends - but how would Hermione betraying him figure into that game? He wanted answers - needed them. Not just for himself, but for Blaise, Daphne and Astoria, too. They would all ultimately be caught up in whatever machinations the Order's senior members were concocting, and he had to maneuver things in their favor well before such plans were revealed. He would not allow his friends to be thrown to the wolves, and he would not allow Hermione to be used as a pawn, either. She may have the outer appearance of the Queen on this playing field, but in reality, Draco had the impression that she was more the King on a chessboard – the overly-protected figurehead. Yes, she was sent on missions on occasion (another secret he would require to be divulged to him soon), but he had the distinct impression that she was more often held in reserve, limited in her movements. It was primarily instinct talking - an opinion based upon a mere twelve days of minimal, silent observations - but Draco had learned long ago to trust his gut, for it had saved his arse more than once while working for the other side.

He also wanted to know where Ronald Weasley was hiding. No one had so much as mentioned the ginger-haired git or his little sister, not even his twin brothers, who were in the house with him. Where was the second of The Golden Trio, and why wasn't he hanging about all over Hermione as he had been back in their school days? For that matter, where were his parents and other siblings? Only Fred and George appeared to be part of the Order. He knew the eldest Weasley son, Bill, had been killed the September before last, but what of the Dragon Tamer, Charlie, or his prat younger brother, Percy? What had happened to the She-Weasel, Ginny?

Draco was determined that he would get his answers within the next week, no matter what he had to do to secure that information.

First, though, he needed to talk to Blaise, get his best friend's impressions of the situation; a second opionion, as it were.

Getting up, he showered and dressed quickly, grabbed his wand and made his way down to the second floor where Blaise's room was located. His best friend answered his door wearing only a towel about his waist. "Just getting into the shower," the dark-skinned wizard stated, turning and heading for the bath. "Make yourself comfortable," he indicated the neatly made bed with a wave of his hand and stripped his towel off his hips as he stepped into the smaller, blue-tiled connecting room, tossing it onto the back of a rack.

Draco turned and bespelled the room heavily against spying, locking the door at the same time. Their discussion was a private one. "Where's Daphne?" he asked, speaking louder so he could be heard over the running shower. Every room in Shell Cottage, Draco had found out a few days ago, had been magicked to be wider inside than current dimensions allowed, and to have a private bathroom with a shower (in a few cases, a tub instead). The rebellion's home base was designed for comfort, since many of the group was often rotated out into the field for a week or two at a time for reconnaissance or food gathering missions and magicked hot water was a necessity that was taken advantage of by everyone, he noted.

"Downstairs with Tori, catching breakfast," his friend's deep baritone boomed from the shower stall. The sounds of splashing water accompanied the discussion. "What's up?"

Draco stepped around the door jamb and leaned his shoulder against it, not wanting to shout. "I spelled the room so we can talk. I want your impressions of the situation. Starting talking."

Through the hazy shower curtain, Blaise was rubbing soap onto a washcloth, getting it lathered up, and began scrubbing himself down. "Lupin and Snape are going to use the girls to spy after they've trained them up a bit in Occlumency. They won't send Granger – sorry, Mrs. Malfoy - out again on a major Op, because they don't want you to know what she's really up to. They're probably going to either reassign her work to someone else, or trick her into working on it without realizing that's what she's really doing, because she's too fucking honest not to tell you. You and I are going to be sent on a suicide mission so Hermione will be free of you and the Order can maybe win some sort of victory to boost morale at the same time." He rinsed off and put the wash cloth down, then opened the curtain and looked at him. "Oh, and your wife is completely in love with you. You're not alone in your sappy feelings now."

With that blunt, extremely accurate assessment, Blaise shut the water off, grabbed his towel, dried himself off, and stepped out, unconcerned with his nudity. They'd been in the same dorms for years, and Slytherin's showers had no stalls, so Draco wasn't fazed in their least by his friend's naked bum either. It wasn't like they hadn't seen each other in the buff before.

Heading past him, Zabini made a bee-line to his dresser, pulling out the day's clothes, tossing them on the bed behind him. "That any different from what you know?" his best friend asked dryly. "Or was I just reiterating the obvious, as usual?"

Draco chuckled. "Well, I wasn't sure if you'd caught on yet to the suicide mission part. I was saving that little surprise for your birthday."

Turning about, Blaise began dressing, slipping a pair of tight-fitting boxers and Muggle military-styled trousers over his hips. "But you knew about your wife's feelings?" his friend asked neutrally. He slung both a black tee and a long-sleeved cotton lounging shirt up and over his head, pushing his arms through the holes and tugging them down.

Draco couldn't help the smile that teased up his cheek. "Yeah, she sort of told me yesterday."

One of Blaise's dark eyebrows twitched as he sat on the bed and tugged on some black woolen socks. "Nice honeymoon then?"

"The best," Draco casually commented, grinning like a freaking cat now. "How about you?"

Blaise sniffed. "Daphne stays with me here sometimes, but usually sleeps next door with her sister and those two Gryffindor shielas that are always around the Weasley twins."

Draco looked at his friend seriously, losing his humor. "She loves you, you know," he finally stuck his nose where it didn't belong. "Ever consider it?"

Blaise stood and headed towards the door to get his shoes. He bent, and leaning against the wall with one hand, slipped his boots onto his feet, kneeling next to tie the strings the old fashioned way. "I care about her," he said while tightening and tying off the laces. "And yeah, I love her, but I'm not in love with her. I'm pretty sure it's the same for her."

He didn't push his bond-brother any further, knowing by the stiffness in his friend's posture and the curt way he'd answered that this was one subject that was now closed – permanently.

But like the Slytherin he was, that didn't mean he couldn't make use of the information he'd just learned.

"In any case, I think you're dead on with the rest," Draco returned to the original subject. "For that reason, I need to know what Hermione's mission was, and what the Order specifically has planned for each of us, and I need to know fast." Now he let drop the idea that had been brewing in his head since yesterday, but only now had the ammunition necessary to voice out loud. "You and I will be useless, so it'll be up to the girls to keep their eyes and ears open."

Blaise paused in getting back to his feet, and smirked a tad bitterly. "I suppose. Tori's already caught Nott's interest. He was impressed with her chess skills the other day. Daphne…" He lost his humor all together, acidic though it had been. "Who do you want me to send her after to seduce?"

It bothered him to think that Blaise assumed automatically Draco would ask him to pimp out his lover. Then again, that's what he'd been contemplating. Now, though, seeing the look of cynicism in Blaise's eye... He shook his head, changing his mind on the fly. "No need. Just have her keep her senses on alert when around Lupin, Longbottom or the Weasels, maybe make herself fit in better, so people won't be so on guard when she's nearby. Suggest she try to make friends. That's all."

The tiny loosening of Blaise's shoulders was all that gave away his relief. "I'll talk to her today," he murmured, silently Accio-ing his wand to his hand from the side dresser. "What about you?"

Draco rubbed the back of his neck, smirking. "I'm going to suggest a little outing with my wife to engender her good will. And by proxy, maybe the group's, too. It's Christmas, after all."

Blaise blinked and looked at him sharply. "Shit, is it that time again?" He scratched his cheek. "I've lost track."

"Easy to do. War makes you forget how to live. It only teaches how to survive," Draco quoted matter-of-factly.

His best friend's gaze was unexpectedly far away and he was silent for several minutes. Draco felt he ought not to disturb the moment, letting Blaise have his internal contemplations, wondering what thoughts flitted through that usually adroit mind. "Hey, did Potter have green or blue eyes?" he suddenly asked in a rather melancholy tone. "I've forgotten now."

That was surprising; Blaise never seemed to forget anything. "Green," Draco replied automatically. He'd looked into those eyes enough with anger and resentment as a child that he'd never be able to take such a detail from his memory. "They were bright green."

Blaise hummed in astonishment. "Why did I think they were blue?"

Draco shrugged. "It's not really important, I suppose."

His bond brother speared him on an intense, fiery gaze then. "Yes, it is."

There was hidden meaning behind his words, Draco realized, and he abruptly understood: they should never forget such a noble, selfless sacrifice as the one Potter had made, and that began with not forgetting the boy who'd made it – not any part of him, even something as seemingly insignificant as the color of his eyes. He nodded in comprehension and agreement. "You're right, it is."

A knock interrupted their discussion, and Blaise turned away to answer the door. It was Daphne. "I saved you both some breakfast," she explained her disturbance away with an offer that she'd obviously known would be too tempting to resist. "Interested?"

Blaise rubbed his tummy in circles. "Yeah, I'm starved. Thanks, babe." He kissed her on the cheek and took her hand. "You coming?" he asked over his shoulder.

Draco nodded and followed them out. "Have you seen my wife today?" he asked casually to the blonde witch as they made their way down the wooden hallway to the stairs.

Greengrass nodded hesitantly. "Um, she went for a walk after eating. With… um… Ted."

Instantly, hot jealousy sliced into Draco's guts and he felt all his muscles tense up for violence. "Really?"

"Um, I didn't get the impression that it meant anything on her side, Drake," the girl corrected quickly. "Maybe just Order business or something."

He said nothing, worked on controlling his natural impulses to run right out the front door and find Hermione. Trust wasn't something easily given by him, either, and he didn't trust Nott an inch where his wife was concerned. Hermione might not purposefully betray him, but he was sure that Ted had no compulsions whatsoever about forcing his wishes upon his rival's witch, especially one he felt he had special rights to because of a past relationship.

In fact, the more he thought on it, the more persistent the demand came for him to find his wife. It was illogical, but undeniably compelling.

At the stairs, he went up instead of down. "I'll meet you two later," he stated without explanation, and headed for his room to get his woolen robes and cloak. Donning them hurriedly, he rushed back down the two flights to the first floor, and made for the front door without pause, that buzzing drive from a few minutes earlier becoming insisitently urgent the closer to the cottage's exit he moved.

"If you go out without someone with the Order's Mark," Lupin called to him in passing, obviously spying his intentions to make for the outside fast. "You won't be able to see the house to come back."

Draco paused in gripping the handle, considering his options. That weird twisting in his guts and the way his chest caved with pressure propelled him onward though. Something felt… wrong. Without reply, he threw open the door and ran, feeling the magic of the wards tingle his bones as he passed through them. With no thought to direction, he let his feet guide him on, instinctively feeling with every stride that he was heading towards her, not away. It must be the Vow, pulling him to protect her...

...which meant she was in danger.

The press to reach her side quickly increased. His progress was impeded by the give of the sifting ground under his feet, however, and he moved at only half his normal speed, his boots struggling over the uneven surface of the dunes. Fucking sand!, he snarled internally, angling himself towards the more solid shoreline, where the water's influence had packed the granuals tighter.

As soon as he reached the line where ocean rose up on earth, he found two sets of footprints, one larger than the other, heading off into the distance around the curve of the land towards a rather high hill that had half-collapsed into the water. Forcing his burning legs to pump harder, his breath ragged and painful, Draco increased to top speed, hoping his heart didn't give out in his panicked flight. He didn't even have the air to spare to call for his wife, all of it being used to fuel his mad dash.

It seemed to take forever to round that cocksucking hill, but when he had, he lost what little air there was in his lungs, expelling it as if he'd been punched straight in the gut.

Nott was kissing his wife.

That bastard was kissing his wife!

Forgetting the wand tucked safely inside his robes, forgetting in fact that he was a wizard with magical skill at his command, Draco lost out to the monstrous part of himself held in disciplined check deep inside, giving into his baser desires to rend and destroy. Furious, a red haze narrowing his vision, he grabbed Ted by the back of his cloak and pulled him with all his strength off Hermione, whipping him around at the same time. His fist connected with enough force to break his former friend's nose and jaw, sending the wizard flying onto his arse a meter away. "I'll kill you," he snarled, looming over the guy, his shadow in the morning light stretched across the man, hiding the sun from him completely. "You were warned. SHE'S MINE!" He screamed that last in between great gulps of air, losing himself in his animal rage.

He moved in with the intent to commit murder, when suddenly Hermione stepped in front of him. "Draco, stop! He didn't mean any harm." He made to step around her, but she put herself in his path again. "Stop, please! He's conceded to us. He's letting me go. Please, don't hurt him just for saying one last goodbye. It was innocent!"

Blaise was suddenly there, grabbing him, holding him back as well. "If you kill him, you'll destroy us all," he warned firmly, shaking the sanity back into him with powerfully muscled arms. "Drake, look at me! You'll destroy her, too. Stop now!"

"Draco, please…" his wife sobbed, reaching out to him.

He flinched back, his ire ebbing away very slowly. "You swore not to betray me," he accused her, feeling his heart clench in desperate pain, feeling a part of him begin to die.

She shook her head, eyes widening. "I didn't betray you on purpose. I didn't know… I just looked up for a second, and there he was and he kissed me. I didn't see it coming. I promise you, that's the truth!"

"SHUT UP!" he screamed into her face, his ire returning full force. "You lying whor..."

Before he could launch further into the tirade, Blaise slapped a big, meaty hand over his mouth. "Don't say anything you'll regret," his friend cautioned him sternly. "You know she's naïve enough not to have guessed what Ted would do."

He was right. Draco knew his best friend had bingo'd the whole problem in one easy sentence, but he wasn't very rational at that moment. He was an animal wounded and in pain, hurting everywhere, inside and out, and he needed an outlet for his frustration. If not the woman who had caused it, or the wizard who had instigated it, then another target would have to serve… and soon. Otherwise, he'd convince himself of the worst, and his vow not to let them be destoyed by their opposite personality flaws would be dashed to pieces. "Get me out of here," he grit between clenched teeth, fisting his hands behind his back. He turned his face away, refusing to look at his wife, needing not to see her for a while.

He heard her answering sob at his dismissal, felt her withdraw, taking steps away, knew he'd hurt her and in that moment, couldn't have cared less.

His best friend seemed to understand the situation in a heartbeat. "Daphne, take Mrs. Malfoy and Nott back to the house," Zabini stated, stressing Hermione's title while looking over his shoulder at her with disappointment. "Their Order tattoos should let you all get back in. Look for the green sparks from my bedroom window in a few hours. When you see it, send someone to come out and escort us back in." He turned back to Draco. "We have some steam to blow off."

Shaking now as the adrenaline rushed through his system, the endorphins running their course and bringing payback, Draco weakly let Blaise lead him off down the beach, one hand holding tightly to his bicep, guiding him. He was pulled in close to his friend's body about twenty steps out, and that fishhook pull behind his navel and the dizziness that accompanied Apparition took him over, making him ill, and with a resounding thunder clap, they left the beach behind.

The sounds of the ocean were replaced with the rushing of wind through grass a few seconds later.

One he'd reoriented himself, Draco recognized the place as the barren area where the last Quidditch World Cup had been held, the summer before his Fourth Year. The ground had recovered from the trampling masses and the fires from so long ago; the area looked as if it had never known the touch of man. Mother Nature was amazing in its ability to heal even the worst wounds, he amusedly thought as his humanity ebbed back through him.

"Now, hit me with your best," Blaise offered, holding his wand up, knowing a fierce duel with very few rules to convolute the purity of the violence would be a safe way to vent some of Draco's frustrations. "Been a while since we've worked out like this. I think we could both use with the exercise anyway."

Reaching into his inner pocket, regaining his human perspective with a jarring sense of reclaiming himself, remembering who and what he really was once again – a wizard of power – Draco's smirk was absolutely feral. "Bring it, fucker," he accused his know-it-all friend. The guy always understood exactly what Draco needed, sometimes even before he knew himself.

"You wish," Blaise smirked back, playing with the double entendre in Draco's words, and then the fight was on.


Lying on his back, gasping for breath, feeling the pain in his right side stitch up and down his spine, Draco watched the grayish-black storm clouds churning above. They moved with a violence he recognized. A blizzard was coming, probably tonight, and about time, too. This year's weather had been unusual – too hot for snow, too cold for rain - and here they were at the end of December already, and it had only just sleeted last week. Real snow had been completely absent this season. It was probably caused by all of the fires that had been lit to burn the corpses, he contemplated; all of that sulfur and soot in the air tended to mess with the weather. This time, however, the signs were clear: there would be snow - a lot of it. Nature would not be denied its rights any longer. Man, using either technology or magic, could only stem the tide of her fury for a short while at best.

That meant that if he wanted to get a tree for her for the holiday, as he'd planned, he had better get a move on and do it this afternoon.

Casting a Healing Charm on himself, he sat up, grunting at the stiff and sore muscles. He and Blaise had literally pounded on each other with magic for a good hour before his anger had abated. Then, they'd spent another hour refining battle techniques, so they could keep in practice. It had been brutal, but cleansing, serving to refocus him in a way nothing else could have. Yeah, Blaise always knew. "Fucker," he accused his friend again, this time with fondness, and then cast the Healing Charm on Blaise, too, who had lain at his side silently this whole time.

Zabini grinned wolfishly. "Keep it up and you'll find out how much of a fucker I really can be."

Draco shook his head and chuckled. "Right." He held his hand out. "Come on. We're going Christmas tree hunting."

Taking the proffered hand, Blaise looked at him with skepticism. "Seriously?"

Once they'd regained their feet and brushed off their robes, Draco raised his wand. "Yep. Engendering good will, remember?"

Zabini threw him a look of appreciative astonishment. "You're a sneaky, cheeky bastard."

"Takes one to know one," he joked back with a waggle of eyebrows. "So, where do you think we ought to look for the perfect Yule tree?"

Blaise considered it. "Ever been to Canada?"

Draco shook his head. "You?"

"Yep. Whistler, north of Vancouver," the guy confirmed with a brilliantly white grin. "Skiing with my folks, Christmas break Third Year. They've got loads of nice tree farms there. We can cut our own."

Draco put his hand on Blaise's shoulder and held on. "All right then. Let's go shopping. I want to be back before dinner, so I can make my wife apologize to me properly tonight."

"You know, there should be a sound rule for sex in that house," Blaise snickered, raising his wand. "No going over ninety decibels. Even with the sound spells you put up over your door, your wife's quite the screamer. Double up or something next time, will you?"

They were both laughing as they popped away, and Draco prayed they didn't splinch as a result. That would make fucking his wife later quite difficult.


Daphne was as loyal as a hound dog; she'd waited by the window in Blaise's room for over four hours until Draco and her lover returned to the cottage. Minutes after Blaise sent green sparks firing from the tip of his wand to signal they needed help to get in, Hermione popped out from behind the wards. Between one second and the next, she simply appeared, as if stepping right out of thin air. She was the one who was surprised, however, by the sight of the eight-foot tall, Grand Fir tree that her husband and Zabini held up between them.

She slowly made her way up to them, tentatively stepping to Draco's side. "I'd forgotten it was Christmas," she admitted, reaching out a hand to run the fresh, sharp needles of one branch through her fingers. "It's beautiful." Shyly, she looked up at him, and it was then that he realized how very pale and scared she appeared. "Thank you."

Hermione's gratitude was obviously sincere, but Draco was still smarting by this morning's events on the beach. Still, he knew he would take Blaise's wise counsel and forgive her, for the alternative - weeks or months of a resumed, awkward strain between them - was something he didn't relish the thought of enduring. The teenaged Draco might have cut off his nose to spite his own face in this instance and held the grudge, but the older, more seasoned Draco found the idea of cold, lonely showers and forced sexual encounters utterly distasteful.

He and his best friend had talked about today's situation in depth after their fight had ended, as they'd lain in the grass at each other's side. Draco had spilled his guts about everything that had happened between him and Hermione over the past several days. His friend had listened intently, and when Draco was done emotionally vomiting all over him, the guy pointed out again how unsophisticated his wife really was when it came to the game of love. Zabini didn't believe, from his observations, and from what Draco had told him, that admitting she was in love was something Hermione would have done under false pretenses, either. He advised Draco to forgive the witch, but to caution her never to be alone with Nott again, for their former Housemate was clearly obsessed with his ex-, regardless of whether he'd agreed to let her go or not.

"Love makes people do the stupidest shite," Blaise had disdainfully conceded with a deep sigh. Draco thought that sentiment adequately summed up his relationship with Hermione as well. After all, he'd taken a life-long Vow with a woman he hadn't seen in years, tying his heart and soul to her, and praying that someday she'd love him back just as much. That was probably the craziest move any Malfoy had ever attempted in the history of his family's lineage, and if that didn't prove he loved her, he wasn't sure what would.

Reaching for his wife now, Draco wrapped his arm about her waist and drew her into him, bringing his nose down to hers. "Thank me later," he steamily charged her, pressing a needy, passionate kiss to her lips. "I want a lot of thanking tonight, wife," he growled softly as he gently bit her lower lip. "A lot."

She agreed without debate, relief evident in her features, and her fingers spread across one cold cheek to rub tenderly. "Okay."

Blaise's face appeared around the tree, as he struggled to hold it balanced upright in the sand as Draco let it go entirely to wrap both arms about his witch. "Um, help us get this monstrosity inside, yeah? My arms are getting tired."


The entire house came down to join in the festivities as soon as word was announced up the stairs eagerly by Alicia that there was a Christmas tree to be trimmed.

As feet stomped down the halls and stairs excitedly, Zabini emptied out the Bag of Holding he always carried on his person, pulling out the stolen ornaments he'd procured half a world away, in a land where Voldemort was just a name, and his reach hadn't been felt yet. He also extracted bottles of rum and cartons of still-chilled eggnog (they'd stopped in a Muggle store under a Disillusionment Charm and simply taken what they wanted, tossing it into the Bag). The Weasley twins erupted into cheers at the sight of the alcohol, and quickly took the beverages to the kitchen to warm up some hottie totties for everyone. Dobby and Moppy took the rest of the food supplies – including the six giant, frozen turkeys, eight frozen hams, two slabs of bacon, as well as all of the accompanying sides for Christmas and New Year's dinner - and followed right behind the ginger-haired men to put them away and prepare the night's meal.

As the tree was set up in the front corner of the room, near the large hearth, the decorations were separated into piles, with Tori leading the charge. "Wow… colorful!" she beamed, holding up a strand of tinsel garland. "What is it?"

Hermione jumped right in. "A Muggle ornament called garland. You string it around and around the tree a little loosely from top to bottom, making it loop between branches."

Tori squealed. "I wanna do that! Oh, let me, please!"

Draco stood back against the far wall and watched as the decorations were "assigned" to be placed on the tree by his wife. Even Lupin was tasked to participate by being the one to put the star on the top. It was amusing to watch… and a little warming, honestly.

"Clever, godson," Snape murmured taking up the spot next to him, obviously not comfortable with participating in such traditions. "You and Mr. Zabini have outdone yourself this time."

He shrugged. "It's Christmas, godfather. Good will to all and peace on earth, right?" He looked out of the corner of his eye at the dark robed, dark featured man. "Kind of oxymoronic, but it's what we're all fighting for here, isn't it?"

Severus' sable eyes widened and looked at him with some measure of respect. "Indeed." He smirked at him, putting a hand on his shoulder for a moment, and then withdrew, finding a corner chair and sat to watch the proceedings from the distance, as was his way.

Blaise immediately took up the vacant spot. "Not bad."

Actually, Draco thought the tree looked terribly gauche covered as it was now with Muggle plastic and aluminum trappings, not half as beautiful as a magicked tree with fairy lights and pixie dust glass balls, but it was nicer too look at than a boring, empty corner. "Yes, I suppose."

They stood silently after that, shoulder-to-shoulder as always, watching the proceedings unfold before them.

The energized Order members burst into laughter or animated discussion as they finished up the decorating. Someone had magicked a phonograph into life, and it played an old Christmas album. The merry sounds of a Medieval strumming lute, a harp, a dulcimer, and two recorders played a rousing tune set the mood. The smell of the evening's meal - roasting pork, sauté onions and potatoes, and steaming sprouts - wafted through the house, making Draco's stomach rumble. He hadn't eaten a bite all day, he realized for the first time.

The Weasley men came in with trays of prepared drinks, and offered one of their mixes to each person. When a glass was in every hand, they turned to Lupin and Hermione, who raised theirs in toast.

"To hope," Lupin offered.

"To having each other," Hermione added, looking at her husband boldly across the room.

Draco nodded to her and sipped from his glass as everyone rowdily agreed and downed their beverages. He kept his eyes locked on his wife, and she on him, until her attention was called away by Lupin leaning in her ear to ask her something. She nodded and replied back. He couldn't read lips, so had no idea what the conversation was about, but clearly it distracted her enough to follow their former teacher into the kitchen.

"To having each other," Blaise tipped his glass against his with a loud clink and then tossed back his drink and sauntered off without another word to find Daphne.

"Yeah," Draco murmured under his breath as he watched his best friend taking up a spot next to the blonde witch and insert himself into her discussion with Angelina Johnson. "Thanks mate, for everything."


Despite how tired he was physically and mentally, Draco wasted no time after dinner in grabbing a hold of his wife's hand and dragging her up the stairs, a hastily thrown 'Good Night,' over their shoulders the only allowance to excuse their abrupt exit.

As soon as the door to their bedroom shut behind them, Draco pressed his wand to Hermione's tummy to cast the Contraceptive Charm (he didn't bother to cast the Silencing Charm on the room, wanting the world to hear what they were about to do so there would never be any doubt as to her feelings for him again), and then tossed his wooden rod onto the dresser and began hastily stripping off their clothes. When he and his wife were both completely naked, he stalked her, angling her backwards steps towards the bed, staring her in the eyes every centimeter of the way. "You're my wife," he growled in righteous hurt and anger, needing to clearly reassert their relationship parameters again, so there would be no misunderstandings ever again. "Hermione Malfoy. Say it. Say you're mine."

Hermione didn't hesitate. "I'm Hermione Malfoy. I'm your wife, Draco. Yours."

Much as he had that first night they'd been in this room together, he unbalanced her and dumped her onto the bed on her arse, then pushed her down until she lay flat on her back. Looming over her, he kissed her with selfish need, punishing intent, and abiding love all wrapped up into one jumble of desperate feeling. "Whose lips are these again?" he demanded as he pulled away, feeling the ache in his chest return with a vengeance.

His beautiful witch quickly swiped the pink flesh of her bottom lip with her tongue. "They're yours."

He bent his mouth to her throat and sucked rather possessively over her pulse, leaving behind a bruising love bite. Hermione gasped at the pleasure-pain, and he lathed it with his tongue as soon as he'd finished to soothe the slight sting. "Whose neck is this?" he hotly murmured the query into her ear.

"Yours," she sighed in pleasure against his temple, letting her eager hands roam up his arms to his shoulders.

His mouth wandered down her throat to her collarbone, over the soft round globe of her mounds to the tip of her left breast. He bit her rosy, taut nipple, tugging up with just the right amount of pressure to make her cry out in mounting hunger. "Whose breasts am I teasing right now?" he challenged, lapping at the swollen bud, flicking it mercilessly.

Her thighs inched up his outer legs, rubbing his crisp, golden hairs with her freshly shaved, soft skin. "They belong to you, Draco," she reaffirmed, arching her spine so he'd take the tightened bead back into the cavern of his mouth, but he side-stepped her intent, showing the other nipple equal attention before roaming down her belly, lapping into her small indent in the middle, then over her waist to her hip.

"Who does all of this golden perfection belong to, wife?" he meaningfully inquired, nibbling her flesh as he traveled lower down one thigh. Hermione strained her pelvis towards his roaming mouth as she rasped out the correct response once more, but he skimmed past where she wanted him to explore and jumped to the other leg, traveling in a reverse path up the opposite site.

Tugging her arms from their grip on his shoulders, he leapt across the space to begin sucking on the bend in her elbow, letting his tongue wiggle a path down to her wrist, gently sucking and biting on it. He drew every finger into his mouth, and lapped into the middle of her palm to taste the salty, perspiring skin in the center. "Who has the only right to kiss these hands like this?" he asked, watching her intently through half-lids as he slid her index finger in and out of his mouth with wet pressure.

"You," she answered automatically, her voice a rasp of air as she sharply exhaled, her whole body squirming under his expert handling. Not to be left out, he repeated the performance with her other hand and arm, asking her to repeat whether she was sure or not about her previous answer. She reiterated that she was positive.

He let her go only to delve his fingers between the 'vee' of her thighs, his own throbbing need pulling at him to find its completion within her soon. He teased her moist, pearly clit with light tickling, parting the folds of her soft skin as he leisurely moved up and down, stroking her until she was awash with desire, her moans irresponsibly loud in the quiet room. "Who is the only man you will ever give this pussy to again - from now until the end of your life?"

Her knees came up, fell apart wide, giving him complete, unfettered access. "Only you, Draco," she cried out and he rewarded her by inserting two fingers into her rather roughly, causing her to dig her fingernails into his biceps. "Yes! Only you!"

He worked her up for a bit, building her desire, waiting until she was literally dripping wet before pulling away, and wiggled one glistening finger down until it pierced her tiny hole directly underneath, slowly entering her tightly-ringed canal with deliberate care. "Who are you giving this ass to tonight?" he asked, deceptively calm, trying to control the pounding of his heart in his throat. They hadn't done this yet, and quite truthfully, he wasn't sure she was into such a thing. The look on her face said she'd never done it either, and from the incredible constricting of his finger, he was sure he'd be the first here, too. He'd own all her firsts, it seemed.

Swallowing back nervousness, she held his gaze. "To you, if you want it," she offered freely.

Such trust…

He nodded, giving her no quarter here either, determined to own every bit of her in every way imaginable. "I want it," he assured her blatantly of his intent. Removing his finger from its naughty burrowing, however, he leaned over her once more, and slid his hard cock down the center of her wet lips. "But first, I'm going to fuck this," he inserted himself into her sweltering, tight cunt until his crown was buried in her eager flesh. "I'm going to fuck it hard. I'm going to own it like I should have all along." He shoved and worked through her convulsing, soused layers of tissues until he was eventually buried to the balls in her, then stopped, held onto her hips, lifting them off the bed to his standing height. "You're mine, Hermione," he reiterated, cupping her sweet, plump arse and sealing them firmly together. "Every inch of you. You always have been."

"And you've always been mine," she dared back, her dark cinnamon eyes glittering in the dim light of their bedside lamp. Her lips parted as she swiped across them again, and her fingernails scraped across their coverlet as she grabbed on tight, anticipating the ride ahead.

Sliding his hips back until just the tip of him was still inside her, then slowly sinking back in, Draco established a languid rhythm that was guaranteed to drive them both wild within a minute or two. "Yes, beautiful, I've been yours since that first kiss," he acknowledged easily, not flinching from her direct gaze. "You own me, too. Always have."

He took his wife in a variety of positions and in every opening of her body that night, claiming her completely, joining them body, heart and soul. There were whispered apologies in between thrusting, and reiterations of love made in loud cries as they rode each other hard, and so much warmth from her shining aura combining with his that as they came together, they were dripping with sweat, sliding in it, both practically faint from the heat. When they were too exhausted to go on, they simply collapsed onto each other and fell asleep in a tangle of limbs, lips pressed together, hands entwined.

It was only at the last possible moment, as darkness crowded in on all sides that Draco realized that Nott had been nowhere to be seen downstairs during the afternoon and night's festivities or dinner. Before he could give the matter more thought, however, warm sleep pulled him down into comfortable rest once again.



Sitting tailor fashion: Tailors used to sit on the floor and sew with their legs crossed similar to what in slang is referred to as "Indian style."