Hermione sighed as she looked in the mirror. She had made it clear to Lucius that she did not want a mirror that talked back to her. So this one just showed her image and said zip which sutied her. However she was not happy with how she looked; sure she was 7 months pregnant and as expected looked like a cauldron with legs; but that did not mean she was happy with the constant bathroom trips, just about needing help to get out of a chair, and the general awkwardness all the extra weight and bulk caused. She was very happy to be pregnant with her two husbands (though according to English Wizarding Law only Draco was her husband-that was to make sure that any son was not a bastard and would have no trouble inheriting the Manor which was entailed according to ancient law to the oldest son of the oldest son) and othewise quite content with her lot. She had two wonderful lovers and prospective fathers; she had a huge mansion to fill with children; and no material cares at all. Still sometimes it was the little things that were so aggravating.
"Come on, love, you have guests waiting at the dinner table." Came from Draco who stepped behind her and put his arms all the way around her.
"If I get much bigger you will not be able to do this any more" as she clasped her hands around his arms.
"And if you do so what? We will love you all the more since there will be more of you to love."
"I cannot believe that Draco Malfoy just said that."
"You notice there was no one around to hear that except you."
"So that is not something you would say in company?"
There were no flies on Draco. Hermione had been relatively calm, but pregnant females are notoriously unpredictable; and Hermione could be very dangerous if made too angry; he had found that out the hard way when she had transfigured him into a cat scratch toy for her cat when he had made her mad a month ago. The hours spend with Crookshanks sharpening his claws on his rear end had not been fun. Now realizing that an eruption was imminent, he quickly took action. Pulling her around he proceeded to kiss her senseless.
Dazed and aroused, Hermione sagged against him. "OK, I forgive you this one. But watch yourself."
Relieved, Draco smirked. "I like to think I am capable of learning."
"All evidence to the contrary." Hermione smirked back as then headed down the stairs. Apparating was not recommended for women in advanced pregnancy since it could start labor early.
Lucius of course was waiting and gave her a big smack as she sat down; Ginny, Harry and Severus were all in attendance. She had worked hard to get Harry and Ginny to come as often as she could; she felt that Lucius, Severus and Draco needed to interact more with non slytherins. And she also thought that Ginny and Harry needed to see past the war as well. It seemed to be working OK; there was still plenty of snarking but it lacked the vicious edge it once had. And she had to admit she kind of liked all the edged comments.
Harry and Draco began to talk about Auroring; to everyone's surprise Draco had decided to go that route, of course this was one that Harry had always been expected to head down. Hermione and Ginny proceeded to discuss their respective pregnancies; Ginny had just found out only a month before, just after Hermione, Lucius and Draco had come back from their month long honeymoon. Severus and Lucius were discussing some potions that Severus was working on.
"Oh, come on Potter. That is all flash and no substance."
"Of course it is. But it can come in handy to distract someone or make someone pay attention. So it is useful. And it should not be that hard for you to learn; its like a lot of the spells you pulled in school to make trouble. They were mostly the same thing."
"I feel like an over filled cauldron sometimes; and having to go to the bathroom every hour is annoying. But the first time you feel your baby move it is so incredible that it makes it all worthwhile right there."
"The dragon tears are hard to get; most of it comes from the preserves in Romania."
"Hermione told me that Charlie Weasley has agreed to help."
"I am grateful to her; it looks like I can get a steady supply now."
Lucius looked around for a moment and was startled at how normal this all looked and how comfortable he was. Here he had friends and family around him talking in regular conversation and no great problems looming. The contrast now and what it had been like even before the return of Voldemort was stunning.
Severus noticed that Lucius had become a little detached and even had a small smile on his face; one that had no edge or intent.
"Never expected you to look this content and happy; it truly is nauseating."
Lucius looked at him for a moment blankly; then began to glare; then suddenly an evil smile came.
Severus knew to be wary and yet that smile was somewhat comforting since it was much more familiar.
"Perhaps I should enlighten you about Hermione's latest project; or maybe I won't."
Suspiciously Severus examined him, then looked hard at Hermione who was enthralled in pregnant female talk with the Weaslet.
The shark smile on Lucius grew bigger.
"Clearly it is amusing to you. And obviously it must have something to do with me." Then Severus sat up straight and glared daggers at Lucius as he guessed what it was all about. The smile Lucius had now belonged to a Great White.
"I just happened to mention how very Happy I was and how it was such a shame that you were still all alone. That got her attention; she is looking for projects that she can work on without moving around much of course. And this one fits perfectly."
"If she dares…"
"You will do what? You are as much under her thumb as Draco and I are. As Potter and the Weaslet is. And you know it. So stop puffing yourself up; she stopped taking that seriously a long time ago. And who knows; she might find someone that would actually make you happy; as incredible as that may seem."
Settling back down Severus merely grunted. A pensive look came over him; from long experience Lucius knew what that look was all about.
"Do you honestly think Lilly would have liked that you have carried a torch for her all these years? She cared for you even if it was James she married. She would have expected you to move on. As a matter of fact if I remember her correctly at all she would have kicked you in the rear end a long time ago for moping around. There are some eligible witches out there if you bothered to look. Now personally I know of none desperate enough to put with you but stranger things have happened; look at me, Draco and Hermione in a relationship. Who in the whole world would have predicted that up to six months ago?"
A reluctant smile came over the potion masters face. "You remember correctly. She indeed would have kicked me in my arse a long time ago. But I have never met a woman since then who would have in any way been able to take my affections away from her. I never really looked, that is true. But even now I cannot imagine any woman who could possibly make me happy."
Later that evening Hermione was brushing Lucius's hair, a task she liked doing. Draco had some studying to do so was staying up late. Deciding to mention that the cat was out of the bag Lucius spoke up "I let Severus know what your latest project is. He was not happy, but it was more a case of he doubts your ability to find someone more than being bothered about you trying."
A small mysterious smile crept across Hermione's face. "Actually I have someone in mind; she kind of startled me the other day and I thought about her and Severus and realized that they just might fit. It is somewhat of an outlandish match but I think it has a chance. Severus needs someone he cannot walk over but has a lot of patience and can put up with his moods and the like; someone attractive, intelligent and stubborn. And someone who has no current interest."
Lucius turned to look at her. "And who is this paragon? Intelligent frankly leaves out most of the witches in the necessary age range; and of those few patience, attractiveness and willing to put up with it frankly sounds like a impossibility."
Still that mysterious smile lingered. "And I have not yet approached her with the possibility. Until then only I know and that is the way it will remain."
Two days later Hermione approached her candidate.
Needless to say the candidate was somewhat stunned by the possibilty. But she agreed to think about it.
One week later Hermione talked to Draco and Lucius at breakfast.
"Tomorrow night I need Severus here. And you two will need to scram soon after he gets here."
Both Draco and Lucius looked at her with great suspicion. She smiled back at them. "My latest project is about to reach Stage One."
Draco looked totally mystified but noticed his father was not. His father had sat back and was looking at Hermione with a skeptical look on his face.
"You might as well tell us now."
Frustrated he glared at the serene young witch.
Later Draco cornered his father in his study.
"All right what was that all about her latest project."
"Hermione has decided to see if she can fix up Severus and apparently the candidate she has in mind will be here tomorrow."
"Does HE know?"
"He knows what she is up to but now where and when and above all who. I guess we will all find out tomorrow night."
Both Lucius and Draco were very interested in who was coming but Hermione simply smiled at them. Finally the time came and the guest floo'd in. Both Draco and Lucius felt their jaws hit the floor and roll away.
"You have GOT to be KIDDING!"
"Hermione I normally have a great respect for your intellect but excuse me for saying ARE YOU NUTS?"
"Now both of you behave. You frankly have nothing to say about it so shoo."
Severus arrived a little later. Upon finding Hermione and not Lucius waiting for him he gave her an inquiring look.
"Lucius and Draco have some business to take care of. Please go into the main Dining room."
Being a deatheater meant that Severus Snape had learned how to survive just about anything; and his instincts were shouting at him. Looking at her with a very suspicous glance he walked into the Main Dining room and stopped in the doorway in shock.
"Please come in and sit down. Hermione seems to think we might make a good match. I will admit I was very startled when she mentioned it, but I agreed to think about it and meet you. What have you got to lose?"
Hermione quietly closed the door behind him.
Two days later, not having heard anything and frankly terribly curious, Lucius visited Severus at his business. After Voldemort Severus had opened up a potion business; it had of course become very successful. He frankly admitted that he had stayed at Hogwarts as long as he had because of the war. He had never liked being a teacher and Headmaster even less.
Lucius went into the back room where the potions were brewed; as usual Severus was watching several potions at once, moving back and forth between them checking and taking notes. His precision at potions was the main reason his business was so successful; he was by aclaim the best in centuries.
Severus barely spared him a glance. "Well what?"
"Don't play stupid Severus, you were never good at it. How went the dinner with your intended."
"Interesting. I admit she never occurred to me. She certainly is different. And intelligent. We shall see."
"What were you expecting? An elopement or some stupid such thing?"
Frustrated Lucius left behind a smirking potions master.