Disclaimer: We all know who owns these characters, and it's not me.

A/N: This story takes place during the winter break of 6th year, and is canon-compliant up until that point, but with one pretty significant difference that should be fairly clear from the start.

Based on the timing, Hermione is 17 years old, of age in wizarding society, but still quite a bit younger than Lucius. He knows this, and he doesn't care. Because he's a wicked, wicked man. If this squicks you out…well, you probably wouldn't have opened a Lucius/Hermione fic to begin with, so I think we're good here, yes? Right-o.

In Disguise

Hermione silently entered Number 12 Grimmauld Place, careful not to disturb the portrait of Walburga Black hanging near the entry. She made her way down to the kitchen where Dumbledore was waiting for her and produced the bag of supplies she'd been sent to purchase, laying them on the long table.

"I trust you've found everything?"

"Yes, of course, Professor. Would you like me to stay and help with the application?" She pulled out a box of hair dye and studied the directions printed on the back.

"If you don't mind. Miss Granger, I cannot thank you enough for your assistance in this matter. I really can't think of anyone better fit to act as secret keeper for this family; no one would ever suspect it was you." Dumbledore's blue eyes twinkled with amusement from behind half-moon spectacles.

Hermione smirked back. "Yes, I'm having a hard time believing it myself. I'm shocked they agreed to it."

She jumped slightly when a deep, silky voice sounded behind her. "Well, we weren't exactly given many options, now were we?"

She spun around to meet the cold, gray gaze of Lucius Malfoy as he made his way down the stairs. The way he moved without making a sound made the hairs on the back of Hermione's neck stand on end. The man was simply too smooth for comfort.

Dumbledore cleared his throat, breaking the awkward tension between the two. "Nevertheless, I do believe Miss Granger is the best choice, under any circumstances."

"Quite." Lucius inclined his head politely, but a malicious glint in his eyes contradicted the gesture.

"Do behave, Lucius." Narcissa's soft soprano voice floated down from the stairwell where Hermione could just see her approaching with Draco in tow. "Miss Granger has been gracious enough to save our necks from the very mess you created; I'd think the least you could do is act civil."

Lucius lost his falsely polite smile, his brows drawing together to form a small crease above his nose, evidence of his annoyance. "Narcissa, dear, how kind of you to join us."

"Don't start. And keep your precious pet names to yourself—we've no need to act anymore. I'll tolerate your presence until this mess of yours is cleared up, and then we'll have a proper divorce, and I can be on my way." Narcissa moved past Lucius, casually dismissing him with an upturned chin, and moved to stand before Hermione, leaning in and placing a barely there kiss on her cheek. "Hello again, Miss Granger. I trust you're well?"

Hermione smiled warmly at the stately witch, fighting to suppress a giggle over the firm way she'd handled her intimidating husband. "As well as can be expected. And yourself?"

Narcissa smiled a tight smile and gave the girl's hand a squeeze. "The same. Now, did you find what you needed?"

Hermione nodded and moved to the table, digging out several boxes to show her. "I thought for you, this strawberry blonde would look lovely with your fair skin and blue eyes. What do you think?"

Narcissa examined the box of hair dye wearing a genuine smile. "I think you may be right. And for Draco?"

Hermione pulled out another box, handing it over as well. "Here, I think he'll stand out a bit less as a dirty blond, don't you think?"

Draco scoffed, no doubt at the 'dirty' in the color description, but silenced as Narcissa held the box up to his head to compare the color.

"Hmm…I think that will look quite dashing, actually."

Hermione smiled at Draco's awkward blush. "Naturally. I don't think we'll need to change the cut, but perhaps he could wear it without all of the gel."

Hermione and Narcissa began discussing the possibility of cutting Narcissa's hair, adding layers and long, side-swept bangs to frame her face when Lucius cleared his throat impatiently.

Hermione turned to him, eyebrows raised expectantly. "Yes?"

"Well?" Lucius drawled, but Hermione just stared at him, enjoying his discomfort. He huffed once before moving to the table and removing the last box from the bag, looking down at it with furrowed brows. "Brown?"

Hermione smiled. "Dark brown."

Lucius frowned.

"Are you going to cut it?" Narcissa's eyes gleamed with malicious joy.

Hermione nodded. "Mm-hm. Short."

Lucius' head snapped up. "How short?"

"Very short."

Lucius looked to be on the verge of throwing an all-out tantrum. As adorable as that would have been, Dumbledore decided to intervene.

"You realize, of course, that you're simply too recognizable as you are."

"But if we're relocating to America anyway, I really don't see…"

Hermione cut in then. "And American wizards don't look or dress the way English wizards do. They've embraced muggle culture and style almost completely. You would stick out like a sore thumb over there with your long hair and wizarding robes."

"So I'm expected to cut off my hair and wear muggle clothes?" Lucius looked outraged.

Draco spoke up for the first time since entering the kitchen. "It's better than the alternative, father."

"What about charms, glamours…"

Dumbledore interrupted with his ever imperturbable calm. "Concealment spells can be detected and reversed. We can't take that chance."

Lucius scowled at each of them in turn before storming to the liquor cabinet and fishing out a large bottle of Brandy. He snatched a crystal tumbler and fairly stomped his way out of the room and up the stairs, grumbling all the way.

Hermione was holding back laughter when she heard the all-too familiar shriek of Mrs. Black quickly followed by what sounded like a small explosion, the latter shaking the walls and dislodging dust and bits of plaster from the ceiling. The house was silent for a brief moment before a door slammed in the vicinity of the first floor drawing room, at which point Hermione couldn't contain her amusement any longer.

"Oh, I really shouldn't be enjoying this as much as I am, should I?" she gasped between peals of laughter.

Narcissa coughed pointedly into her hand while Dumbledore chuckled outright and Draco quite unsuccessfully tried to suppress a large grin.

Dumbledore smiled over at her. "There's nothing wrong with embracing what joy we can, Miss Granger."

Narcissa clapped her hands together authoritatively. "Yes well. As much as I love a good laugh at my soon-to-be-ex-husband's expense, perhaps we should get to work?"

Hermione smiled, and Dumbledore went to serve them all some of Rosmerta's finest oak-matured mead while Draco and Narcissa began their transformation.


Several hours later, Hermione sent Narcissa and Draco off to bed looking like entirely different people. Dumbledore had already left for wherever it was he went when he wasn't at Hogwarts, and Hermione was feeling more than a little bit tingly from all the mead. Although, the fumes from the dye probably hadn't helped either. She spent a brief moment tidying up the kitchen, pausing when she eyed the still unopened box of dark brown hair color. Lucius hadn't made another appearance after his dramatic exit, and she was hesitant to explore the creepy old townhouse in search of him.

She sighed, downed her half-empty glass of mead and snatched up the box and scissors before heading up the stairs. She immediately came across the absolute ruin of Mrs. Black's portrait—the canvass was shredded and scorched, the frame splintered, hanging haphazardly from its seemingly unmovable perch. She smiled to herself, knowing she'd never hear the old bitch's shrill voice ever again.

Continuing on, she came to the drawing room and paused at the door, eyeing the strip of warm light along the floor. She took a deep breath, attempting to fortify herself but in reality only managing to talk herself out of knocking, when his voice startled her.

"By all means, do come in, Miss Granger."

Already feeling foolish, but still just drunk enough not to care, Hermione promptly opened the door and walked into the room with her head held high. The room was lit only by the modest fire blazing in the hearth, the dancing light of it throwing eerie shadows over the faded paper on the walls and into the darkened corners of the room, crowded with ancient furniture and ambiguous relics.

Lucius sat slumped in a large leather armchair near the fire, half-empty bottle of Brandy still in hand. He looked more disheveled than she'd ever seen him before, his robes cast aside, leaving him in a black, wrinkled dress shirt and gray slacks. His hair, normally combed back, fell forward, framing his pale face and those cold, fierce eyes. Eyes which were, fortunately, not focused on her.

Hermione steeled her nerves, willing herself not to sound as apprehensive as she felt. "Everyone else is finished."

"Are they now."

"Yes, and we'd best get started. I'd like to get to bed before sunrise, if you don't mind."

Lucius slowly turned toward her wearing a lecherous smirk, cocking one eyebrow when he locked eyes with her. "Would you?"

Hermione felt a furious blush bloom over her cheeks and neck, and on down to her chest. She opened her mouth to form a scathing response but stopped, knowing she'd only be egging him on. He smirked even wider at her speechlessness, spurring her to narrow her eyes and cross her arms over her chest defensively.

"Are you drunk, Mr. Malfoy?"

Unperturbed, he replied "Are you?"

She bit her lip. "A bit, yes."

He seemed taken aback by her honesty, putting her at an unexpected advantage for the moment. She decided she liked him so much more when he was caught off guard.

He quickly cleared his expression of any hint of surprise and continued. "And I'm supposed to trust you with sharp objects near my head? Perhaps we'd best call the whole thing off."

Hermione rolled her eyes, searching for a new strategy. "It won't hurt, you know."

"I know it won't hurt, you stupid girl."

She continued, her expression deceivingly innocent. "I mean, it's natural to feel a bit nervous, afraid even, when making a big change like this."

That got him out of his chair, a minor victory at best, and he was soon standing a bit too close for comfort. "I'm not afraid of you and your little box of muggle hair cosmetics." His sneering voice sent a chill down her spine, though she fought hard not to show it. He was close enough that his warm, brandy scented breath sent the hair at her temple fluttering a bit with every heavy breath he took.

Hermione took a deep, steadying breath and beamed up at him, again catching him by surprise. "Brilliant! Come along then, let's get started." She then took firm hold of his arm and led him from the room.

She smiled back at him as they passed the ruined portrait. "Nice work there."

"Never liked that woman." He muttered under his breath.

They were on their way down the stairs when he swayed slightly and shot out a hand for balance, ending up with a firm grip on her left hip. Hermione tensed, but continued down, feeling his hand on her like a heavy weight the whole way. Once back in the kitchen, she led him to a chair placed in front of the sink and pushed him down into it, ignoring the incensed glare he sent her way.

She grabbed a towel, rolled it and placed it around his shoulders, cushioning his neck from the hard counter top. She held her breath when she moved to place his hair in the sink, tucking her hand down along his neck to coax the silky strands from beneath the towel.

"Lean your head back."

Lucius' only response was a heated glare beneath lidded eyes.

She sighed, casting her eyes heavenward in a plea for strength. "Please, Mr. Malfoy, won't you lean your head back so I can wash your hair?"

He grunted at her but complied, closing his eyes and resting his head on the counter behind him. Hermione pushed up the sleeves of her jumper and started the water, testing the temperature before wetting his long hair with it. She took some shampoo and worked it in, gently massaging it into his scalp and combing it through to the ends with her fingers. At some point while she worked, Lucius opened his eyes and fixed them on her breasts, which now hovered dangerously close to his mouth as she leaned over him.

Hermione finally noticed after several moments, freezing with both her hands still tangled in his soapy hair. She stared at him for nearly a minute before clearing her throat pointedly, at which he finally looked up at her, taking in her flabbergasted expression.

A wicked little smile grew on his handsome face as he lifted the hand hanging between them, placing it just above her knee, on the inside of her denim-clad thigh.

Hermione swatted his hand away, flinging suds on them both. "Behave, Mr. Malfoy."

Lucius chuckled, letting his eyes slip closed again. "Please dear, do call me Lucius."

Hermione growled under her breath as she finished rinsing his hair, her movements not nearly as gentle as they'd been before. "Not bloody likely."

She finished rinsing his hair, wrung it out, and then began dragging a comb through it. She was still supremely irritated (she refused to even think 'hot and bothered') by Lucius' hand on her thigh, and after the third wince, he took the comb from her and finished himself.

While he finished combing his hair, Hermione went to refill her glass with mead. She suddenly felt she'd need the fortification. She may be a Gryffindor, but even so, she could still use a little liquid courage to be able to stand so close to him again, running her fingers through his silky hair. The shampooing alone was enough to make her feel weak in the knees—and that was before he'd put his hand on her. She brought the glass to her lips, dutifully ignoring the way her hand shook ever so slightly. She needed to get it together and remember who she was dealing with.

Draining her glass in one go, she turned back to find him watching her closely with an unreadable expression on his handsome—no, not handsome, smug, sneering, vicious—face. Indeed. She gave her head a little shake, realizing her inner monologue was arguing with itself, and Malfoy was still watching her.

Steeling herself with a deep breath, she approached him again, gleaming silver scissors in hand. "Right. Let's get this done with then."

She tried quite admirably to suppress the thrill she got at seeing a flicker of fear in his glacial gray eyes, but the girl was only human after all. So it was with a wicked little smile that she gathered up all of Lucius' luscious white blond hair at the nape of his neck, held it tight, and cut straight through it in one fell swoop.

Still holding his severed pony tail, she fought down the urge to let out a triumphant war cry, shaking the blond locks above her head like she'd seen Native Americans do in the American Western films her father loved to watch. Realizing that such an action would not only be completely lost on the man in front of her, but also quite possibly an act of insanity, she refrained.

Instead, she leaned forward till her mouth was nearly brushing against his ear, extended her arm out in front of him to show him her trophy, and whispered in a voice that was meant to be teasing, but came out husky and almost seductive instead, "Want to keep it as a souvenir?"

Lucius let loose a growl so deep in his chest it was almost a purr, and then gripped her wrist tightly, holding her in place while he turned his face to hers. The mere inch or so between them suddenly felt charged with an almost palpable tension. Lucius' glacial eyes rested on her smirking mouth a brief moment, before dragging up to meet her gaze.

"Careful pet, I think you're enjoying yourself a bit too much."

Hermione made a show of pushing her lips out in a pout, once again drawing his predatory gaze back to her mouth. She could see the resolve building behind that hungry look, and just as he started to move in, she withdrew, wordlessly returning to her work.

She carefully trimmed his hair close at the nape of the neck, working her fingers through his champagne locks again and again to get an even cut. At some point, he began leaning into these gentle touches, and she intentionally drew them out into purposeful caresses. By the time she had moved around to work directly in front of him, he was docile as a kitten, and Hermione was practically humming with self-satisfaction. There was something about taming a man like Lucius Malfoy that was far more intoxicating than the mead she'd drunk that night.

Finally satisfied with the cut, she went to prepare the dye, turning her back on him while she worked at the sink. When she turned back, her breath hitched uncomfortably at the heated look in his eyes and the way his gaze raked her body like a physical caress, leaving her feeling flushed and shaken. She watched him warily, waiting for him to act on the desire obvious in his stare, but still he made no move to, and she felt relatively safe approaching him again.

She made short work of the color application, finally realizing just how foolish she'd been in her teasing touches, and not wanting to push him any further. Once she'd finished, she tersely instructed him to wait 20 minutes and then wash it out. He nodded his understanding, and she bolted from the room.


Several hours later, Hermione tossed in her bed, no nearer sleep than she'd been when she'd fled there in the first place, and feeling quite frustrated with herself.

Inappropriate crushes were one thing, but this, this aching, burning, need for Lucius bloody Malfoy of all people, was bordering on a death wish. Her logical self could easily rationalize her body's reactions to the man with hormones, alcohol, and the prolonged, oddly intimate physical contact, but that still didn't excuse the fact that she was half out of her mind with lust for the vile man.

Wired, frustrated, and completely disgusted with herself, Hermione flung herself out of bed with a huff, thinking a nice spot of tea might calm her over wrought nerves. She paused at the door, looking down at the overlarge quidditch jersey she'd nicked from Harry that was currently serving as her nightgown. She cracked the door and listened intently, convincing herself after a moment that the house's other occupants were, in fact, asleep, and not likely to encounter her half naked in the kitchen.

Because that would be horrible. Mortifying, even. And certainly not the least bit exciting.


Dutifully ignoring the sharp current of excitement lacing her bloodstream, she crept out into the hallway and toward the darkened stairwell, listening carefully for any sign of movement from the house's other occupants. She tried to tell herself that she was most definitely not disappointed when she reached the kitchen unhindered, but even the more logical part of her brain wasn't buying that. She set across the now dark room—lit only by the glowing embers still smoking in the hearth—and went about making a nice cuppa the muggle way.

So immersed in the comfort of routine was she that she never noticed the room's other occupant, sat silently watching her from a chair in one of the darker corners of the room. Lucius silently sipped his brandy and watched the girl go about preparing her tea. As she reached up to take a mug from a high shelf, the large, scarlet shirt she wore rode up another four inches, exposing more of her smooth, pale thighs.

Lucius set his sifter down and rose from his seat, crossing the room to stand just behind her, watching over her shoulder. She'd obviously not noticed his presence, so, with a small, wicked grin in place, he leaned in and spoke softly in her ear, "Trouble sleeping?"

Hermione jumped violently, letting out a half gasp half squeak, and spun around, fist pulled back and ready to fly at the dark-haired man behind her. Lucius caught her wrist and yanked her to him, wrapping his other arm around her waist to keep her still.

"My goodness you are high strung. Calm down, Miss Granger—surely you hadn't forgotten you're not alone in this house tonight?"

Hermione slumped against his chest, struggling to catch her breath and calm her racing heart. "You miserable bastard…you scared the life out of me!"

"Oh I don't know, you still seem pretty lively to me."

Hermione huffed angrily and shoved him away from her. He released his hold on her easily enough, but stayed uncomfortably close. Hermione crossed her arms over her chest, still feeling jumpy and embarrassed, and really looked at him for the first time. The hair, now short and dark, suited him quite well. So well, in fact, as to be downright disconcerting. He looked sophisticated and bloody handsome—he looked like an entirely different man.

"Well, what do you think?" Lucius turned this way and that, wearing a playful little smile that only added to the illusion that this was not the man she knew and feared.

Hermione cleared her throat delicately, grateful for the dim lighting that would hide her blush. "I didn't even recognize you. It looks…nice."

"Nice?" He said the word with his lip curled in a sneer, as though she'd told him he now resembled the business end of a blast-ended skrewt.

Hermione rolled her eyes and turned back to her tea, needing a reprieve from his uncomfortable stare. "Dashing, handsome, bloody gorgeous. Honestly, you're a vision—my knees are weak, really. Is that better?"

Ignoring the obvious sarcasm, he leaned in again until his chest met her shoulders. "Much." She pushed him back again, earning a low chuckle.

"Honestly, Mr. Malfoy, how much have you had to drink tonight?"

He ignored her question, instead tugging at the sleeve of her jersey. "And what is this you're wearing?" He swept her hair over one shoulder, exposing the lettering on the back of her shirt. "Ahh yes. It is customary for young girls to wear their boyfriends' clothes these days, isn't it? No sense of propriety with these younger generations, no sense at all."

Hermione fought back a chill as he traced the letters on her back, but was too distracted to keep up the pretense of tea any longer. "Harry's not my boyfriend; I just like to wear it. It's comfortable."

"He's not? What about that Weasley boy?"

Hermione thought about Ron, snogging that absolute slag Lavender Brown all over Gryffindor tower, and blinked away the stinging in her eyes. "I don't have a boyfriend, not that it's any of your business."

"Hmm, I suppose not. You'd be wasted on boys your own age, anyway."

She turned around to face him again, arms still held defensively in front of her. The logical side of her brain had not stopped telling her to run since she'd first discovered Lucius behind her, but the softer side, the side of an insecure teenage girl, prompted her to stay. She sometimes did tire of always being so logical, anyway.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh come now, Hermione. You don't really think a young woman of your intellectual and emotional maturity could be satisfied by any of those little boys back at Hogwarts, do you?"

No, no she really didn't. Did he really just call her by her first name and pay her a compliment all in one go? Perhaps she hadn't sobered as much as she'd thought.

"No, you need more than they're offering. You deserve more."

And when had they gotten so close? Her senses were clouded with the smell of his aftershave, the light brush of his trousers against her bare legs, his fingers threading through her hair…

"What are you doing?"

He smiled at her, just the faintest curling of the corners of his mouth, "Consider it a demonstration."

"Oh," she said, and then his mouth was on hers, soft and warm with just the right amount of pressure so that she felt it down to her knees. And then his hand was at her waist, pulling her pliant body into his while the hand in her hair guided her head back just as he deepened the kiss with slow, seductive strokes of his tongue.

The logical side of her brain, the voice of reason, was now hiding beneath a rock, hugging and rocking itself soothingly while the hormonal teenager inside her clapped and bounced and cheered for more.

She wrapped one arm up and around his neck, fingers threading through the short strands there in an echo of their first contact, while the other hand splayed over his chest, feeling his heart beat hard and fast beneath muscles toned and firm.

Now wrapping both arms around her waist, Lucius lifted and spun her around until her bum perched on the edge of the old dining table that ran the length of the room. He hooked his hands underneath her knees, lifting them so that he was now nestled between her thighs, her legs hooked up over his hips and crossed at the ankle over his bum.

He finally broke their heated kiss, only to reapply his talented tongue at the pulse point of her neck, laving and nibbling the delicate skin there before working his way down to the hollow at her collar. She inhaled sharply as he dragged his teeth across the line of her clavicle and then soothed it with his tongue. She tightened her legs around him, grinding his hips into hers with a low moan.

Lucius pulled back to look down at her with hooded, glacial eyes, his long, graceful fingers toying with the hem of her jersey.

"Aren't you going to stop me?"

Hermione shuddered delicately at the low, rough quality to his voice, and tried to process his words. But try as she might, all she could think of was the wonderful friction she felt between her legs as he ground his hips into her, the spicy sweet taste of him, the soft-firm-allover feel of his hands on her, and, god help her, Lavender fucking Brown with her tongue down Ron's throat.

"Say no, Hermione. Tell me you don't want this." His voice held both a challenge and a promise, and she knew that this would be the one and only out he would issue her. He would stop, she could see that much, if she asked him he would stop, but if she didn't…

Hermione shook her head slowly, twisted her hand in the collar of his shirt and pulled him down for another searing kiss. And suddenly, like a switched being flipped, the slow, teasing rhythm of it all was gone. Lucius tore his mouth away from her and pulled the jersey up and over her head, tossing it away without once taking his eyes off of her.

He pushed her down until she lay flat against the table, then ran both of his hands from her knees, up her thighs, over the jut of her hips, across the flat plane of her belly and up to her breasts, cupping and thumbing her taut nipples before leaning in and taking first one, then the other into his mouth, applying the most delicious pressure with his teeth before licking and sucking them in gentle yet maddening contrast.

Hermione gasped and bucked at the unfamiliar (fantastic, electric) sensations, managing little more than to brace herself with one hand threaded in his hair and the other held tight to his shoulder. She shuddered and panted as he moved his attentions lower, tracing the lines of her rib cage with teeth and tongue, dipping and nipping at her navel while strong hands held her hips, held her down as though she'd flee. He paused at the waist of her knickers, eyes burning a path from one hip to the other as he studied them.

The moment's pause had Hermione's insecurities returning for the first time since he'd touched her, that traitorous little voice in the back of her head telling her how unappealing, how plain and dull and boring she was. Weren't her modest little white cotton knickers proof enough of that? But as she lifted herself up to look and caught the expression on Lucius' face, that horrible little voice went and crawled right under that rock with her rational mind.

He looked positively feral, pupils blown in those fierce grey eyes as they raked her body again and again, finally coming to rest on her own wide, doe brown eyes. Without breaking eye contact, seemingly without even breathing, Lucius slowly and purposefully hooked his fingers under the hem of her knickers and slowly, torturously slow, drug them down, over her hips and down her legs until, eyes still welded to hers, he tucked her sweet and virginal white knickers in his pocket with something like triumph in his eyes.

They kept that eye contact, even as he licked a firm, long, flat-tongued stroke right where she needed him most. His tongue flicked out over her clit and she cried out, hips jerking and head slamming back against the table. She tangled one hand in his hair and the other in her own as he worked her quickly and furiously to a sharp and almost painful climax, her cries just barely muffled as she turned her face into her arm, biting down on the soft flesh there.

She was floating, drained and high in the wake of her first full-blown orgasm when he pulled her up into a sitting position at the edge of the table. She wrapped her arms loosely around his neck, sparing just the briefest moment to wonder when he'd gotten undressed when he kissed her again, hungry and fierce and tasting of her, and she thrilled at it, sucking his tongue eagerly into her mouth while he aligned himself between her legs.

Lucius pulled out of the kiss, whispered a soft incantation she couldn't quite make out, and then snapped his hips forward, burying himself to the hilt inside her.

Hermione braced herself for pain, ripping tearing bleeding, but none came. All she felt was a deep and warm throb, a foreign stretch and a million nerves lighting up like a muggle Christmas tree—but no pain.

"How…clever." She gasped against his chest.

Lucius wound his fingers in her hair, tilting her head back to look at him. His expression was strained, his brow dotted with sweat, but undeniably triumphant. He let out a low, breathy chuckle. "Still so much to learn, little witch."

And the last coherent thought in her over-heated brain was cocky bastard as he then set up a teasing rhythm that slowly grew, faster and harder until she was clutching at his hips, urging him on breathlessly. Without slowing his gait, he eased her back against the table, one hand on her hip, the other where their bodies met, tracing circles around her oversensitive clitoris until she was gasping out her release, eyes clenched shut, body flushed and sated.

She barely registered the stuttering of Lucius' hips, the gasp and low moan as he leant over her, resting his head below her chin, lazily mouthing at her breast while they both caught their breath.

Hermione, exhausted and boneless in an entirely unfamiliar way, drifted into a sort of half-sleep still atop the table, rousing only when Lucius gently pulled her forward, slipping her jersey back over her head. He'd put his trousers on again, the black dress shirt draped casually over his shoulder, dark hair still in disarray from the hold she'd had on it.

She bit back a suddenly nervous smile (silly to be nervous now that her clothes were back on), letting out a squeaked "Oh!" as he lifted her from the table and carried her across the kitchen to the stairs.

"You did, I believe, wish to be in bed before dawn?" His voice had lost the condescending undercurrent for once, instead replaced with a roughness she secretly thought suited him much better.

She just nodded against his shoulder, so he carried her silently (how does he move so quietly) up the stairs and to her room, only setting her down once he'd reached the bed, and then sliding in wordlessly behind her, curling an arm around her waist and pulling her snugly against him.

This, Hermione thought, was much more shocking than anything else that'd happened that night, but she felt so warm and safe, tucked away in the arms of a most unlikely bedmate, that she drifted off into a deep sleep none-the-less. She never was quite sure if Lucius actually woke her at dawn for a much more leisurely round of—shagging? love-making? she wasn't sure—or if she'd merely dreamt it, but when she awoke later that morning to voices in the kitchen below her, she was alone, the only evidence of their coupling a dull throb between her legs and her absent knickers.


Awkward silence reigned throughout the morning, though Lucius' eyes continually followed Hermione as she helped prepare the fidelius ritual. As the protective magic now coursing through her limbs encircled the small family, she felt her cheeks, her body, grow warm at the intimacy of the connection. When she looked up again, Lucius' sharp eyes looked as fevered as she felt, and, standing in front of his wife and child, she felt the heavy weight of shame settle in her stomach.

She wrote out their new address, a modest country house outside a small, New England town, and handed it over to Lucius, quickly turning away to busy herself washing up after breakfast. She jumped so violently when Draco appeared beside her that she nearly broke the dishes she was clearing. He offered a contrite little smile, and she grudgingly gave one back.

"Why not use magic? You're of age now, aren't you?" He motioned to the sink of soapy water she now had her hands immersed in.

Hermione shrugged. "I don't know, I guess I like the ritual of it. Reminds me of my mum."

Draco nodded, though she doubted he really understood her. "Listen Granger—er, Hermione. Thanks. For…you know."

"Happy to help." She looked up at him, shuffling his feet with obvious nerves and discomfort, and let out a sigh. "You're doing the right thing, Draco. Everything will be alright, you'll see."

"Yeah…" he turned a strained smile at her. "Try not to get yourself killed, alright?"

Hermione laughed and flicked a clump of bubbles at him. "Yeah, you too."

He smirked at her, gave her a little nudge with his shoulder, then crossed the room to double check the baggage. Hermione dried her hands and turned to find Narcissa watching her with a curious little smile. It was more amused than malicious, but Hermione felt her stomach turn guiltily anyway.

Suddenly, Dumbledore entered the room carrying a half-deflated American football. Draco eyed it in confusion while Lucius rolled his eyes disdainfully.

"Due to depart in three minutes, I suggest you all get ready."

Lucius caught Hermione's eye, looking like he wanted a private word, but she cut him off with a forcedly casual "Be good now. Remember, you don't want to draw attention to yourselves."

Lucius ignored her comment and, in a voice full of suggestion, said "I'll see you when the war's over."

Hermione swallowed nervously as the elder Malfoy joined Draco at the portkey. Narcissa approached her then, offering a kiss on each cheek and a slight squeeze of Hermione's shoulders. "Take care, Hermione. He may be a madman, but he's no fool."

Hermione nodded soberly, and Narcissa joined the others ready to depart. She smiled over at Draco and drawled, "You weren't lying when you called her verbose, were you? Do remember a silencing charm next time, won't you Lucius?"

Draco's eyes bugged out of his head and Hermione choked violently mid-breath, but Lucius offered a placid, self-satisfied smile, directed right at her. "Next time." He replied with a promise that made Hermione's cheeks flood with warmth and her knees threaten to buckle. His smirk softened ever so slightly and then, with a flash of blue, they were gone.