Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I make no money from this work.
AN: I offer unending thanks and virtual chocolate for my wonderful beta Clarivoyant.
Hermione arranged herself artfully across Severus Snape's sofa, her legs rubbing sensuously against the soft fur throw draped over it. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon chilled nearby, and candles were lit and scattered randomly around the room. The scene of seduction had been set.
The only problem was the 'seductee' had yet to put in an appearance, and truthfully, Hermione felt a bit apprehensive as to how Severus would react. The longer she waited, the more nervous she became until she began to worry that she had made a serious error in judgment, thinking she could pull this off.
Hermione had been working for Severus as his senior lab assistant—well, his only lab assistant really—for the past two and a half years. She had been secretly lusting for him for the past two years, five months and twenty-seven days. She probably should have resigned her position as soon as she realized, but she just couldn't bring herself to do that. She'd told herself that at least this way she got to see him everyday, even if she didn't stand a chance in hell of it ever becoming anything more.
About six months ago, however, things had changed dramatically. Lucius Malfoy had come home to England from his estates in France. Hermione had heard the rumors that he and Narcissa had split up and that she had demanded the chateau as part of the divorce settlement. Since his return, he had been spending an inordinate amount of time with Severus, popping into his office at all times of the day, hanging around the lab for hours on end, making a general nuisance of himself, in her opinion at least.
Hermione had avoided the sexy blond pure-blood at first, had tried to convince herself she shouldn't trust him and she definitely shouldn't like him. But but for some odd reason, she did. He was smooth and charming and engaging. It had taken some time, but he had eventually wrangled himself into her good graces. It was clear that Severus was much happier these days, and a happy Snape made for a more pleasant work environment. Lately, the two of them had taken to teasing Hermione, and if she didn't know any better, she would have thought they were flirting outrageously with her.
In the beginning she'd believed that she must have imagined it all, but eventually, after spending two years, five months and twenty five days lusting after him, she convinced herself that seducing Severus Snape was a very fine idea indeed. So two days ago, in typical Hermione fashion, she had planned this seduction scenario right down to the smallest detail: from her curls carefully arranged in a casual disarray, to her subtle made-up with smoky eye shadow, soft blush and shimmery lip gloss, to her deep bronze-colored brocade corset with a matching skimpy skirt that barely covered her arse, all the way down to her feet clad in sexy four inch heels. Now, however, she had a sudden flash of sanity, and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was a really, really bad idea.
Terrified, she leaped off the couch, doused the candles with her wand and went to vanish the wine but then decided, hell, she'd paid an exorbitant amount for that vintage, she might as well take it home and drown her sorrows. Just as she reached for the bottle, the Floo flared to life. She tried desperately to Disapparate only to realize that Severus had set anti-Apparition wards over his house.
"Severus," whined Lucius, "I can't believe you interrupted the wonderful dinner I had planned for us to drag me over here."
"I'm telling you, Lucius, someone has breached my wards and I intend to catch the bastard."
Hermione stood staring like a deer in the headlights. There was nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, she was trapped. She clutched the bottle of wine and squared her shoulders; she lifted her chin to face her end like a true Gryffindor. "Hello, Severus... Lucius, lovely night, isn't it?"
"Hermione, what are you doing here? Someone tampered with my wards; did you catch the intruder?"
Hermione gulped. "I... no... it was... I mean..."
As Hermione stammered and looked decidedly guilty, Lucius' eyes scanned the room. He took in the candles recently extinguished but still smoking, the fur tossed casually across the sofa, the bottle of wine and two crystal glasses, and Hermione dressed in an outfit that he could only have imagined in his most lascivious fantasies. This was a scene set for seduction, or he would eat his wand. He clasped his hand on Severus shoulder and motioned to the room with a jerk of his eyes.
Although Severus took the time to glance around and see the exact same thing as Lucius, he immediately jumped to a completely different conclusion. "What the hell is going on here, Granger?" he growled coldly. "Is this some kind of sick joke?"
"A joke?" Hermione looked puzzled. "No, Severus. Why would you think..."
"What then? Did you lose a bet to your little buddies? Is Potter here hiding under that bloody cloak somewhere, waiting to have a good laugh at the greasy git?"
"What? No, of course not," declared Hermione. "How can you even think something like that?"
"Severus, don't...," Lucius began, trying to stop his friend before he did irreparable damage.
"Well, why else would you show up here all tarted up in that ridiculous outfit if not to make me the brunt of some vicious prank. Were you going to show them a Pensieve memory while you all had a good laugh at my expense?" he sneered. "I can think of no other reason for you to show up in my home decked out like a Knockturn Alley..."
Hermione flinched as if he had slapped her, the hurt on her face immediately apparent.
"Severus, don't," Lucius repeated sharply, covering his face with his hand and shaking his head in dismay.
In that instant Severus had a sudden flashback to his teenage years. He heard himself lashing out at Lily Evans, saying things to cut her, hurt her. He realized that once again he'd just made a horrible mistake.
Blinking back her tears, Hermione steeled herself and straighten her spine as she responded, "From your comments and actions recently, I actually thought that you were attracted to me. Clearly, I was mistaken, what a fool I've been. Perhaps it was you and Mr. Malfoy who were having a bit of fun at my expense. Knowing what you really think of me..." She muffled a sob before continuing, "I will owl you my resignation in the morning. Under the circumstances I really d—don't feel I can o—offer the traditional two weeks notice. I do apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you, Mr. Snape." She attempted to Disapparate, but in her desperation she had forgotten about the anti-Apparition wards.
"Hermione, wait, please...," Severus said, reaching for her to stop her from leaving.
"Oh, fuck it all!" she exclaimed in frustration, pushing him away. "And fuck you too, Severus Snape!" she cried as she dashed out the front door.
In disbelief Lucius looked at Severus and asked, "How is it you have gained such a reputation for keen intelligence when you are clearly a blithering idiot?"
"Why didn't you stop me?" demanded Severus.
"I tried, but you wouldn't listen," responded Lucius.
"I thought you were my friend. You should have Stupefied me. What am I going to do now?" moaned Severus, his face cradled in his hands.
"Well, go after the girl, for Salazar's sake," ordered Lucius. "Else we'll never get the chance to see her in those lovely skimpy clothes ever again. How could you say those things to her, Severus? It was really quite cruel. I'm surprised she didn't hex you; I know I would have."
"I don't know," he moaned. "I really am an idiot. When I looked around and saw the scene set for seduction, I just immediately assumed she was having me on and it was some kind of joke. Then I got so angry I just lost it and said things intended to hurt her. Merlin, I've truly ruined everything."
"No, I refuse to accept that. Get up off your arse and go after her, I say," demanded Lucius.
"And what am I supposed to say to her? She'll never forgive me now."
"Well, you'll never know if you don't try. Beg, grovel, kiss her toes if you must. Hell, I'll even help you. Damn it all, Severus, I know you want her as much as I do. Let's go find her. Maybe we can trace her Apparition trail, come on."
Lucius strode to the door and flung it open only to find Hermione there huddled on the front step sobbing her heart out. Slipping his robe off, he sat next to her and wrapped it around her shoulders to protect her from the chill night air.
Hermione stiffened when she felt Lucius sit next to her, but then she relaxed and melted against him as he put an arm around her in comfort. She knew it was Lucius without even looking, she could tell by his scent. She would know either of them, even if she were blindfolded. Lucius smelled of fine silks and parchment, of sandalwood and dark amber with just a hint of patchouli. Severus smelled of fresh spring rain, herbs and spice and evergreen and a tiny bit of wood smoke.
"I can't believe I found you here. We thought you would be long gone," said Lucius, holding her close. Her body still shuddered intermittently in the aftermath of her tears.
"Fucking shoes," muttered Hermione, scrubbing at her eyes with the heels of her hands. "I twisted my ankle coming off the step. I'm not used to such high heels; I can't believe I thought I could pull this off. I must have looked so ridiculous to you two. I'm so pathetic." Fresh tears glistened on her cheeks as Lucius pointed his wand at her swollen ankle and whispered a healing spell.
"Heels like that take some getting used to, I'm sure. You just need practice, that's all," he assured her kindly.
"I suppose. Walk before you run and all that," she replied with a little sniffle. "Still, I guess I must be some kind of fool. I actually thought I looked good—sexy even. I just wanted him to want me. Instead, I came across like some cheap two Sickle wh—whor—whore!"
Severus had followed Lucius but stayed back in doorway watching as he comforted Hermione, not knowing what to say. He hated dealing with a woman's tears, especially when he was the cause of them. But upon hearing her denigrate herself, he could stand it no longer.
He sat down behind her and wrapped his arms around her pulling her back into his embrace. She stiffened and struggled a bit at first but then sat rigidly in his arms as he crooned in her ear.
"Shhhh... I'm sorry, Hermione, I'm so sorry. You didn't look at all like a... Well, you didn't. I shouldn't have ever said those things. You look beautiful, so beautiful, sweetheart... Shhhh... I didn't realize... I thought you were toying with me. Shit, Hermione... Please stop crying... Shit... Please. I'll beg, I'll grovel, I'll even kiss your toes."
At his final comment Hermione couldn't help it, she burst into a fit of giggles. "You'll kiss my toes?"
"That one was my idea, well, so were the begging and groveling actually. But I agreed to help him with the toe kissing," offered Lucius, seriously, as he removed her shoe and took her foot onto his lap. He massaged her sore ankle and the arch of her foot, making her groan in pleasure.
Severus whispered as he held her in his arms. "Please don't leave me, sweet. Don't. Say you'll stay and let me make it up to you," he promised.
"Who are you, and what have you done with my Severus?" she demanded suspiciously.
"Your Severus?" he repeated with a little smile. He felt more confident now that she might be willing to forgive him.
"You know, the gruff, grumpy, sarcastic one."
"Oh, you mean the one who nearly lost me my best girl and my senior lab assistant in one fell swoop? He's still around somewhere, but I'm not letting him out until I know for sure you're going to forgive him."
Hermione recalled a story of another time and another girl he'd intentionally hurt in a fit of anger, of a time when he'd sat outside Gryffindor tower to beg for forgiveness and had it cruelly denied him by a girl who'd claimed to be his friend. Well, she was no Lily Evans, she understood the importance of forgiveness. At her little nod of agreement, both he and Lucius sighed in relief.
"Come then, let us retire to the manor. The dinner I arranged earlier is surely ruined but perhaps we can salvage something of it. We'll have a picnic on the the rug before the the fireplace, and we'll share Hermione's wine," he added as he examined the bottle sitting next to them. "Oh, my dear, this is a very fine vintage indeed. I'm sure Severus can find a potion that will help your ankle, and while it's healing we'll make sure you get plenty of pampering, and comforting, and personal attention for the rest of the weekend."
In the blink of an eye, he whisked them all away.
Hermione's ankle was much better, thanks to Lucius' healing spell, but Severus insisted that he get her a potion to reduce any residual pain and swelling.
True to his word, Lucius arranged a lovely informal meal, picnic style, in front of the fireplace in the massive Malfoy library.
While Severus was gone Lucius settled next to her on the rug. Pouring her a glass of wine, he sat quite close to her, making Hermione more than just a bit nervous. While she had intentionally set out this evening to seduce Severus and had been flattered previously by the two of them flirting with her, she had never really considered the idea of Lucius' involvement in the matter. Inching away a bit, she set her wine down and asked, "Is there somewhere I might freshen up? I must look a fright, I'm usually not like that. I hate for people to see me cry, I don't do so gracefully."
"Of course, my dear," he replied, helping her to her feet. "I'll have one of the elves show you to your room. You may return here to join Severus and myself at your leisure."
"My room?" she asked.
"Well, I had assumed—hoped—that you would consider staying with us here at the manor, for tonight at least, or for the entire weekend if you would like. There was pampering promised, as I recall. I thought you might like your own room, however, for privacy if you wished it."
"Oh," she nodded at his explanation, "of course, how generous, thank you."
Lucius' hand reached out to caress her cheek, his fingers tipping her face up so that he could look into her eyes. "Hermione, nothing will happen tonight unless you desire it. I promise you, no harm will come to you here."
Rather than reassure her, his words made her pulse flutter wildly against his fingers. "Thank you, Lucius. I think... I think I would like to go up to my room, just to get cleaned up a bit, if you wouldn't mind."
"Certainly, my dear," he replied, gently stroking down her jawline and across her collarbone, his fingers tracing lightly over the top edge of her corset. "Treeny, please show Miss Granger to her room."
Severus returned to find Lucius alone in the library. "Where...?"
"Don't panic, she has only gone upstairs to freshen up. She'll be down again shortly," explained Lucius as he handed his friend a glass of Firewhisky. "Here, I thought you might need something a bit stronger than wine."
Severus sat on the sofa, taking a sip of the fiery liquor, feeling it burn all the way down before the resulting warmth settled in his belly. "Ahhh... Thank you, I needed that."
"Severus, I think that Hermione may be feeling a bit intimidated by my presence, so perhaps it would be best if I retired for the night and let you two get to know each other better."
Severus replied, "Lucius, I've known the girl since she was eleven years old, and we've worked together for two and a half years; we know each other quite well."
"I meant on a more intimate level, you dunderhead. It took more than a bit of courage to plan what she did tonight at your home, but even so, she was counting on seducing one wizard to her bed not two. I just think, at first, the two of us together might be a bit overwhelming. It may be more perhaps than even her vaunted Gryffindor courage can manage.
"Severus, I know that you desire her. You deserve to find happiness; I don't want to ruin that for you. If needs be, I will stay out of the picture. I will step aside."
Severus pondered Lucius' words briefly before laying his hand on top of his friend's hand. "No, that was a mistake we made years ago with Narcissa, keeping our relationship a secret. If Hermione will have me on my own, so be it, but it will have to be with the knowledge of what is between you and I. Whatever happens, I won't begin it on a lie."
Upstairs Hermione paced back and forth. She had convinced herself three different times that the best course of action would be to beat a hasty retreat, but she'd talked herself out of it three times. She wanted Severus, she had for two years, five months and twenty-seven days. It would be crazy of her to walk away now when she was so close to getting him. However, throwing Lucius into the mix had knocked her for a loop. Harmless flirting was one thing, but what was in store for her downstairs was so much more than that.
Hermione was no innocent; she'd had her share of sex and even a few longer-term relationships as well, although none of those had lasted. She'd even dated a couple different guys in the time since she'd started working with Severus; her lust for her boss had been unrequited and a witch had needs, after all. None of that even came close to what she was considering now. She would be joining with two sexy, experienced, sexy, handsome, complex, sexy, domineering, powerful, sexy wizards. She shivered at thought.
Sitting at the dressing table, she weighed her options; it all seemed so complicated. She could just leave, but then she'd most likely never have another chance at fulfilling her lustful fantasies with Severus. She could continue on the same level she'd been on with Severus and Lucius for the last several months, but that would most likely be frustrating for all involved. She could choose Severus and not Lucius, but how long would he be happy with that sort of arrangement? And the truth of the matter was she was attracted to Lucius too, she just had never really given the idea serious consideration before this. She hadn't realized it might be an option.
Hermione's brow furrowed in concentration as she tried to make sense of it all, suddenly her face broke into a big goofy grin. "The simplest answer is most often correct. So, what is the simplest answer? Severus and Lucius are both attracted to me. I am attracted to Severus. If I am truly honest with myself, I am attracted to Lucius also. They want me, I want them. It doesn't get much more simple than that. Problem solved."
"Treeny!" Hermione asked the house-elf to show her how to get back downstairs; now that she'd finally made up her mind, she didn't want to spend the rest of the night lost and wandering around the manor.
Hermione strolled into the library, drawing the attention of her two wizards. She'd considered transfiguring her outfit into something more conservative, but had ultimately decided conservative simply wasn't going to get her what she wanted. Her only concession, therefore, had been to make the heels lower, figuring that breaking her ankle walking down the stairs would be counter-productive to her short-term plans of being shagged senseless.
"Hello, Severus, Lucius," she greeted them with a teasing smile. "I'm sorry to have kept you boys waiting for so long; I had some serious thinking to do," she continued in a soft, sexy voice. "Oh, I hope there's some of that picnic left, I find that I'm quite famished, and I do believe we're all going to need lots of energy this evening."
They glanced at each other with smirks playing at the corners of their mouths. Things were looking up.
They both came forward, each taking one of her hands to lead her over to the rug where their picnic awaited them under a stasis charm. After getting her settled, Lucius fixed her a plate of nibbles from which they all proceeded to feed each other as they sipped their wine and talked. Soon they set the food aside, and Severus removed her shoes to apply a topical potion to the slight swelling that remained in her injured ankle.
"What lovely shoes, my dear, sensible and attractive as well," complimented Lucius as he drew her other foot into his lap to massage it gently.
"Yes, and so much safer for clumsy witches. Ummmm... That feels marvelous," she purred. "I do believe I recall something being said earlier... What was it? Something about pampering, and comforting, and being the center of someone's attention."
"Ah, yes, sweet. I do believe kissing of toes was promised and kissing of other things implied as well," murmured Severus as he proceeded to kiss the tip of each perfect pink toe before he began to nibble his way up her feet, over her ankles, to her knees, up her thighs, until he was easing the bottom of her short skirt even higher as he gave Lucius a wink.
Lucius had abandoned her left foot to slide up and snuggle next to her as he began to nuzzle and suckle at her earlobe. Soon he moved on to her neck and down to her collarbone, where his fingers had stroked her earlier, then lower still to kiss and lick along the top of her corset before he began to pop the closures one by one.
Hermione's last coherent thoughts, before she was overcome by the attentions of her two sexy wizards, were of a Muggle acronym she'd heard once. KISS: keep it simple stupid. Why hadn't she realized how very true it was? The simplest answer is most often correct.
AN: This story was written for hpcon_envy at LJ. It was the combinagtion of three separate prompts.
Part 1: For Blueartemis07, prompt: ss/hg/lm: corset, wine, fur.
Part 2: For Aleysiasnape, prompt: ss/hg/lm: manor, potions, fireplace, rug.
Part 3: For Junewilliams, prompt: ss/hg and lm/hg: which will Hermione pick? Word prompts: Occam's Razor
Occam's Razor: The common interpretation of Occam's Razor is that when all other things are equal, the simplest solution is probably right. More accurately, but in less common use, Occam's Razor says that one should choose the hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions.