ONE YEAR LATER
Hermione sighed as she sank into the hot bath and released her heavy curls from the tight chignon it was constricted to during the day. Their lives have done a 180 turn almost overnight it seemed to her, and all their previous plans were now but a memory, but she could not have been happier even if she tried.
After they finished brewing the potion, the war took less than a week to end. Her poisons were finally taking their victims and both the Carrows and the Malfoys were dead, leaving Draco in charge of the Malfoy family, and Severus with Hogwarts that was surprisingly easy to take back for the light side. One could say it was not even a battle, the few guards were so easily overpowered, and the bodies of the evil siblings were sent to Voldemort. Of course snake-face raved and raided, but in the end it made him more distracted and vulnerable to their plan. Severus, as he was the more suitable one of the dark mark bearers in their household, polyjuiced as Rebastan did not fail them. They have watched his memories with great satisfaction, as Voldemort's inhuman body contorted with pain and the bright light enveloped him. He was dead and gone, for good now.
It did not take them long to round up the remaining Death Eaters and shove them once more into Azkaban where they belonged. Draco's and Severus' names were cleared of any possible charges, the dark marks simply disappeared from their arms, only leaving behind a nasty scar. Magical Britain was on its way to recovery, and so were their minds and hearts.
As Hermione predicted, Arthur has become the next Minister of Magic, and surprisingly or maybe not really, he chose Hermione as his secretary and advisor. Along with Kingsley, they completely changed the face of the ministry, making it once more an honourable institution, and reconstructed the whole infrastructure. As was her wish, a committee for law revision was set up, Kingsley chose a whole new team of Aurors, many of their friends who fought in the battle choosing to join the forces, and even prepared a proposal for the S.W.A.T team that was soon to be approved by the Wizengamot. Anyone in association with Voldemort, or who showed support of his regime was immediately fired, and the departments once again became neutral political grounds. Hermione herself met with the muggle prime Minister and explained the situation to him, offering especially to the city of London that had suffered greatly a financial retribution. Muggle relations once again a peaceful affair, Hermione still had much work to do during the day.
Harry and Draco have decided to completely change their lives and not get involved in anymore fighting or politics, start anew with dating, and build a home for themselves. It took them 6 long months to renovate the Manor completely, before moving in along with Hermione and Severus who really had nowhere else to go for the moment. After that, they got a bit bored however. So they decided to buy a large hall in Diagon Alley and transformed it into one of the most popular and stylish clubs Magical Britain knew. Draco took care of the finances and hiring of dancers, while Harry tended to the bars and their staff. They were young, hot, rich and happily married. Hermione was proud to call them brothers.
Severus decided not to return to teaching and left the running of Hogwarts to Minerva who rebuilt the school and got some young blood involved in teaching, such as Nevil Longbottom or Luna Lovegood who were now the favourite residing couple. Hermione was happy to see her friends all getting on the path they wanted in a free spirit. And what pleased her even more was Severus himself. He had opened his own Apocathery, experimented with new potions and the wrinkles around his eyes seemed to all but disappeared. He was a man with no master, no obligations but the ones he dictated, and was currently courting Hermione as custom apparently dictated as well. A part of her was rejoicing that he was taking the time to get to know her, to lavish her with conversation ,attention and gifts. Another part of her was starting to desire him greatly and she hoped they could move forward in this department as well. Kisses were exchanged regularly, and a close intimate embrace was not foreign to them in long evenings, but she wanted more. She was a young woman, and they have their needs. Perhaps tonight could be the means.
Gentle knocking on her door interrupted her thoughts and she called for the person to come in, her nude form mostly covered by bubbles. Ginny stepped inside and smiled at her friend, before taking a seat on the closed lid of the toilet. "I brought you the dress we saw last week in muggle London. Think it's time to show it off?" she grinned conspirationally.
Hermione smiled and worked some shampoo into her hair. "Well it is a red and gold party night, I wouldn't want to disappoint." she winked.
Ginny laughed softly. "I am sure you wouldn't. What does your man have to say about coming to a Gryffindor themed party, where he will see his lovely girlfriend getting loose on the dance floor?" her tone teasing.
Hermione flicked some bubbly water at the redhead, making her squeak and jump up. "He has been a bit grumpy for about a week now, I don't think he's too happy about it but that's his problem. Tonight, we're going to pretend like we're just a bunch of your people getting drunk on the music, and possibly a few shots of tequilla. God I haven't done this since I was fifteen.." she sighed and stepped out of the bath to dry.
"You went clubbing when you were fifteen?" Ginny asked her, shocked at the things she learnt from the brunette. They have become very close friends, especially over the last year as Ginny had joined the Aurors with her boyfriend Dean, and they met on daily basis around the ministry.
"Oh yes. When I was in France, I made a friend. Her name was Edith and we went clubbing every night of the week. She was a go-go dancer in one of the local clubs and taught me a few tricks." she winked as she toweled herself dry, pulling another one over the mass of her hair.
"I am so jealous right now...I doubt Severus will be able to stand it for much longer either. I know he's like 38 or something, but he's a man. I give him an hour, no more." Ginny said with much persuasion as she observed her eyebrows in the mirror.
"I doubt he will be that easy to break. He is a bit old fashioned, which I love. But I could use a break spent in bed. I don't have to be in work for a week, and while Severus will be busy some days out of that, I plan to spend a lot of time with him." Hermione replied, rubbing some shimmering lotion into her arms and legs.
"Let's make a bet. If he lasts an hour or less, I win, and you will bring me my favourite soya latte to work for a week after your holiday is finished." Ginny grinned.
Hermione caught onto her game quickly, glad for the little intrigue. "Alright, but if he lasts longer than an hour, I win, and you will not be able to ask me about my sex life for a whole week after my holiday." Hermione grinned evilly. This was going to be interesting, and she knew well it would be killing Ginny to not be able to have their girl talk.
Ginny considered her terms for a moment before turning around and offering her hand. "Deal. Shake on it and it's binding."
Hermione shook her hand and they grinned at each other. "Let the games begin." she winked and watched Ginny leave to get ready as well.
It was nearing 9 in the evening, the official time for the start of the party and Hermione was taking her sweet time. Harry was leaning against the wall, Draco resting his head against his shoulder and Severus was pacing. It was another historical day, one could say. Draco promised Harry he will make it worth his while if he dressed in red jeans with him and after a week of pleading Harry could take it no more and agreed to the silliness of his husband. He thought the red and gold theme did not apply to the hosts of the party, but apparently Draco would have none of that attitude. They even persuaded Severus to go along with it and Draco obtained a nice wine-coloured shirt for the man to go with his black dress pants. His godfather did sometimes give him a headache, but they hoped the man will loosen up once he sees the crowd in the club from their VIP balcony seats, and let his girlfriend have some fun.
"Oh for Heaven's sake, stop pacing Severus. You are making me feel nervous and I own the place." Harry grumbled at the potion master.
"Yes, and you are also married to the other owner of the club, who can't run away from you with someone younger and more attractive." Severus replied sarcastically, clearly nervous about this whole affair.
Harry frowned. "Do you think so little of my sister?" he asked, dangerously softly.
Severus looked up and shook his head. "I do not doubt her principles or morals." he replied.
"Then stop doubting yourself, Sev. Hermione is not gonna go to a party and end up with someone else just because they are her age and as hot as me." Draco grinned. "You should know she puts little value on physical attraction and age."
"Do I hear my name?" Hermione smiled as she came down the stairs, making jaws drop momentarily. Her hair was styled in wild curls and waves around her head like a lion's mane, her skin glistening slightly, her legs long in the red pumps, and the golden dress criminally short, revealing most of her bare back, hanging only by one strap around her neck.
"I was wrong Severus, you are doomed." Draco grinned and stepped forward to take her hand and help her down the last of the marble stairs. "My gorgeous sister, you will the center of attention at the party." he winked.
Hermione grinned. "Just wait until you see Ginny." he winked.
Harry stepped forward and kissed her cheek. "I think Severus' jaw still needs picking up." he grinned before leaning closer to whisper in her ear. "Do try to return him in one piece tomorrow morning."
She slapped his arm for the cheek and turned to Severus who cleared his throat and stood a little closer. "My lady." he offered her his hand.
Hermione smiled and accepted it. "Loosen up Severus. We are just going to let off some steam and come home, I promise." she chuckled, enjoying his unease and silent appraisal before they apparated straight into their booth with Draco's special portkey.
The floor was already filled with more than 400 people, the music sounding over the speakers and bartenders busy pouring drinks. Their friends were already in the booth with the first round. Luna and Neville were happily sharing an armchair, the pretty blond in a bright silver dress, always one to go against the stream. Seamus and Hannah Abbot were dancing to the side while Ginny was just lighting up a cigarette while Dean talked to Blaise Zabini about the new Auror regulations.
"There you are!" Ginny grinned and jumped up, her dress a twin of Hermione's, only bright red to compliment her hair.
Hermione hugged her and leaned close so her words were only for the redhead. "I think you might yet win this bet." she grinned cheekily before turning to find a seat for her and Severus on the spare love seat.
Draco stood up close to the railing and grabbed a muggle microphone to greet the crowd, motioning for the music to pause. "Good evening Wizarding London!" he called, getting the crowd roaring and whistling. "Tonight we welcome you to the first night of this week long celebration. As we all know, it is nearing the first anniversary of the end of the war. And we are going to celebrate and party all night long in the memory of those who died, and be grateful to be alive! Let the party begin!" he hollered and the crowd echoed him as the next song begun.
Sexin' on the dance floor
Gettin' hot hot sexin' on the dance floor
Gettin' hot hot sexin' on the dance floor
You got me lookin'
Dancin' like she don't give a damn
Her body's workin'
Bumpin' to the sound of my jam
She got me sweatin'
And she don't even know who I am, I am, I-I-I a-am
"Oh my God, I love this song!" Ginny shouted over the loud beat and grabbed Hermione's hand after they knocked back a shot of Tequilla. They made their way to the dance floor to enjoy themselves.
Severus stood from his seat and joined Harry who was sipping at his double scotch and watching the great turn out tonight. They both followed Ginny and Hermione with their gaze, watching as the crowd parted for the two war heroines and formed a circle around them as they begun dancing. Ginny looked stunning in the red, the dimmed lighting of the club making her body look as if it was being licked by fire as she jumped and twisted into the beat. Hermione had picked up the more sultry undertone of the song, her golden dress glittering and reflecting light as her hips swayed and long legs crouched slightly, giving to the music that carried her.
Severus took the glass from Harry and knocked back the whole content before turning to get another one. Harry grinned momentarily, thinking of his own bet with Draco. He remembered the times Hermione would send him teasing smiles and looks, knowing it was Severus now on the receiving end of her attention. The young man had come to terms with Hermione taking a firm place in his life as a sister and even pitied Severus slightly. The woman was a true lioness at heart, and if the potion master was not careful, she would swallow him up like a berry. No pun intended. And so far, it appeared Severus was on the right path by courting her. But he knew Hermione's wilder side was finally pushing to the surface, it was only a matter of time until her game of seduction would begin. Severus stood no chance.
And Harry's predictions were fulfilled when the girls spent another hour on the dance floor, moving to sultry beats and letting the crowd move in closer, men and women alike rubbing against them in the heat of the sweaty bodies. He watched the girls make their way up to them for a bit of a break for their feet and most likely to get some more drinks. Hermione however did not even have time to reach for another drink, before Severus embraced her and they disappeared with a crack.
Harry smiled at the sound, his eyes still on the crowd when he felt the pale arms of his husband wound around his belly from behind. "Pay up lover." Draco whispered into his ear, worrying the lobe with his teeth cheekily.
The brunet turn around in the embrace and Draco, nibbling on his bottom lip. "I would, but that would involve getting dirty, and our sister dearest is doing enough of that currently in the Manor." he replied just as teasingly.
Draco pouted a moment before satisfying himself with curling into his husband's chest. "Alright, I give them a couple of hours to damage whatever surface they choose. But then we're going home and you're mine. A bet is a bet."
"I wouldn't have it any other way." Harry smiled, holding the blond close.
"You will be the death of me woman.." Severus whispered, both of them still trying to catch their breath. He licked the few drops of perspiration from her neck, leaning back to lie down with Hermione settled on his chest after the hours of vigorous love making.
Hermione chuckled. "The same could be said about you. I don't think I can move my legs." she said, her lips pressing against his breastbone as her fingers carded through the smattering of dark hair on his chest.
"Just as well. I intend to keep them in such a state at all times to prevent you from dancing." he drawled, his heartbeat finally calming beneath Hermione's ear.
"Did you not enjoy yourself in the club?" she asked innocently, but squealed the next moment as he pinched her right cheek.
"Wench. You know full well what effect you have on me." he replied, burying his hand into the mass of her damp curls, letting them tickle his ribs.
"The dress was worth it then, but you did ruin it. I will have to go shopping with Ginny again." she teased.
Severus remained silent a moment before pulling her chin up to look at him. "Bear in mind I would appreciate to see green on you next time. And black.." he added, his hands cupping a tender breast.
Hermione hummed, the devious twinkle back in her eyes. "That can be arranged. I intend to be my husband's pride one day. Just bear in mind I can be quite impatient." she whispered.
Not one for romantic displays like all the Gryffindors, Severus flicked his wrist and summoned the engagement ring, a simple white gold band set with diamonds and sapphires. "How about next month?" he asked.
Hermione grinned. Oh yes, this was the life...
AN: A huge thank you to all the followers for taking their time to encourage my writing and enjoying the story. Also much thanks for the wonderful reviews, I hope to write another story for you all to read soon :)
Raven Borgia xx