Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any IP relating to it. I'm just borrowing the characters for my own enjoyment.
A/N- This story wanted to be a oneshot but I left too much unsettled so I've got to make it a twoshot. I thought this would be a nice little nugget for folks to enjoy. Anyway, this is post-Hogwarts (obviously) and (again, obviously) AU. I say Epilogue? What Epilogue? I prefer to pretend that horrifying little bit never happened. Makes me feel better that way.
Oh! And if you like Harry, well, you're not going to like him in this story (or at least this part as I have not written the second completely and so I can't comment as to whether he changes). I make no apologies. Things go as they go. Also- Fred, Tonks, Remus, and Snape are all alive. The next part comes...when I finish it, I'd say. Maybe posting this will motivate me to finally buckle down and finish it.
-Five Years After the War-
Harry Potter was sitting in the maternity ward of St. Mungo's, waiting with the rest of the Weasley family for Percy's wife Audrey to have their baby, when Draco Malfoy suddenly rushed into the room and ran to the mediwitches' desk, "My wife was brought in by my father. Where is she? Is she okay?"
"Calm down Mr. Malfoy…"
Malfoy's nostrils flared but a mediwitch stepped forward, "Mr. Malfoy, she's in Room 5 but you can't go in until you're calm. Take a deep breath." Harry stared as Malfoy obeyed the mediwitch. "Good, good. Now take another one." Malfoy obeyed and the mediwitch smiled, "She was in bad shape when she came in, I won't deny that. She was unconscious and unresponsive."
From where Harry was sitting it looked like Malfoy was about to collapse at the news. "Looks like Karma's finally catching up to the bastard," Ron sneered from his seat next to Harry.
Harry frowned, "He deserves worse than his wife having a miscarriage. Shouldn't even be allowed to have any family. If there was any justice, he'd be alone and sitting in a cell. Fortunes seized, properties taken."
They were brought out of their conversation by Pansy Parkinson and Daphne Greengrass rushing into the ward, "Draco we just heard! Is she okay?"
"They won't tell me anything," Malfoy said. "It's really serious is all I know."
Harry and Ron were both surprised. They'd figured either witch was probably Malfoy's wife. Pansy was the one who snapped at the mediwitches, "Well what's wrong with you? Let him in there to see his wife."
"He needs to calm down," the first witch said.
"Well then get him in there with his wife. The only way Draco's calming down is if he sees her," Pansy countered. The second mediwitch nodded and escorted Malfoy back.
Inside his wife's room Draco was at her side instantly while two healers were continuing to work on her, "What happened? What's wrong? Is she okay? What about the baby?"
"Draco sit down," Lucius gently said from where he sat holding his daughter-in-law's hand. Draco sat down in the chair next to his father obediently, "I had some papers I needed you to sign so I dropped by the manor to drop them off and that's when I found her unconscious on the floor of the living room. I immediately tried to wake her up and when that didn't work I picked her up and flooed here."
Draco looked worriedly at his pale wife who was unconscious and barely looked to be breathing, stroking her cheek with his finger gently. He looked at the healers, "What's wrong with Hermione?"
One of the healers, who was writing in Hermione Malfoy's chart, answered him, "According to her charts she's been subjected to very long doses of the Cruciatus curse and it's still unknown what she was hit with in her fifth year of Hogwarts. It's likely the two weren't fully healed or left massive internal scarring that wasn't dealt with properly."
"But she'll be okay, right? Hermione and the baby will be okay?"
The healer frowned and Draco felt his heart shatter as the prospect of losing both his unborn child and his wife sunk in. The other healer, who was still working on her, looked at him, "Mr. Malfoy, I don't like to make promises. As we don't know what one curse even was, I can't tell you with certainty everything will be okay. But I can assure you Mrs. Malfoy will get the very best care and we will not give up trying to save them both until there's no other option."
It took everything in him not to break down at the way neither healer would say Hermione was going to be okay. He felt the tears forming in his eyes as he gazed at her. He would never forgive himself if she died carrying his child. He felt his father's hand on his back. Draco swallowed thickly before asking, "Where is Mother?"
"I sent word and she went to get the Grangers and bring them here. I'm not leaving Hermione's side until she's ready to leave," Lucius answered. "She'll be okay, son. She won't give in without a fight." Draco was amazed at the change in his father. Lucius had never been happy with Draco's choice in wife and he'd made that known from the start. Yet now he was showing visible concern for her. Even protectiveness as he clutched her hand in his.
Draco stood. He didn't want to leave her side but he knew that Pansy and Daphne were worried and deserved to know at least a little. And given his father was much calmer than Draco presently felt, he knew that he would just get in the way of the healers, "I'll just tell Pansy and Daphne what's going on," he looked at the healers, "please, save her. Save them both. Money is no object. I don't care what it costs."
The two healers didn't dare inform the man who looked 5 seconds from a nervous breakdown that his father had already made the same pleas when they'd begun their work. But both men could understand what he was going through and so the second healer added, "What I can tell you, Mr. Malfoy, is that we're trying to heal the damage but it's hard when we don't know what the curse was. Fortunately your father knows many dark curses. He's helping us narrow the list massively."
Draco felt some relief. If anyone knew what Dolohov had done to Hermione, it would be Lucius Malfoy. "Thank you," he said before kissing his wife's forehead and whispering, "I love you Hermione. All I need is you."
Outside the room Draco was immediately set upon by the two girls, "How is she?"
"It's really serious," Draco swallowed, "Father's helping them. Hermione was hit by an unknown curse our fifth year by Dolohov and it was apparently never fully healed. They can heal the Cruciatus damage done to her but that one's harder."
"If anyone can figure out the curse, it's Lucius," Pansy reassured her friend, hugging him.
"They said we could lose both her and the baby if they don't," Draco said quietly. Daphne closed her eyes at the thought and rubbed his back. While she'd not been a fan of the muggleborn for most of their schooling, there was no disputing how happy she made Draco. And since Hermione and Draco became a couple, Pansy and Daphne had both become best friends with her. Take Hermione away from the idiotic Gryffindors that were her former-best friends and she was quite fun, actually.
Daphne opened her eyes, "You should be in there with her. We'll tell everyone else when they come."
"Daph what if I lose her?" Draco looked her in the eye and Daphne hoped Hermione pulled through. The man looked ready to crumble to pieces. Not even when Voldemort was threatening his mother had Draco looked so lost and ready to fall apart.
She gripped his shoulders and spoke firmly, "You won't. She's strong Draco. Stronger than anyone could have expected. She went toe to toe with Bellatrix. Nothing will stop her from getting to you. From being with you."
Draco processed her words. She was right. Hermione never let Voldemort or Bellatrix or anyone get between the two of them. They'd both been dragged through hell in the war and if they were going to be yanked apart, it was then. Not now. Now was the time for them to be happy, to be together. They were a love story, an example of how love could stop Voldemort. He wouldn't lose her.
Filled with determination, Draco hugged both women and thanked them before returning to the room. Hermione had got him through his darkest times sixth year. He could get her through this. He would get her though this. They were going to get their happy ending.
With a clear head and renewed focus, Draco rejoined his father, sitting next to him and gazing at his wife, "How far is the list narrowed?"
"A decent amount but not enough," the second healer with the clipboard answered.
"Hermione said the curse itself was purple flame and Madame Pomfrey reckoned that if Dolohov hadn't been muted when he cast it that Hermione would have been killed instantly," Draco said to his father. "Does that help?"
"I couldn't remember the color….what else did she say about the treatment?" Lucius asked.
"She had to take ten different potions daily," Draco said, "for two weeks, she said. It was all for internal damage though. It wasn't an external wound."
"Dolohov created that curse specially. It's like the killing curse in that it shows no outer injury but it's different in that it does cause plenty of internal ones," Lucius said. "I'm afraid I don't know the name of it or the incantation."
"Ten different potions?" The healer asked. "It's not in her chart for some reason. But there's only so many potions you use for internal injuries, especially since so many can't be used together. We should be able to make progress now." Draco sighed in relief. He just wanted her safe and healthy.
Harry and Ron were still feeling rather satisfied that their school rival was obviously suffering when Blaise Zabini and Theo Nott rushed into the ward. The pair watched the Slytherins commiserating both feeling rather smug. It seemed cruel, wishing foul things on Malfoy's wife, but both men were adamant he deserved it. Malfoy was the reason that Hermione was gone.
After the war, Hermione had told her friends that she was dating Malfoy. Naturally, Harry and Ron were aghast and disgusted and made it clear that they would never support such a union. The pair had informed her that it was Malfoy or them, and shockingly she'd chosen Malfoy.
Of course, it hadn't been long before Malfoy dumped her. They'd seen the headline that Malfoy was engaged and both shared a smug smirk that they were right. Hermione had been fooling herself. Malfoy would never marry a muggleborn. Blood purity was all he cared about so of course he was never going to marry her.
Not that Hermione came around to hear the 'I told you so' they were eager to dispense. The witch had vanished from Britain, too embarrassed by being used by Malfoy for so long. Harry and Ron hadn't spoken to Hermione since she'd chosen Malfoy and both men blamed the Slytherin for her leaving Britain in shame.
They watched as Narcissa Malfoy came in with two strangers they didn't recognize. Immediately Parkinson and Greengrass were talking to the three upset people. Harry and Ron shared a smirk as they continued to watch the 'Malfoy Gets What He Deserves' show.
When Hermione Malfoy opened her eyes she felt immense pain. She felt a firm hand holding hers but she knew it wasn't Draco's hand. "Relax dear, you're in St. Mungo's," she recognized that voice. It belonged to Lucius Malfoy, her father-in-law. "Draco she's awake," she heard him say.
"Hermione," she heard the relief in her husband's voice. So something was wrong. But Hermione didn't remember anything. Then Draco's face appeared over hers and he smiled, "I was so worried about you love."
"What…happened?" She asked, blinking in confusion.
"You collapsed. A parting gift from my bitch of an aunt and Dolohov," Draco explained, "Are you in pain?"
"Definitely," she winced.
"I'll go get the healer," Draco said, kissing her cheek. "I love you Hermione. I was so scared when Father flooed me."
She felt Lucius tighten his grip and she suddenly remembered. She was four months pregnant. "What about the baby?"
Lucius wasn't close to his daughter-in-law but he knew she valued the truth and he knew he had to be honest with her, "Unfortunately the damage was too severe, dear. They couldn't save you both."
Hermione closed her eyes and Lucius held her hand in both of his, "But they did manage to heal you completely so when you and Draco eventually decide to try again, there won't be any issues at all," he reassured her. At four months along Lucius wasn't sure how attached she was to what was growing inside her.
"Does Draco know?" She quietly asked.
"He knows but I'm not sure he's processed it. For a long time it looked like we'd lose you both. Draco's sole focus has been on you. I've not seen my son so scared before in my entire life." Hermione took a deep breath. If Draco was that scared then she'd been at death's door. The sorrow that filled her with the news that she'd miscarried swiftly became relief that she was still alive. "I thought you were dead when I found you," Lucius continued. "I got you here as quickly as I could and called Draco and Narcissa, then Pansy and Daphne. Ever since I've been in here with you."
"I hate hospitals," Hermione said. "Thank you for staying here with me."
"Nothing could have chased me away," Lucius assured her. "I've never enjoyed them either."
Not sure she wanted to know the answer she asked, "How long have I been here?"
"Eight hours," he answered.
Draco returned with the healer and smiled when her eyes were still open. "Mrs. Malfoy, it's good to see you awake. How do you feel?"
"Sore and in pain. And tired," she added, reaching for her husband with the hand that wasn't being held by Lucius. "Come here," she said to him.
Draco looked at the healer for permission, which he granted. He slipped into Hermione's hospital bed, snuggling against her. He asked her, "Better?"
"Yes," she smiled weakly, pressing the side of her head to his forehead, "I love you Draco."
"I love you too," he whispered, gently kissing her on the lips.
The healer handed Draco a glass of potion, "This will take care of the soreness and most of your pain. You're very lucky your father-in-law got you here so fast. We nearly lost you both."
Hermione squeezed Lucius' hand and leaned further into Draco as her husband took a shuddering breath. "But I'm okay now?" She asked, for herself and the two men sitting with her. They wore matching expressions of concern despite their efforts to comfort her.
"As far as we can tell, yes," the healer answered. "We want you to stay a few days so that we can make sure we've healed all of the damage. The curse you were hit with when you were sixteen is unknown and of Antonin Dolohov's creation, which is why you weren't fully healed in the first place. We'll be looking into why this episode isn't in your medical file, of course."
Hermione looked at the healer, "And when Draco and I want to try again to have children, this won't happen?"
"That I can guarantee," the healer nodded.
Draco exhaled a sigh of relief and kissed her forehead, "Do you want to see your parents?"
"They're here?" She looked up at Draco, surprised.
"Father asked mother to bring them," Draco nodded.
Hermione took that in as she nodded that she wanted to see them. Lucius squeezed her hand and stood, "I'll go get them then and tell everyone the good news."
The healer performed a couple of scans as Hermione looked at Draco, "Who else came?"
"Pansy and Daphne were right behind me, and Blaise and Theo arrived when mother and your parents did."
Hermione nodded. That made sense. Luna was out of town on a trip looking for some magical creatures in South America so she couldn't have come. Neville was up at Hogwarts teaching so he couldn't have come either. And Andromeda, who Draco had become close to since the war, wouldn't have brought Teddy (who she watched while his parents were at work) to the hospital for fear of upsetting the little boy who was quite the fan of Hermione. "Draco…"
"I was so terrified," he whispered. "I thought I was going to lose you Hermione and I can't…we'll try again when we're ready," he assured her.
Hermione snuggled into her husband's embrace as he wrapped his arms around her, "Part of me is so happy that I'm alive and part of me is crushed that we're not going to be parents yet."
"I'm just relieved you're going to be okay," Draco said, tightening his grip to hug her, "I love you."
"I love you too," she whispered. "Don't leave me?"
"I'm not going anywhere," he promised. Hermione inhaled his cologne and sighed; Draco swallowed, "Are you mad that I'm not thinking about the baby?"
"If our roles were reversed all my focus would be on you," she admitted. "But I don't think it's fully hit me yet Draco."
"I'm sorry love," he whispered. "Tell you what, I can take some time off and once you're given the all clear from the healers we can go on vacation. Just us making love, relaxing, and having fun."
"That sounds nice," she smiled. "We can wait a long while for kids?"
"As long as you need," he promised. She buried her head in his shirt and Draco held his wife to him. He'd wanted to start their family too but after nearly eight hours of consigning himself to losing his wife, Draco was just relieved she was alive.
Three days later Harry returned to the hospital to visit Audrey and the baby (she'd been in labor nearly a full day) to see that the Malfoys were still around. In fact Draco Malfoy was signing papers in the reception area for the maternity ward. Harry was going to go straight to Audrey's room when he saw Narcissa exit the room Malfoy's wife was in. "Your wife is being stubborn," she informed her son.
To his surprise, Malfoy just smirked, "What is she refusing to do?"
"I think it would be best for her if I stayed at the Manor where I can care for her but she's insisting on being quite fine and after a few days returning to her work."
Harry was surprised to hear that Malfoy's wife worked. Pureblood aristocracy didn't tend to encourage women to work. Malfoy just smiled at his mother, "We talked to the healers, they said it'd be okay so long as she doesn't stress herself out. She agreed." At his mother's dubious look he laughed, "I was shocked too but you know she hates being confined in hospitals. Just like father, really."
"That's certainly true. Make sure you leave a tip for the mediwitches who have been taking care of her. They did an excellent job," Narcissa added. "Do you two need anything? I could go make sure the manor is ready."
"No the elves have been busying themselves to prepare the manor for her return," Malfoy assured his mother. "They were quite thorough. We're all taken care of, I promise."
Narcissa smiled at him. Malfoy finished up the paperwork and once everything was squared away he walked toward his wife's room. Harry moved to be able to see Malfoy's wife. He and Ron had debated what snob Malfoy could have married and he wanted a good look.
Inside her hospital room, Hermione exited the bathroom properly dressed in the clothes Daphne and Pansy had picked up at Malfoy Manor, "I am so glad to not be wearing that hospital gown anymore," Hermione said to Lucius, who was waiting for her.
"I can imagine. That thing is horribly made and cheap quality," Lucius said.
That familiar Malfoy arrogance regarding clothing had her smiling. "I remember the first thing Draco ever bought me. Sexy, expensive, barely there underwear. I could not believe someone could pay so much for so little fabric," Hermione recollected.
Lucius snorted, "That sounds like Draco."
"He ended up ripping the knickers right off me too," Hermione smirked. Lucius laughed. That most definitely was his son. While Draco could be patient in many things, when it came to his desires he had no patience whatsoever. A trait Narcissa would say he had inherited from Lucius.
"I seem to recall finding a drawer full of women's knickers in my son's bedroom the summer after your sixth year," Lucius mused. "I guess he learned to not rip them?"
"No he instead stole them and told me they were his souvenirs to 'remember the good times to survive the bad' the little pervert," Hermione muttered.
Lucius laughed at his daughter-in-law's characterization of his son. "Did he at least pay for replacements?"
"Yes but it's rather frustrating to only wear a pair of underwear once because your boyfriend is hoarding your knickers," she smiled when Draco entered the room, "Can I leave now?"
"Yes," Draco nodded. "Did I hear you talking to my father about your knickers?"
"Actually Lucius mentioned that he found a drawer full of women's knickers in your bedroom summer after 6th year," Hermione informed him.
"They were all yours," Draco said, his cheeks turning pink.
"I know," Hermione kissed him, "I was telling him how you claimed they were souvenirs."
"They did help me get through that year apart. Each pair of knickers had a memory of us attached to it and I remembered each and every one," Draco said, wrapping his arms around her waist. Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck, "Ready to go home?"
"Very," she smiled.
"I've got her bag," Lucius assured Draco, exiting the room ahead of them. Draco kept his arm around her and walked out of the room.
Harry watched Lucius exit and scowled. Death Eater scum. Then Harry saw Malfoy and…Hermione? Harry was dumbfounded. How could Hermione be Malfoy's wife? He'd dumped her! And then it hit him. Hermione hadn't left England in shame. Harry and Ron had told her they wanted nothing to do with her so long as she was with Malfoy so she'd simply respected their wishes. And then Harry realized that he and Ron had been saying that Hermione deserved to have a miscarriage. To even die, just to punish their school rival.
He felt sick and sat down. He had been luxuriating in Malfoy's misery and his wife's suffering only for it to be his former-best friend who was suffering. What kind of evil git was he that he was enjoying the suffering of Hermione just because she was Malfoy's wife? Harry looked back up and watched a healer approach her, "Remember what we said, Mrs. Malfoy. Don't overexert yourself."
Hermione let out a heavy sigh, "I know and my husband is annoyingly going to make sure of it."
Malfoy raised an eyebrow, "You love it when I wait on you hand and foot."
"Only when I am not prohibited from doing things," Hermione said. Harry stayed seated. It was still sinking in that Hermione had married Draco Malfoy and he felt frozen as everything fell into place.
Hermione arrived home at Malfoy Manor with her husband and immediately she leaned into him. She still felt tired and weak and flooing took a great deal out of her. Lucius, having flooed ahead, was at her side instantly and helped Draco support her, getting her to the couch where she could sit down. "Are you okay?" Draco asked.
"Just a little tired," she assured him.
"Draco maybe you should take her bag upstairs?" Lucius suggested. He loved his son, but he knew that Draco was a bit overbearing like Narcissa could be when it came to caring for a loved one. Draco nodded and kissed his wife gently before taking her bag and heading upstairs.
"Thank you," Hermione said once Draco was out of hearing range. "I love him but he's a bit overzealous whenever I'm ill."
"He gets that from his mother," Lucius smirked. "Narcissa is the same way. I love her but she can be quite over the top when it comes to nursing someone back to health. We married fussers, my dear. It is therefore our cross to bear." Hermione smiled. Lucius grew serious, "Hermione I must apologize for how I've reacted to you joining our family. It wasn't my best behavior and I'm embarrassed at my reactions to you and Draco. When I came here and saw you on the floor I was terrified you really were dead. And to think you'd possibly died bearing my grandchild…" Lucius swallowed thickly and Hermione could see tears forming in his eyes. He cleared his throat and regained his composure, "I'm very happy you're alright now. And I hope that we can improve our relationship in the future."
Hermione smiled, "I'd like that, Lucius," she answered. She'd always wanted to get along with her in-laws. They were Draco's parents, and she knew her husband loved them no matter their transgressions. Admittedly, Narcissa had no qualms welcoming Hermione to the family. The Grangers similarly had no issues with Draco and Narcissa, as despite feeling awkward at times in the muggle world, both Draco and Narcissa easily found things that captured their attention. For Draco it was movies, video games, and football (which he and his male friends would attend with Hermione's father, Troy) and for Narcissa, it was muggle fashion and shopping trips with her sister Andromeda and Hermione's mother, Helen.
Lucius, on the other hand, had not reacted well to their relationship. And Hermione had begun to think that they'd never have his support. But apparently she'd been wrong. Hermione didn't see that as a bad thing. Even if it was a first.
-Two Weeks Later-
Hermione finished packing and closed the suitcase. Draco's arms wrapped around her and she leaned into him, "We need this," she said.
"We do," he agreed. "Hermione we can try again whenever you want."
That was true. And she was only twenty-three years old. Plenty of women miscarried their first pregnancy. She looked at Draco, "I love you."
"I love you too," he turned her around and kissed her, "And when we're ready, we're going to have a baby with two sets of grandparents there to spoil him rotten."
"How do you know it would be a him?"
"Malfoys always have boys."
"But I'm a Granger."
"No, now you're a Malfoy. Look at my mother; her parents only had girls and she became a Malfoy and had a boy." Draco brushed a hair strand to the side, "I hate asking you but are you alright love? Really?"
Hermione had to admit, that first week she wasn't. But Narcissa and Helen had been so useful, talking to her about their own struggles conceiving and pointing out that while the damage from Dolohov had played a pivotal role in the miscarriage, there was no denying that she and Draco had not had a difficult time conceiving. But if her grief over the miscarriage wasn't enough, there was then the fact that Draco had very nearly lost his wife. She felt horrible her husband had had to go through that; she even allowed him to fuss over her without any complaint.
The second week she'd gained perspective. She was alive and healthy, and they could very easily try again when they were ready. Hermione's arms wrapped around her husband's neck, "I'm not perfect but I'm much better," she reassured him. "A few weeks away will help tremendously."
Draco smiled and kissed her again, "Let's go then."
When they arrived on the island Draco Malfoy took a deep breath. Sun, sand, and just him and his wife. It was a private island, owned by the Black family of which he was the heir, in the Mediterranean. After the war Draco had been on trial. Once he was cleared he was able to inherit the Black fortunes and properties. Upon seeing that he suddenly owned a few islands, he and Hermione had decided to visit them to see what they featured. While one in the Caribbean he'd sold to Blaise Zabini to turn into a wizarding resort paradise (he and Hermione were able to visit for free of course at Blaise's insistence), the one in the Mediterranean Draco had opted to build a house on for them to vacation in private.
Hermione loved the island, and with the privacy spells on the island no one could disturb them. She walked to the beach and gazed out at the sea. She closed her eyes. While she loved their family and friends, it was going to be very nice to be free of them for a few weeks. She was getting tired of telling everyone she was alright. While it seemed odd, she really was alright. If there was one thing she'd learned in the war, it was that things always got better. When she'd been lying on Malfoy Manor's drawing room floor, being cursed by Bellatrix, Hermione had looked at Draco and known that it would be better. That she would survive so that they could have their happily ever after.
True, she didn't want to try again for a couple years at least, but she wasn't distraught or devastated by it. She'd been through worse in her life, and without the emotional and physical support of Draco, who she would have loved to be by her side to comfort her in those difficult moments.
She felt his arms wrap around her and smiled, "I love this place," she said.
"I love the view, especially when I'm standing behind you," Draco's hands began to roam and she leaned into him. "I was told I should take good care of you," he whispered in her ear.
"I don't think they meant what your hands are doing," she said, biting her lip as his right hand slid under her t-shirt and bra to cup her breast.
Draco smirked, "I opt to see the phrase as up to interpretation."
She laughed and pulled away, "I love you. Now then, where should we first get reacquainted properly?"
"Any place that strikes your fancy," he grinned.
"The cabana then," she pulled him along the beach toward the cabana they'd built. The sole use of it (really) was for sex. They'd made love on the beach once and both agreed sand got everywhere which thoroughly ruined the mood. A cabana offered them some luxury and no sand in or on their genitals. Draco lifted her up and over his shoulder before running to the cabana, Hermione laughing at his enthusiasm.
Harry Potter wasn't entirely sure what to do with the knowledge that Hermione Granger had become Hermione Malfoy. He felt a substantial amount of guilt for taking satisfaction from Hermione's suffering just because she'd married Malfoy and so he'd used his authority at the auror department to look into Hermione's life.
She had graduated Hogwarts with all O's for her NEWTs. Harry was shocked to see the Grangers in Hermione's graduation photo. The accompanying story from the Daily Prophet said that while Hermione had spread rumors about her parents living in Australia under fake names, the truth of the matter was that the Malfoy heir had personally financed the Grangers taking a yearlong muggle cruise around the world at the height of the war via Gringotts.
Harry felt even worse after reading that. Hermione had trusted Malfoy with her parents' lives. She didn't trust Harry and Ron enough to tell them where they really were, but she'd trusted Malfoy to actually protect her parents. Had Hermione known, even before the war really began in earnest, that she couldn't rely on her two best friends to be in her corner no matter what? Ron leaving the Hunt must have just confirmed for her what she'd at the very least suspected. He and Harry couldn't be trusted to come through for her when she needed them most.
Then Harry came across the articles. Narcissa Malfoy had been supportive of her son's relationship with a muggleborn. She even spent time with the Grangers without her son and Hermione's presence. Harry felt even worse when he realized that despite his obvious displeasure with his son's choice in girlfriend, Lucius Malfoy never kicked up a fuss about her presence in his son's life. Harry and Ron had reacted even worse than Lucius Malfoy to Hermione dating the Malfoy heir. That was positively humiliating.
There were also articles about his friends being supportive of the relationship; there were even stories about Nott, Zabini, and Goyle attending muggle sports games with Hermione's father. Greengrass and Parkinson were often seen out and about with Hermione, and seemed quite comfortable around her in the magical and the muggle worlds.
Harry was ashamed by the time he got to the engagement two years after they left Hogwarts. He read about the bridal shower with muggle and magical family and friends intermixing. Without any issues. The bachelor and bachelorette parties also included magical and muggle intermixing. While Harry and Ron couldn't look past their hatred of Slytherins and Malfoy in particular, Malfoy's parents and friends had overcome their hatred of muggles to support Malfoy and Hermione's relationship.
Once Harry got over the shock of the Granger parents not being obliviated and in Australia, he began to think about how he and Ron had never even offered to go with her to retrieve them. She'd discussed it with them and he'd made excuses about Ginny while Ron had said he didn't feel like traveling anymore. Merlin, he and Ron had never even considered protecting them from Death Eaters but Malfoy certainly had.
The more Harry learned about Hermione's life after he and Ron gave her the ultimatum, the more Harry felt he and Ron had been horrible friends to her. From the articles Harry learned that Hermione had two careers. She and her husband had become potions masters under Severus Snape, who had survived the war, and they ran Malfoy Apothecary together. She was also, much to Harry's astonishment, a celebrated author. In the five years or so that he'd not seen her she'd written two books: Seduction and Necessity, a story set in the war in which a muggleborn wizard and a pureblood witch set out to seduce one another as spies and end up falling in love and fight to bring the war to an end as a result, and her other book was titled Absolution by Murder, a story in which the heroine seeks revenge on the corrupt auror who killed her father.
One afternoon Harry dropped by the bookstore to pick up the books, and he spent some time reading each day during his downtime at work. Harry'd never been a big reader, nor was anyone in the Weasley family that he spent much time with. Ginny he'd never seen read any books for pleasure and Molly preferred books on housekeeping and recipe books over fiction.
Harry still hadn't told Ginny and Ron that Hermione had married Malfoy. That she hadn't left Britain in shame, she was instead living a very happy life. He was worried if they knew then they'd set up a confrontation of some kind and make things worse. He was also concerned that while he knew the broad strokes of what she was up to, he didn't know anything specific. Reading Seduction and Necessity, her first book, Harry couldn't help but wonder how much of her book was inspired by Hermione's life and her relationship with Malfoy. He didn't know how they'd become a couple. He'd been so angry at her for dating Malfoy and lying to them by not telling them sooner that he'd never even thought to ask. How long had they been together? He didn't know the answer to that either.
One of Harry's biggest shocks in a seemingly endless supply of them were the sex scenes in the two books. Hermione wrote some very erotic stuff and it was as stimulating as it was confusing. Was this the same Hermione he had known as an eleven year old? The more he learned about her current life the more he wondered if he ever really knew her at all.
Hermione collapsed on top of her lover, "You're so good to me," she smiled, kissing his neck. Draco's arms held her close. "This was the perfect vacation spot."
"You can't go wrong with a private island," Draco mused.
She smiled and nuzzled his neck, "What do you want to do once we can walk?"
"Get unpacked and then take a dip in the water," he answered. "I would happily shag you all day but the forecast says we're getting rain later this week and I thought we'd do that then."
"Always planning ahead," she kissed him, "I love that about you."
"A talent I picked up from my wife," he smirked.
"She sounds brilliant," Hermione teased.
"Most brilliant witch of our age," he confirmed before they shared a loving kiss. During the past week they'd had sex for the first time since the miscarriage. As disturbing as it was, Draco had been informed by his mother and mother-in-law that once Hermione was healthy enough for sexual activity, they should engage in it lest his wife's overactive brain lead to all sorts of conclusions that weren't true. Apparently Troy and Lucius had tried to give their wives space out of respect for the loss of their unborn children but Helen and Narcissa had at the time interpreted it as their husbands blaming them for the miscarriage. His mother-in-law blamed the pregnancy hormones for that line of thought and encouraged Draco to remind Hermione every chance he could that he loved her, wanted her, and they'd try again when they were ready.
It was the most uncomfortable lecture he'd ever had from his mother and certainly from his mother-in-law but Draco respected both women and knew they spoke from experience and love, with a massive dose of motherly concern. Given he was prone to pampering Hermione, it was easy enough to set up this vacation. His father was happy to take back control of the business for the next few weeks while Draco tended to his wife's needs.
Draco loved the entire days spent in bed. Every so often they'd take a day off and do just that, stay in bed all day. Hermione might tease him about his libido but she was always willing to take that day off just for the two of them. He kissed her again, "Maybe you'll get inspiration for a new story while we're here."
"Or just a giant pile of smut with no plot," she smirked. "I do know you, after all. And I can't keep my hands off you anymore than you can keep yours off of me."
He grinned. "This will be the best vacation ever," he declared.
Later that week they were hit with a storm and Draco gazed out the window with a smirk, "I guess we're staying inside today," he said.
"Draco get back in bed," he heard his wife say. He turned to see his beloved lying in their bed, a thin sheet the only thing blocking the view of his nude wife. He quickly obeyed, slipping back under the bedsheet to be rewarded with a kiss. Hermione smiled, "Have I thanked you for all of this?"
"Yes but all I've done is organize a few weeks away with my wife," Draco pointed out.
"So this wasn't a distraction to drive any horrible feelings and thoughts away?" She asked knowingly.
Draco raised an eyebrow, "How would you know that?"
"I remember my mum talking about the miscarriages she had before I came along when I was around sixteen or so," she said, "and I recall her saying that she thought my father wasn't attracted to her anymore after her last one. He was just giving her space but she interpreted it as something else because she was so depressed."
Draco felt her push him onto his back, "Those thoughts never had a chance to appear for me. You've been wonderful about all of this." She leaned down and kissed him, shifting to be on top of him. Draco's hands explored her back and sides as he returned the kiss. That day was going to be really good. "I love you," she smiled. "You're worth everything, you know. Everything I had to give up to be with you. I would not trade any minute of our life together for anything."
"Me either," Draco said, leaning up to kiss her. Hermione returned it and he felt her press against him as she got lost in their passion. Draco smiled into the kiss. It wasn't going to just be a good day. It was going to be a fantastic one.
Harry Potter picked Hermione Granger's wedding photo up. He was getting that familiar feeling of nausea again. "I'm a bastard," he muttered. There his former best friend was, looking absolutely gorgeous and so incredibly happy. There was no denying the look of love in her eyes as she gazed at her new husband. Or of Malfoy's very visible love for her. Harry didn't think he'd ever hated Malfoy as much as he hated himself at that moment. Harry had let Hermione down. She had stood by him through every shit moment of his life since he entered Hogwarts and he'd repaid that loyalty and dedication by tossing her away like she didn't matter to him.
She had been tortured because of her relationship to Harry. And he had thanked her by telling her she was a traitor for dating Malfoy. That she had unforgivably betrayed him by shagging Malfoy. That she'd regret it. That Malfoy would ruin her. And that Harry would be happy to say 'I told you so' when that happened. "I am such a fucking bastard," he cursed, rubbing his face with his hands.
"Harry? Are you okay?"
He looked up to see his wife, Ginny, looking at him with concern. Harry couldn't hide it anymore. "I really fucked up Gin," he said. "It might be the worst thing I've ever done." Then Harry's blood ran cold as he thought about what he'd done sixth year. Nearly killing Malfoy in the bathroom. Oh Merlin. He instantly understood so much about Hermione's actions. "Oh fucking hell no wonder she never said anything," Harry cursed.
Ginny was confused. He wasn't making any sense, "Harry what are you talking about?"
"Do you remember when Audrey had Little Molly last month?"
"Yeah," Ginny said, still not sure where her husband was going with it.
"Well before you got there Ron and I saw Draco fucking Malfoy rush into the ward freaking out about his wife," Harry told her about him and Ron wishing horrid things on Malfoy's wife and enjoying the moment of the blonde's despair.
Ginny grimaced. She didn't like the Malfoys but she certainly didn't think it was right to wish Malfoy's wife would die. "I still don't understand why you're upset. Malfoy's a bastard, sure enough, and he's an evil git who was lucky to not be thrown in Azkaban not to mention his treatment of Hermione but I don't understand why that matters now."
"Because when I went back a few days later to see Audrey and Little Molly I saw Malfoy checking his wife out of the ward," Harry said. "And it was Hermione."
Ginny's eyes widened and her hands flew over her mouth in shock. She certainly had not expected that. After a few minutes she found her words, "You and Ron were wishing that Hermione would die to punish Malfoy for respecting your conditions for her being your friend?"
"I felt sick," Harry said. "So incredibly sick. I couldn't do anything. I just sat down, trying to wrap my head around what I'd just seen."
She could understand that reaction. But she was still confused, "But why are you still upset now? It was a month ago."
"I've been digging into her life since we cut her out of ours," Harry admitted. "And what I learned…well let's just say that I'm a horrible, selfish, petty bastard and leave it at that."
"Just look at this picture. It's of Hermione's wedding day."
Ginny took the picture from her husband. It was from a magazine and in color. Hermione looked a vision in her white dress, which was clearly muggle by design, and Draco Malfoy was standing with her in a muggle tuxedo. Ginny was shocked. What was even more shocking was that the photo was clearly not posed because the couple was looking one another in the eye and grinning like fools. Ginny couldn't think of a time when she'd seen Hermione so happy. Not even the war's end had brought a smile like that to her face. "Harry why didn't we know about this sooner?"
"Most of the articles are in the society section of the papers," Harry said. "We don't read that section. And anything that covers them in the main section says 'Malfoys' so I would always ignore it. I didn't want to read about that git. None of us did."
Ginny sat down, trying to process what she'd just learned. "So all this time you've been hating Malfoy for taking her from you and driving her out of England and the truth is…"
"The truth is I sent her out of my life and she respected our wishes. We said it was us or Malfoy and she chose him. I never even let her explain why him or tell me anything about their relationship. I refused to listen," Harry said. "I'm a bastard. I'm an idiot. She went through so much for me. And I couldn't even support her in her relationship with the man she loved. Ron and I were clearly the worst friends she could have ever asked for. His supported them. Hers abandoned her." Then Harry put his head in his hands in shame.
Hermione moaned. Draco had decided to give her a massage and she was quite enjoying it. "Keep that up, love, and I'll have to fuck you," he said. His wife was quite vocal in the bedroom, had been since the end of the war, but there was still something about Hermione's moan of pleasure that would give Draco an instant erection.
"I wouldn't be opposed to that," she said.
"You're so beautiful," Draco whispered, leaning down to kiss his way up her spine. The war had been the most horrific part of their relationship. Watching his aunt cast the Cruciatus on his lover and being unable to stop it was the hardest thing Draco had ever gone through in his life. He'd been able to cast strong shield spells to stop Bellatrix from carving into Hermione's flesh, but he'd been unable to stop the Unforgivable. And afterward…not knowing if she was okay, if she was getting the medical attention she needed…that was even harder.
When he'd finally seen her again in the Battle of Hogwarts he'd had to resist the urge to hold her to him and never let go. He'd settled for hexing the bollocks off any bastard who so much as pointed their wand at her. Draco had been very busy in that battle. He'd rescued Fred Weasley when the wall behind him had exploded and Lupin and Tonks had both been saved with Draco's quick reflexes.
Hermione had taken his wand back from Potter after the battle without the idiot's knowledge, which Draco was grateful for. The other wand worked just fine but his wand worked so much easier with him. That first night after the war was done, when he'd been able to sleep in a bed with Hermione for the first time in ten months or so, had been the best night of his life. They were both alive and safe. And that was all that mattered.
Draco's mouth reached the base of her neck and Hermione couldn't take it anymore. She flipped over and pulled his head to hers in a searing kiss, "Stop teasing me," she gasped when they parted for air.
"Whatever you say love," he smiled, shifting his body to be on top of hers and pulling his t-shirt off. Hermione yanked him back down for a kiss and they lost themselves in one another's embrace again.
Harry shifted uncomfortably. Telling Ron was hard. Ron was…well, Ron was still living with his unrequited crush on Hermione. Ron had said several times that if Hermione came back he was certain they'd live happily ever. He hadn't seen her in around five years but still Ron hoped she'd come back.
To hopefully defuse the situation Harry had decided to tell people at the weekly Weasley dinner. Ginny thought it was a good idea, so Harry hoped that meant Ron wouldn't lose it. "So what did you want to talk about mate?" Ron asked, sitting down opposite Harry.
"Remember when we were all at the hospital for Audrey's baby and we saw Malfoy there?"
Ron grinned, "Yeah that was bloody great. Wanker finally got what was coming to him."
Harry winced. He'd had the same opinion. It was something he wasn't sure he'd ever forgive himself for. "I went back a few days later and I saw Malfoy's wife," Harry continued. "It was Hermione, Ron."
Ron lit up, "Hermione's back in England? That's great! Mate you told her how I've waited for her right?"
"Ron, listen to Harry," Ginny scolded. "Hermione is Draco Malfoy's wife."
Ron's face scrunched together as he thought, "But that doesn't make sense. Malfoy dumped her and she left England."
"That's what we thought," Harry said. "We never had any evidence of it. The truth of the matter is that we told Hermione it was him or us. She chose him. We said we never wanted to talk to her again. She didn't leave England. She simply respected our wishes."
"But Malfoy's a bigoted bastard!" Ron got louder.
"What is all this yelling?" Molly Weasley folded her arms. The rest of the Weasley family had entered the room to see what Ron was yelling about.
"Hermione married Malfoy!" Ron shouted.
"Duh," Fred said, looking at Ron like he was an idiot, "It was in all the papers two years ago."
"She chose him over her friendship with you two; what did you expect would happen?" Percy asked, taking off his glasses to clean the lenses. "Hermione is an intelligent, logical girl. She would not have made that decision lightly. That she didn't tell you sooner obviously meant that she'd been dating him a long while to be sure, should you make her choose, that she could choose and not regret her decision." That made Harry feel even worse but he could see that Ron was just getting angrier.
"You knew!" He pointed at his brothers. "How dare you not tell us!"
"Ron you read the same newspapers we do," Bill said, folding his arms. He was not amused with his littlest brother's inability to control his temper or think things through. "Hermione and Draco's lives are all over them."
"Ron just reads the quidditch section," George stage whispered to Bill, earning chuckles from the other Weasley brothers.
"And what's Harry's excuse?" Percy asked, gazing at the Boy-Who-Lived.
"I ignored anything that said Malfoy in the headline," Harry answered. The others rolled their eyes. "I thought he'd dumped her and she'd fled England in shame!"
"Yes because that sounds sooo like Hermione, the witch who slayed Bellatrix and withstood the torture curse. To run when she's embarrassed," Fred rolled his eyes, "that sounds like you and Ron, not like Hermione."
Harry blushed. "It also sounds likes two idiots who want to wipe their hands of any responsibility for erasing their best friend from their lives," George frowned. "Even if your imagination was correct, she still would have 'fled' England because her two best friends turned their backs on her for being in love with someone they didn't approve of. If she couldn't trust you to stand by her when she's happy, how can she trust you to stand by her when she's heartbroken?"
"You don't have to beat up Harry," Ginny defended her husband. "He's been doing plenty of that on his own since he realized he was hoping that Hermione would get a miscarriage and die to punish Malfoy for 'taking' Hermione from them."
"You two are sick, petty bastards," Fred glared at them.
"I didn't know she'd married Malfoy at the time," Harry mumbled.
"Oh yeah that makes all the difference," George rolled his eyes. "You two are idiots. Frankly, Hermione's better off without you both."
"Without a doubt," Bill shook his head. Harry and Ron were still as immature as ever, in his opinion. There wasn't much growth since their sixth year at Hogwarts.
"You know, if you two weren't such arseholes you might remember that Fred is alive because of Draco Malfoy," Percy said to Harry and Ron. "And that his mother saved Harry's life." Ron scowled. He hated it when they took Malfoy's side. In his opinion, Fred and Harry would have been fine without Malfoy intervention.
"Teddy has his parents because of Draco Malfoy too," Bill added. "Not that it matters, really. Hermione's out of your lives, just as you wanted."
"That's not what we wanted!" Ron yelled. "She was supposed to dump Malfoy!"
"Oh shut up Ron," Fred rolled his eyes. "You told her to choose. She did. It's not her fault or Malfoy's that you two were being selfish and petty and holding your friendship hostage to make her do what you wanted. And now you regret it. That's your own fault."
Over dinner a still pouting Ron glared at his four brothers, "You lot sure know an awful lot about Hermione's life with Malfoy," he sneered.
"We didn't abandon her," Fred said. "Unlike her so-called best friends," he sneered right back and Ron's shoulders hunched, "we kept in contact with her. Even went to the wedding."
"Hermione was a gorgeous bride," George recollected. Bill and Percy nodded their agreement. Molly and Arthur also nodded their heads, much to Harry's shock.
"You went to the wedding?" Harry was stunned. He'd just assumed no one in the Weasley family had anything to do with Hermione after he and Ron had stopped talking to her.
"Of course we did. She's our friend. And Malfoy saved my life," Fred added. "If saving my life doesn't grant him a reprieve for being a git before, then I'm not sure what would." Harry, if anything, felt even worse about his behavior the past five years.
When the Malfoys returned home from their vacation Hermione felt fully recovered emotionally as well as physically. "Home sweet home," Hermione said, gazing around their bedroom.
"We could have welcome home sex," Draco suggested.
Hermione laughed and tugged him to her, "Draco love you have a one track mind."
"I can't help that I have a gorgeous wife who I love more than anything else in the entire world," he protested.
She smiled and kissed him, "I love you too Draco. So very much."
"I know," he smiled. "So what are you going to do? Back to work at the company or writing another book?"
"I like the book idea," Hermione admitted, "my husband gave me plenty of material to work with the past month and I think the wizarding public would appreciate it." Draco laughed and hugged her. Hermione returned it, inhaling her husband's scent. "Draco thank you again for that vacation."
"I needed it too," he admitted. "It's hard to deal with your own emotions when you're so worried about how your lover is doing."
Hermione squeezed him. She knew it was hard for him; Draco had been just as excited about the pregnancy but the fear of losing her had overridden everything else when she'd collapsed. "Are you going to be going back to work right away?"
"First thing Monday," he said. "Will you be okay here alone then?"
"If I'm not I'll visit your parents or see if Daphne and Pansy would want to get lunch or something," Hermione assured him. "So long as no one asks me if I'm okay," she added. "I know they mean well but it's so annoying. Every time they ask me that I remember why I wasn't okay." Draco nodded his understanding and when his wife shooed him out of the room so she could unpack he went downstairs and floo-called his mother and Pansy to tell them both to make sure people knew not to ask Hermione if she was okay.
That weekend they had dinner with Draco's friends, "How was your vacation?" Daphne asked Hermione when the boys wandered off to play billiards in Blaise's game room, leaving the witches alone.
"It was very good," Hermione smiled. "It was perfect for us. The island is so beautiful and aside from a few days of nonstop rain, it was all sun, beach, and sea. With copious amounts of sex."
"Do we sense a new book coming?" Pansy asked. She loved Hermione's books. The first one had been so realistic you'd be forgiven for thinking it was practically autobiographical and the second had the steamiest sex scene Pansy had ever read. And Pansy knew that Draco and Hermione's sexual encounters often provided the basis for the scenes. Hermione's third book had recently been sent off to the publisher but Pansy always got an early copy from her friend. And sometimes she'd let Pansy and Daphne read the sex scenes and offer up their opinions. Hermione's imagination was impressive and she had quite the flair for writing.
"Probably," Hermione nodded. Pansy grinned.
"Any ideas about the plot?"
"Draco actually offered up the idea," Hermione said. "Not that he knows it, of course. One evening he asked me to dress up as 'Professor Granger' and give him detention."
Daphne and Pansy's jaws both dropped open in surprise. Draco was all about control and power so such a request was completely out of character, in their opinion. "Did you do it?" Pansy asked.
"I quite enjoyed having him at my mercy," Hermione winked. "I tied his hands behind his back with his school tie and made him get on his knees to apologize for being a bad boy." Daphne laughed. That was brilliant. "I'm just trying to work out how to finagle it. That story might come later. I have some other ideas too."
"I'm trying to imagine Draco willingly giving up power and control," Pansy said. "He's even more a control freak than you," she pointed out.
"True but that's why he likes to give it up, I think," Hermione sipped her wine, "he knows I'm willing to give up control to him and because I'm of the same mind on needing to be in control, he knows that I appreciate him submitting to me."
Meanwhile in the game room as they started to play Blaise looked at Draco, "So how is she, really?"
"Hermione's back to her normal self," Draco smiled. "Without a doubt," he added, remembering some of their activities before they returned home. The classroom fantasy in particular had been very satisfying.
"What did you two get up to?" Theo asked, recognizing that look on Draco's face.
Draco smirked, "I asked her to be the professor and give me detention."
Blaise leaned toward Draco. "Did she?" He'd played that game before with girls and he loved getting to seduce the stern, tightly wound professor and make her scream.
"She did," Draco nodded before grinning like the cat who got the cream, "and then she scolded me for not tying my tie right, yanked it off and bound my hands behind my back with it using some impressive spellwork, then made me walk on my knees to her while she sat on her desk."
Theo's jaw was on the ground. "And?"
"And then I had to apologize for being a naughty, naughty boy," Draco leaned down and took his shot. "At the end of the evening she gave me an O for giving her several." Theo covered his mouth, in complete and total awe of his friend. Theo was dating Daphne and would never even dream of suggesting it. The Greengrasses were so proper. So stiff. The thought of her tying him up and demanding he fuck her with his mouth? That seemed an impossible fantasy.
"That is so not how I play that game," Blaise said, staring at Draco in awe.
"Then I'd suggest you're doing it wrong," Draco responded, walking around the table and taking another shot. "Because our way was bloody amazing."
"I could never ask Daph to do the things you ask Hermione to do," Theo shook his head as he took his spot, "I don't get how you do it."
Draco looked at Theo, confused, "What do you mean?"
"I mean how do you ask her to do something…" Theo scratched the back of his head, "you know, dirty?"
It took Draco a minute to work out what Theo was really trying to say. Once it clicked, though, he got it. "Theo do you see sex as demeaning your lover?"
Theo blushed at Draco's question and walked around the table for his shot, "I mean…well…yeah."
"I'm envious of you," Daphne confessed. "Theo's so…awkward in the bedroom."
"Theo? Really?" Pansy looked at her friend, confused. Theo was more reserved than Blaise and Draco, sure, but he was hardly shy. And she knew without a doubt that Theo loved hearing Blaise and Draco talk about their sex lives.
Daphne decided to be as blunt as her two friends, "I've never even given him a blowjob."
Hermione's eyebrows rose into her hairline while Pansy choked on her wine. Hermione cast the spell to clear Pansy's airways on instinct but kept her focus on Daphne, "I don't…to be honest Daph I don't know what to say to that."
"Are you having sex?" Pansy asked.
"In only the missionary position," Daphne nodded.
"I think I'd kill Draco if we only did that," Hermione mused.
"Viktor would be dead too," Pansy agreed. She'd met Viktor Krum in the months before Hermione and Draco's wedding. Hermione had said he was afraid of coming stag given how popular he was with the ladies and Pansy, who was dateless and without a boyfriend at the time, had offered to be his date so he'd feel more comfortable. The stumbling, awkward, broken-English teenage superstar had become a very polished and poised quidditch star. The pair had hit it off at the Malfoy wedding and been together ever since. In fact, Viktor had proposed six months prior and Pansy was enthusiastically planning their wedding.
Sadly Viktor wasn't there that evening; he had a quidditch game the next day and so Pansy had showed up at the gathering alone. Pansy looked at Daphne, "Have you tried asking him for stuff?"
"I thought about it but Theo is…" Daphne bit her lip before confessing, "he doesn't seem to like having sex. At all." That confused Hermione and Pansy. "I mean, I wasn't a virgin when we got together. I don't think Theo was a virgin either. He just…either he's not attracted to me or he doesn't like sex."
Blaise was glad that Draco had worked it out because he'd been really confused by Theo's question. Dirty was good. Especially when talking about sex. He'd have been scratching his head all night over that one. Theo was using dirty as a bad word. Blaise couldn't quite wrap his mind around that one. "Sex is dirty," Theo said.
"Mate sex is bloody amazing," Blaise said. "Were you a virgin before Daphne?"
"No but I just…"
"Theo, sex is not demeaning," Draco was really not sure how to talk to Theo about this. But he did know that Daphne was a really good friend to him and had hardly blinked when Draco had told his friends about Hermione. She'd been really supportive and in Draco's opinion she deserved to be happy. He tried to think of what Hermione would do, confronted with this information. Then it hit him, "Do you think it's demeaning to Daphne when you have sex with her?"
Theo just nodded, uncomfortable with his friends' reactions to his displeasure with sex. Blaise picked up what Draco was getting at, "Mate there's loads of positions that give her all the power. Just try one of those."
"This is easy to fix," Draco assured. "Next time you're getting intimate, let her be on top. Trust me, it's a classic for a reason."
"And really mate, Daph is not some precious flower," Blaise pointed out. "If you're not sexually attracted to her, cut her loose. She deserves better than that."
"I'm attracted to her," Theo defended himself. "She's bloody gorgeous; I'm not blind."
"And you have fantasies about her?" Theo nodded. Blaise didn't sigh, but he wanted to, "Then let Daph be on top next time. If that doesn't change your opinion about sex, I don't know what will." Theo looked at his friends quizzically. He didn't really understand how one position could change his mind but they seemed convinced and given how much his friends enjoyed sex, he supposed he should give it a shot. They did know what they were talking about.
Hermione sat her wine glass down, "Insist on being on top. And then make sure he likes what he sees. Maybe he's just got you on a pedestal. You're too pure to get dirty or something silly like that."
Pansy snapped her fingers, "Ooh that's a good point! So a few more moans, some rolls of the hips, squeeze him…maybe some dirty talk."
"I'm not sure Theo's ready for dirty talk," Daphne frowned.
"The extra moans and gasps are a good idea," Hermione bit her lip, "Are you loud when you climax?"
"Yes," Daphne admitted with a blush.
"Well if Theo can't get you off, maybe give him a big finish. You need to dirty that image of you he has in his mind," Hermione said. Pansy nodded her agreement. Daphne sat, feeling thoughtful. Daphne had had two lovers before Theo. She could certainly make Theo feel very good. She really liked him and she did want to be with him; she just also wanted a sex life. And if Theo couldn't give that to her she would have to cut him loose.
Harry gazed at Malfoy Manor. It looked nothing like he remembered. The manor had been demolished after the war and rebuilt. According to an article Harry'd found Narcissa Malfoy had informed the reporter that they wanted to completely wipe out the taint that Voldemort had left behind when he'd held her hostage to exact control over Lucius and Draco. Lucius and Narcissa lived in a house just down the lane that was also a Malfoy property. It was tradition in the Malfoy family to give the manor to the heir after he was married and once Draco and Hermione had been married, the Malfoy parents had moved down the lane with a few elves to give the newlyweds some space. Before they got married Hermione and Draco had lived in a penthouse in London in one of the Malfoys' properties.
Harry'd wanted to arrive and see Hermione and fix their relationship. But as he gazed at the opulent home, he began to feel doubtful things could work out that way. He didn't even know what to say to her. I missed you wasn't fair. It was his own fault she'd left, after all. I'm sorry simply wasn't enough to express the remorse, guilt, and shame he felt. And he doubted she'd be willing to accept it. Especially if he told her how he found out she'd married Malfoy.
And then there was the spying he'd done to learn about her life the past five years. That was not going to go over well. Harry sighed. He shouldn't have come. He walked some distance away and Disapparated. They had demanded she choose. Hermione had made her decision. And now Harry had to live with the consequences of his actions.