"Wow," Hermione breathed as she looked out from the edge of David's home, seeing everything the Isle of Skye had to offer.
"Pretty great huh?" David asked he wrapped his arms around her, resting his chin on her shoulder.
"Pretty great? David this is amazing! I mean look at that view…" she replied, shaking her head.
"Can we go on a hike?" she asked, breaking free from his arms and turning to face him.
"Sure, but maybe later? You haven't even seen my home yet," David asked with a raised brow.
"Oh! Right, let's go do that… I just kind of got distracted with all… this," Hermione said letting out a sigh, looking at what was essentially David's backyard and the view he woke up to every day.
Holding her hand, he turned her around and took the rough, rarely trodden path towards Cross Manor.
David felt himself pass through the wards, he had given Hermione access before he picked her up with Mel earlier, so no alarms went off as they passed through.
However, David also had security of the physical sort, which was why he entered the premises from outside the wards to make sure the Griffins didn't jump Hermione at the sight of her in his lands alone.
"Brace yourself, they're coming," David whispered, gripping her hand tight and flexing his wand arm in preparation, just in case.
"Wha-? Oh," Hermione said as she saw two giant, golden birds descending in rapid speed towards them.
"No sudden movements and don't let go of my hand," David explained, looking at the Griffins intently.
"Okay," she meeped, a little scared of what she knew was classified as an XXXX class beast. David had warned her beforehand of course, but she may have forgotten in her anticipation of seeing her boyfriend alone, in his home.
"Hey guys, this is Hermione. She's a friend so be on your best behaviour," David said loudly as they landed and eyed her off warily, training telling them that anyone David brought into the grounds was not to be attacked.
They let out a roar in acknowledgement and started sniffing around them, getting used to Hermione's scent.
"What are they doing?" she asked, her heart beating rapidly.
"Getting used to your smell," David explained, letting go of her hand and using it to ruffle the feathers of the Griffin closest to him.
It purred in pleasure as David scratched it in its favourite spot, the left of its chin.
"You can touch them now, they're used to your scent," David said, looking back at her with a smile.
"R-right… this would honestly be Hagrid's wet dream," she said under her breath, channelling some of that Gryffindor pride, stepping forward.
"Hi," she said as he got face to face with the second Griffin.
It just eyed her in return, not giving any hint of its intentions.
Hermione slowly raised her hand and approached the Griffin, cautious. Her fears were proven needless, as the Griffin started to also purr at her touch, enjoying the slight petting.
"Hi," she said quietly, "I'm Hermione… I'm from Gryffindor and you're kind of our mascot," she finished with a chuckle, enjoying her time with her House's namesake.
After a few minutes of Hermione getting to know the Griffins, David ordered them off and continued the tour.
"Greenie takes care of the Greenhouses," David explained as they approached them.
"Can we go inside? You mentioned you had some rare plants," Hermione asked. Herbology wasn't her best subject, but she was a top student and was interested in seeing what was stocked inside.
"Sure," David replied, taking her towards the entrance of the first greenhouse and beckoning her in and explaining to her all the ins and outs of the particular greenhouse. He pointed out the various exotic species Greenie maintained, many of which she didn't know existed.
"I think Neville would really enjoy this… even Professor Sprout would I think," Hermione said to David as they left the final greenhouse.
"Maybe, but the credit goes to Greenie, she did all the work. I just paid for it," David said with a chuckle.
"So, what's next?" Hermione asked, excited to see more.
"Well, there is a small forest we planted and grew magically, but we can explore that when we go hiking… now we explore Cross Manor," David explained, pointing out the large Victorian Manor that was his home.
Hermione nodded and walked in tandem with David, the sound of the shoes crunching the gravel path that led up to the house filling the air.
"Would you like to eat now? Or later?" David asked as they neared the double oaken doors, which were decorated with ornate cast-iron hinges.
"The tour first? I'm really very excited to see everything," Hermione asked, this being the second magical home she had ever been inside of.
As they entered, they were greeted by Mel, who was waiting at the door, "Master, Miss Granger. Would you like lunch to be served now, or later?"
"A little later if that's okay Mel?" David asked as he shut the door behind him with a loud thunk.
"Certainly," Mel said with a short bow, quickly turning away and rushing back to the kitchen to deal with the cooking.
David showed Hermione most of the ordinary rooms in the Manor quite quickly, they were mainly filled with antique and expensive furniture covered in white cloth.
"Most of this comes from the Ministry, after they started returning a lot of the items taken from the vault, I knew where the furniture went," David explained as he closed the door to one of the many bedrooms he had.
"Just how much did they take?" Hermione asked, having noticed the quality of all the paintings, furniture and tapestry throughout the house.
"A lot," was all David said as he guided her back downstairs.
"Where to now?" she asked curiously.
"The basement. Trust me, you'll love it," David said with a grin.
Hermione raised a brow at that, "If you say so, David."
"I do say so. Come on, let's go!"
"This is where we brew potions," David explained, showing off his version of a Potions Lab.
"Okay… I see what you mean now," Hermione said as she turned around in awe, looking at all the shelves filled with ingredients and the multiple cauldrons bubbling away.
"What's all this for though? I mean, this is a lot of ingredients and potions, David…" Hermione asked, confused.
"After Voldemort returned… I ordered Mel to start brewing a lot of various potions, ranging from healing cuts and bruises to potions that can slow down the spread of dark magic," David explained to her.
"Oh," was all she said, still looking around, "It's like you're preparing for war."
There was an awkward silence for a moment, but David eventually spoke, "Well, what do you think is going to happen, Hermione? Dumbledore couldn't defeat Voldemort sixteen years ago. I think we're definitely going to experience some sort of combat with him being back," David explained, picking up a corked vial of a potion and giving it a shake and looking at its colour tone while he let that thought stew in Hermione's head.
"You're right. I just didn't think of it," she said eventually in a defeated tone, thoughts thinking of the future of magical Britain.
"Sorry, I shouldn't have spoiled the mood," David said, holding her close and kissing her on the lips.
They had a chaste kiss for a few seconds before breaking off, "Come see my training room."
She just smiled in return and followed him to the door leading out of the laboratory in his personal section of the basement.
Before Hermione was a large room with padded flooring that was filled with stone statues, wooden dummies and various exercise equipment that was certainly 'muggle'.
"Boys and their toys," Hermione just said with a shake of her head.
David ignored that and drew his new wand from the holster he wore constantly and fired a blasting curse into a dummy, which ripped apart at the force of the spell, but the enchantments weaved into repaired it quite instantly.
"David! You just used magic outside of Hogwarts, you could get expelled!" she shouted in shock and worry.
Grin on his face, David replied, "Oh, didn't I tell you? You can use magic here, love. The wards keep out any of the Ministry's attempts at tracking."
"What? But that's illegal!" Hermione shouted back at him in a scolding tone.
"Very illegal," David agreed while performing more and more spells in front of her.
"David…" Hermione said in an exasperated tone.
"Want to have a duel? Its been years since Professor Flitwick's lessons…" David asked, tempting her to use magic outside of Hogwarts.
"I…," she said, remembering the fun she had back then, learning the art of duelling under Professor Flitwick's tutelage.
David just spun his wand between his fingers, showing off his dexterity.
"Oh, alright!" she shouted, pulling her wand out of her jacket pocket after she thought about, vague memories from years ago of David mentioning that he could use magic at his home once filling her head.
David walked down to one end of the training room, and asked Hermione, "Ready?"
She took a deep breath, a little nervous for she hadn't duelled in a long time, not to mention the extensive rule-breaking she was going to commit adding on top of that.
"Are you sure the Ministry can't track us here?" Hermione asked, unsure of herself.
David just rolled his eyes and fired off an obvious stinging hex her way.
"Hey!" she shouted as she reflexively deflected it with the counter-spell.
David fired off another. This one Hermione sidestepped rather than deflecting or shielding before firing off a spell of her own.
Her casting was a little sloppy, but she quickly remembered the correct footwork David noticed while deflecting her spell with ease.
David cast a stunner in return, "Stupefy!"
"Protego!" Hermione shouted back, flicking her wand downwards and shielding herself from the stunning charm.
Right after the shield spell, Hermione got right back into it and shot off a flurry of spells, getting into their light-hearted duel, thoughts of suspension and Ministry hearings forgotten.
After their duel, David and Hermione had a short make out session which was interrupted by Mel as things were getting more intense between the two.
Hermione and David both blushed at Mel's interruption that lunch was ready to be served.
After eating a hearty meal prepared by Mel, David took Hermione to the guest bedroom that was near his own and let her settle in while he took a quick shower himself.
They found themselves in the library after that, with David letting Hermione inspect it on her own, just watching her happily as he sat in his favourite chair near the fireplace that wasn't currently burning.
Hermione pulled a large tome out of a shelf and brought it over to David. David looked over the cover and saw it was a genealogy of the Cross family that he'd gone over before but hadn't really examined in depth.
David just sat in silence as Hermione read through the tome in rabid interest.
"You know, my 'family' weren't very good people, Hermione. A lot of blood supremacists and the like are in that book, I've searched up their names to make sure," David said after several minutes of silence.
"Well, I imagine most wizarding families had some members who believed in all that. Hogwarts was founded to get the children of witches and wizards away from muggles after all, and not for no reason. They really had it rough," she explained, not bothered by the history of House Cross.
"I can't argue with that, all the witch and wizard hunting's back in the middle ages had to be a little successful if the founders felt they had to create Hogwarts to give children a safe haven to learn magic," David mumbled mainly to himself.
"Have you been entered into this tome?" Hermione asked as she neared the end of the book.
"No… I think Mel's itching to, but I asked her to hold off on it. I might get her to do it eventually…" David explained.
Hermione just smiled at him and went to return the tome on the genealogy of House Cross to the shelf and brought back a couple of other titles that interested her.
"Oh! I think I can use this as a reference for my Transfiguration Essay," Hermione said suddenly, causing David to smile, enjoying her enthusiasm.
David and Hermione ate an extravagant dinner that night. Mel went all out and had enough food on the table for four large adults.
Hermione felt really guilty as she and David barely made a dent into the food, but Mel assured her not to worry and that it was her pleasure but did to agree to more tame meals from now on.
David and Hermione stayed up late into the night chatting on the dinner table, drinking tea and nibbling on dessert after their dinner settled.
A couple of hours after midnight, David brought Hermione to her room and bid her goodnight, returning to his room to get some shut-eye.
As he settled in bed, David heard a knock on his door, so he promptly went to answer it, knowing that the knock was from Hermione for he'd memorised the sound of Mel's knuckles knocking on wood by now.
"Hey. What's up?" David asked, standing before her in just some boxers.
Hermione eyed him up and down shyly before answering in a quiet voice, "I thought maybe we could share a bed?"
"I'd love that," David said, beckoning Hermione inside.
She blushed lightly as she walked into David's room, clutching her robe tightly, suddenly feeling chilly.
Hermione was feeling a lot less brave as she stood in David's bedroom for the first time. They were away from Hogwarts and the constant worry of being caught and the uncomfortableness of it all when they were intimate at school was now gone.
Her own home wasn't any better, for her parents were almost always around whenever David was over and had even been interrupted by her mother, a memory that still caused her physical pain.
Thinking of her mother, she let out a small shudder at the recent memory of her being caught buying some lingerie while on holiday just a week ago. The memory still mortified her, and her mother's chuckles haunted her still and would continue to do so for some time. That she was sure of.
Seeing that small shudder, David asked, "Hey, you alright?"
"Sorry. I'm fine David. Just a little nervous," she explained.
"Oh, if you're uncomfortable…" he trailed off.
"No! I mean, no. I'm fine, don't worry about," she mumbled, "Anyway… close your eyes for a second."
"Okay?" David said slowly in confusion, doing as she asked.
David heard the rustling of cloth and the sound of a light thud on the carpet floor.
"You can open them now," Hermione said softly.
Before David was a Hermione who was wearing a set of matching black lace panties and bra.
"Wow," David breathed, taking in the sight before him, already feeling himself getting hard.
Hermione was avoiding his eyes out of embarrassment and therefore quickly noticed his growing member, bringing a shy smile to her face.
"Should we take it to the bed?" Hermione asked, daring to look him in the eye.
"Yeah. Yeah, let's do that," David said quickly reaching for her arm and dragging her over to it in a rush, causing Hermione to giggle.
After David and Hermione had finished their dessert and went upstairs to sleep, Mel remained downstairs with Greenie as they both slowly and happily washed up the various dishes, pots and pans she'd used to prepare dinner with.
After doing the washing, Greenie decided to do a quick clean of the floor with a broom while Mel did some preparation for breakfast, taking out a loaf of brioche and cutting it into thick slices to leave overnight for some French Toast in the morning.
As she lay each slice carefully on a rack, she heard the loud moaning of what could only be Hermione, filtering down from the stairs somehow.
Mel and Greenie shared a look both raising a brow and shaking their heads while smirking.
Mel felt her cheeks heat up slightly as she thought of how thick the stone walls and oaken doors of Cross Manor truly were, a little amazed they could hear David and Hermione all the way from the Master Bedroom down here in the kitchen.
Shaking her head slightly, she went to the basement to continue her work on the vial of Thieve's Downfall she was close to cracking and recreating.
AN: Remember, first chapter of GoT story is up, check it out if you like.