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The simple answer, of course, was that it was not possible to share a beautiful meal with Narcissa Black in a romantic setting without losing her mind, at least a little. Narcissa was perfectly engaging and flirtatious in ways that kept the blush spreading down her neck. It wasn’t until the blonde witch placed the last perfect bite of chocolate cake on her tongue that she remembered others in the restaurant. Narcissa was still holding the fork to her lips when Hermione opened her eyes. Hermione struggled to swallow at the look of desire in the blue eyes. 

“Narcissa,” she whispered once she finally managed to eat the cake without choking. 

“Yes, Hermione?”

Narcissa sat back in her chair, looking rather pleased with herself. 

“This has been the best evening I have had in… I don’t know how long.”

“Nor have I. This has been easily the best meal I have ever shared with another.”

Narcissa laced their fingers together, and Hermione’s stomach clenched with warmth. There was so much more that she wanted to say and do with the witch in front of her. She knew that it would be prudent to at least give it some time, but it was so very hard not to rush in with the Gryffindor sensibilities.

“Will you let me walk you home? It will likely take us 30 minutes, but I would enjoy the time to talk and to stretch my legs.”

Hermione mulled over Narcissa’s question, not because she didn’t want to walk home with her. She couldn’t help wanting to know precisely what it meant and what it would mean about the pace they would be moving at. While these moments were sweet, Hermione couldn’t help thinking she was ready to get to the good part. She had watched from the sidelines while her friends fell in love and got married. She had restrained herself from wanting , but she never quite managed to erase it from her subconscious fully. Cool fingers grazing her cheek broke her out of her thoughts.

“That would be lovely,” she agreed. 

“Good,” Narcissa breathed, seeming relieved. “Come. Let’s go before it gets any later. I would hate for anyone to accuse me of keeping you out past a decent hour.” 

The blonde softened the words with a wink that hit Hermione directly in the gut. 

“Yes, that would be disastrous,” Hermione said dramatically. She hoped that Narcissa somehow knew that she would instead like to be kept out indecently late. 

Hermione took the open palm offered to her and rose from her seat. She once again followed the blonde back through the tables and out onto the street. The night was cool and crisp. They were not the only ones walking the streets, but there were no great crowds. Walking in step with Narcissa was as easy as breathing; as was leaning into the blonde’s warmth. They walked silently though not awkwardly. Hermione had never felt so connected to a person without a single word. They arrived at the stairs that led up to her flat far too soon. Before Hermione could think of saying anything, Narcissa turned her gently to face her. 

“Thank you for coming to dinner with me, Hermione. I cannot remember ever enjoying a meal more.”

Hermione smiled

“Me either.”

“I hope you have a good evening.” Narcissa kissed both her cheeks. She whispered much more quietly. “I believe we have been followed. There is so much more for us to discuss. Tomorrow morning at nine. Floo through to the manor house. It's not the way I would like to make you breakfast, but it's a start.”

Hermione returned the kisses. She was disappointed but knew that the entire point was to follow Narcissa’s lead. She nodded slightly. 

“Thank you again for an amazing evening. I hope to see you soon,” Hermione said as they backed up. 

“Goodnight,” Narcissa said with a wink. 


Hermione watched her turn on the spot and vanished from sight. She smiled at the place the beautiful witch had been. She turned and walked up her stairs. Now that she wasn't so focused on Narcissa, she could feel the eyes on her. It was no surprise that the woman had been right, but it was a perfect reminder that all eyes would be on her going forward. 

She unlocked the door to her flat. She was floating on air. It was almost painful to take herself through her security protocols. But after the feeling of eyes on her, she did draw her wand and scanned her home for anything out of place. Satisfied that nothing was amiss, she cast her wards. Two letters were waiting for her. 

She recognized Pansy’s handwriting right away. She suspected it would be the more entertaining of the two.  She broke the seal. 



Congratulations on your sapphic debut. I do not doubt that you were perfectly charming. I have contacted Bellatrix. She and I agreed that we would have a family meeting tomorrow morning. I will come by at 8 am and accompany you to Hatfield. So if you have a nighttime visitor, please ensure I am not scarred by what I find. 



Hermione rolled her eyes. She had expected some amount of pure-blooded intervention. She knew it came from the most loving place. Pansy loved her more than either of them put words to. They both needed friendship and connection in the years after the war. Hermione felt like she had gotten a sister and best friend in one. She would have needed to bring Pansy into her campaign sooner rather than later. And this had the advantage of being the Slytherin's idea. In her experience, it would be a much smoother ride if all the snakes in her life thought they were in charge. 

She gingerly opened the other letter. 


Miss Granger,

I had the delight of being called upon by Pansy Parkinson this evening. I only wish you had told me in advance so we could have been more observant of tradition. We will meet first thing in the morning. 

I am very sorry if you were disappointed by the end of the date. I'm afraid that some elements of romance must fall to the greater political need. I have no doubt my baby sister will make it up to you in time. See you in the morning. 



Despite the business that would need to be attended to, Hermione looked forward to seeing Narcissa. Now that her desire for the blonde had been unlocked, she couldn't imagine it just dissipating like smoke. She still had so many things she wanted to learn about the witch, so many new things to explore with her. Knowing sleep would be slow coming, Hermione put the kettle on to make her favorite tea. As the kettle whistled, she realized that she must have been daydreaming. It was hard to wrap her head around the fact that she had just been on a beautifully arranged date with Draco’s mum. 

Being interested in an older witch was no surprise. Hermione’s fantasies had always bent that way. For the reality to be so bloody fabulous almost felt too good to be true. She knew she could make herself crazy with overthinking if she weren't careful. So she made her tea and picked up a book. She had been looking forward to this particularly rare arithmancy book for weeks. It hadn't been easy to procure. Snuggled into her favorite spot on the couch, she recently opened the book and began reading. 

Hermione was startled by the sound of her floo. There were few authorized to use it, so she wasn't really afraid. But it had jolted her from sleep, and she was somewhat disoriented. She fumbled for her wand and attempted to clear the rest from her eyes. 

“Well, this is less scandalous than I had hoped.”

Pansy’s teasing tone was a balm on Hermione’s frayed nerves. 

“And I was right to come over early. You are still in your clothes from last night, and we only have an hour.”

Hermione looked to the window, and indeed the sun was well above the horizon. 

“Shit. I must have fallen asleep reading. That hasn't happened in a very long time.”

She stood and stretched her sore muscles.

“What were you reading that had you so preoccupied? Witches Magical Lovemaking?

“Is that even a real book?”

“Of course it is, Hermione. Do try to keep up. So what were you reading if you were skipping the interesting and pertinent titles?”

Hermione mumbled and started moving towards her bedroom. She needed a shower even if they were pressed for time. 

“Running away won't save you, Granger.” 

The pause in teasing was no doubt caused by Pansy picking the book up herself, as it was followed by a laugh. 

“Shower quickly, won't you? I will pick out something for you to wear. Thank Merlin, we went shopping.” 

Hermione shook her head at her friend as she stepped into the shower. She was grateful for being kept from embarrassing herself by being late. Pansy choosing her outfit took the anxiety out of dressing. She knew she would look spectacular. 

As divine as the warm water was, she cleaned herself quickly. While Bellatrix had turned a new leaf, Hermione didn't think it wise to test her quite so soon. 

She dried herself magically and applied the serums and spells that made her hair more manageable these days. She stepped from her bathroom in just her underwear and bra. 

Pansy paused what she was doing to whistle at her. 

“Fucking hell, Granger. You are even fitter than I had imagined. It's a shame you aren't my type, or I could be the minister’s wife. How in the world did Narcissa resist you last night?”

Hermione chuckled. 

“With some difficulty, I believe. But also, she believed we were being followed. And you can imagine how the Black Sisters are. They want to control the news as much as possible.”

Pansy smiled slyly.

“That does explain the picture in The Prophet . Before you lose your mind, it was highly flattering and complimentary.” 

Hermione nodded and pulled on the clothes that Pansy handed her. She really should have expected that there would be press. The question in her mind was if the sisters were involved. It wasn't unthinkable that it had been arranged. But she found herself desperately hoping that Narcissa had not been a part of it. Their beautiful date had been so authentic and endearing that she didn't want the spell to be broken so soon. She was aware that it was a modern sort of arranged marriage, but it didn't stop her from wanting romance along the way. 

“Oh, Hermione,” Pansy said soothingly.  “I know why you are upset. Slytherins are complicated. And you are besotted with one of the most complex of our kind. Narcissa Black once changed the course of the war by lying to his face. Please don't makeup anything until you speak with her. I would not be coming to consent to the match at your family if I did not believe that at the core of it, she wanted a life with you because she thinks you are magnificent. If the photos are anything to go by, she likely thinks that and then some.”

Hermione nodded in an attempt to take it all in. She knew her friend was right about how complex the blonde had to be to have survived. She took a deep breath to control the panic. She would hear Narcissa out. She had faith that the witch was on her side, even if she had misgivings about the methods. Emotionally, she took herself back to the feeling of Narcissa’s hand in her’s on their stroll back to her home. When she opened her eyes, Pansy had a smug look on her face. 

“You might be capable of being Minister after all,” she said with a wink. “Now, close those eyes so I can do your makeup quickly. Don't worry. I'll go for natural and well-rested.”

Hermione laughed at her friends antics. She knee by the time they stepped through the floo that she would be ready to face whatever the Black Sisters had in store.