Day 12: Bonfire and Stargazing
After such an emotional evening, Hermione felt like she probably should have felt some level of dread about seeing Narcissa again. But instead, she was giddy to see the blonde. While she wasn’t entirely sure what they were doing, she was certain that she wanted it to continue. Being the center of Narcissa’s attention and being physically in her arms was something that Hermione already knew she wasn’t going to be willing to give up any time soon.
There was something particularly magical about walking up the winding path. Hermione wasn’t a beach person, but she couldn’t debate that Narcissa’s silhouette against the darkness and the jumping of the flames was one of the prettiest things she had ever seen. The sound of the waves lapping gently at the shore were so perfect that Hermione felt the need to pinch herself.
“Good evening,” the blonde witch said, smoothly reaching out her hand.
Hermione took it eagerly. “Hey,” she greeted Narcissa in return.
Narcissa smiled and laced their fingers instead of shaking Hermione’s hand. Giving Hermione’s arm a gentle tuck, Narcissa pulled her closer to place a kiss to Hermione’s cheek.
“What are we doing tonight?” Hermione asked, her cheeks now warming up.
Instead of letting go, Narcissa just continued to hold Hermione’s hand on hers. “Just wanted to steal you away from the city for a while… enjoy a bonfire night… and don’t have my sister and niece interfering all the time,” Narcissa grinned and gave Hermione’s hand a gentle squeeze.
“So you want me all to yourself?” Hermione asked, her tone teasing as she leaned a little more against the blonde for warmth.
“You could say that, yes…” Narcissa replied without hesitation. “Let’s get closer to the fire, darling. You seem cold…” They did. But much to Narcissa’s pleasant surprise, Hermione stayed as close as before. There were some other people scattered about but far enough away for them to feel alone. It was Narcissa again who broke the silence after a moment. “You know, darling, I could look into that ancient family curse for you… if you want. I’m sure my sister kept records of that wretched dagger’s history somewhere. Perhaps it’ll tell us how to heal the scar…” Narcissa’s words were soft and gentle. But when she didn’t get a response she turned her head to look at Hermione with a frown. Only to find the younger witch staring at her wide-eyed instead of at the fire in front of them. “What, darling?”
Hermione cleared her throat and lowered her gaze briefly, but then forced herself to look at Narcissa again. “Thank you… that would be great… if you could.”
“Of course. I would have done so much earlier if I had known about the scar not healing, Hermione…” Narcissa said gently. “I’m-I’m so sorry… about, well… everything. I-I still… sometimes wake up at night. Dreaming about that day… I should ha-“ The air was knocked out of her lungs with a soft oof as Hermione crashed into her for a tight hug. Even though it came unexpectedly, Narcissa circled her arms around Hermione in return immediately.
“Let’s not ruin the night with this… let’s talk about this some other time, Cissa, okay? But I want you to know that I’m not blaming you for what happened there… or for what your sister did to me. You protected your son… and in the end you protected us all for him too. That’s all that matters.” Hermione rushed her words, trying to get them all out before her throat closed up. But holding onto Narcissa and having her face buried in her neck, kept her going.
A strangled sob escaped Narcissa’s throat as she cradled the back of Hermione’s head to keep her close. “Thank you…”
Day 13: Christmas Card
Hermione wanted to sleep in after the emotional evening with Narcissa. She didn’t regret it or her connection to the blonde witch. She couldn’t quite put it into words, but aside from being delightful company, Narcissa had managed to turn her world on its end. The sheer connection she felt for the blonde was making sleep hard. She didn’t consider herself an overly romantic person, but she couldn’t imagine staying in bed when it was so exciting that Narcissa Black existed.
She made her way into her living room. She flicked her wand as she walked past the fireplace. It was the perfect sort of morning for a fire and a very large coffee if she was going to be awake anyways.
Just as she was settling in to enjoy it, the rapping of a beak on her window interrupted the silence of her flat. With a sigh, she pushed herself up from the couch and padded over to the window. While she rationally knew that nothing was likely wrong, the sight of Harry’s owl at such an early hour made her heart beat a bit faster. She gently took it and quickly opened the letter.
Stop panicking. There is no emergency. But I did want to compliment you on the lovely Christmas card. I knew you were close to the Tonks family, but I had somehow missed that you and Narcissa Black were dating.
That being said, you have approximately 3 minutes before Ginny floo calls you about it. I held her off as long as I could and owls only fly so fast.
Hermione would normally smile at any letter Harry sent, but this one was a riddle. She simply hadn’t sent a Christmas card and she wasn’t entirely sure she was dating Narcissa Black. Of course, they spent time together every day. And then there were the lingering touches. But friends touched sometimes, didn’t they?
She shook herself from her thoughts and attempted to prepare herself for the Ginny Potter Weasley onslaught.
As it turned out, Harry had been correct. It was barely three minutes later when her fireplace lit up with green flames and a rather agitated-looking Ginny appeared in front of her. “Ginny…” she greeted her friend.
“Don’t Ginny me! Hermione! Explain yourself!” The fiery redhead blurted in place of a greeting.
“I have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about…” Hermione replied honestly.
“That is a ton of thestral shit, Hermione Granger! When were you going to tell me that you’re dating Narcissa Black?!” Ginny replied with a huff.
“Again… I have no clu-“ before Hermione could finish a Christmas card was shoved into her hands and she looked down at it. On the cover, the Tonks’ definitely had been the main focus. She couldn’t even remember when the picture had been taken but her and Narcissa were visible in the background. Smiling. Their hands touching. “Oh…”
“Oh.” Ginny crossed her arms in front of her chest, expectantly waiting for an explanation.
“So… I have no idea why this exists but… I am not dating Narcissa. We’re just… friends. I’m not even sure we are friends, but I’d like to think so. That picture just had awkward timing, is all… you’d be the first to know if I was dating Narcissa. Or anyone, for that matter.” She tried to keep her voice steady but somehow the idea of dating Narcissa made her heart skip several beats.
Ginny didn’t seem convinced. “Could have fooled me… you two are looking rather cozy there…”
“Well, I suppose we were rather cozy. It was a nice afternoon…” Hermione protested. “But now that you’re here… you want some tea?”
Ginny huffed but nodded. “Fine… yeah, I’d like some tea.”
As Hermione prepared the tea, she thought that it was weird not getting to see Narcissa today. And that she’d send her an owl later. Perhaps they could meet up tomorrow and talk about this Christmas card. “Hey, Gin? Mind if I keep the card?” She asked and blushed when Ginny just laughed.
Day 15: Mulled wine drinking
Narcissa was perhaps a little surprised to have received an invitation from Hermione after Andromeda’s little stunt with the Christmas card. Narcissa was Slytherin enough to know when she had been set up. There was no way that one of Hermione’s friends hadn’t brought the rather intimate body language on display in the card her darling sister had sent to practically all of wizarding Britain.
She felt shy when knocking on the door, but felt it fall entirely away when her eyes met Hermione’s charming green ones. She watched the younger witch pause for a moment before she lunged for her and wrapped her in a hug. The air was knocked out of her lungs, entirely unprepared for the impact. Nevertheless, she wrapped her arms around Hermione almost instantly. “Hey, darling,” she mumbled.
Clearly embarrassed, Hermione pulled back and cleared her throat. “I’m sorry… I… well, I missed you…” she said before stepping aside. “Come on in…”
Narcissa chuckled softly and felt her heart melt a little bit at Hermione’s words. “We saw each other the day before yesterday, darling…”
Hermione blushed furiously. “Yes, well… still… thank you for coming.”
“Thank you for inviting me… I must admit, I didn’t expect that after, I mean, I’m sure you heard about that card…” Narcissa said nervously.
“Oh… I, yes…” Hermione nodded. “Was the first thing I heard yesterday… Ginny was rather excited. But… come on in, first, Narcissa… I thought we would get comfortable on the couch first. Have some mulled wine, you know.”
“That sounds nice, darling,” Narcissa smiled as she shrugged out of her coat and relaxed a little. She felt certain now that Hermione wasn’t angry at Andromeda’s little stunt and that was all that mattered. Together they headed into the living room and Narcissa curiously looked around. “This is lovely… very cozy.”
“Thank you,” Hermione smiled as she poured the mulled wine into a pot and turned on the stove to warm it up. “Have a seat… I’ll be with you in a moment.”
Narcissa did as she was told and settled on the comfortable couch. Her eyes fell on the table in front of her which was decorated with candles. But that wasn’t what caught her eye. It was the Christmas card, carefully placed against a candle and on full display. Reaching out, Narcissa picked it up and couldn’t help but smile as she looked at it.
“It’s a beautiful picture,” Hermione said quietly as she settled down next to Narcissa. The blonde jumped a little in surprise and Hermione chuckled. “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“I wasn’t sure how you’d take my sister’s little game…” Narcissa admitted while taking the offered mug from Hermione.
“You thought I’d be mad?” Hermione asked and Narcissa nodded. “Well, I’m not. Although I was rather surprised…” Hermione smiled. “But we had a lovely afternoon and it’s not our fault what people assume when seeing it. I still wanted to keep it.”
“So… Ginny assumed that we-“ Narcissa trailed off and gestured a little with her hand before taking a sip of mulled wine so she could blame her red cheeks on the alcohol and warmth.
“Oh, she absolutely did assume I neglected to tell her that we were dating, yes,” Hermione smiled. “I clarified things, of course.”
“You shouldn’t have… it would have been fun to roll with the joke and utterly confuse my sister…” Narcissa replied with the hint of a smile when Hermione chuckled at her words.
“And that’s why you’re a Slytherin,” she grinned. “There’s still other people we can fool. I’m not even sure Ginny believed me.”
“So many possibilities… so many people to fool,” Narcissa grinned. She ignored the fact that it made her heart flutter that Ginny Weasley thought that she was dating Hermione Granger.
Hermione tilted her head thoughtfully. “I suppose we could,” she said slowly. “But wouldn’t it be far more gratifying to actually date, not just pretend.”
Narcissa blinked several times trying to establish if her ears were deceiving her.
“Hermione Granger,” Narcissa said in a near whisper. “Did you just ask to date me?”
Hermione smiled broadly. “I suppose I did, although one could make the argument we might already have.”
Narcissa looked at the brave Gryffindor tenderly. “Would you do me the honor of allowing me to court you, Hermione?”