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Narcissa Black Malfoy was a woman with many regrets.

Her life was in ruins. Her only child was lost to her. She lived in a rundown flat in Knockturn. Her fortune—all her jewels and furs and servants—were gone.

She was lonely, very lonely, but at least she still had use of her nimble fingers. At least she still had her bolts of fabric, her spools of thread.

Narcissa had a talent for needlework, both with and without the aid of spells. She had an eye for fashion. She was a seer for trends. She spent what little money she had on all the best fashion magazines.

The sound of shearing scissors was her soul’s symphony.

Somehow Narcissa had managed to nab herself a position at Madam Merryl’s Boutique in Diagon Alley. She had inquired at Twilfitt and Tattings at first, but her appearance there had been so scandalising that she was nearly thrown out. Damn hypocrites. She and her Dark Mark had been good enough for them when her pockets were filled with gold.

Madam Merryl’s was a different sort of place. It was favoured by a younger crowd. It was still elite, still posh, but not many nans hobbled their way through its gilded doors.

Narcissa had been working at the boutique for nearly a year now, and she still didn’t know what to make of it. They had her mostly working in the back as one of their expert seamstresses, but sometimes she was ordered out front when another employee was off sick. The day Hermione Granger walked into the boutique was one of these days.

Granger had changed. She had grown up. It was merely three years after the war, but Granger moved about as if she had been ruling the world for decades. The Prophet reported on her political successes almost daily. Many believed she had less than a decade before she was named the youngest Minister of Magic in history. And she was Muggleborn. Wasn’t that just grand?

“Miss Granger,” Narcissa said in greeting. She bowed her head slightly.

Granger’s pretty brown eyes widened. “Mrs Malfoy?”

Narcissa hid a smile. The woman might be one of the most powerful people in the Ministry, but at that moment she sounded like an utter child.

“How may I help you?”

“Oh, um.” Granger sneaked a glance at her, then another one. A light blush overtook her cheeks. “Well. I’m in need of a dress. I’m afraid it’s last minute as well.”

“When do you need it?”

“Tonight.”

Narcissa raised a delicate eyebrow. “I see.”

Granger’s blush only deepened. “Look … I heard there are spells. They aren’t permanent, of course, and they won’t showcase this boutique’s brilliant talents for dressmaking, but—”

“Please follow me into the fitting room.”

The shopfront of the boutique was a tiny square of turquoise-painted wood, with a dusty window crowded with glittery accessories; but, on the inside, the boutique had a spacious showroom and very large fitting rooms with towering mirrors.

For some reason, Granger flinched when she saw her reflection in one of these mirrors.

Narcissa closed the door behind them. She moved soundlessly to the bolts of fabric on the wall. Her lacquer nails brushed over a bolt of fairy lace. It felt like water against her skin.

“What sort of dress do you need?” Narcissa stood behind her and stared at both of their reflections. She had at least two inches on Granger.

Granger seemed too embarrassed to make eye contact with her reflection. “Um. It’s for a Ministry function. So think jacket and tie.”

Narcissa raised one of her eyebrows again. “Jacket and tie?”

“Oh, is that a Muggle term?” She bit her plump bottom lip. “I’m not sure.”

“Do you want to wear a dress or dressy separates?”

“A dress, but a Muggle one. It’s in fashion, you know, to not wear formal robes.”

“I know.”

They fell silent as Narcissa circled her slowly. She quite enjoyed it as Granger squirmed beneath her cool gaze. It wasn’t everyday that she felt this sort of power. Not anymore. And not while in the company of Ministry elite.

“I know my proportions aren’t brilliant, but—”

“Granger, you’re perfect.” Her voice was quiet but firm.

Granger caught her eye in the mirror. Something hot and curious passed between them before they both looked away. Now it was Narcissa’s turn to blush.

Narcissa’s stomach lurched, but her tone remained neutral. “Please remove your clothes. I will need to measure you in your underthings.”

“Oh … is that really necessary?”

“Yes.”

Hesitating, Granger dropped her gaze, then carefully unbuttoned her plain business robes. Beneath she wore a pink bra with matching knickers. Narcissa was surprised. She had expected something white and inoffensive—something a nan would wear.

Granger’s tanned skin pimpled with cold.

Then, before Narcissa let herself gawk for too long, she flicked her wand and a measuring tape zipped around Granger’s body. Granger bit her lip again and looked down at her feet.

Narcissa circled her, inspecting the tape’s work. Granger had lovely breasts, but her bra was too small for her. The fabric stretched over her flesh, pushing it up, and her cleavage was—

When Narcissa looked up in the mirror, she found Granger’s eyes on her. The expression on Granger’s face was one of curiosity.

“I recommend new underclothes,” Narcissa said sternly.

“Oh?”

“Yes. The secret to a perfect fit is a good bra.”

“I’ve heard that.” Granger was still watching her.

The tape was around Granger’s bottom, and Narcissa forced herself not to look. She headed for the fabric, pretending to examine each material, but she already knew she wanted to use the gleaming cerulean.

When the tape had finished its task, Narcissa tapped her wand to it, then to the fabric. The fabric unfurled from the bolt like a long luscious tongue.

“Hold out your arms,” Narcissa said quietly. “Let the fabric work its magic.”

Granger did as instructed, stretching her arms out wide until her fingertips nearly brushed Narcissa. Narcissa moved about her carefully, directing the fabric this way and that way, letting it wrap around her curves like a glove. When she saw the perfect form, she flicked her wand and the fabric cut away neatly.

Granger stared down in amazement. “You’re brilliant at this.”

“Yes, but it’s merely temporary. The fabric will become rags within twenty-four hours.”

“That’s certainly long enough for me.”

Narcissa felt herself frown as she focussed on her work. To get the dipping V neckline just right, she had to step closer, then closer. This time, she smelled Granger’s light floral perfume.

“You’re wearing Sappho Amore,” she murmured. “It smells nice.”

Narcissa had the pleasure of seeing Granger’s lovely bare skin turn a hot red. It was mesmerising to witness up close.

When she was done, she stepped back and examined her work with a critical eye. She was a perfectionist when it came to clothes.

“The cleavage will have to be adjusted … if you don’t mind.” Narcissa pointed her wand to Granger’s chest, then waited.

“Oh, um.” Granger was still blushing. “Yeah. Um. Do whatever you want.”

One of the most powerful witches in the country was tongue-tied in her presence. How delicious.

Hiding a smirk, Narcissa touched the tip of her wand to Granger’s chest. This caused Granger to shudder. The spell made her cleavage lift up and press together, giving her a very sensual look.

Narcissa stepped behind her so they both could examine the effect in the mirror. “Well?”

Granger was frowning. “I look like a tart, don’t I?”

“You look elegant.” And very, very sexy. Narcissa ignored the voice in her head.

“Yeah, and a bit tartish.” She gave Narcissa a little smile. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I will definitely draw attention to myself.”

“Attention is never a bad thing.” Unless it’s from the Dark Lord.

Narcissa was proud of her creation. The dress fit Granger like a second skin with its sheath silhouette. It was sleeveless with slim straps that appeared to be tied in elegant bows at the shoulders. The bows were merely decorative. Granger’s perfect breasts were far too big to be supported by fabric that could easily unravel.

Narcissa was staring again. And not at the dress.

Clearing her throat, Narcissa moved away. “Are you pleased, Miss Granger?”

“Yes, I think so,” Granger breathed. “I just hope I have the nerve to wear it tonight.”

Something clenched inside Narcissa at the tone of her voice. Granger sounded entirely too self-conscious. Didn’t the young woman know how lovely she looked?

Narcissa crossed the fitting room before she did something stupid. She imagined herself reaching out to touch Granger, reassuring her in some way, but she couldn’t touch a customer like that. She couldn’t touch any woman like that.

“I shall leave you to get dressed. My only recommendation is to be careful with the fabric as your night wears on. The stitching will begin to weaken after roughly fifteen hours.”

Granger gave her a stiff smile. “Thank you.”

A few minutes later, they met at the white ornate till. Narcissa had written up the receipt, giving herself a nice bonus for the last minute work. She watched Granger closely as she handed over the parchment, but Granger barely blinked when she looked at the amount.

“Your talents are worth more than this,” Granger said as she tapped her wand to the till.

Narcissa blushed. She was a woman over forty and therefore had no business blushing, but Granger had said something that aimed straight for her soul.

“Thank you, Miss Granger,” she said, her voice trembling a touch.

Granger was watching her again. Her eyes looked almost like caramel in the soft light of the showroom. “I will have to come back,” she said, her gaze still trained on Narcissa’s face. “You do such lovely work. It would be a shame not to experience it again.”

Narcissa fumbled with the receipt. She pities you, Narcissa thought, her mood turning dark. Then something truly nasty reared up in her mind. The old hate felt so comforting.

How dare a Mudblood pity me. Her inner voice was a hiss.

Narcissa felt her expression go cold, so cold. She felt how her grey eyes turned to steel. “Good day, Granger.” She placed the receipt on the counter, then snatched her hand away before Granger’s fingers could even come close.

“Thank you.” Granger gave her one last look, then left.

*

Narcissa had already drained two cups of wine when Severus knocked on her door. She knew it was Severus because he was the only one who ever came around for a visit.

A little unsteady, she made her way across her tiny lounge to let him in. “Hello,” she said when she saw his pale face.

He raised an eyebrow. “Are you drunk?”

“Come in.” She stepped aside, letting him pass. He carried takeaway with him. Muggle takeaway.

They went to her tiny kitchenette. She eyed the plastic bag like it was a viper ready to strike.

“You must be having a laugh,” she slurred.

“Jesus, Cissa. I’m glad I brought it. You’re going to have a terrible headache in the morning.”

Her eyelid twitched. He had grown quite relaxed around her since the end of the war. He even used his Muggle words.

He undid the plastic and pulled out two cartons of food. She closed her eyes as the delicious fragrance hit her nose.

“Ah, curry.”

He Summoned her plates and cutlery. “Butter chicken for me, chicken madras for you.”

“With mango chutney?”

“Yes, with mango chutney.”

She sighed and let him serve her. “Would you like a glass of wine?”

“Water, please.”

She made a rude noise. “Ah! You’re no fun.”

“I have work in the morning. All my potions aren’t going to brew themselves.”

“They might.”

After pouring him a glass of water, she met him at her tiny dining table. The tablecloth was a pristine white.

She tore into her piece of naan hungrily, oil and garlic smearing on her fingers. She chewed loudly.

“You used to be a woman of such manners,” Severus deadpanned.

“Who needs manners when you live in a hovel?”

Severus shook his head. He was eating with the utmost care. “For the hundredth time, you needn’t live here. I have plenty of space in Cokeworth.”

“And be forced to live around Muggles? I think not.”

“The Muggles won’t bother you.”

“They are so loud. And their stench—”

“What a mood you’re in tonight!”

“I’m not in a mood.”

“Something happened at work, didn’t it?”

“No, of course not.” She didn’t meet his eyes.

His expression turned reflective. “Did Kingsley finally pop by to speak to you?”

Kingsley? You mean the Minister?”

“Yes.”

She blinked at him. Then a terror struck her. “Why—why would the Minister want to speak to me? Do they mean to reopen my case—bring about charges? Harry Potter himself spoke in my defence!”

“Cissa, please. Calm yourself. The Minister merely wants to be friendly with you.”

“Friendly? But … why?”

Severus set down his glass of water. His dark eyes bored into her. “You are a clever woman. I needn’t spell it out for you.”

She touched her hair, curling a finger around a blonde lock. “My looks …”

“You are still very lovely.”

Now it was her turn to study him. She had always expected him to proposition her. They were old friends, and more importantly, one of the few former Death Eaters to escape the end of the war with their lives intact. It had been a few years and he still hadn’t said anything to her.

“Do you really think so?” she answered carefully.

He nodded vaguely. “Oh, yes. Anyone can see it.”

She waited but he didn’t say anything. She didn’t want to be in a romantic relationship with Severus, but his silence was almost insulting.

“The truth is I’ve never met a man who didn’t want me.”

He gave another one of his vague nods. She narrowed her eyes at him.

“I mean it, Severus.”

“Of course.”

“The only thing I’ve been able to rely on in this world is my beauty.”

“It makes perfect sense.”

“I’m intelligent and talented. I know. But … we were raised in a different time, weren’t we? Women … they didn’t have the options that they do now.”

“Lucius made you happy enough.”

She gulped. Sometimes it was difficult to say her dead husband’s name. “Lucius made me feel whole.”

“You two were perfect for each other.”

For some stupid reason, she thought of Hermione Granger. Then the tears came suddenly.

“Cissa!” he said, alarmed.

She sobbed into her hands, her shoulders shaking. It was the wine that made her emotional. Just the stupid wine.

Severus came around the table and took her into his arms. She hid her face against his neck. He smelled of herbs and leather, and it was nice to be cradled by someone strong.

Then she lifted her head, looking up at him, and he didn’t move away. She brushed her lips against his.

“Oh,” he said, and jerked back.

“Don’t you want me?” she whispered.

“Hush.” He Summoned a flannel from the bathroom and cast an Aguamenti to wet it. He dabbed her eyes, washing away her smeared makeup.

“You’re a liar, Severus Snape.”

“I am not.”

She snatched up the flannel. “You just said I was lovely. You fancy women, don’t you?” There was a sneer in her voice.

“Yes, I fancy women.” He sounded very sad.

She deflated. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s perfectly all right.”

“I’m … you’re right that I had a bad day. Something did happen at work.”

Severus urged her back into her chair. He poured her a small serving of wine. “Tell me about it.”

She imagined letting herself spill her guts to him. All she would have to do is open her mouth and start speaking.

The funniest thing happened to me in sixth year. I shagged Mabel Mulciber. Do you remember old Mabs? Oh, we were just the best of friends! I still remember the sounds she made when I was inside her. What a laugh!

A long silence stretched between them. She raised her head and realised he was waiting patiently for her to explain.

“Hermione Granger came into the boutique today.”

He frowned. It was obvious he was expecting something much worse. “Was she rude to you?”

“No.”

“Ah. She’s a Mudblood and you had to service her.”

Service her. Her eyes fluttered.

“I don’t usually have trouble serving her type. They come in often, especially at Madam Merryl’s.”

“But?”

I wanted to shag her brains out. She shuddered. It was overwhelming just to admit it to herself.

“I don’t know.”

“Was it because she was directly involved in the downfall of the Dark Lord?”

She laughed. “I’m glad he didn’t win!” Then she grabbed her forearm convulsively, as if he could still hurt her from the grave.

“I am as well.”

“Why would I—You helped defeat the Dark Lord!” She was sputtering. “Trust me, you wouldn’t be sitting here if I held a grudge.”

“I merely did what was needed for Potter to end him.”

“Lucius would have died either way. The Dark Lord wanted it. And my son—” Her throat closed up. She couldn’t talk of Draco. She couldn’t.

“Yes.” Severus touched his scarred neck. “We all would have died by his hands if he had won.”

A single hot tear rolled down her cheek. She speared some chicken madras with her fork and ate it. The ginger and chilli flavours almost made the pain go away.

“Granger can be quite annoying,” Severus said gently. He still wanted to know what had made her presence so difficult.

“She was kind enough.”

“She’s never been a rude child.”

“She’s not a child anymore.”

“No, I suppose not. She will be running the country before we know it.”

Narcissa looked him in the eye. “Do you really believe so?”

“Oh, yes. The Ministry is desperate to show that wizarding politics have changed. ‘It’s a new millennium and bigotry is out!’”

She snorted. “What tosh.”

His expression grew serious. “It’s the truth, Cissa. Times are changing. You can’t go around saying Mudblood.”

“And I don’t! I’m not stupid.”

“But you still think it.”

She didn’t answer him. He sighed and focussed on his food. They both did.

When it was time to leave, he took her into his arms again. “You are a beautiful woman.”

“You don’t need to pity me, Severus.”

“I’m not. You should look out for a visit from the Minister.”

“How exciting.” Her tone dripped with sarcasm.

He gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek, then disappeared out the door. He had been kind enough to leave her the leftovers.

Later that night, Narcissa lay in bed and throbbed. She couldn’t stop thinking about Hermione Granger.

It was so very stupid, wasn’t it?

Narcissa had no business thinking about the young woman—the Mudblood. She curled her fists against the bedding, feeling how her tendons and veins bunched. Her pure blood flowed in her veins. Pure and strong. It didn’t matter if someone like Granger floated about, being so clever, so commanding. She was the exception.

Narcissa wished she knew the exact colour of Granger’s nipples. They were probably the prettiest of pinks. Darker in colour than her own. They would probably look brown when she was aroused. She bet her cunt—

“No,” Narcissa said, and the sound of her own voice was a shock. She hadn’t meant to speak.

No. She wouldn’t let herself think of such things. She hadn’t let herself think of such things in over twenty years. Longer than Granger had even been alive.

She was still wet. She was still needy.

She slipped a hand into her knickers and found her clit. She strummed herself, thinking about … the last time Lucius had put his mouth on her. It had been before his disastrous performance in the Department of Mysteries, back when he had confidence and purpose, back when he had been assured of the Dark Lord’s approval of him. He had eaten her with utter delight, using his tongue to work her flesh, licking and licking. She remembered the stormy arousal in his eyes, the dark twinkle of his lust. He had been a very attractive man, and sex between them had always felt so right. Like the anointing of a king and a queen.

Closing her eyes, she worked herself firmly, chasing her orgasm. She missed him so much. She missed—

Granger would eat her out so sweetly. She would be shy about it, wouldn’t she? Maybe she would taste her timidly, then raise her head, her full lips glistening with wet. Like that, Mrs Malfoy?

Narcissa would laugh cruelly and say, No, like this, you foolish girl. She would shove Granger’s face between her thighs and thrust up, forcing her to taste her. She would ride her face, grinding against her. Perhaps Granger would struggle for air, perhaps she would sink her nails into her wrists in an attempt to pry her hands away.

No, no, Narcissa would coo. You must be a good girl and eat my cunt. You are mine now, don’t you know?

Narcissa clenched tightly, already on the brink of orgasm. She shoved a hand up her shirt and cupped one of her breasts. Granger wouldn’t feel anything like this in her palm. She would be hot and luscious, and so, so soft. Narcissa probably wouldn’t be able to get her whole hand around her.

Then her orgasm hit, and it was so overwhelming that her eyes rolled back. She shuddered against her hand, her inner walls fluttering. She wished she was filled. She wished Hermione Granger had her entire fucking fist inside her.

“Punish me,” she murmured, then rolled over and fell asleep.

*

Granger and her revealing dress made the morning’s newspaper. Narcissa was drinking her tea and nearly dropped her cup. The photograph was in the society section, and the “journalist” was going on and on about Granger’s looks. Narcissa could smell his come stain from her kitchenette.

Narcissa stared at the photograph. Granger seemed to know she was on display because she paused and glanced seductively over her semi-bare shoulder.

“Oh, Minister Granger,” Narcissa murmured. She slurped her milky Earl Grey.

The day stretched wide open for Narcissa. She had the day off, which was brilliant, but she didn’t fancy being alone with her thoughts.

“I will sew,” she announced to no one.

In the corner of her bedroom stood her biggest secret. It was an old-fashioned Muggle sewing contraption. A machine. It had the word Singer written in gold across its black head and on its mechanical pedal.

It had taken Narcissa over a year to figure out how to use it, and only with Severus’ help. She had finally broken down and showed him after consuming an entire bottle of wine. He nodded seriously and said he would look for a manual for her. It’d taken him a few months, but he had finally found one in an old dusty charity shop up in Manchester.

Whenever Narcissa sat down to use it, she heard her mother’s nasally voice in her ear. Idiot girl! What a waste of time! You touch their ridiculous contraptions and the vermin shall stain you.

And it was a ridiculous waste of time. She was a witch. She had magic. She needn’t spend ten minutes preparing a silly machine just so she could stitch two pieces of fabric together.

But somehow stitching without the aid of magic brought her happiness. Immense happiness.

Before she could begin work, she had to prepare the bobbin and the boat shuttle. Her eyes weren’t what they used to be, so she opened her small window to let in the weak light and lit more candles. Securing the thread was a bloody nightmare, but her mind went utterly blank as she zeroed in on her task.

To operate the machine, she had to spin the metal wheel on the side and press her foot into the metal pedal at the bottom. It took a lot of coordination, and the stitching made a loud hiss, but it was so odd and foreign that it was comforting. When she sewed like this, she was no longer Narcissa Malfoy, former Death Eater, widower who was estranged from her only child. She was merely a woman sewing two parts of a dress together.

Another secret: She used Muggle patterns. She had made a handful of dresses so far with her machine and each were from Muggle sewing magazines. The first two dresses had been matronly with lace at the neck and wrists, but her most recent dresses were modern with revealing skirts and plunging necklines. She made them in her size but she had no intention of wearing them outside her flat.

Her current project was a long summer dress with a trapeze silhouette and a halter neckline. The fabric was chiffon and had a pattern of delicate watercolour daisies. Narcissa was obsessed with it.

She worked on the dress for over an hour, time slipping away quickly, until she was interrupted by an owl tapping on her window. Distracted, she waved her wand and let the owl into her room.

She made it wait as she finished her line of stitching, then she handed over some treats and a few coins, and the owl, with quite the diplomatic air, presented to her the note attached to its talon.

“Thank you,” she muttered, still distracted. The owl gave her a big yellow stare, then flew off.

She had been rather certain the letter was from Severus, so she started when she didn’t recognise the handwriting on the front. Something happened to Draco! She ripped open the folded parchment.

Dear Mrs Malfoy,

I hope this letter finds you well. Have you read the newspaper today? Your gorgeous dress made quite a splash last night at the Ministry ball. I know I felt like a thousand Galleons wearing it.

I would like to meet with you soon to discuss a possible partnership between us. I would love to wear your designs more often.

Please let me know when you have availability. I’m willing to clear my schedule for you.

Graciously yours,
Hermione Granger

Narcissa stared and stared. She stared for so long that her vision blurred, scrambling the pretty penmanship.

Granger had written to her. She wanted to meet with her. The word partnership banged about in her head.

Narcissa reread the letter greedily. Was she—? No, it wasn’t possible. Narcissa was reading too much into it. There wasn’t a single drop of flirtation in her words.

I’m willing to clear my schedule for you.

Graciously yours.

Narcissa shivered.

Right. It seemed as if she had a big decision to make. This was a good thing, wasn’t it? At the very least it meant more money in her pocket. And it would be quite beneficial to her reputation if she were seen in public with Granger. The Prophet would probably even print a few sorry words about her: Reformed Death Eater Now Pals with Ministry Darling!

Narcissa realised she was panting. She snapped her mouth closed, forcing her body to relax.

She needed time to think about it, that was clear enough. She needed time to push out all emotion so she ensured her decision was purely strategic.

Still breathing quickly, she methodically folded up the letter and sent it off to languish in a drawer. Then she turned her attention back to her hissing sewing machine.

*

Two days went by and Narcissa didn’t respond to Granger. She retrieved the letter many times, but she still grew agitated when she read it. She wasn’t ready to write back. She still needed time to control herself.

Then, on a random Thursday, Narcissa ventured to Mint and Magic for her afternoon tea. The cafe was cosy but very popular. Narcissa usually nabbed a table way back in the corner and kept her head down.

When she walked in, the first face she saw was Hermione Granger’s.

Mrs Malfoy,” Granger said, and she had the nerve to sound surprised.

Narcissa felt her expression harden. “What are you doing here?”

Granger smiled. “Looking for you, of course! You weren’t at the boutique.”

“Today was my day off.” It was a lie. She had worked the early morning shift in the backroom.

Granger appeared entirely too curious. “Do you live around here?”

“I merely want a cup of tea.” Narcissa moved past her to the till.

“Would you be so kind as to let me sit with you?”

Narcissa took a deep breath. She couldn’t forget that Granger had real power. She turned to her, giving her a cool but pleasant up turn of the mouth. “Please do, Miss Granger. It would be my honour.”

They put in their orders at the till, then found a little table near the window. The table had tiny painted roses on its top and legs. The window was framed by lacy pink curtains.

When they were seated, Narcissa almost panicked. She could barely look Granger in the eye.

Image description: A drawing of Narcissa and Hermione on a lavender background. They are sitting at a cafe table. Narcissa wears a red shirt with a floral pattern, blue skirt, and blue flats. Hermione wears a purple maxi dress with green geometric lines, and purple flats. Art by sunflower_swan. End description.

Granger’s smile looked almost painful. “How are you today?”

“I’m fine, thank you,” Narcissa said stiffly.

Granger deflated a little. “Did you get my letter?”

“Yes.”

“And?”

Narcissa took a deep breath. She hid her hands in her lap so Granger didn’t see how they trembled. This was the very last thing she’d wanted to happen. She still needed time.

“I would love to partner with you, Miss Granger,” she said carefully.

“Brilliant!”

Narcissa licked her lips. “Pardon me for my blunt question—but why me?”

Before Granger could respond, their tea arrived. Granger had ordered a pot of Darjeeling with a slice of Lemon Drizzle cake and Narcissa had ordered a pot of her usual Earl Grey with a slice of Victoria Sponge.

Narcissa coveted the lemony sweetness of Granger’s cake until she took a delicate bite of the Victoria Sponge. Her eyes fluttered. The jam and cream in the centre of the sponge was dreamy, utterly dreamy.

Granger watched her face. “Do you like it?”

“Oh, yes,” Narcissa sighed as she forked more cake into her mouth. The next bite wasn’t as delicate.

Narcissa noticed that Granger added milk to her Darjeeling—quite the sacrilegious choice. As she watched in silent judgement, she realised just how lovely Granger looked that day.

Granger had her wild hair pulled up in an artfully messy bun, with sensual curls left down to frame her face. She wore a touch of make up, the softest of pink on her lips. Her eyelashes looked very long.

Granger noticed her staring. “Does my appearance meet your expectations?”

“I don’t have expectations.”

“You are looking at me so critically. I’m surprised I won’t receive marks from you.”

“Marks? As if I’m your teacher?”

“Yes.” Granger smiled again. “I’d rather enjoy it if you were my teacher.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

Granger leaned forward, her teacup clasped between two hands like a barbarian. “It’s part of my proposal, you know. I want you to teach me how to dress myself properly so that others will pay attention to me.”

“People already pay attention to you.”

“Not enough.”

Narcissa frowned, but she didn’t know why. For some reason, she almost felt protective of Granger … as if she didn’t want anyone else looking at her. What silliness.

“You never answered my question,” Narcissa said quietly.

Granger ate a piece of her lemon cake, then sucked on her fork. “You have talent, that’s why. I’ve always coveted talent.”

“I’m a Death Eater,” Narcissa said, then she nearly fainted from embarrassment. “I mean—former. I—”

“I know.”

Narcissa’s face was so hot. “I don’t mean to be … insensitive. I just want us to understand one another.”

“Yes, of course.”

“Then you don’t … mind?” Merlin, she sounded like a dullard.

“You helped Harry win the war. He testified to it.”

Narcissa tried to hide her flinch. She hated thinking of that night. “I want money,” she said, and the words felt ripped from her.

Narcissa’s mother just rolled over in her grave. The Black Family never, ever spoke of money. The vulgarity of it!

Granger laughed. “Of course I will pay you! You deserve all the riches—all the accolades.”

“Shall I expect you to make me a fortune?” Narcissa raised an eyebrow. She meant to unsettle Granger, but Granger leaned forward excitedly.

Yes. People asked me loads of times last night where I had got my dress. I could only say at Madam Merryl’s, but if you accept my offer, I can say that I got my fabulous clothes from you.”

Narcissa felt her expression go hungry and she forced all emotion from her face. “I have my doubts.”

“Oh?”

“Don’t you worry I will … tarnish your reputation?”

“No.”

“But …” Narcissa touched her forearm unconsciously.

“I broke into the Ministry when I was just a teenager. I already have a reputation.”

“Yes, but I doubt people want you associating with a former Death Eater.”

“I don’t care what people want.”

“You only care about what you want?”

Granger gave her another smile. “Exactly.”

“And you want me?” she whispered, unable to help herself.

Granger’s cheeks went a touch pink. She dropped her lovely gaze, then sneaked a look back up at Narcissa.

Is she being coy with me? Narcissa thought.

“I thought I made it quite obvious that I wanted you.”

“I want five hundred Galleons to start.” The number was more than a little arbitrary.

Granger blinked. “Sure.”

Narcissa worked her mouth. “That’s just to start, mind.”

“Of course.”

“And I refuse to purchase any supplies. Everything will have to come out of your coin purse.”

“Makes sense.”

“And I will only work with the best fabric!”

“We want to impress people, don’t we?”

For some reason, Granger’s composure irritated Narcissa to no end.

“I will be dressing your body, so of course you will get a say, but I want as much autonomy as possible. I want to carry out my visions unimpeded.”

“Sounds like a good plan.”

Narcissa narrowed her eyes and leaned forward in her seat. “You have brilliant tits. I will want to show them off.”

Finally Granger’s composure cracked. Her cheeks flushed hotly. “I—thank you, Mrs Malfoy.”

“Brilliant tits and arse. Your dresses will be utterly glued to your skin.”

“You’ve been looking at my arse?”

Now it was Narcissa’s turn to blush. Maybe, said a voice in her head, but she couldn’t say that.

“I’ve looked at every inch of you as if you were a mannequin for me to dress.”

“Every inch?”

“Yes.”

Granger’s eyes sparkled. “Mrs Malfoy, that is music to my ears.”

Narcissa sat back in her chair. She focussed on her cake again, not wanting to give any more of herself to Granger.

“When would you like to start?” Narcissa said once her plate was clear.

“How about tomorrow?”

Narcissa nodded curtly. “After work then? I get off at five.”

“Yes. Will you meet me in Soho?”

Soho? As in …”

“I want to show you some Muggle dresses. As inspiration.”

Narcissa knew a challenge when she saw one. “Sounds just perfect.”

*

Soho was utterly swimming with Muggles the next night. Narcissa sneaked out from the alley and checked her appearance in a glossy window. Her long blonde hair shone like a halo.

It was a surprisingly warm evening, and Narcissa wore a fit and flare cotton dress with a pointed collar and capped sleeves. The fabric was a summertime blue with polka-dots.

It wasn’t an evening dress, oh no, but the sun was still bright in the sky. It was too early to show up at a shop wearing evening attire.

Narcissa walked into a place called Hidden Memories. She rolled her eyes. What a stupid, saccharine name.

Narcissa’s mouth dropped open when she spotted Granger. Granger wore a white dress with a frilly hem that barely reached her knees. The stark colour made her skin look dark and golden, and so bloody caressable.

“Mrs Malfoy!” Granger hurried over to her, a brilliant smile curling her lush lips.

“Good evening,” Narcissa said, unable to keep the chill from her voice.

Granger, utterly unaffected by her tone, hugged her. Narcissa was enveloped by Granger’s lovely perfume. She took a deep breath. Raspberries, orchid, and cashmere, she thought.

Granger’s breasts felt delicious pressed against her.

“I’m so glad you made it,” Granger gushed.

Narcissa pulled away. She was surprised not to find herself panting. “You asked me to come. So here I am.”

“I’m also paying you.” Granger gave her a wink and grabbed her hand. “Come over here, I want to show you a few dresses I like.” She tugged Narcissa across the shop.

They stopped in front of a rack that contained countless dresses with slender straps and plunging necklines. The slag look was definitely in that season.

Granger held up a sleeveless black number with a sheath silhouette and a flowing layered skirt.

“It’s good,” Narcissa murmured, “but not the right colour.”

Granger looked amused. “What’s the right colour?”

“You can virtually pull off any colour with your beautiful skin tone. Black is just more understated”

Now looking pleased, she held up the dress to her body. “You don’t think it’s too short, do you?”

“It’s definitely too short.”

“Really?”

“Yes, but it’s also perfect. We want to shock the Ministry, don’t we?”

Granger bit her lip and slipped the dress back on the rack. “My mentor says I’m already shocking enough.”

“Who is your mentor?”

“Minister Shacklebolt, of course.”

“How nice,” Narcissa said coolly.

Granger plucked out another dress. “What about this one?”

“The skirt is too outlandish. You’d look like a nan’s curtains.”

“Hmm,” Granger said, and put the dress back. “Do you like Minister Shacklebolt?”

“Yes,” Narcissa said. Then: “I was told to expect him to reach out to me.”

Granger stared at her. “Whatever for?”

Narcissa gave a fluid shrug. “Perhaps he just likes the look of me.”

Granger tore her gaze away. Her mouth twisted as if she tasted something foul. “Yes, well, you are quite beautiful,” she said quietly.

Narcissa was amused. She raised an eyebrow and said, “You think so?”

“What about ball gowns?” Granger said suddenly. She grabbed Narcissa’s hand and tugged her to another corner of the shop. When they stopped in front of a rack of glittering gowns, Granger didn’t immediately drop her hand.

“You’d look stunning in the cerise pink.”

Granger gave her a brilliant smile, squeezed her hand, then finally released her. Granger slipped the pink dress off the rack and walked over to a mirror. She looked more at Narcissa than her own reflection.

“Yes, I think I agree,” Granger said. “The pink does bring out the lovely tones of my skin.”

Narcissa approached from behind. “Yes, very much so,” she said quietly. Her hand still tingled from Granger’s touch.

Narcissa carefully inspected the stitching on the dress. “I could do better.”

“With your magic?”

“Yes, and other ways.”

They spent the next half an hour looking over other dresses and dressy separates. Narcissa was already forming plans in her head.

They left Hidden Memories and ventured to a fragrance shop called Floraison.

The fragrance shop was small and elite, with tiny golden counters and plastic flowers hanging from the ceiling.

Granger grabbed her hand again and urged her over to a counter. She smiled pleasantly to the shop girl behind the counter, then turned her full attention to Narcissa.

“Will you help me pick out a new fragrance?” Granger asked.

“Yes, of course.”

The first perfume they smelled was called Insolence, and it came in a gorgeous violet bottle with little bumblebees etched into the glass. Granger dabbed a bit on her skin and held her wrist up to Narcissa’s nose.

Closing her eyes, Narcissa took a deep sniff on the scent. Beneath her nose, Granger’s skin was very soft and very warm.

Narcissa smelled juicy berries, sweet violets, and a seductive but refined note of powder. She sniffed again and again. Her head spun from the delicious aroma.

“Do you like it?” Granger asked quietly.

“Yes,” she breathed.

Afterward, they ventured to a tiny pub called the Lyric. Narcissa thought the pub reminded her too much of the Leaky Cauldron.

They sat at a wobbly table in a back corner. Granger ordered a pint of some generic ale on tap. Narcissa, turning up her nose, ordered a glass of their most expensive wine. Of course she expected Granger to pay for it.

Due to the music, they had to lean close together to hear one another.

“I hope you don’t drink pints at Ministry balls,” Narcissa said, lips close to Granger’s ear.

Granger threw her head back and laughed. She looked very good when she laughed. “No, of course not. I drink little flutes of champagne and pretend I’m sophisticated.”

“You don’t consider yourself sophisticated?”

“God, no.” Granger laughed again. “Would you consider me sophisticated?”

“I think you are powerful, very powerful.”

“Those are two different things, aren’t they? Loads of great leaders don’t have a drop of sophistication in their blood.”

“No, they don’t.” For some damn reason, Narcissa thought of the Dark Lord. Had he been sophisticated? Sometimes. And also powerful and glamorous. Very glamorous.

“What are you thinking about?”

Narcissa blinked. “Oh, um. Nothing good, I promise.”

Granger touched her hand gently. “You can tell me. You can tell me anything.”

Narcissa felt her mouth curl. “How sweet.”

“Don’t sneer at me! I am only being friendly.”

“You want to know my secrets.”

Granger thought for a moment. “I suppose I do. You fascinate me.”

“You want to have power over me.”

“Do I?”

Narcissa nodded. “Secrets always mean power.”

“Not always. You Slytherins have the funniest way of thinking of things.”

“Says the woman who will be running the country before she’s thirty!”

A server wandered by and asked if they wanted to order food. Granger ordered something called a burger, and Narcissa, after a quick scan of the menu, ordered the angus fillet steak because it was the most expensive item.

“There are a lot of strange words on this menu,” Narcissa muttered.

“Oh?”

“Yes—what are fries?”

Granger threw her head back and laughed again. She seemed to laugh a lot around Narcissa. It was almost alarming.

“You know what chips are, right? They are like that.”

“And what is this burger thing you ordered?”

Granger grinned at her. “Wait and you shall find out.”

It was difficult for Narcissa not to stare. Granger’s eyes were glittering in the gloomy pub light. The colour of her irises was like candlelight captured in bronze.

They fell silent and Narcissa took the opportunity to people watch. There were strange contraptions on the walls—tellies. Somehow Narcissa remembered the word.

“You’ve never been around Muggles, have you?”

Narcissa was so conditioned to deny any interest or exposure to Muggles that she almost said, Of course. I don’t like being around vermin, but she couldn’t say that to Miss Mudblood.

Don’t say that word. Don’t even think it.

Granger was smiling again. Something strange was in her gaze. It was almost as if she could read Narcissa’s mind and wasn’t that shocked by what she saw there.

“I … I have a Muggle machine,” Narcissa said instead. She had no idea where the words came from.

“What?”

Narcissa’s mouth was suddenly very dry. “For sewing … it’s ancient, I think. At least for Muggle things.”

“You have an old sewing machine?”

Sweat broke out under her arms. Narcissa gulped her wine and avoided her gaze. “Yes. Um.” She laughed nervously. “No one knows that except for Severus.”

“Professor Snape?”

“Yes … he’s—he’s in love with me, I think.” Oh, Merlin, why did she just say that?

Granger raised her eyebrows. “Is that why you showed him this machine? Because he desires you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can I see your machine?”

Narcissa almost went for her wand to cool herself down. She was so sweaty, and it was unbecoming. Then she remembered the Muggles. “Yes, of course,” she said distractedly.

Granger gave her a brilliant, brilliant smile, and it made Narcissa tremble. Granger was entirely too beautiful. Especially for a Mudblood.

Stop thinking that word!

“Do you use the sewing machine often?”

“Yes. Too often.”

“What do you mean?”

Narcissa gulped more wine. Her glass was almost empty. “I have magic,” she heard herself say. “It’s so stupid that I make clothes using an old Muggle contraption.”

“I don’t think it’s stupid.”

“No?”

“I think it’s fascinating. And attractive.”

“Attractive?”

Granger sipped her pint casually. “Yes. You are a woman of complexities. You are curious about the world around you. Anyone would consider those qualities attractive.”

The word bounced about Narcissa’s mind. Attractive, attractive, attractive

Mudblood.

Narcissa squeezed her eyes closed and took a deep, unsteady breath.

“Are you dating anyone?” she asked Granger.

Granger looked surprised by the question. “No, not currently.”

Narcissa gulped more of her wine, draining the glass. “I’m not seeing anyone either. I mean, there’s Severus, but he doesn’t fancy me, not really.”

“You just said he was in love with you.”

“I don’t know why I said that. It was a lie, I think.”

“You think?”

“Who was your last boyfriend?”

“My last boyfriend?”

“Yes. The last person you dated.”

“Why do you think the last person I dated was a man?”

Narcissa nearly fell out of her chair. She wanted to flee. Her gaze darted to the door. Go now.

“Ladies, your meal.” The server set a steak in front of Narcissa and a beef sandwich thing in front of Granger.

“More wine, please,” Narcissa said urgently.

“Yes, ma’am.” The server scurried away.

“So this is a burger. What do you think?”

Narcissa wrinkled her nose. “It looks greasy.”

“That’s what makes it good. Do you want to try some?”

Narcissa imagined Granger feeding her by hand. “No, thank you.”

“Your mistake.” Granger grabbed the entire thing and took a big bite. She didn’t even use her knife and fork.

Narcissa was equal parts intrigued and disgusted. Greasy juice dripped onto her plate. Her fingers glistened. So did her mouth.

The server dropped off her wine and Narcissa grabbed the glass and drank desperately. The alcohol steadied her. It also gave her a bit of reckless courage.

“So the last person you dated wasn’t a man. What were they? A goblin?”

Granger sucked the grease from her thumb. “I date women, Mrs Malfoy.”

Narcissa’s vision blurred. She was in the middle of slicing through her steak and her hands went weak. Women.

Granger was watching her. She saw straight to Narcissa’s soul. “You are alarmed.”

“I am?”

“Yes, alarmed and … disgusted?”

“I’m not disgusted.”

“Maybe not entirely, but the feeling is there, isn’t it? You don’t like that I date women. It scares you.”

Narcissa finished cutting her steak. She slipped a juicy piece into her mouth and chewed methodically. She barely tasted the meat. Once she swallowed, she said, “Why would it scare me?”

“You tell me.”

“This conversation is entirely inappropriate. You are my client.”

“Yes.” Granger was still watching her.

Narcissa focussed on the food on her plate. She ate as quickly as her manners would allow. She was still in public, even if they were only Muggles.

When she was done, she drained her second glass and looked at Granger expectantly. “I believe I must go now.”

Granger was still finishing her meal, but she didn’t argue. “Can I see your sewing machine?”

“Right now?”

Granger nodded.

“Okay,” Narcissa said, shocking herself. It was as if someone else was moving her lips. “Let’s go.”

Granger paid quickly. They escaped the pub and found a deserted alleyway. Narcissa paused for a moment. She didn’t want to touch Granger … She also wanted to touch her very much.

“Come here,” Narcissa murmured.

Granger hurried into her arms. Narcissa held her close, spun, and Disapparated. They reappeared in her sad little flat. Narcissa was very close to tipsy, and she wobbled and clutched at Granger to steady herself.

For one long heartbeat, they didn’t release each other. Narcissa closed her eyes and breathed in all the different fragrances that they smelled earlier in the evening. Granger’s soft mouth brushed her throat.

Granger laughed against her skin and pulled away. “I believe we were almost Splinched.”

“Absolutely not.”

Granger gazed about the room. She seemed surprised.

“It’s no manor,” Narcissa growled, mortified. Why did she bring her here?

“It’s cute.” Granger touched the curtains. “Did you make these?”

“Yes.”

“I love the pattern. Such delicate petals.”

Narcissa wanted to cross her arms and sneer, but she made herself go still, utterly still, like a statue.

Granger gazed out the window. “I knew you lived in Knockturn.”

“Where else could I have lived?”

“I don’t know. Anywhere.”

“Must I show you my arm to remind you? Nowhere else would have accepted me.”

“I accept you.”

Narcissa startled herself by laughing. She didn’t know why she laughed, not really. Granger was hilariously stupid.

“Where’s this sewing machine of yours?”

Gulping, she said, “My bedroom.”

They went into her tiny bedroom. Granger stared at her little bed, then at the mannequins lined up along her wall. The last thing she looked at was the machine.

“Oh!” Granger clapped her hands together. “It’s an antique!”

“It doesn’t require Muggle lightning energy.”

Granger crouched to inspect the machine closer. “Electricity?”

“Yes.”

“This is a stunning machine.”

“Thank you,” Narcissa, entirely unsure.

Granger dragged her fingers along the machine, then over the golden SINGER etched into the black metal. She had very nice fingers. Her nails were very short.

Narcissa fell back against the wall. She was afraid of getting too close to Granger. She was afraid of what she would do.

They were in her bedroom.

Granger moved away from the machine to gaze at the dresses on the mannequins. “Did you make these?”

“Yes.”

“The clothes are Muggle.”

“I know.”

Granger quirked an eyebrow. “You make Muggle clothes using an old Muggle sewing machine?”

Narcissa felt her cheeks heat up. She raised her chin. “Do you have a problem with it?”

Granger came closer. Her gaze never left Narcissa’s face. When she was about an inch away, she stopped and gave Narcissa a slow, curling smile. “No, I don’t have a problem with it. In fact, I like it very much.”

She wanted to touch Granger. She was dying to touch her. “Those dresses … they won’t fit you.”

“No,” Granger said softly, then, looking into Narcissa’s eyes, she pressed a palm to her waist, then dragged it down until it rested on her hip. Her hand felt very warm through Narcissa’s dress. “Your waist and hips are smaller than mine. They are more streamlined.”

“Oh?” Narcissa could barely form words. Granger had her hand on her.

For one long, agonising moment, Narcissa felt as if she were captured prey. She waited, holding her breath, for Granger to make her next move.

Granger dropped her hand and stepped back. “Today was fun. Thank you for meeting up with me.”

“I want my payment,” Narcissa gasped.

“Right now?”

“Yes.”

Granger casually retrieved her coin purse. She entered Narcissa’s space and murmured, “Hold out your hand.” Narcissa did what she was told. Then, as slowly as possible, she pressed each coin to her palm, her fingers lingering against her skin. When she was done, five Galleons rested in Narcissa’s palm. “Is that enough?”

“It’s a start.” Heart pounding, Narcissa pocketed the money.

“I should get going.”

“Yes, right. I’m sure you have work in the morning.”

“Boo, work.” Granger pouted.

Shuddering, Narcissa had to look away. She wanted to suck on that pouty bottom lip.

They went to Narcissa’s front door. “Should you cast a spell? I doubt you want to be seen leaving my flat.”

Granger gave her a funny look. “Why not?”

“Because … I’m me.”

“I want to be seen with you.” Granger leaned in and dropped a kiss to Narcissa’s cheek. “Good night.”

“You too,” Narcissa said, unable to believe that Granger kissed her. “I’ll begin work on your first dress right away.”

“Good.”

Granger sauntered out the door. Narcissa headed for her bathroom. She was in desperate need of a cold shower.

*

In the coming days, Narcissa worked like a mad woman. She barely slept. She barely ate. She was obsessed. She had to make the perfect dress for Granger. She had to impress her.

Day and night, she sat at her hissing machine. She used a fabric called polyester. The Muggle magazines swore that it was a durable fabric that would resist stretching and tearing. Narcissa assumed Granger would appreciate a dress that she could wear over and over without fear of ruining it.

The dress was sleeveless with a jewelled neck and glittery sequins cascading down both sides. Narcissa, with her nimble fingers, sewed each bit of sequin by hand. It was only at the end, when her eyes were too tired to keep open, that she allowed herself to use magic.

When she was all done, she had made Granger a gorgeous burgundy sheath dress with red glitter sequins and silver beading that circled and defined the waist.

Narcissa placed it on her mannequin, sent Granger an owl that the dress was completed, then promptly fell face-first onto her bed and passed out.

*

Narcissa woke up to banging on her front door. Groggy and mouth tasting of something foul, she shoved herself up from the bed and wobbled out to her lounge.

Muffling a huge yawn, she opened her door. “Oh, Severus. Hello.”

He gazed at her worriedly. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, quite all right. Why do you ask?”

“Because you haven’t answered any of my owls!”

“Please come in.” Narcissa stepped aside and he strode into her lounge, still vibrating with nervous energy.

“You look exhausted, Cissa.”

Narcissa closed and locked the door. She muffled another yawn. “That’s because I am. Do you want some coffee?”

He raised his eyebrows. “Not tea?”

“No, I need something stronger.” They wandered into her kitchenette. She put the coffee to boil, then asked Severus to turn around so she could freshen up. With a sigh, he did as she requested. She quickly shot a few Cleaning Charms at herself. With another spell, she combed and braided her hair. Her braid ended up a bit crooked, but at least it was neat.

She gave him permission to look. He turned around and eyed her worriedly again as he sat down at the table.

When the coffee was done, Narcissa poured them cups and Summoned the milk and sugar. They were silent as they fixed their coffee.

“I’ve entered a professional partnership with Miss Granger,” Narcissa said.

Severus paused mid-sip. “What?”

Narcissa nodded. “I’ve already made her first dress. That’s why I didn’t respond to you. I was too focussed.”

“Wait … you’ll be her seamstress?”

“I think the Muggles call it personal stylist.”

“Do you really think that’s wise? Being around Hermione Granger?”

“Why wouldn’t it be wise? She’s powerful.”

“Yes, she’s powerful, but she can also lock you away for a very long time.”

Narcissa took an angry sip of her coffee. “Why would she want to lock me away?”

“I don’t know! For anything! She’s a Gryffindor! You cannot forget it.”

“Oh, that’s rich coming from a traitor like you!”

“I saved Slytherins too!”

“You were Albus Dumbledore’s errand boy.”

His eyes flashed, but his voice was very quiet when he spoke. “Why do you mean to hurt me? Is it because I rejected your kiss?”

Narcissa blinked. She had completely forgotten about that kiss. “I’m merely frustrated. I’m sorry.”

Severus sucked in a breath through his crooked teeth. “My warning wasn’t a judgement on you. Gryffindors are too stupid to function and they let their emotions control them. You cannot trust Miss Granger for those reasons.”

“I don’t intend to offend her. I intend to suck as much power and attention from her as I can.”

“The Minister—”

“Has yet to reach out to me!”

“Yes, yes, but he is a busy man, Cissa.”

She sneered. “Really? I had no idea.”

“Just take care of yourself. That’s all I request.”

“Of course,” she said sharply. “Why do you warn me about Granger but encourage me to seek out the Minister? They were both our enemies during the war.”

“They were your enemy, Cissa,” Severus said carefully.

She sniffed. “Still.”

“Granger is still a child, no matter her job title. The Minister is old enough to know what he wants.”

Granger doesn’t want me! Narcissa wanted to snarl. But she didn't. She kept her mouth shut.

And so they fell silent again as they sipped their tea. Narcissa frowned as she continued to think about Granger. It seemed as if she was always thinking about her.

“What else is the matter?” Severus asked.

Narcissa thought about how Granger’s warm lips felt against her cheek. She thought about how she held her hand and caressed a palm down her side.

“Nothing at all.”

*

The next day, when Narcissa was finally well-rested, she wrote to Granger to let her know that the dress was finished. She was at work at the boutique when Granger’s reply arrived.

Mrs M -

Please bring the dress over tonight for a fitting. My coordinates are below. Will you be hungry?

With affection,
H

Narcissa clutched the letter close to her chest and bit her lip so she wouldn’t smile. With affection.

After work, she ventured home to freshen up. She rummaged in her wardrobe, looking for a very specific piece of clothing. When she found it, she drew it off its hanger with careful hands. Then she cackled.

Denim trousers.

Narcissa slipped on the trousers, then a white blouse that was short enough to show her midriff. Oh my.

Narcissa teased her white blond locks and applied delicate eyeliner and deep red glossy lipstick. Then she slipped on golden hoops and white stilettos.

When she looked in the mirror, she barely recognised herself. She looked like a Muggle tart. She looked like a hip professional woman ready to … eat a burger while watching telly.

Narcissa took a deep breath and Disapparated. She landed in an alleyway beside Granger’s flat building, then cursed loudly. She had forgotten the dress!

Grumbling, Narcissa popped back to her own flat, grabbed the dress, then Disapparated again into the alley. She scurried into the building and across the lobby to the lifts. Narcissa noted approvingly that the lobby contained an elegant chandelier.

The lift was entirely too metal. Narcissa poked at the button and then clutched at the wall as the lift zoomed up.

The hallway outside Granger’s flat was cramped but elegant. The number on her door was polished gold. Ignoring the butterflies in her stomach, Narcissa knocked.

“Coming!” came Granger’s voice. The door opened and Granger stood before her. She wore cosy shorts and a clinging shirt. The outline of her ill-fitting bra showed perfectly through the fabric.

“Hello,” Narcissa said stiffly.

“Wow,” Granger breathed, looking her up and down. “You look like a Muggle.”

Narcissa tried and failed to hide her smirk.

Granger grabbed her hand and yanked her inside. “I’m so glad you’re here! The lasagna just finished cooking!”

“Sorry?”

“Are you hungry? Do you want a glass of wine?”

“Sure.”

Still holding her hand, Granger pulled her into the kitchen. Granger’s flat was homey but modern, and entirely too big. A friendly ginger cat sprawled on a mat near the oven.

“What’s your cat’s name?” Narcissa asked as she accepted a glass of wine from Granger.

“Guess.”

“Arthur Weasley.”

“Circe!”

“Ah, the enchantress. Very nice.”

The cat gave a meow as if to agree.

Narcissa set the dress carefully on a chair and wandered over to the oven. “It smells good. Do you have a house-elf?”

“No way!”

“No? You made it all by yourself?”

“Yes and with no magic! Can you believe it?”

Narcissa frowned. “That doesn’t seem very clever. It’s a tremendous waste—” She sighed. “I have a confession.”

Granger’s eyes glittered. “Go on.”

“I used very little magic while making your dress. I even sewed the beads by hand.”

Granger’s mouth dropped open. “Really?”

“Yes.”

“That’s brilliant!” Granger threw her arms around her and hugged her tightly. Narcissa caught her breath. She hadn’t been prepared for Granger to touch her. “Oh, I’m so excited to see it!”

“I’ll show it to you after we’re done eating.”

“It’s a plan!”

Granger retrieved the bubbling lasagna from the oven and plated them servings. At the table she lit candles and presented a big bowl of Italian salad.

Narcissa took delicate bites of her food. She tried to sip her wine slowly. “This is all so wonderful. I’m impressed that you cooked it by yourself.”

“Thank you.” Granger’s pleased gaze looked like melted gold.

“Tell me a secret about the Ministry.”

Laughing, Granger said, “What?”

“A secret. Something only a few people know.”

“Why should I?”

Narcissa flipped her hair. “Because I’m pretty and interested, and we both know you can’t resist my charms.” She meant it as a joke, but something hot flared in Granger’s gaze.

“You don’t think I can resist your charms?” she asked quietly.

Narcissa ignored the urge to hide her face. “Of course not. No one can.”

“No one?”

Narcissa nodded.

Granger, her gaze still hot, tapped a finger to her chin. “Hmm, let me see then. A secret about the Ministry … Oh! There’s a door on the third level that spews vomit every time you try to open it. Nobody goes to the third level, so it’s quite the secret.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it!”

Granger blinked innocently. “You didn’t exactly give me specifics.”

“Tell me something about politics! About the Wizengamot!”

“Why?”

Why? Because it’s important information! My husband Lucius used to know loads of secrets about the Ministry.”

“I’m sure he did,” Granger said begrudgingly.

Narcissa snapped her mouth shut. She was such an idiot for mentioning Lucius.

Narcissa focussed on her food. The silence thundered in her ears. Granger took a few bites as well. She looked distracted and unsettled.

“I’m sorry.”

Frowning, Granger said, “For what?”

“For mentioning my dead husband.”

“Don’t say that.”

“What?”

“You can always speak about your husband. He was important to you.”

Narcissa almost flinched at her use of the past tense. “Lucius died a Death Eater. Doesn’t that matter to you?”

“If I cared about that sort of thing, I wouldn’t be having dinner with you.”

“Yes but … how?”

Granger dragged her fork across her plate. “I don’t follow.”

“How are you able to … accept me?”

“Because you were once a Death Eater?”

Narcissa nodded mutely.

Granger speared her with a look. “Do you regret becoming a Death Eater?”

What a question.

“Of course,” Narcissa said quietly. Her eyes were hot. She didn’t know if it was from anger or tears.

“That’s all I need to hear.”

They fell silent again as they finished up their food. Circe had made her way over to Narcissa’s chair and now purred and rubbed herself against her leg. It was cute, but she worried about its fluff.

“Did you like the dinner?” Granger asked.

“Yes, thank you. It was very delicious. I never expected you to cook for me.”

Granger gave her a small smile. It was almost shy, but her eyes were still dark with something Narcissa couldn’t quite identify.

After they cleaned up their plates and utensils, they made their way back to the lounge. Granger had two enormous windows that looked out on the glittering city. Atop her elegant chimneypiece was a collection of photographs. Narcissa lingered by these photographs. She couldn’t help but stare at Harry Potter.

“You are very close with Mr Potter,” Narcissa said.

“Yes.”

“Did you ever fancy him?”

Granger blinked several times. “Um.”

“I hope my question isn’t inappropriate. We seemed to be using this time to get to know one another.”

Granger was quiet for a long moment. She was probably considering if she could trust Narcissa. “I suppose I did,” she said finally. “When we were young.”

“Did he ever fancy you back?”

“No. And that’s perfectly all right.”

Narcissa raised one of her eyebrows. “Really? He is the Chosen One.”

“I shag women now, Mrs Malfoy. It was all meant to be.”

“Don’t you think we should be on a first name basis? You are my client.”

Granger frowned a little. “What name do you prefer?”

“How about Cissa?”

Her frown deepened. “Um …”

Narcissa laughed. “Do you not like it?”

“It’s a bit childish, is it not?”

“It is my childhood name.”

“How about I call you Narcissa?”

“You don’t think it’s a mouthful?”

“I think it’s pretty.”

“Oh.” She felt her face warm.

Narcissa Summoned the dress from the kitchen and ended the protective spells on it. She Spelled it to hover in the air for Granger to inspect.

“Well?” Narcissa asked nervously.

Granger’s eyes were very bright. “It’s gorgeous,” she breathed.

“Truly?”

Granger nodded as she circled the dress. “It’s so glittery. I’m almost afraid to touch it.”

“You will not harm it.”

Granger reached out a delicate hand. She frowned as her fingers brushed the dress. “Is this Muggle fabric?”

“Yes,” Narcissa answered proudly.

“I’m surprised you didn’t use fairy lace.”

“It wasn’t appropriate for this dress. And anyway, I wanted to showcase what the Muggles can accomplish. You can answer with pride if anyone asks about the fabric.”

Granger looked at her, amused. “You care about Muggle rights?”

I care about you, Narcissa thought.

“I care about what you care about since you are my client.”

Granger snorted.

“Go on then! Put it on!”

“Yes,” Granger said, and she sounded a little nervous. She grabbed the dress and ventured to her bedroom. Narcissa waited nervously as she changed.

When Granger reemerged, Narcissa caught her breath. “You look stunning,” she said.

“Do I?” Granger walked over to a mirror on the wall. She looked at herself from all angles. “I feel like a million Galleons.”

Narcissa approached from behind. She scrutinised the dress. “It could fit you better in the hips and waist.”

“Oh?”

“Yes—may I touch you?”

“Of course.”

Narcissa dragged her hands up and down Granger’s curves, feeling for where the fabric clung too closely or hung too loosely. She felt how Granger went still beneath her touch.

“Is this all right?” she murmured in her ear.

Yes,” Granger breathed.

Using spells, Narcissa made temporary alterations to the dress. She would take the dress home and make the alterations permanent using the sewing machine.

As she worked, she felt Granger’s warm skin beneath her hands. She smelled her lovely perfume. Feeling the curve of Granger’s hips, the dip of her waist, made Narcissa’s cunt flutter just a little. It was shocking how much her body responded to touching her.

When she was done, she took a step back. “I believe the dress is perfect now.”

Granger admired herself in the mirror. “Yes—how long will it take you to complete the final adjustments?”

“A day.”

“Good, because there is a charity function I want to wear it to.”

“When is the function?”

“In two days.”

A shot of adrenaline made all of Narcissa’s physical desires fall away. Right. She was there to complete a job.

“I promise the dress will be ready.”

*

True to her word, Narcissa finished the alterations to the dress that very night. It helped to keep her mind and body busy after all the touching she had done to Granger. The memory alone was enough to get Narcissa’s heart thudding.

Two days later, Granger wore the dress. She sent Narcissa a little note before heading off to the function: I can’t stop staring at my reflection, Narcissa. I feel like a million—no, a billion Galleons. I wish you were here to see me. I will be thinking of you tonight. Sincerely yours, H.

Of course, Narcissa spent nearly an hour just staring at the note. Granger’s lovely penmanship was enough to make her mouth go dry. Oh how Narcissa had missed receiving letters from women. Mabs had also been brilliant with a quill.

While Granger had a grand old time at the charity function, Narcissa paced her small flat, entirely too nervous. It was nothing, absolutely nothing. She was merely nervous because her own success depended on Granger’s performance. She was desperate to be recognised for her sewing talent. She was desperate to be recognised for anything other than the Mark on her arm.

No second letter arrived from Granger, so around two o’clock in the morning, Narcissa finally took herself to bed. She dreamed of Granger strutting about in her gorgeous dress. Granger reached for her over and over, but Narcissa fled her grasp every time. She couldn’t bear it if she let Granger get too close. You will burn me, she told Granger. Granger shook her head and laughed.

In the morning, Narcissa woke up to a flood of owls. They pecked at her windows angrily.

Astonished, Narcissa staggered from bed and let in all the owls. They dropped letter after letter onto her table. When it was all done, she had nearly twenty letters waiting for her.

Hands shaking, she opened the first letter. It was from the wife of Head Auror Robards asking Narcissa to make her a dress. Do you have a shop or an office where we can meet? asked the wife.

Speechless, Narcissa slumped to the floor. She supposed it was time that she found a place to meet clients.

*

Later that day, Narcissa was at work when she received an owl from Granger. Congratulations! wrote Granger. I believe a celebration is in order. Will you come around to mine after work? I would love to have a drink with you.

Narcissa almost declined the invitation. She knew she should limit her time alone with Granger, especially after what had happened during the fitting.

Stop being silly. Nothing happened.

Right. Of course. She was being silly. It wasn’t as if they had snogged or something. Narcissa had merely touched her—professionally. She had to touch her to get the alterations right!

Before she could stop herself, Narcissa quickly jotted down a reply and sent it off using the office owl. Her stomach was in knots as she watched the owl disappear into the sky.

*

That night, Narcissa met Granger at her posh flat. This time she wore a simple blue dress that she hoped matched her eyes.

Granger opened the door while holding a bottle of champagne. “Come in! I’m so glad you made it!”

Feeling off-kilter, Narcissa stepped inside.

“Would you care for a glass?”

“Sure,” Narcissa heard herself say.

“Brilliant!” Granger grabbed her hand and urged her into the lounge. On the table waited two flutes for them. Granger handed over one flute while holding the other one. Quite messily, she uncorked the bottle with a spell.

The champagne flowed over each other’s fingers. It was pink and bubbly. Laughing, Narcissa put her finger in her mouth, tasting herself. She tasted sweet.

“A toast to your success!” Granger said.

They clinked their flutes together. Then, staring into each other’s eyes, they took sips.

Wow,” Narcissa said. It had been a long, long time since she had tasted something so good. Something so expensive.

“Does it remind you of old times?”

“You mean when I lived at Malfoy Manor and had all the money in the world?”

Somehow Granger managed to laugh. Narcissa marvelled at her ability to forgive and forget, or maybe she was just terribly good at hiding resentment.

“Yes, of course!” Granger said.

“It does.”

They drained their flutes, then poured themselves some more. Granger put on the wireless. Big band music roared from her speaker.

“My mother loved this song.” Narcissa wiggled to the beat.

“Oh? She liked music?”

“She liked this sort of music.”

Suddenly, Granger threw her flute onto the table and announced, “Dance with me!”

“What?”

Come on, dance with me! Be my partner!”

Narcissa drained her second flute of champagne. It was just too good not to drink quickly. “All right.”

With their hands free, they met in front of the wireless. Beaming, Granger grabbed her waist, then her right hand.

“Are you really going to be the one who leads?”

“Sure,” Granger said, then winked. “Didn’t you read the Prophet today? I’m a natural born leader.”

Narcissa threw her head back and laughed.

Granger swept her around the room while holding her close. They had to make sure not to step on Circe, who pranced along after them.

Granger was shorter than Narcissa, much shorter, but her hold on her was commanding. It felt nice.

Laughing, they danced and danced, making wide circles around the room. The song ended, then another one began, just as loud.

“Turn!” Granger said, and urged Narcissa to twirl in her arms. Narcissa spun, doing her best to be elegant. She used to partner dance with Lucius all the time.

Granger clutched her closer. Her hand moved up and down her waist, feeling her. Narcissa, blushing, let her.

“You like touching me,” Narcissa said over the music.

“Yes, I do,” Granger answered. “And you like touching me.”

“Shut up.” Narcissa changed position so she was the one leading. She directed her around the room almost aggressively. Granger’s waist was hot and full beneath her hand.

The song changed, and this time it was much slower. The instruments were soft and murmuring.

“Hold me closer,” Granger whispered.

Narcissa pressed her mouth to her ear. “Shut up.” She pulled Granger closer, so close, and their arms were now wrapped around each other.

They moved slowly around the room, utterly distracted by the feel of each other. Narcissa let herself trail her fingers up and down Granger’s warm back, then, feeling the effects of the champagne, she dared a little lower, dragging her hand over Granger’s round arse.

The touch was barely there, but it made Granger gasp in her ear.

Yes? Narcissa wanted to growl. Just like that?

Granger smoothed her hands up and down her back as well. They trailed over her shoulders. “You have such elegant shoulders. They make you look like a queen.”

“Shut up.”

Then Granger pressed her nose to Narcissa’s throat, breathing her in. She made a sweet noise, almost a whimper. “You smell perfect.”

“Hush.”

“You are so bloody beautiful.”

“I said hush.”

“I always thought so. Even when you were just Malfoy’s rude mum.”

“Don’t,” Narcissa said.

“Then I saw you in the boutique. You looked like a … a goddess.”

“You are being ridiculous.”

“No, Narcissa, no.”

They continued to dance, and Narcissa’s head buzzed with the alcohol. She wasn’t drunk, not even close, but it was enough to dampen all her doubts.

What they were doing didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Granger was still Granger and Narcissa was still a former Death Eater.

The song changed once again, and it was another roaring number. Still, they didn’t stop clutching each other and moving slowly. The music fell away entirely.

Granger’s breasts felt so good pressed against her. They felt big and full, and too perky for their own good. Narcissa wanted to rip her blouse down and get her hands around them.

Narcissa.” Granger pressed her mouth to her throat, not kissing her, just touching her with her lips.

Narcissa had both hands on Granger’s arse. She had no idea when she had started fondling her.

Then, quite shockingly, Granger opened her mouth and licked her throat.

“Hush,” Narcissa said, utterly nonsensical. She pulled away and stumbled over to the sofa. Granger followed her.

Narcissa slumped down. She was breathing hard. Her head spun.

Granger straddled her lap. It was so shocking that all Narcissa could do was stare at her.

Yes,” Granger murmured. Then she cupped her face and kissed her. Granger’s mouth tasted so sweet.

Moaning, Narcissa squeezed her arse. Granger’s skirt had bunched up, and Narcissa’s hands were on her lacy knickers.

Granger moved her mouth over hers sensually. Her lips were so fucking soft. Then she licked at the seam of Narcissa’s mouth, asking for permission.

Something broke within Narcissa, and she hauled Granger closer as she kissed her deeper. The kiss turned desperate and messy, and Narcissa moaned again when their tongues finally touched.

“Yes,” Granger repeated, lips now wet.

“Shut up,” Narcissa growled. Narcissa captured her mouth again, not wanting the moment to end. She devoured her, their teeth clicking, their tongues flicking and tasting. Narcissa bit down on her bottom lip and tugged. Granger gave another sweet whimper.

Narcissa was wet and throbbing. She wanted to take Granger’s hand and guide it into her knickers. She wanted to watch Granger’s face as her fingers slipped between her lips, encountering all her slick.

This is what you do to me, Narcissa would growl.

Granger began to grind against her thigh. Narcissa had no idea when she got into position, but now she dragged her damp knickers up and down on her. Narcissa swore she could feel her lips through the lace.

It had been twenty years since a woman rode Narcissa’s thigh. She had no idea what to do. Instinct made her press up and grind back. Granger’s breath caught.

“Do you want to see my tits?” Granger murmured.

“What?”

“My tits. Do you want to touch them?” Then, without waiting for her response, Granger pulled down her blouse and bra, and suddenly her perfect tits were right there. They were round and perky, and her nipples were a dark pink. Her skin was dark and golden.

Narcissa felt icy panic fill her. She was so desperate to touch Granger, and the intensity of her desperation scared her.

This was real. This was all real.

It mattered.

As gently as possible, Narcissa eased Granger off her lap. “I’m sorry, but I have to go,” she said, not looking at her.

“What?” Granger stuttered.

“I’m sorry.”

Narcissa stood and put her clothes back in order, then she headed for Granger’s Floo.

“Wait! Don’t go!”

“I must, I’m sorry.”

Granger reached for her, but Narcissa stumbled away. She grabbed a fistful of Floo Powder and jumped into the fireplace. “Knockturn Alley!” she yelled.

A second later, she was gone. She didn’t let herself look at Granger one last time.

*

When Narcissa returned home, she chucked off her shoes and opened a bottle of wine. She paced her flat as she drained her first glass. She would get utterly sloshed and forget everything that happened. If she was lucky, she might even drink enough to forget it forever. She didn’t want to remember the taste of Granger’s mouth—

There was a knock on the door. “Go away!” Narcissa yelled.

“Please open up,” Granger said through the barrier.

“No! Go away!”

“I will not.” Then: “You will open this door for me.”

“Sod off!”

The door exploded open. In the doorway stood Granger, wand in hand, her expression so very dark. Her blouse was still unbuttoned, her breasts nearly spilling out of her bra.

Granger stalked into the room and slammed the door shut behind her.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” Narcissa screeched.

Granger marched right up to her. Narcissa thought she would be slapped or Cursed, but Granger buried her hands in her hair and kissed her.

No, Narcissa thought even as she kissed Granger back hungrily.

“I want you,” Granger growled against her lips.

Narcissa made a desperate noise.

“No more games, Narcissa. You want me, too.”

Then, quite shockingly, Granger shoved up her skirt and directed Narcissa’s hand between her thighs. She watched Narcissa’s face as she guided Narcissa’s fingers over her wet knickers.

“Yes? You feel how much I want you?”

“Oh, Merlin,” Narcissa croaked.

Granger shoved aside her knickers. “Fuck me, Narcissa. I want you inside me.”

As if under a spell, Narcissa thrust two fingers into her. Granger’s mouth dropped open.

God,” Granger moaned.

Narcissa moved her fingers in and out. Granger was so fucking wet. “You like this?” she managed to say.

“Yes!”

“It’s dirty,” Narcissa growled as she pressed her lips to her ear. Her fingers sped up.

“How dirty, Mrs Malfoy?”

“Only naughty girls like this. Girls that deserve to be punished.”

Granger moaned and her cunt tightened around Narcissa’s fingers.

“You have no idea how naughty I can be.”

Narcissa buried her free hand in Granger’s thick hair. She pulled her head back. “I’m old enough to be your mother,” she hissed.

“Oh, Mummy,” Granger breathed.

“You disgust me.”

Granger licked her lips. “Yeah, Mrs Malfoy? Do I disgust you enough to let me eat your cunt?”

Narcissa thrust even deeper as her fingers pressed up, searching for Granger’s sweet spot. “I hate you,” she hissed.

Narcissa,” Granger gasped. “I’m going to come.”

“Do it, you naughty girl.” Narcissa kissed her panting mouth. Her thrusts sped up even as Granger went so tight around her fingers.

Granger shook desperately as her orgasm hit her. Narcissa had to hold her up.

“I want you, I want you,” Granger cried.

Narcissa kissed her again.

Narcissa eased her hand out of Granger. Her fingers were webbed with arousal. It was disgusting.

Granger wobbled over to the settee and flopped down. She threw an arm over her eyes. “That was brilliant,” she sighed.

Narcissa was still staring at her glistening hand. Then, making sure Granger wasn’t looking, she tasted two of her own fingers.

Fuck. She would remember the taste for the rest of her life.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen,” Narcissa said, now cleaning her hand with a spell.

Granger barely moved. “You’ve wanted to shag me since the moment you saw me in the boutique.”

“Lies!”

Granger sat up and looked at her properly. “I don’t lie, and you shouldn’t either, especially not to yourself.”

“How dare you?”

“Oh, I dare. Now come over here and let me put my mouth on you.”

“No!” Narcissa sounded so scandalised.

“What exactly is the problem, Mrs Malfoy?”

“You—you are a trespasser! An intruder!”

“You just finger-fucked me.”

“Stop being so uncouth!”

Granger blinked several times. Then she roared with laughter.

“I demand that you stop!”

“UNCOUTH?”

“Miss Granger—”

“Yes, Mummy?”

“Stop it!”

Granger sobered up. “You are acting like an entirely different person.”

“Well—perhaps this is my real self!”

“Nobody’s here to judge you. It’s just us, and I want you very much.”

“I’m a Death Eater.” Narcissa squeezed her eyes closed. “I mean, a former—”

“It’s hot.”

Narcissa gaped at her. “Pardon?”

“I said it’s hot.”

“But—I’m not a good person.”

“I think you are.”

“I have the Mark! You should hate me!”

“You risked your life to protect Harry.”

“I did that for purely selfish reasons!”

“Sure, but you still did it. You lied to Voldemort and got away with it. That’s so sexy.”

All Narcissa could do was stand there with her mouth open.

Granger stood up unsteadily and grabbed Narcissa’s hand. “Let me take you to bed. I want to make love to you.”

Make love?”

“Please—let me show you.”

Narcissa took a deep breath and tried not to think about anyone other than them. Lucius was dead. Draco hated her. What did it matter if she let Granger give her an orgasm? It was obvious Granger was used to casual sex. It didn’t need to mean anything.

But what about Severus? Yes, Severus. Surely Narcissa couldn’t lie to him? Surely he deserved the truth from her? Then again, she deserved a few of her own secrets. She didn’t owe him everything.

“Please,” Granger whispered.

“Yes, but no one else can know.”

A shadow came over Granger’s face. “All right,” she said quietly. “If that is what you want.”

“It is what I want. Now take me to bed.”

Granger smiled. “All right.”

Very gently, Granger pulled her to her room. Narcissa was glad that she was a clean person because she hadn’t planned for company. Granger eased her down on the neatly made bed and kissed her.

“This is ludicrous,” Narcissa murmured against her mouth.

Granger, looking quite focussed, eased off her blue dress. Narcissa lay on the duvet just in her bra and knickers.

Fuck,” Granger moaned, her eyes very dark. She ran her hands down Narcissa’s long curves.

Narcissa trembled from head to toe. She wanted Granger to touch her—to consume her—but she was afraid and ashamed. Women were never meant to do this to one another.

Granger kissed her cheek sweetly, then drew her lips down to her throat. “You’re so gorgeous,” she murmured against her skin.

“I’m old.”

Granger laughed hotly. “Whatever you say.” Then she opened her mouth to Narcissa’s throat, sucking and licking.

Narcissa grabbed her shoulders and arched. She made a pitiful little noise.

“Do you like my mouth on your throat, Mrs Malfoy?”

“Stop teasing me.”

“Oh, I’m just getting started, Mrs Malfoy.”

“Stop calling me that!”

“What would you like me to call you?”

“Anything else—”

Mummy,” Granger breathed against her ear.

“Sod off!”

Laughing quietly, Granger cupped her breasts through her bra. “They are so perfect.”

“They are small.”

“Small and perfect.”

“They aren’t as perky as they once were—”

“Hush,” Granger said, and eased down the bra. She took one of Narcissa’s erect nipples into her mouth and sucked.

“Oh, Merlin!”

Granger sucked and sucked; she even moaned again. Then she bit down and Narcissa writhed beneath her.

Narcissa sank her short nails into her shoulders. “Oh—please—”

Granger switched to the other nipple, her breath so hot against Narcissa’s skin. The other nipple felt more sensitive.

“Granger!” Narcissa cried.

“Say my name,” Granger said, mouth still occupied.

“Ah—Hermione.”

Granger moaned and sucked and licked with even more intensity.

Granger trailed a hand over Narcissa’s soft, trembling stomach; then she went lower, her fingers brushing against the outline of her through her knickers.

“Ah—!”

Very gently, Granger eased off her knickers. Narcissa fought the urge to cover herself up.

“Fuck,” Granger panted as she stared down at Narcissa’s nudity.

“What is it?” Narcissa hated that she sounded so frightened.

“Your cunt is so pretty.”

Narcissa laughed sharply. She wanted to say, I know and smirk, but her confidence had failed her.

Granger caressed her fingers through the soft blond hair on her cunt. Then she parted her lips to reveal her pink flesh.

Fuck,” Granger said again, and this time it was a moan. Granger dipped her head to taste her.

“Hermione!” Narcissa screamed the word. They hadn’t put up a Silencing Charm and Narcissa had too many neighbours, but it didn’t matter—nothing mattered when Granger was whirling her tongue against her clit.

Shaking terribly, Narcissa buried her hands in Granger’s thick strands. She tugged without meaning to.

Granger ate her greedily, moaning wetly. Her tongue licked her from taint to clit, over and over, before she wrapped her lips over her clit and sucked.

Tears stung Narcissa’s cheeks. It was all so overwhelming—so brilliant. Granger ate her as if she was born to pleasure women.

Narcissa tried not to think about Mabs, but it was a losing battle. Her time with Mabs felt as if another person had experienced it, but she could still remember how shy Mabs’ mouth had been when she licked her. Granger wasn’t shy.

“Please,” Narcissa whimpered.

Granger dipped her head lower so her tongue could penetrate Narcissa. Narcissa had never felt anything like it. When Lucius had done—no, don’t think of him!

Moaning again, Granger moved her tongue in and out. Her tongue didn’t reach that far into her, but the sensation still made Narcissa clench needily. Her orgasm approached quickly.

“I’m going to come!”

In response, Granger strummed her clit in time with her thrusting tongue. Merlin, fuck, Narcissa had no idea a woman could even make love to another like this!

Crying out, Narcissa threw her head back and arched, and she held Granger’s head down as she ground against her mouth. Her whole body clenched up from her orgasm; the pleasure was secondary to the intense seizing of her muscles.

Narcissa thought, A Mudblood is eating my cunt, and her orgasm transformed and became two. This time, the pleasure was hot and liquidy, and it felt as if a wave crashed through her.

Granger, quite satisfied with herself, released Narcissa and gently eased her clawed hands from her hair. She gathered Narcissa up in her arms. Narcissa barely knew herself.

Several minutes passed before either of them spoke.

“I was bombarded by owls this morning,” Narcissa said, still trembling from her orgasm.

Granger sighed and pulled her closer. They were both sweaty. “Of course you were. Everyone adored my dress last night.”

“I need to find a proper place to meet clients.”

Granger raised her head from her shoulder. “I could help you if you want.”

Narcissa bit her lip. She didn’t know what she wanted. It was all so new and sudden. “ I don’t really want to meet clients in Knockturn.”

“Why not? All the eerie shadows really make a person feel at home.” Granger grinned at her.

Narcissa traced her smiling cheek with a gentle finger. “Do you think I deserve to live here among all the shadows?”

The mirth faded from Granger’s face. “No, of course not.”

“Not even when I have this on my arm?” Narcissa showed off her Mark.

Granger stared at it for a moment; then she touched Narcissa’s tattooed skin very gently. “Did it hurt when he gave it to you?”

“Of course.”

“Did you scream?”

“Oh, yes.”

Granger followed the lines of the Mark with her fingers. “Why did you do it?”

Narcissa sucked in a breath. “I was young and stupid, and I wanted power. My husband had already taken the Mark and he and his friends—our friends—were closing ranks on me. I thought to myself, Why shouldn’t my voice be heard? I didn’t understand what a fool I’d been until my own child threw away his life to join the Dark Lord, to be just like his proud happy parents.”

“Did you love him?”

“Did I love my own son? Of course—”

“No, your husband.”

“I—yes. Very much.”

Granger’s expression didn’t change. “He was a cruel man.”

“And I was a cruel woman.”

“Did you enjoy fucking him?”

“That question is inappropriate!”

Granger licked her lips. “I can still taste you on my mouth.”

“It’s too much—”

“You needn’t lie to me, you know. You can tell me the truth.”

“I loved fucking him,” Narcissa hissed. She meant to hurt her but Granger just nodded thoughtfully.

“I suppose even the worst of us have good qualities.”

Narcissa opened her mouth to defend Lucius, but he was dead, and he’d died because he’d been the worst of them. “I miss him,” she said instead.

“You were married to him for so long.”

“I miss the security. I miss—my son.” Narcissa gasped for breath. The tears were sudden.

Granger pulled her closer, squeezing a little. “What happened to him?” she asked quietly.

“He’s in Romania,” Narcissa cried.

“Why?” Granger’s voice was gentle.

“Because he hates me. He wants nothing to do with me!”

“But why Romania and why does he hate you now?”

Narcissa pressed her face to her neck and cried even harder. She couldn’t get the words out.

“It’s okay,” Granger said, running a soothing hand down her back. “You needn’t tell me if it’s too painful.”

“My son is—he’s a—”

“Is he in trouble?”

“He’s a pouf!”

“Oh.”

Narcissa breathed hard. “He could have saved the family, you know. He could have married bloody Astoria Greengrass! But no, he had to decide to take cocks up his arse!”

Granger eased back from her. There was a touch of horror in her expression.

“Don’t look at me like that!”

“I’m just having a hard time understanding your hypocrisy.”

“I’ve been trying to tell you I’m a bad person!”

Granger frowned. “You’re that scared of your own desire for women?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean.”

“This isn’t going to work.” Narcissa shoved off the bed and began to get dressed. She intended to storm out, but they were in her own bedroom. “I think it’s best if you—”

Granger kissed her. Somehow Granger had left the bed as well and now she was cupping Narcissa’s face possessively. Her lips were so, so soft.

“It’s okay to be afraid,” Granger whispered once they broke apart.

Narcissa breathed heavily. “I’ve never—not since Mabs—”

“Mabs?”

“Mabel Mulciber. She was one of my friends growing up. She was also the only other woman I’ve ever… you know.”

“What happened to her?”

“She died.”

Granger flinched. “Was she a Death Eater?”

Narcissa laughed darkly. “No, she was too clever for that. She died in childbirth.”

“God, I’m so sorry.”

It made Narcissa feel cold just talking about it. “It was a long time ago.”

“Twenty years isn’t that long ago.”

She laughed again. “Says the girl who’s not even thirty yet.”

“I’m a woman.”

Sighing, Narcissa sat down on the bed. Granger joined her, reaching for her hand.

“You should despise me,” Narcissa said, staring gloomily at the floor.

“Because you despise yourself?”

Yes, Narcissa thought, remembering Draco’s tear-stained face. After several moments, she whispered, “I just want the chance to apologise to him.”

“Have you attempted to owl him?”

Narcissa nodded. “Sending owls to the continent is always a bit of a gamble. My magic can only go so far.”

“And you don’t have an address?”

“I just know that he’s with Charlie Weasley. They are …” She couldn’t say it.

“In love?” Granger suggested.

She nodded again. It was all just so stupid. She had raised him better! Malfoys didn’t fall in love with Weasleys! And Malfoy men especially didn’t take it up the arse.

Granger smirked as if she knew what Narcissa was thinking. Then she leaned in and dropped a kiss to her cheek. “I bet you never thought you’d shag someone like me.”

“I already told you I shagged women before. Well, one woman.”

“I wasn’t talking about gender and you know it.”

Narcissa ground her teeth. “I understand now why you are going to be Minister. You’re bloody ruthless.”

“Thank you.” Granger grinned before sobering. “We should talk about it now if shagging me disgusts you or something.”

“It doesn’t—” Narcissa made a face.

“Just be honest with me. Really. I can handle honesty; I just can’t handle games.”

“It’s difficult to be honest when I don’t even know what I feel.”

Granger nodded. “So you need time to think about it?”

“Yes.”

“I can accept that.” They sat in silence for a long moment before Granger spoke again. “Speaking of Ministers, my mentor asked about you yesterday.”

“Shacklebolt? What did he want?”

“He’s invited you to the next ball—it’s a charity function for the recently paroled.”

Narcissa gaped at her. “That’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it?”

“You never served time!”

“I almost did.”

Almost is what’s important. And anyway, it would be wonderfully symbolic to have someone like you in attendance.”

“Someone like me?”

“A former Death Eater.”

Narcissa narrowed her eyes. “Is that why you shagged me? So I’d be your symbol at a boring charity ball?”

“I shagged you because you made me wet every single time I laid eyes on you.”

Narcissa caught her breath. “When is this function?”

“In one week.”

“So, I will have to make you a new dress, make myself a new dress, find a professional space to work, and meet with any new clients?”

“Are you up for the challenge?”

“Always.”

*

Over the next couple of days, Narcissa couldn’t stop thinking about Granger. She couldn’t stop fixating on how her sweet mouth had felt on her cunt.

To combat her thoughts, she threw herself into work. A sort of mania came over her and she slept very little.

For this event, Narcissa wanted to make Granger a gown that was more understated but still very elegant. After a few hours of brainstorming, Narcissa got to work on a crepe dress with an illusion neckline, short ruffled sleeves, and a mermaid silhouette.

It took her another hour, but finally Narcissa decided on the colour: black.

Narcissa understood now that Granger was a sophisticated woman who knew how to throw her weight around. She was cunning. Black was perfect for her.

For her own dress, Narcissa designed a drop shoulder number in dark emerald with silver beaded cuffs. She added a high slit and subtle ruching on the side. She knew she would look like a bloody femme fatale wearing it.

Two days fell away as she worked virtually non-stop at the old sewing machine in her bedroom. Then she remembered that she needed to look for a proper workplace to meet clients.

Severus. Yes. She would reach out to him.

The next morning they met in Diagon Alley.

“I’ve read your name about three times in the newspaper this week.” Severus looked at her with interest.

“Yes, it’s why I need to find a place to work—a proper place.”

“Don’t tell me you have more clients.”

“Oh, I do.”

Now he was gaping at her. “Cissa—”

“Don’t tell me to be careful,” she snapped.

He shut his mouth. They strode along the cobbled path in silence. Above their heads, the sky threatened rain. Diagon Alley was its cheerful self but a touch less crowded. The shop windows glittered with glass baubles and jagged crystals.

“So. You would like me to help you find a location suitable to your needs.”

“Yes,” she said stiffly.

“Perhaps you should ask Granger instead?”

“She offered but …”

“You don’t trust her enough?”

“No.” It felt like a lie.

Severus gave her a smile. “Okay, let’s begin our search then.”

*

Narcissa expected it to take several days to find someone in Diagon Alley willing to rent to her, but she lucked out when the first person they spoke to seemed genuinely interested.

“Didn’t you make that gorgeous gown for Hermione Granger?” piped the old woman. They were crowded together in an office overflowing with parchment and with a fireplace that looked burned to a crisp.

Confused, all Narcissa could do was nod.

“Very good,” said the woman. “Do you have any references?”

“I am her reference,” Severus said, using his authoritative voice.

The woman blinked at him from behind her enormous glasses. “Have you rented to her, sir?”

“No, but—”

“Then you cannot be her reference.”

“Is it necessary to have a reference?” Narcissa asked carefully.

“Oh, yes, quite necessary.”

“What if I acquired a reference from Hermione Granger herself? Would that suffice?”

The woman went pink in the cheeks. “Oh, yes, that would do very well …”

Narcissa beamed.

Later, as Severus and Narcissa had their lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, Severus murmured, “You seem changed.”

“Do I?” The Leaky wasn’t very busy and not many people sat near them, but Narcissa still kept her voice low.

“Yes.” He scrutinised her. “Has something happened that I don’t know about?”

She was suddenly quite interested in her soup. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

He stared at her for a long moment. “Fine. Don’t tell me. I’m sure I’ll find out one way or another.”

“I’m excited about my new prospects, nothing else.”

“Yes, of course.” He didn’t sound convinced.

They finished their meal in reserved silence. She didn’t want to alienate Severus, but there was no way she could tell him about Granger.

*

Granger sent over her reference, and by the next evening, Narcissa had the keys to her proper workplace. It was nothing more than a box with a lavatory, but it was enough for her.

Narcissa set up a desk and a chair, and quickly made some curtains to go over the old window. Then she owled her potential clients and invited them to schedule meetings with her at their convenience. She was nearly finished with the dresses for herself and for Granger, so perhaps she could sneak in another project or two before the charity ball. Perhaps.

*

As the date of the charity ball crept closer, Narcissa was so busy with her new clients that she used an elf delivery service to give Granger her new dress. Not even an hour passed before she received a response from her.

The dress is stunning, thank you, Granger wrote. Are you still thinking about things between us?

Narcissa wanted to write back, but she had no idea what she would say. Of course she couldn’t be honest. There was too much riding on her professional partnership with Granger to be honest.

The day of the ball arrived entirely too quickly. Three hours before the event, Narcissa left her workplace in Diagon Alley and headed back to her dreary flat.

At home, she spent a good hour scrubbing herself down, shaving thoroughly, and plucking any disobedient hairs. She perched in front of her mirror and applied a full face of makeup using an army of spells. Her eyeshadow was shimmering green and silver to match the dress and her lipstick was a deep garnet red. She even used a spell to elongate her eyelashes.

For her hair, she Charmed her long blonde locks into a high rolled chignon.

Then it was time to slip on her drop shoulder dress. The emerald fabric utterly gleamed.

Narcissa slipped off her dressing gown, then very carefully, she eased the dress onto her body. Using her wand, she zipped up the dress in the back. The fabric felt like a cool wave against her skin.

Narcissa slipped on slinky silver heels, then examined her reflection in the mirror.

“Wow,” she muttered out loud. She had done well—quite well.

When everything was ready, she grabbed a small clutch purse and Disapparated.

*

Seeing the Ministry in person made Narcissa’s stomach clench. This was where it had all gone wrong for Lucius.

It had gone wrong for him long before that, whispered a voice in her head.

Right. Lucius ruined his life the moment he took the Dark Mark.

Taking a deep breath, Narcissa headed for the opulent ballroom. Hundreds of guests wandered with her.

The doors to the ballroom were gilded and guarded. Narcissa held her breath as she passed by the Aurors.

Inside the ballroom the walls and ceiling gleamed with gold crown moulding. Elegant mirrors reflected the cheerful faces of the guests.

Narcissa took a moment to hand over her purse to two attendants. They looked quite snooty.

Narcissa nervously peered over heads in search of Granger. She ignored the urge to tug at her dress.

There were so many powerful people in the room. She recognised nearly every member of the Wizengamot. Some of them had wanted to imprison every single Death Eater, no matter their actions during the war. Narcissa tried not to be afraid.

Then the crowd parted and Granger stood there. Her makeup was soft, almost angelic, and she had styled her thick dark hair into one sensual wave that cascaded over her shoulder. The see-through sleeves of her dress bounced as she hurried over to Narcissa. The look on her face was hungry.

Hello,” Granger breathed.

“Good evening.”

“You look stunning.”

Narcissa smiled slowly. “Thank you.”

Granger stepped closer. “I hope you don’t mind me saying: I want to eat you up.” Her voice was very quiet.

Narcissa felt her cheeks heat. Then someone yanked her arm in a handshake.

“Narcissa Black! It’s a pleasure to meet you!” It was Head Auror Robards.

“My name is Malfoy.” Narcissa forced a smile. “How do you do?”

“I’ve heard so much about you from this one.” Robards wagged his eyebrows in Granger’s direction.

“How charming,” Narcissa said a little coolly. She didn’t like that Granger looked uncomfortable.

“I believe my wife reached out to you?”

“Yes, she did.”

“Brilliant! Just brilliant! She is terribly excited to wear one of your dresses.”

“Robards,” said a deep voice. “May I have a word with Mrs Malfoy?”

Narcissa turned and there stood Minister Shacklebolt flanked by several Aurors.

“Of course, sir!” Robards winked at her. “Don’t go far!”

Shacklebolt stepped closer to her, blocking out the entire world. Narcissa couldn’t even see Granger anymore.

“It’s wonderful that you could make it tonight,” Shacklebolt said. “I’ve been meaning to speak with you for a while.”

“Yes.” Her voice shook a touch.

“Would you care for a dance?”

“Of course, sir.”

Shacklebolt laughed. “Please call me Kingsley.” Then he took Narcissa’s hand and guided her to the dance floor.

Narcissa was entranced by Shacklebolt. He radiated strength and power. He had also been her deadly enemy in the war.

She contemplated how she should handle him. Something told her that he was a man who appreciated honesty.

Utterly beaming, Narcissa said, “Why are you doing this, sir?”

“Dancing with you?”

She nodded.

“Because I’ve been fascinated by you since I found out what you did in the Dark Forest. How you helped Harry.”

She felt her smile dim.

“During all the trials that followed the end of the war, Harry was quite enraptured by you.”

“Do you think I hoodwinked him?”

Shacklebolt laughed. “No, but I wouldn’t have blamed him if he were distracted by your beauty.”

“You are determined to charm me.”

“Yes.”

Her mouth twisted in confusion.

“We went to school together; do you remember?”

She nodded again and he leaned closer. His hands were quite warm as he held her.

“Perhaps I’ve had a bit of a crush since then, Mrs Malfoy.”

“And now is the time for you to finally act?”

“Yes,” he said quietly. “Unless you are otherwise engaged?”

Narcissa looked beyond him at the crowd and spotted Granger. Granger’s eyes were blazing and she held her wand. She looked ready for a duel—or to pluck out someone’s eyeballs with her bare fingers.

Narcissa gulped. “No, not officially engaged.”

“Do you mean you’re already seeing someone?”

“I—it’s complicated.”

“I see.”

She managed a smile and pulled him a touch closer. “You are a lovely dancer, Kingsley. I’m enjoying our time together immensely.”

Image description: Drawing of three people in a ballroom. Centred on Narcissa, dancing with Kingsley and turning away toward Hermione, who is looking on. Art by SecondSilk. End description.

When the song ended, Kingsley and his Auror bodyguards guided Narcissa over to the bar. They sat down at two elegant seats and sipped glasses of bubbly champagne.

Loads of people were staring at them, but Narcissa didn’t see Granger.

“What do you think of our guests of honour tonight?” Shacklebolt nodded to the group of men and women who looked haggard in their formal robes.

“I’m sure they are relieved to be out of Azkaban.”

“Of course, but rehabilitation is always difficult.”

She sipped her sweet champagne and eyed him. “Do you think it’s impossible?”

“Rehabilitation? Absolutely not.”

“What about for the truly evil?”

“Are you thinking of Death Eaters, Mrs Malfoy?”

“I’m thinking of myself, so yes.”

Shacklebolt’s eyes gleamed. They were a lovely brown. “Do you consider yourself evil?”

“No,” she said. But I’ve done evil things.

“I believe a person is more than their worst choices.”

“How enlightened of you.”

Shacklebolt’s laughter was deep and warm. He looked good when he laughed.

An Auror muttered in his ear. Shacklebolt frowned. “I must slip away, unfortunately,” he told her.

“Of course, sir.”

“May I write to you?”

“Yes, sir.”

He shook her hand, and the touch was somehow sensual. He stared into her eyes. “Like I said, please call me Kingsley.”

She blushed. “Please call me Narcissa.”

“Goodbye, Narcissa. Please enjoy yourself in my absence.”

He and his Auror entourage strode from the ballroom. The crowd parted for them like a school of nervous fish parting for a great white shark.

Narcissa’s head spun as she drained her flute. She would think it was a set up if Severus hadn’t mentioned the Minister before any of this began.

Narcissa left the bar and drifted around the ballroom. She was looking for Granger while pretending not to. Before she could locate the young woman, she was bombarded by a group of Ministry wives.

“Oh, your dress is to die for you! The beading at your wrists! They look like real gems!”

Narcissa smiled and let the women inspect nearly every inch of her dress.

“The ruching at the side is expertly done! Do you think you could make me a dress that gives me a waist like yours?”

“Of course,” Narcissa said lightly. “It’s all about finding the fit and style that works best for your body.”

Nearly an hour slipped by before Narcissa managed to escape the women. She hadn’t spotted Granger once. Had she already gone home?

Narcissa climbed a grand staircase to the level overlooking the ballroom. Up here was a balcony, several dark alcoves, and a door leading to an empty corridor. She almost turned away before she heard the sniffling. She looked up and spotted two paper birds circling in the air. One bird was silver, the other was green.

Frowning, she followed the birds down the corridor. Her heels made a loud clicking against the stone floor. She turned and stumbled on Granger, teary-eyed and slumped against the wall. Above her head circled a flock of silver and green birds.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” Narcissa said testily.

Granger gazed at her with sad eyes. “Oh.”

“Why are you crying?”

“Take a wild guess.”

Narcissa approached her. She suddenly felt full to the brim with anger. “Stop being ridiculous! You are supposed to be the star of the party and instead you are up here pitying yourself.”

“Oh, shove off!” Granger flicked her wand and all the birds flew at Narcissa’s face.

Narcissa let out a shocked yelp and stumbled back. They were merely paper but their beaks looked sharp. “What is the meaning of this?”

“Go away! I hate you!”

Now truly pissed off, Narcissa waved her wand and all at once the birds burst into flames and fell to the ground as ash.

Narcissa shoved Granger against the wall, one hand on her throat, the other buried in her hair. “Don’t fuck with me, little girl,” she hissed.

Granger clawed at her dress, pulling her closer. “I was just a means to an end, wasn’t I?”

“You are a child.”

“You never really fancied me, did you? It was all about getting closer to the Minister—”

Narcissa saw utter white. Everything came roaring back to her. She had been suppressing so much in the last week, so much, and now Granger had the nerve to think Narcissa didn’t even desire her—

Narcissa kissed her, knocking her head back against the wall. She tore at her dress—the dress she had spent hours creating—until she heard a satisfying rip and suddenly Granger’s perfect tits were exposed.

Please,” Granger whispered harshly.

Growling, she opened her mouth to her breast, wide, trying to fit the whole thing, even gagging herself a little. She sucked and licked, and then bit down. It wasn’t a nice bite. She would leave teeth marks, maybe even some bruises.

“Narcissa!” Granger cried.

She switched to the other breast and did the same thing, but this time she slowed down just a little and sucked so sweetly on her nipple. Granger squirmed and moaned.

Then Narcissa raised up and she wanted to fuck Granger, she wanted to own her. If she were a man, she would have shoved up her dress and mounted her right there against the wall.

“You are a stupid, little girl—”

“Fuck me, fuck me—”

Narcissa tore the skirt of her dress open. She must have been using wandless magic because the fabric felt entirely too fragile.

Narcissa wrapped a hand around her throat again and squeezed. Her hand reached between Granger’s trembling thighs and found her wet.

“You’re the only thing I’ve been able to think about,” Narcissa hissed as she sank three fingers into her without prep.

Granger cried out. She was hot and tight and throbbing around her fingers.

Narcissa fucked her quickly, her mouth pressed to her cheek. She wanted to bite down but she didn’t let herself.

“How dare you think I don’t desire you when you haunt me—”

“Please, I need you,” Granger whimpered.

Then there were voices at the other end of the corridor. Narcissa pulled Granger into a dark alcove, still keeping her hand inside her.

“They can hear you,” Narcissa hissed in her ear as her hand continued its fucking.

“Oh, god—”

“Are you going to be a good girl and come for me?”

“God!” Granger hiccuped. It was too loud and the small group’s chatter stopped.

“Did you hear that?” one of them said.

Another person laughed. “Yeah—”

Fucking come,” Narcissa growled.

Granger, shaking all over, threw her head back and let out a loud cry. She clenched so hard around her fingers, almost painfully so, and Narcissa clearly felt her throbbing heartbeat.

“Merlin—” another person said.

“Yeah, um, let’s leave.”

There was more nervous laughter and the group disappeared from the corridor.

Granger’s cunt was still fluttering when Narcissa pulled out. Narcissa dropped to her knees and licked her. Narcissa relished the feel of her hot open cunt on her mouth. It was used.

“More, please,” Granger whispered sweetly.

Narcissa bit down on her clit, causing her to gasp loudly. Then she stood up, her head spinning.

More,” Granger said, and wrapped her arms around her. She turned them and Disapparated.

They reappeared in Granger’s bedroom.

“I left my purse,” Narcissa growled.

“Sod your purse. I’ll replace everything in it. Just fuck me again.”

“Oh, so now I’m your whore, too?”

“No—that’s not what—” Granger took a deep breath. “Please take off your clothes.”

“Why?”

Granger went to her wardrobe and pulled out strange underpants and a pink cock.

Narcissa was aghast. “Absolutely not—”

Granger kissed her, sucking on her bottom lip. “Oh, please, Mrs Malfoy. Mistress. Whatever you want me to call you. Please, please.”

Narcissa shuddered. She was trying to hide it, but she was very turned on. “Get on your knees and beg.”

She dropped to the floor eagerly. “Please, Mistress. Please fuck me with your cock.”

Mistress sounded so stupid, but it was also very close to Master. It was as if Narcissa was the Dark Lord and Granger was her obedient servant—

Narcissa slipped her dirty fingers into Granger’s mouth, forcing her to taste herself. “Again,” she hissed.

“Please, Mistress,” Granger said, mouth full. “Please fuck me so hard I can’t even walk.”

“Take off your clothes and get on the bed.”

Granger jumped up to comply. Narcissa turned her back to undress herself. Her hands were shaking as she slipped on the underpants. For a moment, she had no idea what to do with the cock, but then she noticed the hole in the front of the pants.

She slipped on the cock and took a moment to readjust it. Then she turned around. Granger looked utterly delicious laid out on the bed. Her breasts trembled with her quick breathing.

“Do you want to tie my wrists to the bed?” Granger asked sweetly.

“Yes,” Narcissa said, mouth dry.

Granger muttered a spell, tying her own wrists to the headboard. The stretch of her arms looked uncomfortable.

Narcissa crawled onto the bed. Her intention was to stop between Granger’s thighs, but she continued upward until she straddled her chest.

“What can I do to you?” Narcissa asked quietly.

Granger’s eyes glittered darkly. “Anything.”

“Good.” Narcissa took a handful of her hair; then, holding her head in place, she forced the pink cock into her mouth until Granger choked. “Suck me, girl.”

Moaning, Granger sucked eagerly. She bobbed her head.

“Yes, just like that,” Narcissa cooed. “Take my big fat prick.”

Granger went deep, choking herself again. It was an amazing sight to see the next Minister of Magic sucking eagerly between her legs.

“You are so perfect, so, so perfect.” Then Narcissa grabbed her head with both hands and fucked hard into her mouth. Granger let herself be used.

Narcissa couldn’t help the moans that spilled from her lips. Doing this to Granger was making her so fucking wet.

She had no idea where the urge came from. Lucius had never been this rough with her, he hadn’t dared, and Narcissa and Mabs hadn’t even known that fake pricks existed back in Hogwarts.

“Do you want me to fuck your fanny now?” Narcissa said. Granger looked up at her with pleading eyes, her mouth stuffed with pink cock.

She eased out of her mouth and settled herself between her thighs. She ran her hands up and down Granger’s form, following her curves. Granger had a thin upper body with a tapered waist and ribs that showed just a little; she carried most of her weight in her hips and thighs and arse, and it was so mouthwatering.

“Can I have more lube, please?” Granger asked sweetly.

“Yes,” Narcissa said, and she barely recognised her own voice. She cast a lube spell and slicked up the cock, then she posed it at Granger’s entrance.

“Please.”

“Ask me nicely.”

“Please, Mrs Malfoy. Please fuck me.”

“You want me to fuck you with my big cock?”

“Yes!”

“Again,” she growled.

“Please, please! I’m dying for it. I need it—I need you—”

Taking pity on her, Narcissa thrust the cock inside. Granger arched and let out a soft cry.

“Oh, is it too big for you?” Narcissa taunted.

“Y-yes—so big—”

Narcissa watched her face as she forced her to take the cock. She rocked forward, not going slow. Granger’s eyes gleamed with pain.

When Narcissa bottomed out, she licked Granger’s cheek, tasting her sweat and makeup. “I want your everything,” she growled in her ear.

“Fuck me please!”

Narcissa grabbed her hips and pounded into her. Granger screamed. Narcissa watched her eyes roll back.

“Yeah? You like my Death Eater prick inside you?”

“Oh, god,” Granger moaned.

Narcissa fucked her over and over. She couldn’t feel anything, of course she couldn’t, but her cunt still fluttered from the pleasure. She just had so much power over Granger. So, so much power. This was why she became a Death Eater. She had wanted control over people; she had wanted them to worship her, but the Dark Lord had never trusted his followers enough to give them true power. He had only given them pain.

“Please, Mistress!” Granger cried.

“I’m ruining your little cunt, aren’t I?”

“Yes! Yes!”

Narcissa pounded her even harder, her hands like claws on her round hips. Sweat spilled into her eyes.

“I want to ruin you,” Narcissa moaned.

“Please!”

Narcissa reached down to work her clit with her thumb. She also pinched and pulled it, making Granger shudder.

“Tell me that you love me.”

“I love you!” Granger cried.

“Oh, saying that makes you so stiff for me.” Narcissa loved how her clit felt like a little head beneath her thumb.

“Please—I love you—”

“Truly? Then come for me.”

Shuddering, her wrists banging against the headboard, Granger seized up from head to toe. Narcissa loved how her orgasm made her stomach clench as well.

“God!” Granger gasped, the pleasure releasing her.

Narcissa pulled out and dropped down between her thighs. She licked her, wanting to taste her orgasm. She loved how Granger gaped for her.

“Fuck, fuck!” Granger writhed, her wrists banging even harder.

Moaning, Narcissa ate her greedily. Her tongue slipped so easily inside her.

“I’m coming again—Narcissa!” Granger clenched around her tongue.

Feeling utterly drunk, Narcissa moaned into her cunt. She had never felt this turned on.

When it was all over, Narcissa crawled forward again and positioned herself over Granger’s mouth. Granger was barely awake, but she opened her mouth eagerly.

“Yes, eat me, my good little Mudblood,” Narcissa growled. She had obviously lost her wits.

Granger moaned deeply and licked her and licked her. Narcissa knew she fell asleep when her tongue stopped moving.

Fuck,” Narcissa cried, her hands burying in Granger’s hair. She rode Granger’s face with abandonment, using her how she wished.

*

It was almost dawn when Narcissa woke up. Granger had wrapped herself around her. Circe, the cat, watched her avidly from the foot of the bed.

I called her a Mudblood, Narcissa thought, and shuddered. It was time for Narcissa to leave.

Narcissa eased out of bed and quickly found her clothes. Her hands shook so much that she had to use spells to squeeze into her dress.

When she was ready, she looked down at Granger one last time. Granger was still fast asleep. Her makeup was smeared and her hair looked as if she had been through a tornado. Narcissa grinned faintly. She did that to her.

Narcissa brushed one last kiss to her forehead, then left the spacious flat.

*

Several days crept by and Narcissa was utterly bewildered by her life. She felt equal parts devastated and elated. After she received her first round of payments from her new clients, she felt comfortable enough to quit her position at Madam Merryl’s Boutique. She was going to almost miss the place. It was where she had first interacted with this new version of Granger.

Once again, she threw herself into her work, spending over twelve hours a day in her shop in Diagon Alley. She had started to think of her workplace as a shop. It was where she sewed all her creations and met with all her clients (all except for one, that is). She even sometimes dealt with drop-in customers.

It was strange to move about Diagon Alley as someone who was actually seen. Before her positive publicity, people politely averted their faces whenever she was near. They knew she had once been a Death Eater and someone with such a tarnished past absolutely deserved no sympathy from them.

Still, Narcissa couldn’t blame them. Not when she somehow let herself call her lover a Mudblood in bed. What a disgrace!

Narcissa was at her work on a chiffon ball gown with a beaded bodice when she received the first owl from Granger. Unable to bring herself to open it, she stashed it away in her pocket.

A few hours later, another owl pecked at her shop window. Her eyes throbbed and her vision blurred. Right. It was time to have a break.

She let in the owl and made herself a cup of tea. As she sipped her Earl Grey and ate the last bites of her morning Chelsea bun, she inspected the front of the letter and didn’t recognise the handwriting.

Assuming it was from a potential client, she tore open the letter and read quickly. She nearly dropped the parchment. It was from Minister Shacklebolt.

“Merlin,” Narcissa muttered as she read his words.

Shacklebolt was smitten with her. He made no attempt at hiding it. He wrote of his memories of her when she had been at Hogwarts. He remembered seeing her in the Great Hall or the corridors down by the Slytherin common room. He remembered how she smelled—like flowers, snow, and sweet peppermint.

Narcissa had to pause in her reading. She had completely forgotten about her obsession with that perfume. It had been elf-made and marketed to teenage witches. Winter’s Kiss, it had been called. She’d worn it for years.

Narcissa was quite overwhelmed by the time she finished reading his letter. She sat in her chair, her cup of tea going cold. She felt numb, so numb, until she remembered how Granger had writhed beneath her.

Please—I love you.

A sob tore through her. She covered her face and surrendered to her misery.

She was not good enough for Granger. She would never be good enough.

Perhaps she could grow to love Minister Shacklebolt. With him, she would regain her old prestige, her old reputation. She was related to the Black and Malfoy families—that still meant something. It would mean even more if she was the paramour—or even wife—of the Minister of Magic. She could almost taste the power.

She had to suppress her feelings for Granger. She had to.

She had spent her life making selfish decisions and it was finally time to think about the consequences of her actions for someone outside her own family.

For Granger to be happy, Narcissa had to let her go.

*

Over the next week, Narcissa continued to focus on her work. She also replied to the Minister’s owls and stashed away Granger’s owls. Granger wrote to her every single day and Narcissa didn’t read a single line of it. Hopefully soon Granger would understand that she should give up on Narcissa.

In the meantime, Narcissa was not doing well. She barely slept. She worked like a maniac. And she couldn’t stop thinking about what it felt like to fuck Granger with that pink cock.

Professionally, everything was going right with Narcissa. Her name was in the Prophet’s society section quite often. A reporter had even reached out about doing an interview. Narcissa told her that she would have to think about it (in other words, perfect exactly what she would say).

For the first time since losing everything, Narcissa had saved some money. She strode into Gringotts with her head held high. The goblins impatiently reminded her that the Malfoy vault had been seized by the Ministry and the Black vault was now owned by Mr Harry Potter. She smiled coldly and told them that she would like to open up her own account with the bank. It was very, very satisfying to see their shocked expressions.

Narcissa still struggled sleeping even after the Gringotts victory. When she did sleep, she dreamed of Draco crying out for her in the middle of a dark forest. She dreamed of fucking a writhing Granger, over and over, until she looked over and saw in a mirror that she was not Narcissa Black Malfoy, but Minister Shacklebolt. Then, to really make things fun, she began dreaming of her own mother.

Druella Rosier Black had been a very unhappy woman, and she was just as unhappy in Narcissa’s dreams. She loomed over Narcissa, chastising her, condemning her, rejecting her.

I cannot believe you put your hands on that MUDBLOOD! snarled her mother. It makes me SICK!

Sometimes Narcissa cowered. Sometimes she tried to fight back. She never overcame her mother and she always woke up gasping for breath.

Perhaps it was time to invest in some Dreamless Sleep.

*

It was a dreary work morning when Severus knocked on her shop door. Blinking owlishly, Narcissa rose from her chair and wobbled over to let him in. She had been hunched over her beading for several hours and it caused her to move like an old woman.

“Come in,” she said, not really looking at him.

Severus stepped inside and shut the door. “I’ve been worried about you.”

“I’ve been busy.”

“Too busy to answer my owls?”

She shrugged and waved at all her work. “Look at everything I need to accomplish. Business is booming.”

“You don’t want to sacrifice your health.”

She shrugged again.

Sighing, he attempted to peer into her face, but she turned away.

“What do you want, Severus?”

He blinked. “I merely wish to converse with my friend.”

“All right, we’re conversing. Happy?”

“Will you join me for dinner tonight at my home?”

“I can’t. Too busy.”

“Please. As a favour to me.”

She had to look away again. Tears stung her eyes. It was so stupid that she was tearing up. “All right, fine,” she said softly.

When he had finally left, she wobbled back to her chair. It took a long time for her to pick up her work again. The tears wouldn’t stop coming.

*

That evening, Narcissa made her way to Cokeworth. She hated venturing to the Midlands. It made her feel soiled.

She appeared at the bank of the dirty river, just as she and Bella had done during the war. She looked around but didn’t spot a fox this time. Anyway, Bella wasn’t there to kill it.

She made her way to his home. The sun had burned away the dreary clouds and the air was almost muggy. Instead of a cloak and robes, Narcissa wore another one of her summer dresses. A few of the Muggle men eyed her as she walked past.

When she reached his door, she almost flinched. She hated coming back here. It all reminded her of the worst time of her life when she thought she would lose her son.

You still lost him, said a voice in her head. Right. How stupid of her to forget.

Narcissa knocked and a second later, Severus answered. “Please come in,” he said gravely.

Narcissa stepped inside and peered around. Very little had changed about his lounge. The walls were still lined with tomes and his furniture was still quite old.

“Have a seat,” he said as he poured them wine.

She sat in the same spot, but this time she wasn’t there to beg him to save Draco’s life. Severus handed her a glass of wine and joined her on the sofa.

“So,” he said.

“So.”

“I heard you’ve been exchanging owls with the Minister.”

“Yes.”

Severus eyed her. “Are you enjoying the exchange?”

“Sure.” Narcissa gulped her wine.

He sighed heavily. “Cissa. Please trust me.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re keeping things from me and I know it.”

“I’m not—there’s nothing—”

He raised one of his eyebrows.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said, now staring down at her wine. She watched as the red liquid stubbornly clung to the sides of the glass.

“Cissa, please—”

“Stop,” she said. “I didn’t come here to be interrogated.”

“You are unhappy. I’m worried for you.”

“How can you say that? I’ve got money now! I’ve got prestige—finally.” She glared fiercely at him. “Is that what this is all about? Are you jealous of my success?”

He blinked. “What are you bloody talking about?”

“Don’t try to deny it!” Now her voice was a snarl. “Even though you risked everything for the Order, you are still disgraced, aren’t you? I don’t see you invited to any hero parties!”

“I want to talk about your feelings for Hermione Granger.”

“I’m leaving!” She threw her glass to the table and stalked to the door. Severus followed her.

“Stop being ridiculous!”

“Let me leave!”

Severus grabbed her, nearly shoving her against the door. She kissed him. She only did it to hurt him.

No,” he said, pulling away.

She tried to kiss him again, but he pinned her to the door. “Stop being so pathetic, Severus. You want me.”

“No.”

“Don’t lie to yourself!”

“I said no.”

“WHY NOT?” She was suddenly sobbing. She beat her fists against his chest. “Tell me why! Tell me.”

“This isn’t about us and you know it.”

“TELL ME.”

“Lily—” His voice broke.

Then they were both crying. Severus clung to her and she clung back.

“Don’t be like me,” he murmured wetly. “Be brave, be brave.”

“You are brave!”

“No, no. I was a coward. I was—selfish. If only I had been brave enough to be vulnerable—”

“It’s not your fault that Lily Evans died.”

He laughed hollowly. “I told the Dark Lord about the prophecy. I just stood aside and trusted him and Dumbledore to protect her, but I should have been the one to sacrifice myself, not Lily.”

“Oh, Severus.” She wiped away his tears and kissed him chastely on the cheek. “You did sacrifice yourself, but you survived.”

Regaining his composure, Severus stepped back. “Are you hungry? I made a roast.”

“Yes.”

They left the lounge and made their way to the kitchen. Narcissa hesitated just inside the doorway.

“It’s so Muggle,” she said, staring in disgust at all the yellow metal contraptions.

“Muggle and outdated. Please have a seat. I’ll serve you.”

She sat down and her mouth twisted as she eyed the ugly paisley tablecloth. “Did your mum really have such bad taste in decor?”

“She and my nan.”

“Merlin.”

He plated juicy cuts of chicken and crisp roasted potatoes. Narcissa’s mouth watered. It felt like ages since she had eaten a full meal.

Narcissa dug into the food the moment her plate was set in front of her. She made a noise of approval. “Thank you for cooking.”

“You are welcome.” Severus ate more slowly.

“I slept with Granger,” she said before she lost her nerve.

He didn’t look shocked.

“Severus!”

“What?”

“You really—how did you know?”

He shrugged. “I saw your photograph with her in the newspaper.”

“We didn’t pose for any photos together!”

“It was the way you were looking at her. It was the way you spoke of her, or didn’t speak of her.”

“Am I really that transparent to you?”

“Yes.”

Gloomy, Narcissa stared down at her plate. “I’m no good for her, Severus.”

“Really?”

“Oh, stop it. You know exactly what I’m talking about! You were the one who warned me to stay away from her.”

“And you didn’t so why shall we pretend as if that is an option for you?”

“It’s an option! I don’t want anything to do with her!”

Severus gave her a sad look.

“Stop.”

“I haven’t done anything.”

“I said stop. I don’t need your pity.”

“Are you in love with her?”

Narcissa’s fork clattered to her plate. Hot tears spilled down her cheeks. “Oh, it’s all just so stupid.”

“Don’t cry. Please.”

“I can’t help it! I’m so—confused. I don’t know who I am anymore!”

“You’ve changed a great deal.”

“Yes!”

“Now you shag women.”

“I’ve always—”

He raised his eyebrows. “Always?”

“Do you remember Mabs Mulciber?”

Oh.”

“Yes.”

“Huh. I suppose it doesn’t surprise me.”

“Shut up,” she said, almost smiling.

“What do you want to do, Cissa?”

“I don’t know!”

“You do know.”

“I—I—” She covered her face and cried. “I want to see her.”

“Yes.”

“I want to see her! I want to be with her!”

“Yes.”

“But I’m nothing—I’m awful.”

“No.”

“I don’t even deserve to be alive!”

Severus left his seat to crouch next to her. “Hush, you’re brilliant. And you deserve all the happiness this world has to offer.”

“I’ve got the Mark on my arm and she’s Harry Potter’s best friend. What are they called? Oh, yes. The Golden Trio.”

“Bravery isn’t a competition.”

“Granger’s too stupid to reject me. Why does she want anything to do with me?”

“Because you are clever and brilliant, and one of the most beautiful women the world has ever seen.”

“Too much, Severus. Entirely too much.”

He grinned. “You’re a catch and she knows it. Has she written to you?”

“Yes. Daily. But I haven’t read any of her letters.”

“Oh, Cissa.”

“I couldn’t, okay? I just couldn’t.” She sniffled and rubbed at her throbbing head. “What am I going to do about the Minister?”

“Follow your heart. He will respect you for it.”

She was silent as she contemplated everything.

“I also have some news,” he said quietly.

“What is it?”

“It’s about Draco, so please brace yourself.”

“What is it!”

“He’s in England.”

Narcissa was out of her chair in an instant. “Where is he? I will go to him!”

“Cissa, please have a seat. He wrote to me and asked for advice.”

“What sort of advice?”

“He asked if it would be wise to reach out to you.”

“You told him yes, didn’t you? Didn’t you?”

“Please have a seat.”

Deflated, she dropped back down into her chair. “So you’re not on my side.”

“Of course I’m on your side; that’s why I think you should make sure you’re ready to see him.”

“What do you mean? I’m his mother!”

Narcissa,” he said sternly. “You cannot alienate him again. Your relationship with him will not withstand it.”

She opened and closed her mouth. She had no idea how she felt. “Are you asking if I’m ready to accept his relationship with that Charlie Weasley?”

His mouth twisted. “Perhaps you should start by not referring to him as such?”

“Fine.”

Severus speared her with one of his dark looks. “What should I tell him, Cissa?”

“Tell him that I’m a changed woman. Tell him I will accept him for who he is.”

“No more homophobia?”

She sucked in a breath. “No.”

“No more prejudice against the Weasley family?”

“Not openly, at least.”

“No more reminding him that he ruined the family by not marrying Astoria Greengrass?”

“I’m past that heartbreak.”

“Are you?”

Yes.

“Because of Granger?”

“And my new prospects. And—I’ve realised that I just want my son to be happy.”

Severus gave her a soft smile. “All right. I’ll write to him with my recommendation.”

“Thank you.”

In her lap, Narcissa clenched her fists. She felt as if she were about to step off a cliff. She was about to leave her old life entirely.

*

When Narcissa returned to her flat that night, she reached for a quill and parchment. She didn’t want to be rude to Minister Shacklebolt and he deserved to hear what she had to say in person.

After she sent off her owl, she stared at the drawer where she kept all of Granger’s owls. She was terrified of reading them.

No, but it was a time for change. She would need all the bravery she could muster.

Narcissa retrieved the stack of letters from the drawer and sat down heavily at her table. She began with the first one. It broke her heart how optimistic Granger sounded.

Going to bed with you was amazing. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about you. Please write back.

Narcissa opened the next letter.

I understand if you need time. I understand if you aren’t even reading these. Please let yourself have me. I want you, too.

Narcissa opened the next letter, then the next.

I admit that I’m going a bit mad. I hope you care enough to just write back to me. It’s okay if you don’t want to continue our relationship. It’s okay if you would rather be with Minister Shacklebolt. I just need to know, Narcissa. Please put me out of my misery.

Narcissa couldn’t read on. She knew what the other letters contained. Granger had given up on her; she must have.

She supposed it was for the best. It was all for the best. Granger would have a better life without her.

*

The next evening, Narcissa ventured to a posh part of London for her meeting with Shacklebolt. He had invited her for a drink at a very nice bar that sat atop a tall Muggle building.

Narcissa arrived early and sipped a martini as she looked out on the glittering Muggle lights. All their fake lighting was quite impressive.

The time of their meeting slipped by and still he didn’t show up. Nervous, Narcissa ordered a second drink.

Almost an hour went by before he appeared. The bar was Muggle and Shacklebolt arrived in a gleaming black suit with his army of Aurors in tow. They were also wearing suits.

“So sorry for keeping you waiting,” he said as he sat down. “I hope you are not too annoyed?”

“Ministry business?”

He gave her a warm smile. “Always.”

She waited politely as he ordered his drink. He made sure all the drinks were on his tab.

“You look lovely tonight,” he said as he sipped his whisky.

“Thank you.” Then: “We should talk.”

Disappointment flickered across his face. “All right. Give me your worst.”

“I’m terribly sorry,” she said, trembling a little. “I—I can’t date you right now.”

“I see.” His expression had become a mask.

“The problem is I’m in love with someone else.”

“He’s a very lucky man.”

“Yes, she is.” Narcissa heard her heart pounding in her ears.

Oh.”

“I didn’t mean to lead you on.”

“I understand.”

“Thank you.”

He smiled at her sadly. “I suppose this is goodbye then?”

“Yes.”

He stood and offered her his hand. “It was lovely exchanging owls with you this week.”

“Likewise, sir.”

Nodding, he left the bar with his army in tow. Narcissa slumped in her chair, utterly devastated. She couldn’t be with him if she was still hung up on Granger … even if she and Granger were never meant to be.

*

Narcissa was too sad to get out of bed. She was even too sad to do work. Her sewing projects languished in her shop unfinished. Two days had passed since she’d ended her flirtation with the Minister.

Draco hadn’t owled her. Neither had Granger. Not that she expected Granger to reach out. Of course she didn’t. She hadn’t even done Granger the favour of reading the rest of her letters.

The sun disappeared behind clouds, then those clouds disappeared in the night sky. She watched it through the window by her bed.

It was around dinner time when Narcissa heard the pecking of the owl. Draco! She shot up to let in the bird.

She accepted the owl and then ripped open the parchment. She cried when she recognised his handwriting. It had been so long without contact.

Mother—

I’m staying at the Burrow with the Weasleys. If you are interested, please come around for dinner. Tonight would work if you are not busy. I want you to meet Charlie.

Sincerely,
Draco

She cried and cried. His tone was so distant but at least he had written to her.

She rushed to get ready. She had to figure out what to wear!

*

The Burrow loomed like a crooked thumb in front of Narcissa. She paused at their rickety gate to adjust her blouse and denim trousers. Nothing said that she had changed more than wearing Muggle clothes to a gathering of witches and wizards.

She opened the gate and walked down the pathway. Her heart was in her throat.

At the door she knocked before she lost her courage. After a moment the door opened and Molly Weasley blinked at her.

“Good evening,” Narcissa said.

“Good evening. Welcome to my home.” Molly’s voice was stiff and overly formal.

Narcissa stepped into the house. The first person she saw was Granger. Granger’s mouth dropped open in shock.

“Draco’s in the lounge,” Molly said. “Please follow me.” She walked by but Narcissa didn’t move. She couldn’t move.

Granger approached. “Narcissa.”

“Hermione.”

“I’m sure you’re here to see Draco?”

Narcissa gulped dryly. “Yes.”

“Mother.”

Narcissa turned and there was Draco. Her boy. Narcissa burst into tears and she stumbled toward him. He wrapped his arms around her.

“My boy,” she cried.

“Mother.”

She kissed him over and over on the face. She couldn’t get enough of him. He smelled clean. He smelled like her Draco.

“Mother, please.” He blushed.

“Look at you!” She stepped back so she could take in everything about him. Draco looked stronger; he looked happier. “Oh, my gorgeous son!”

Draco’s blush only deepened.

Narcissa turned back, hoping to see Granger, but Granger was gone.

“Mother, why are you dressed like a Muggle?”

“This is how I dress now!”

Draco frowned. “Really?”

“Yes, and—”

“Mrs Malfoy?”

Narcissa looked up. It was Charlie Weasley. He was a good looking man, but he still was a ginger.

Narcissa left Draco and went to Charlie. “Good evening,” she said, managing a smile.

His soft blue eyes were guarded. “Good evening.”

“It’s very good to meet you finally.”

The corner of his mouth lifted. “Is it?”

She touched the hem on his sleeve. “You have a loose stitch here. I could mend it for you.”

“Thank you, that is very kind.”

Draco went up and stood next to Charlie defensively. “Mother, Charlie and I are engaged.”

She blinked. “Oh.”

“Are you happy for us?”

“Yes,” she managed. “Of course.”

Visible relief washed through Draco. “Good, very good.” He held out his hand. “Do you like my ring?”

She inspected it closely. “Very beautiful,” she said, even though it was just a plain silver band.

“I love Charlie very much.”

“I know.”

“And I love Draco very much, Mrs Malfoy.”

Narcissa smiled. “Please, call me Cissa.” She looked at her son. “May I have a word in private?”

“Okay.”

They left Charlie and ventured out into the cool night. They sat in well-used garden chairs. Narcissa quickly spoke before she lost her nerve.

“Draco, I’m terribly sorry for how I treated you before you went to Romania. I—I projected a lot of my heartbreak onto you.”

“Yes. I know.”

“I also projected … other things another you.”

“Like what?”

She sucked in a breath. “Draco, I’m—I’m—” She fell silent.

He reached out and squeezed her hand. “You can tell me anything, Mother. I will always love you.”

Hot tears sprang to her eyes. “Oh, my son! You are a marvel. I should have said those words to you when you first told me about Charlie, but instead I was so very cruel—”

“I understand that you were shocked and stunned and—”

“I’m bisexual, Draco.”

He stared at her.

“Is that the term for it? I hope it is.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that I’m attracted to both men and women.”

His eyes widened. “Mother.

“That’s why I was so awful to you, Draco. For a long time, I carried a lot of shame for the way I felt.”

“Oh.” He was breathing a little hard. She had shocked him terribly.

“I’m so sorry.”

“But … you no longer are ashamed? Why?”

“Hermione Granger.”

“Did she help you find a mind healer or something?”

“Draco, I’m in love with her.”

His mouth fell open. “Oh, Mother.”

“Yes, but … I’ve mucked it all up. I have no idea if she’s still interested in me.”

His expression turned thoughtful. “I think she is. She asked me about you.”

“She did?”

“Yes. Just before you arrived. She seemed sad that I didn’t have an update.”

Narcissa twisted her hands together. “I admit I’m very nervous. I need to speak to her, but—”

“Let’s go back inside. You can talk to her then.”

“She might have already left.”

“Let’s just see.”

As they walked back to the house, Narcissa said, “How long are you going to be in England?”

“For a while. Charlie and I want to get married here.”

“Oh, Draco! That’s brilliant news!”

The Burrow was bright and cheerful inside. There were loads of gingers about. In the lounge, Narcissa spotted Granger standing next to Potter and the youngest Weasley boy.

Granger watched as she approached.

“Hello,” Narcissa said, only looking at Granger.

“Um, hello,” answered Potter.

Narcissa tore her gaze away to look at her two friends. She didn’t like how close Potter was standing to her.

“I would like to speak to Granger alone if you don’t mind.”

“Why?” Potter said.

“Yeah! What business do you have with her?” Weasley said.

“Narcissa is my special friend, Ronald,” Granger said.

Narcissa smirked. “We’re shagging.”

Weasley’s face flooded with colour. He looked Narcissa up and down and breathed, “Oh.”

Granger was beaming. She laughed with tears in her eyes. “You never answered my owls.”

“I was a coward. I’m sorry.”

Granger fell into her arms. “I’ve missed you.”

“Yes, I’ve missed you, too.”

Trembling, Granger kissed her in front of her two friends. Narcissa kissed her back desperately. Something loosened in her chest. She felt as if she could float into the air.

Potter and Weasley stared with wide eyes at them.

“Ah, could you two do that again?” Weasley squeaked.

“Ronald!”

Narcissa took her hand and pulled her to the empty foyer. She pressed Granger against the wall and kissed her again. She couldn’t get enough of her taste.

“What about the Minister?” Granger gasped against her mouth.

“I told him I was in love with a woman.”

“Oh my god,” Granger said, pressing herself against her body. It felt as if she meant to climb her. “Take me home. Please.”

“Yes, but—I want you to know that I’m trying to be a good person.”

“I know.”

“I wasn’t always a good person. In fact, I was cruel.”

“I know that, too. Anyone can change. I will always believe that.”

“Granger—”

“Please call me Hermione. Please.

“Hermione, you must understand that my hands aren’t clean.”

“I know. You were a Death Eater. I know what they did.”

“I’m sorry for calling you Mudblood when we were in bed.”

“I liked it.”

What?”

“I said I liked it. Just don’t use the word outside the bedroom.”

“Oh, Hermione. Never. Never.

They kissed again.

“I’ll take you home, but first I need to say goodbye to Draco—”

Narcissa slipped back into the lounge. She gave her son a big hug. “I need to leave now. I will be in touch.”

“Did you talk to Granger?”

Narcissa grinned. “Yes. Everything is lovely now.”

A minute later, Narcissa and Hermione Disapparated from the Burrow. When Narcissa opened her eyes, they were in Hermione’s flat.

“Fuck me,” Hermione breathed.

Yes.

“Right here. Up against the wall.”

“With my fingers—?”

“Just come here. I’ll show you.”

Narcissa kissed her again and again. They tore off each other’s clothes, then Granger whispered a spell.

“What does it do?”

“I created it just for you. You liked it so much when you fucked me with the strap-on …” Hermione wrapped her legs around Narcissa and growled, “Fuck me.”

Not understanding, Narcissa let instinct take over. Her hips thrust and—fuck.

“Oh, Merlin,” Narcissa choked. “It feels like I’m inside you.”

“Yes,” Hermione moaned.

“I don’t know how—”

“It doesn’t matter; just fuck me—”

Groaning, Narcissa buried her face against Hermione’s neck and pounded into her. Somehow she felt Hermione clench around her. Somehow she felt the velvety warmth of her cunt.

“Take me!”

“Yes, I’m taking you.”

“I’m yours—”

“You’re fucking mine.”

Narcissa thrust over and over, and the pleasure was too much. She could barely hold herself up. Her orgasm rolled through her suddenly. She fucked Hermione through it.

“I love you,” Hermione gasped.

“I love you, too. Now come for me.”

Hermione threw her head back and moaned.

Narcissa Black Malfoy was a woman with many regrets, but being with Hermione Jean Granger was not one of them.