With only a few days before the annual New Year's Eve ball, Malfoy Manor was aflutter with activity. The tremendous halls of the edifice were transformed by a small army of elves into a haven of celebration. Striving to keep Hermione occupied as a distraction from the painful reality of the past few days, Narcissa involved the girl in as much of the preparation as possible. It seemed to bolster the girl's spirit, while teaching her some important cultural behaviors of her peers. Hermione's heritage ensured the respect of the purebloods, but the blonde witch wanted her to fit in and feel as though she had a place in their community.
Their morning to night occupation provided Draco, Bellatrix, and Lucius with time to prepare for the teens' return to Hogwarts. In conjunction with the Dark Lord, Lucius developed a plan to control the flow of information about Hermione. It was already common knowledge that she was the only heir to the MacCarthy fortune. Her association with the Malfoys would be unavoidable as they'd been seen in public together. But they hoped to protect the knowledge of her age from the public. The more ignorant the Death Eaters could appear, the more likely they would be able to catch Dumbledore and the Order off guard.
Bellatrix had been particularly vocal that the girl be allowed to complete her education. The dark witch knew how important it was to her lover, and it would be far more difficult if her age was widely known. She grieved that two years were stolen from the girl and that she had begun her training at Hogwarts two years late. It was no wonder that the girl felt as though she didn't fit in. She insisted that her young lover be left in the house she was sorted into at least for the rest of the year. Bella suspected that the sorting hat was tampered with, along with the magical quill. The girl belonged in Slytherin, but she had gone through enough changes for the time being.
Hermione could not possibly imagine why she had to learn how to dance. She had no intention of being the center of attention during the ball, no matter what Madame Malfoy had to say about it. At the triwizard tournament ball, she watched others dance, avoiding it herself even though Victor Crum attempted to dump his date, Lavender Brown, for her. When Narcissa cornered her and practically drug her into the ballroom, clearly resistance would be futile. And so, Hermione acquiesced, warily allowing the blonde to dominate her personal space.
“First you must relax.”
Hermione looked into the beautiful blue eyes arching her eyebrows slightly, but not responding.
“I am well aware of my sisters rules of engagement, so to speak. It doesn’t mean I can’t have a bit of fun... so relax,” she said, running her hand down Hermione’s face in a familiar gesture. She took the girl by the waist, positioning their bodies before beginning the dance.
Hermione’s trepidation aside, she learned dancing as quickly as she did academic pursuits. Within an hour they twirled around the room to the sound of the music. As the dance ended, the older witch dipped her deeply backwards, holding their faces close together until they dissolved into giggles. Their reverie was interrupted by slow applause. Bellatrix, clad in a tight, revealing, corset and full skirts, leaned against the door frame. Pushing herself upright, she stalked towards the pair.
“Not bad, my love, but you would look so much better dancing with me.”
“I am a perfectly adequate teacher.”
“So you are, Cissa. But you’ve always been more of a follower than a leader,” the dark witch snarked at her sister. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t true, but Bella knew her baby sister would give into her. True to form, Narcissa subtly took a step back and inclined her head, indicating she bent to her sister’s will.
The Death Eater took the young witch’s hand, spinning her before tugging her flush against her own body. Hermione gasped at the intimate embrace. Their forms pressed so closely together, that she could feel every delicious curve of her lover’s body. She did her best to focus on the steps she’d learned, instead of the arousal that Bellatrix seemed to carry with her everywhere. The older witch led her through a rumba that grew with intimacy with every step they took. By the end of the dance, Hermione found herself panting, and not from physical exertion. She looked longingly into Bella’s eyes, causing the witch to chuckle,
“You find me quite irresistible, don’t you?
“It was the dance, I assure you. Done properly, it should be quite seductive,” she retorted. “Or do you not think my muggle taught dancing skills are up to par.”
Bellatrix snorted. It wasn’t as though she would ever believe that any muggle dance could be seductive.
“Well if you don’t think it’s possible, perhaps your sister would be more open minded.” Hermione turned to Narcissa, silently asking permission. Seeing it was hesitantly granted, she turned the music back on. This was not exactly the type of music all the muggle teenagers were dancing to, but the girl wasn’t going to back down from the challenge. She slowly circled the blonde witch, letting her fingertips trail gently across the slender body and stopping in front of her. Hermione turned her back to the younger Black sister, taking the woman’s hands and wrapping them around her body. Slowly, she ground her hips seductively to the music against Narcissa’s crotch. The action momentarily stunned her dance partner, but a few bars later her hips began to move in tandem. As Cissy grew more comfortable with the sensual movements she allowed her hands to wander Hermione’s body, while making eye contact with her sister. It served Bella right for being unwilling to learn about the culture in which her consort was raised. And Narcissa never passed on the opportunity to one up her older and extremely accomplished sibling. She could tell from across the room the dark haired witch was experiencing warring emotions. Her lips formed a hard line, revealing her frustration and annoyance, but it didn’t reach her eyes. Without her permission, her pupils dilated at the sight of the two women dancing together. They were beautiful and the way they moved was practically clothed sex.
Bellatrix walked behind her sister and firmly moved her out of the way. The young witch anticipated the switch in partners, though she was impressed at the self-control of her lover. It took her far longer to intervene than she would have guessed. Seizing the opportunity, Hermione buried her hands in the curls behind her head, encouraging the woman to pull her even closer. Taking the move as permission to do whatever she wanted, Bellatrix ran her hands down the length of the girl’s sides pausing at her hip bones before curving purposefully inward. In response to the quickly escalating situation, Hermione spun in her arms. She snugly tucked one of her legs between her lover’s and rolled her hips in time with the music. She heard the sceptical pureblood witch draw ragged breaths into her lungs, attempting to control her arousal.
Satisfied with her success, Hermione smirked at her lover and stepped back, leaving the woman intentionally unsatisfied.
“You still don’t believe me?”
“What I don’t believe is that anyone would consider that dancing. If you had done that with anyone but my sister...”
Bellatrix never managed to finish her threat as Hermione punctuated her success with a particularly intense kiss. She did however smile wickedly at her sister as she pulled her lover from the room declaring that they would see her at dinner.
New Year’s Eve arrived quickly, and with each passing moment, Hermione found herself falling into a state of panic. She worried about her first public appearance. Narcissa had drilled her with social customs from how to greet others to how to turn down offers to dance. If the past few days were any indication, Bellatrix would not be tolerant of anyone presuming to step between them. Hermione wondered exactly how far the witch would go to keep other suitors at bay, not that she could even conceive of interest in anyone else.
Mid-afternoon an elf sent by the blonde witch arrived to gather her and taker her to Narcissa’s rooms to get ready. It hadn’t been explicitly stated, but Hermione got the feeling that her appearance was to be kept secret, even from Bella. After bathing in warm soothing water, she rubbed her skin with a mixture of lavender and vanilla oils, giving her skin a soft glow and intoxicating scent. She pulled revealing lingerie on before slipping the black dress over her head. As she remembered, it clung tightly to her body. One strap of the dress ran directly up her left shoulder, while the other cut across her chest diagonally leaving her entire right shoulder exposed. The torso of the dress came to just the top of her cleavage, hinting at her curves without being revealing. However, the triangular cut away that revealed her stomach left little doubt to the condition of her body. She looked in the mirror, noting how much firmer her muscles looked after a few weeks of intense physical training. The slit of the dress ran directly up her left side terminating at her mid-thigh. Even she had to admit how intimidating her appearance was.
After she was dressed, Narcissa insisted on instructing the witch she hired on how she wanted the girl’s make-up applied and hair arranged. She requested that the make up be light, allowing Hermione’s natural beauty to be showcased. As a result, smokey eye makeup and a light pink lip gloss were the main features.The witch pulled her curls up, allowing a few to escape, framing her face. Once the girl’s transformation was complete and Narcissa had also finished getting herself ready, the older witch took a long moment to take in her appearance.
The intelligent blue eyes ran slowly over her body, examining every detail. Hermione shivered at the thorough inspection. The sensuality of the look was magnified by her vivid memory of the woman’s hands on her body delivering pleasure. After walking once around the girl, Narcissa deemed the preparations complete. Confident in the reception the girl’s breath stealing outfit would guarantee, she led her to the staircase to make her entrance.
On the short walk, Hermione became aware of the music already echoing through the house. She hadn’t bothered to ask when the event began or even what time it currently was. She assumed that Narcissa planned for them to make a slightly late, but extremely fashionable, entrance. In her short time living at the Manor, she’d become convinced that the witch never did anything by accident. Narcissa strove to have control over each moment and this would be no different. A few paces out of sight by the grand staircase, the pair paused as the blonde witch said,
“I want you to walk down the stairs alone. Everyone will pause to see your enter. I swear half of them have come just to see you. Going by yourself will communicate your independence and to discourage them from seeing us as your protectors.”
Hermione nodded in understanding. She was too nervous to formulate a response. As much as she didn’t want to have all of the eyes in the room on her, the desire to see Bellatrix was far greater. She took a deep breath before stepping forward to the top of the staircase and into the festive lights. She felt the room collectively pause at her appearance. She panicked slightly until she found a pair of chocolate brown eyes staring intensely into her own. She descended the steps, seeing nothing but the gorgeous form of her witch.