Hermione woke swathed in warmth. She was still pressed tightly against the silk clad body with two sets of arms firmly around her. She didn’t open her eyes, but listened to the two witches whispering, trying to make out what they were saying through a sleep fogged brain.
“No reason to pretend to be asleep, love. I can feel when you wake,” her wife said chuckling.
“I wasn’t pretending,” she answered somewhat petulantly.
“That doesn’t explain you trying to enter my mind,” Bellatrix cooed quietly.
“Hermione,” Narcissa said entering the fray, “I was under the impression that you were going to be well behaved during break. After all, you faced no consequences for last night. I am not sure exactly how far you expect that sort of generosity to reach.”
“I just wanted to know what was going on. I understand better through our connection, Bella,” the young witch mumbled against a pale collarbone, kissing lightly.
“As touching as that explanation is, little witch,” the blonde began, lightly tracing her fingertips over the bare back. “You still seem somewhat unrepentant. Perhaps we need to teach her a lesson, Bellatrix.”
Hermione felt the naked witch behind her laugh. She melted when soft lips attached to her neck from behind. The simple touch had her body buzzing faster than she could even have imagined. The dark witch held her hips still, keeping her from moving to relieve any growing pressure. Narcissa had moved her hands to the young witch’s front. For every bit that Bella was gentle, the blonde was rough and possessive. She consumed all of the available skin save the one place where she was most desperately needed.
Hermione moaned in relief when the blonde finally captured in her a searing kiss, only to be sorely disappointed when the woman pulled back and climbed from the bed.
“We should all get ready for the day now, I think.” Narcissa paused just as she was about to leave the room and strode quickly back to the bed. She planted a light kiss on Hermione’s lips and cupped her face affectionately. “That was just a warning, dear one. Be good and we will consider finishing what we started, but that will be much much later.”
The young witch collapsed back into the now still arms of her wife.
“Have you learned your lesson, little one?” the dark witch asked playfully.
“Oh most definitely,” Hermione answered giggling. “Although, you know I am going to be aching for you all day long.” She rolled to face her wife, pressing their bodies tightly together. She rubbed against the leg she was straddling. “Of course, unless you would like to help me out.”
Bella kissed her deeply, pressing firmly between Hermione’s spread legs. “That is tempting, my darling. But I am afraid that is entirely the opposite of the point. Now be a good girl and get up.”
The young witch groaned loudly and got out of bed.
Hermione was nearly able to forget her earlier frustrations in the familial celebrations. By the time the two witches made it downstairs their family was waiting. Lucius led them into the library. As she had been the year before, she was taken back by the sheer warmth of the decorations. Fresh garland hung over the fireplace. The golden balls sparkled reflecting the fire light. A large tree sat in front of the bay windows overlooking the garden. Candles magically hovered over the branches giving it an ethereal glow. The shining faces of those dearest to her welcomed her farther into the room.
“We almost sent my mum back upstairs to retrieve you,” Draco teased.
Hermione glared openly. “It was not at all necessary. I was simply enjoying the company of my wife on our first Christmas together as a married couple.”
“Ah, I must have hit a bit too close to the truth for comfort,” the blonde wizard said turning towards his father. “Her most basic defensive position is to attempt to gross me out by talking about my aunt romantically.”
“Watch yourself, Draco. I would be pleased to up the ante,” Bellatrix said walking to her young wife’s side.
“That won’t be required. You two are just in time for Christmas tea,” Narcissa said ushering them towards the seating area. “I forgot to tell you earlier that we have a guest this year.”
Before Hermione could ask who it could be, Severus stood and took a step towards her. She paused just a moment before throwing herself into his arms. While at school, the two were unable to demonstrate any sort of affection. Seeing him at Christmas was like seeing the real him for the first time in months.
“Happy Christmas, Madame Black,” he drawled once he regained his breath from nearly being tackled.
“I am happy you could join us, Snape,” Bella added smoothly to her old friend. She was happy to welcome him into their little family. She felt no jealousy at seeing her wife in his arms, in no small part because since Lily Evans he swore off women. There had been a number of inconsequential men, from what Cissy told her. She saw in his eyes the fatherly affection he held only for Hermione. She was fortunate to be able to trust a part of her heart to someone she and the Dark Lord held in such high regard. She had no doubt that his place at their side would be important when the final battle came.
“I was delighted to have been invited, Bella. You have a wonderful family.”
“That I do. It's hard to believe that we’ve only really been together a year,” the dark witch answered.
“It's unfathomable to me that two years ago you were in Azkaban and we had never even heard Hermione’s name,” Lucius added.
“Thank goodness this year is less overwhelming,” Hermione said under her breath.
“Is it?” Narcissa asked. She even surprised herself with her atypical curiosity.
The young witch laughed beautifully. She carefully set down her tea as her hysterics were causing her hands to shake badly. “I’m sorry, Cissy. I didn’t mean to laugh. You all really want me to explain?”
The Malfoys and Bellatrix were confused by why she would even ask. It wasn’t clear to them in the slightest what was overwhelming about the year before. Snape simply smirked in his way. He loved his pureblooded friends, but they really did have their heads up their arses about what was considered “normal.”
Hermione softened the look of amusement on her face not wanting to belittle those she loved for asking a question.
“This time last year, you lot told me that I was the long lost daughter of two Irish freedom fighters, an heiress to a rather large fortune, a pureblooded witch, and the soulmate of the most infamous deatheater. To be honest, I was a little taken aback.”
“Well…. when you say it like that,” Bellatrix said slowly.
“Oh no. Don’t misunderstand me, my love,” Hermione said speaking directly to her lover. “I adore how overwhelming you all are. I have never felt so loved or so cherished when I am in the company of my family. And I know so long as I am here I will never be bored.”
The young witch watched with pleasure as her wife preened at the compliment. She truly had no desire to hurt any of their feelings, but it was a complicated thing to explain to a group of people who had lived such an isolated experience for generations.
“You have to remember, my darlings, that this time last year I understood essentially nothing about our family, my power or the world in which we live. I was so afraid that I would wake up from the pleasant dream and you all would be nothing but a figment of my imagination. Overnight I had gained so much, and even as a witch it felt like it was more than even magic could account for. I feared that if I messed up or stepped out of line that you all would cast me away. That you would all finally wake up to the idea that I wasn’t actually good enough for you or that I was a fraud. So as much as I enjoyed Christmas together last year, it wasn’t without a good deal of stress.”
“There was never any chance of that,” the dark witch spoke softly. “I knew here.” She pointed to her chest. “You were ours from the day you were born and you will be until the day that you die.”
“They were quite nervous too,” Draco chimed in. He ignored the extreme look of disapproval on his mother’s face. “They worried that you might reject the idea of being associated with us or that you might find other offers that were just as appealing. I’ve never seen my mother in such a state, well perhaps until the wedding.”
“Suffice it to say that this year is much more relaxed and enjoyable.” Lucius raised his glass of brandy as he spoke, toasting the good fortune.
Christmas dinner was delightful. The food was incredible and plentiful. The small group laughed their way through the meal and exchange of gifts. In their own way, each individual took time to appreciate all that they had this year. It remained unspoken, yet ever looming, that the acceleration of their cause was about to occur. Hints had been dropped that before the teenagers returned to school the plan for the final unraveling of the Order would be executed. And the six around the table would be central to it all. They might never have such an opportunity again and so they reveled in the time they had.