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The door slammed. "Bugger it all."

Pansy read to the end of the paragraph before she picked up her bookmark and laid it across the page. She closed her book and set it down as Draco dropped into the sofa beside her. He slumped, legs sprawled under the coffee table, and loosened his tie. "Bugger it all. Bugger all of them. Bugger all of them up their fucking arses." He turned his head and pursed his lips at her in a kiss. "Hey, Parks."

"So you had a good day at work," Pansy said with a bright smile. Draco grunted and fell sideways to drop his head onto her thigh. Pansy stroked his fringe away from his forehead. "MLE again? Or is there someone else I need to add to the list? You do realize that I'm running out of people I can speak to at club meetings."

"You hate club meetings anyway." Draco gripped her hand and pulled it over his heart. He tipped his face to her stomach and kissed her hip. "And you hate all the society wives that show up to the meetings. All they're doing is showing off their new shoes, you said."

"True." She patted his chest and finished undoing the knot in his tie. She smoothed the ends out, straightening the silk. "I hope you're not exhausted, though. We have dinner plans, unless you've forgotten."

He faked a whimper.

Pansy tweaked his nose. "We promised. We promised weeks ago and you know we have to go. She's coming to my banquet on Sunday. It's the arrangement, Draco."

"Was it officially on the schedule? Nothing counts unless it's on the schedule." He wrinkled up his nose at her nod, then sat up and stretched. "You know she's picked some horrid place where we'll have to order something called a 'combo meal' or similar. I do love the woman, but I abhor her taste."

"I'd believe you if I didn't happen to know for a fact that you hid three cups from that Muggle coffee place in the rubbish before the binmen came last week. Hypocrite. Besides which, she said it was a wizarding restaurant, so you can stop your whinging and change clothes."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Fine, fine. Robes or suit?"

"Casual. Wear the black jeans. Your arse looks fantastic in those."

---

Draco leaned one elbow on the bar and stared towards the entrance of the restaurant. It was nearly impossible to see through the ferns and fake trees some rabid decorator had shoved into every available inch of space. There wasn't much of that around all the statues and fountains and plaster cherubs. It reminded him of Umbridge's office at Hogwarts. The only thing missing was a thick coating of pink and cat fur on every surface. "If she doesn't show up in the next two minutes, I'm going home," he said, turning to poke at the lemon slice floating in his drink. "This place makes my skin crawl."

"Hem, hem." Pansy shrieked with laughter at Draco's shudder. "Just needs a few kitten plates, doesn't it? God, that woman was a menace. However did we stand working with her that year?"

"Dunno about you, but I got a shiny badge and the power to irritate the hell out of Potter. What else did I need?" Draco scraped a peanut out of the bowl on the bar and tossed it up in the air to catch it in his mouth.

"You're going to put your eye out, Draco."

Draco held both hands out in an attitude of innocence as Hermione came up to the bar. She rolled her eyes and went up on her toes to kiss him. Taking his hand, she turned to Pansy who kissed her in turn. "Sorry I'm late," Hermione said. "Three hundred parchments to sign."

"I bought you a Dictaquill last Christmas," Pansy reminded her, slipping one arm around her waist. "I even got the kind that does signatures."

Hermione sighed and pushed her hair behind her ears. "I know, I know. It just doesn't feel right if I don't sign for myself." She leaned against Pansy's shoulder. "Why don't we have a table?"

"They wouldn't seat us until the whole party had arrived," Draco said, squeezing her hand. "Some rubbish about having all our plates out at the same time. Bollocks, if you ask me. Should hex the lot of them."

Hermione tipped her head and kissed Pansy's jaw. "You let him drink coffee again."

"I had to. Apparently someone at the Ministry gave him a hard time."

Draco snorted as Hermione flushed. "And she'd best damn well make it up to me, too. That's the fourth proposal this year she's shot down."

"If you wouldn't keep writing ridiculous proposals, I wouldn't have to refuse them." Hermione tugged Draco close and slid her free arm around him. "And you are overlooking the fact that while I have refused four this year, I have approved seven. You're quite intelligent, Draco, and you come up with some good ideas when you apply yourself. You know I'm more than happy to work with you on respectable projects."

"Work with you." Draco grinned at her, both brows raised. "Be honest, you prefer it when I'm working over you."

Pansy laughed, reaching past Hermione and patting Draco's back. "You prefer it that way too, darling. Don't even pretend you don't." Her teasing look faded as the restaurant's host approached them. The witch had her nose in the air and her eyes narrowed as she stared at the three of them all wrapped together. Hermione tensed, and Draco and Pansy both took a firmer grip on her, each of them turned in to stand against her hips.

Pansy raised her chin. "Is there a problem?"

The host witch's nose wrinkled. "I'm sorry to say," she said in a tone that was as far from sorry as possible, "but the manager has chosen to refuse your custom this evening."

"Got issues with three people sharing a table?" Draco asked, his voice in his sharpest accents.

The host witch turned her glare on him and Hermione felt his shiver as he resisted the urge to take a step backwards. "The number of companions at a table is not a question of service," she said. Her voice filled with ice. "The type of companion, however. Is." The witch lowered her gaze and stared at Draco's left arm. "We don't serve your kind here, Death Eater."

---

Hermione curled in against Pansy's side on the sofa. They listened to the complete silence coming from the study. Both sat tense, eyes locked on the closed door, hands joined. It had been twenty minutes already.

"Did you get the brandy out?" Pansy asked in a whisper, squeezing Hermione's hand.

Hermione nodded, her head dropping to Pansy's shoulder. "I left it on the desk. He may not drink it, though. You know he's been more careful since his father's liver went." She lifted Pansy's hand to her mouth and kissed her palm, then turned her hand over and kissed each knuckle in turn. "We might need to make a little adjustment to the schedule tonight. Do you mind? It's your night, but--"

"But he'll need it."

Neither of them needed to say more. It had been years, but Draco still hated feeling like he wasn't in control of his own life. When people reminded him of what he'd been and what he'd done, they reminded him of how little choice he'd had. Hermione wanted him to have that control back.

Pansy slipped her arm around Hermione and tipped her head. "He can have tonight. If you'll give me this." Their lips met, gentle and soft. Pansy cupped Hermione's cheek and slipped her tongue into her mouth. Hermione gave a quiet moan as Pansy's fingers drifted down her throat to tickle at the shallow dip where her pulse beat.

The study door creaked and they pulled apart, slow and reluctant. Pansy turned her head first, then she untangled from Hermione and stood. She went to Draco and wrapped her arms around him, her head on his chest. "I'm sorry, love," she said in a quiet voice.

Draco's hands dangled at his sides, fingers twitching and flexing. It took him a few heartbeats, but he eventually lifted his arms and wrapped them around Pansy's shoulders, bowing his head to kiss her hair. Hermione exhaled, tension leaving her shoulders. When he could hug, he was all right. She stood and moved to join her lovers, arms around them both. They stood together for a minute before Pansy shifted out of the embrace. She patted Draco's shoulder, kissed Hermione's cheek, and went to the kitchen. Hermione heard the clink of the kettle and the rush of the faucet, and she smiled into Draco's jumper. Tea. It was always tea, with Pansy.

She went up on her toes and kissed Draco's jaw. "You're with me tonight," she told him, her arms around his neck. "Pansy's agreed to give up her night for you."

"You don't have to do that," Draco said, his grey eyes hooded. "I don't have to be coddled. Just because some fucking idiots-- Language, sorry," he added with a smile before she could do more than give him a look.

Hermione laughed and took his hands. "I'm not going to coddle you, Malfoy. I'm going to beg you to shag my brains out."

---

Hermione undressed Draco slowly, pushing his hands away when he reached for the buttons of her dress. She grinned up at him and shoved his jumper over his head. His soft fringe fell in a muss around his eyes. She smoothed it back with a smile. His pale eyes were already darkening, the color shifting to the wild grey of a storm. He held his breath as she dragged her hands down his chest. When she reached his waist, she took his wrists and lifted his hands to rest on her shoulders.

Draco locked his fingers together behind her neck, his thumbs rubbing into the muscles at her hairline. "What on earth made you pick that restaurant?" he asked her, glancing down to watch her fingers moving on the button fastenings of his jeans. "It was horrible. All that frippery."

"Parvati said it was good," Hermione said. She pushed his flies open and slipped one hand in, palm facing him, fingers down, to scratch her nails through the fabric of his pants. Draco shivered and twitched his hips in an attempt to move her hand to a more entertaining location. Hermione looked up at him, brows raised, not fooled by his innocent expression. She tensed her fingers, her nails pressing hard against him. Draco held his breath and went still, eyes wide. "Behave yourself," Hermione told him, her voice dropping.

Deep dimples formed in Draco's cheeks as he smiled. "Oh, really," he said, raising one brow. "Who said you got to be in charge? I know damn well that's not on the schedule. Just because it's Pansy's usual night doesn't mean--"

Hermione laughed and fluttered her fingers against the root of his cock. Draco sucked air over his teeth, his eyes unfocusing. Hermione ran her free hand across his chest, flicking at the points of his flat, pink nipples with the side of her thumbnail. "Shoes," she told him, and Draco toed off his polished black monk straps, their double buckles jingling as he kicked them aside. Hermione pushed his jeans and pants down, kneeling to strip him completely. She raised her head to look him over, smiling to herself. It pleased something deep inside her to know that his lean, strong body was hers and hers alone.

She got to her feet, hands sliding up his legs and over the narrow span of his hips, up his sides and across his shoulders. Draco settled his hands on her waist. His grip felt awkward, uncomfortable. Hermione looked down, under her lashes, to see that he'd turned his left arm under, twisting at an angle to hide the faded scar that twisted around the length of his forearm. Hermione clucked her tongue and circled her fingers around his wrist. With a firm grip, she turned his arm over.

She looked into his eyes and placed her palm flat on the sinuous scar. "They were bastards," she told him. "Those idiots at the restaurant. All of them, every day. You're not that boy anymore, and if they're still clinging on to hate and fear, they're the ones in the wrong. I love you. This--" She squeezed his arm, her thumb pushing into one of the skull's eye sockets. "This doesn't matter to me. You matter to me, Draco Malfoy."

He closed his eyes. For a full minute, he didn't move. Hermione waited, watching his face, and when he opened his eyes, there was calm in them. "Thank you." His voice was soft, and he drew his arm back to take her hand. He brought it up and kissed the inside of her wrist. "Love you, Granger."

Hermione smiled and stretched up to kiss the point of his nose. She slipped her hands around his neck and leaned against him. "All yours," she said, giving him their private code, letting him know that she was ready for him to take control. "Do with me as you will."

Draco gave a soft groan and bent to nibble at the hollow of her throat. He took her wrists as he walked her backwards, until her thighs bumped against the edge of their tall bed. He raised her hands and held them wide. At his muttered command, two thick leather straps emerged from the ceiling and formed wide buckled cuffs that fastened around her wrists. Hermione bit the inside of her cheek to stifle an anticipatory whimper. Draco tested the cuffs, tugging on the straps to ensure they would both hold her securely and release quick in an emergency. Only when he was satisfied that she was safe, and well-restrained, did he take a step back.

He stepped well back, entirely away from her, and one hand fell to his naked cock. He wrapped his long fingers around his shaft and gave a slow stroke. "What should I do with you?" he asked, his voice low and rumbling. He looked her over, and Hermione took a deep breath, arching her back to push her breasts against the soft fabric of her dress. The buttons pulled and gaped, and Draco raised his brows. He stepped closer, pushing two fingers into the narrow opening and stroking the bare skin between her breasts. "Do tell me that you've been without your bra all day, Hermione."

She arched into his touch, shifting in efforts to get him to brush his fingers over her breasts and not just in the valley between them. "All day," she said, meeting his eyes. "You told me that you'd like to think of me like that. Naked and open for you." She widened her stance and wiggled her feet apart to spread her thighs. "I obeyed. Bra and knickers."

Draco's eyes darkened to granite and his cock jumped in his hand. Hermione licked her lips, watching as he stroked his thumb over the reddened tip just peeking out through his foreskin. "Rather wish I'd known that in advance," he told her. "Instead of arguing about the proposal I made today, I'd have just shoved you over the desk and fucked you."

Hermione jerked in her bonds as the image pushed into her head. Her blood ran hot and she realized the soft whining noise she could hear was coming from her throat. Draco purred and stepped closer. He hauled her skirt up to her hips and shoved his hand between her thighs. "You like that idea," he said. His fingers slipped between the lips of her cunt, sliding over her clit and deep into her. "You like the thought of me taking you right there in your office. Would you scream for me? Scream so that everyone in the Ministry knew what I was doing to you?"

Hermione whimpered and tried to grind onto his hand, but Draco pulled back. He squeezed her labia together, holding her closed. "Yes," she said with a groan. "Yes, I would. I'd scream the building down. I'd scream your name so everyone knew it was you. Please, Draco. Touch me."

He laughed, a deep and dirty laugh that made her cunt throb. He unbuttoned her dress and pushed the sides apart, leaving it dangling from her shoulders. "Dunno," he said with a slow drawl. "I don't know if you've earned it yet." Stepping back, he wrapped his hand around his cock again and stroked. He pumped his fist until the head of his cock turned a dark scarlet and his bollocks swayed with each sharp jerk of his hand. "What do you want? Want my fingers? Want my tongue? Want my cock?" He smiled, his eyes hooded. "Want the crop?"

Hermione shuddered, her nipples tightening to hard points, almost painful. Her skin felt too small, felt like she'd been brushed with the feathers of a quill, sensitive and twitching. Her head fell back as she moaned. "Yes," she said, her voice guttural with want. "Yes. The crop. Please, please, please."

"Good girl." Hermione closed her eyes and listened as Draco moved around the bedroom. She heard the bureau drawer slide out, heard the armoire door swing open. Draco's fingers brushed over her breasts, startling her into a gasp. She'd been concentrating so hard on the sounds of his preparations that she hadn't been listening for his location. She brought her head up and stared at his eyes, heart pounding at the darkness in them. "Don't want to see what I'm doing?" he asked as he caressed her breasts and stomach. "Rather a good idea, actually."

He placed his hand over her eyes, blocking out most of the light and the view of his face. "Yes or no?"

Hermione caught her lip between her teeth and thought about it. Pansy blindfolded her quite often when they made love, but she'd never yet let Draco take her sight away. She loved him, she trusted him, but she didn't think she could surrender control over her senses to him. Not when she'd surrendered control over her body as well. Slowly, she shook her head. "No. I'm sorry, Draco, but no. I just can't. I'm sorry."

He removed his hand, slipped his arms around her, and gave her a tight hug, his cock rubbing on her stomach. "It's all right," he murmured to her. "It's all right, love. You don't have to apologize if you're not ready for something."

"I hate disappointing you," she whispered, turning her head to nuzzle against his neck. "I know you want me to try it, but I can't."

"It would disappoint me more if you pushed yourself to do something only because you thought I wanted it, not because you wanted it too." Draco lifted her chin on the edge of his hand and kissed her slowly. "This is all about both of us, Hermione, not me alone. If you're not enjoying yourself, I won't be either." He kissed her again, deep, his tongue sliding over hers, his teeth brushing her lip.

Hermione sank into the kiss, letting it take her breath and make her thoughts float free. She felt safe in his embrace. Secure and supported, surrounded by his arms. She pressed to his body, trapping his cock between them. The fine hairs across his groin and on his thighs tickled at her skin; the hardened callouses on his hands scratched down her ribs. He pushed one finger into her cunt and drew it out dripping to rub on her clit. "Now that I think about it," he said to her, breath hot on her ear as he bit the shell of it. "We might want to hold off on the cropping. You're with me again tomorrow night, and then you'll have the weekend to recover without your co-workers wondering why you have trouble sitting down." He pushed his hand further between her thighs, wriggling one finger into the cleft of her buttocks and running the tip of it around the tight ring of her arsehole. Hermione keened and rocked her hips. If Draco was going to fuck her arse, she'd gladly put the cropping off to the next night. She loved the thick, possessing feel of his cock in her arse even more than she loved the red welts he could leave on her thighs and buttocks.

She didn't realize she was pleading with him in soft whispers until he kissed her and the sounds halted. He pulled back and gave the release word for the cuffs, catching her up in his arms when her knees buckled. He pulled her dress off and put her on the bed. She splayed her legs wide and tilted her hips, but Draco shook his head. He twisted his wrist, gesturing her to roll over. As she moved, he pushed a firm pillow beneath her. She rested on it, breasts hanging, hair tossed to the side. She could feel her body trembling as she waited for his orders.

"Hold yourself open," he said, and she quaked, skin going hot as she blushed.

"Draco, please." It embarrassed her to no end to be told to put her body on display, even for him.

His hand slapped down hard on one buttock and she shrieked, the sting of pain arcing through her. "I said, hold yourself open."

She exhaled, steeling herself, and reached back. One hand fastened on each buttock and she tugged them apart, exposing the most intimate parts of her body. Head bowed until her forehead touched the bed, she waited for the sound of Draco's movements or voice. Nothing happened for a long while, and she started to fret that he might simply leave her like that. She agreed, she obeyed because he always rewarded her. He always praised her, satisfying her needs in thanks for satisfying his desires. If he stayed silent, if he didn't--

"You're beautiful," he said. The bed dipped as he sat beside her, and Hermione's breath caught in relief. His hand fell on the nape of her neck, then slid down her spine to the dimples just above her bum. Hermione felt as though he'd left a trail of sparks in his wake, stinging her skin and heating her blood. She tensed her fingers in her buttocks and pulled them further apart, pulled as far as she could. Draco made a soft, purring sound of approval and his hand slipped lower.

The tip of one finger brushed over the small, puckered hole, and Hermione jumped. Her breath left her in a shudder. She ground her forehead against the bed. "Please, Draco."

He chuckled, and his hand left her back. He murmured a cleansing charm. Hermione held still, feet flexing, thighs bunching, as the spell worked inside her. She heard the snap of a bottle lid and braced herself for the lube. Draco touched her arse, apologizing under his breath when she hissed from the chill. He coated her arsehole in the slippery lube with delicate care, easing one finger into her, then two and three as her body stretched for him. By the time he had her able to take four fingers, Hermione was begging, her fingers locked tight in her buttocks and her cunt dripping. The bed squeaked and shifted as he moved to kneel between her legs. The blunt tip of his cock prodded at her and he laid one hand on the small of her back. "Deep breath, love."

She inhaled, closed her eyes, and exhaled. Draco pushed into her, groaning as he popped through the ring of muscle. Hermione whimpered. No matter how much preparation and lube they went through, there was always a stretching burn when Draco first entered her. It ached and stung, but it was so, so good.

He pushed her hands away from her bum, replacing them with his own, and Hermione gripped the sheets beside her head as Draco fucked into her. Short, sharp thrusts to start, slicking his cock with lube, stretching her body to take his full girth. When she eased enough to take him hard, he took her hard. Draco gripped her hips, his fingers digging into her flesh with such force that she knew she'd be bruised. He drove into her, bollocks swaying against her soaked cunt, hips slamming into her buttocks. Hermione tossed her head back and shrieked in delight.

She shoved back against him, grinding his cock deep. He loosed one hand from her hips and slipped it around to her front. Hermione pleaded with him, begging for his touch, and Draco obliged. He probed between her labia and found her clit. Hermione writhed, pinned between his hand and his cock, and she clawed at the bed as her orgasm rose. Draco thrust full into her and his hand left her buttock to slide up her back. He took a fistful of her hair and pulled, dragging a scream from Hermione. She convulsed, her temperature flaring as she came.

Draco growled in triumph, shoving deep into her arse as her body tightened and pulsed around him. When her orgasm faded, she could still feel him, thrusting hard, slamming into her. She scrabbled at the sheets and popped them loose from the bed, hauled them into her fists as she ground back against his hips. Draco's voice shifted, dropped into harsh grunts, and Hermione begged him to come. "Please," she demanded, dropping her head forward to make the pull in her hair stronger. "Please, Draco, please."

He twisted her hair in his fist and hauled back, wrenching her head up. He couldn't form words, only rough groans and panting, and Hermione spoke for him, yes yes yes yesyesyes until he stiffened with a wild shout and collapsed on her back.

---

Hermione grumbled as the alarm went off with a jangling screech. The bed was too crowded, too full, for her to reach the clock. "Can't move," she muttered. "Someone shut that thing up."

Thud. Crash. Clatter.

"Off." Draco's voice, thick with sleep, rumbled beside her ear. He wrapped his arm over her waist and snuggled in close, legs tangling in hers.

"You're supposed to hit the button, not shove the entire thing onto the floor." Pansy tugged the blanket up to her shoulders and nestled down into the pillows, her head tucked under Hermione's chin.

Draco linked hands with Pansy between Hermione's breasts. "Too much effort to find the button. Easier to push it over."

"Just as long as you didn't break it again," Hermione said. Secure and surrounded by her lovers, she felt warm and happy. Worn-out from fucking Draco the night before, but happy. She didn't want to move at all, much less get up and get ready for work, despite the pale light of dawn shining in on them.

"Magic." Draco nibbled on the curve of her ear. "Amazing what you can fix with magic. Even alarm clocks."

She hummed and tried to force her body to alertness. Shower, tea, breakfast. "Schedule."

A tinny voice came out of the air. "Hermione, work, nine to five. Draco, work, nine to three. Draco and Pansy, lunch, noon. Draco, practice, four to six. Hermione and Pansy, shopping, six to--."

"Oh, god." The voice cut off its recital at Hermione's interruption. Hermione shuddered and burrowed into Pansy's hair. "Can I cancel that one?"

Pansy laughed, sitting up and running her hands through her straight black bob. Hermione cracked her eyes open to watch. She adored seeing Pansy stretch and preen, lean limbs moving like the branches of a willow tree in the breeze. "No, you can't," Pansy said, caressing Hermione's cheek before rising to slip a lacy dressing gown around her slim body. She tied off the sash at her hip. "You need a new dress for my banquet, and I will have you in one if I have to tie you up and drag you to the shop."

"You know that's not a disincentive to her." Draco rolled over and groaned as the sunbeam cut across his face. Hermione hid a smile in the pillow. He'd never been good at mornings. "Tea," he muttered. "I need tea. Buckets of it. And toast. Make me some toast, Parks."

"Make it yourself, Malfoy. You know damn well that being the stay-at-home partner does not make me the domestic one," Pansy said, laughter in her voice. They'd been having the same argument every morning for years. Hermione thought she'd rather miss it if Draco didn't whinge and Pansy didn't scold as they clambered out of bed.

She stretched when there was room, her hips protesting the movement. Lifting the blanket, she peered down at herself. The marks of Draco's fingers rode purple and red on her skin. She sucked air over her teeth and reached for the table beside the bed. The drawer in it held the bottle of lube, Pansy's vibrator, and Draco's favorite miniature flogger, but no bruise paste. "Where's the bruise paste?" she asked, sitting up and eyeing Draco with her arms folded under her breasts.

He scratched his stomach and tightened the drawstring of the pyjama bottoms he'd pulled on. "Used the last of it last week," he reminded her. "It's on the shopping list."

Hermione made a face. She'd have to wear a loose skirt for work to keep the seams from rubbing. Fortunately, the chair in her office had thick padding and a permanent Cushioning Charm. Sitting would be otherwise awkward most of the day with her arse feeling as well-used as it did. She got up and headed for the shower as Pansy and Draco went downstairs. Neither of them were fool enough to fight her for the bathroom first thing in the morning. Combined, their hair didn't take as long to dry as hers did, even with charms to help it along.

"There's another bottle of that conditioner in there for you," Draco called over his shoulder, voice raised over the thumping sounds of two pairs of feet on the carpeted stairs. "I stopped by Pilar's yesterday."

Hermione blew a kiss of appreciation his direction before she shut the door behind her.

---

For all his insistence that someone else make him breakfast, Draco refused to allow Pansy or Hermione to have any say in the cooking. When Hermione came downstairs with the still-damp ends of her hair curling against her shoulders, he'd placed sausage, toast, eggs, and oats in the center of the table, with steaming cups of tea waiting at all three places. Hermione kissed his cheek and took her seat, immediately taking toast and marmalade to start. Pansy finished off her forkful of eggs and poured three spoons of sugar into her tea. Hermione faked a shudder.

"Hush," Pansy said with a grin. "I'm not the worst one for it."

"I know." Hermione gave a pointed look to Draco's waiting tea cup. He would put at least five spoons into his before he finished the first cup. Hermione was astonished that he had teeth left, sometimes.

He put a plate of fried tomatoes beside Hermione and sat down with a sigh of relief. "Not looking forward to practice tonight," he said, poking at his sausage. "Flint's little brat's been whinging for weeks about wanting to take over the Keeper slot since Macmillan's girl quit the team. I'm running out of excuses to put him in the position."

"Tell him that he's an obnoxious troll just like his father." Pansy pretended innocence as Hermione threw a glare at her for the remark. "What? He is. Have you not seen his eyebrow? Just the one, mind you."

"He's a child. He can't be that bad."

Draco snorted. "Right, let's go back in time to our first year and hear you say that again."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "You were different. You were that bad. Took me ages to get you whipped into shape, too."

"Thought he was the one who did the whipping." Pansy shrieked with laughter as Draco blushed. "I love it. Love it. You still turn pink? What the hell do you do when your mates ask you about your two girlfriends?"

"Curl up and die," Hermione answered for him. Draco opened his mouth to object, then shut it and nodded with a shrug. Hermione patted his hand and stole one of his sausages.

Pansy snickered and pushed her plate away to wrap both hands around her tea cup. "Right, then. We're going shopping tonight. You're getting a black dress, one that does not reach your knees, much less your ankles. I will let you have sleeves if you go for a low neckline."

Hermione shook her head. "No. I've already told you this. No low-cut dresses."

Pansy arched a brow. "Love, you have incredible tits. Show them off. Show everybody what they're missing out on because they're not Draco and me."

"I said no!" Hermione said, thumping her tea cup onto the table hard enough to make the dishes rattle. Draco and Pansy stared at her, wide-eyed with confusion.

"Granger." Draco reached for her hand and she pushed it away, locking her fingers together in her lap. He went still, then brushed his fingers up her arm to rest his hand against her shoulder. "Hermione, what's the matter?"

"I don't want people staring at me," Hermione said after a minute of quietly looking at her plate. "I get enough stares." Her throat tightened before she could speak any further and she ducked her head, hair falling forward to hide her face.

Two chairs scraped and two arms wrapped around her shoulders, one from either side. "Hermione," Draco said, his free hand resting on hers in her lap. "What's going on? You've never been concerned about looks before. You're one-third of the hero trio, for god's sake. Everyone looks at you."

"That's the point," she said, her eyes stinging with heat. She sniffed as Pansy took her other hand. "That's just the point. Everyone looks at me for the things that happened in the war, and then they start wondering what I'm doing with either of you, much less both, and then the whispers and the rumors start again, and then I have to put up with more staring because there's some stupid gossip column in the Prophet or Witch Weekly, and I'm tired of dealing with it. Look at that woman from last night. I hate the way people treat me, but I really hate the way they treat you."

She could sense them looking at each other over her head and she tried not to sniffle as their arms tightened around her. "It's all right, love," Pansy whispered, and Draco echoed her. They both squeezed her hands, both leaned their heads against hers. Hermione shook as a tear slipped free and dripped off her nose. They'd been dealing with this problem for years, and she'd never yet discovered an answer that would make it all go away. Having Draco and Pansy at her sides, having their arms around her and their love in her heart, was all that kept her going some days.

They stayed quiet and let her gather her control. When she raised her head, Pansy cupped her cheek. Hermione leaned into her hand and Pansy kissed her, slow and gentle, lips soft. They separated and Hermione turned to Draco. His kiss was firmer, deeper, and Hermione hummed with reluctance when he pulled free. "Let them stare," he said quietly. "And tell them all to go to hell."

---

Draco sipped his wine and leaned in close to Hermione as the third of six speakers got up to the podium. "I see Pansy talked you into the low-cut dress," he murmured, free hand settling across the back of her neck to toy with a few of the curls that had slipped free of her chignon. "Glad you went for it. You look amazing."

Hermione smiled and glanced at him from the corner of her eye. It had taken Pansy quite a bit of effort and promises, but once she'd seen herself in the three-way mirror in the dressing room, she'd been easy to convince. Pansy's sense for cut, color, and fabric was impeccable, and Hermione was sold as soon as she realized that she truly did look good in the dress. Pansy and Draco both had been speechless when she'd put it on that afternoon. "That's not the only thing she talked me into. Or out of, as the case may be." She pulled his hand from her neck and put it on her thigh, just below the hem of her dress. With an arch of her brows, she guided his fingers beneath the hem. Draco jumped, nearly dropping his wine, when the tips of his fingers touched soft curls rather than smooth knickers. He swore under his breath and set the glass down quickly, his hand shaking as he laid it flat on the table.

"I know you had knickers on when we left," he said, his voice lowered and his lips moving against her ear. "I checked."

"I did." Hermione spread her knees, wrapping her feet around the legs of the chair. The hem of her dress rode up her thighs. She brushed one finger past Draco's hand and slid the tip of it into her folds. She drew it out and touched Draco's lower lip. "But I think if you look in Pansy's coat pocket, you'll figure out where they went. She was rather persuasive, as usual. The woman does have a silver tongue."

Draco licked his lip and made a purring sound deep in his throat. "Now, who is that a gift for?" he asked, pressing his hand to her heated flesh. "That for Pansy, or for me?"

Hermione's head fell back as Draco pushed one finger in to find her clit. "Um. Th-think it's a gift for me." Applause rolled through the room as the speaker finished and Hermione took the opportunity of covering noise to give a small groan while the next speaker went up to the podium. She shifted in the chair, adjusting to give Draco a better angle for his fingers to move. She looked across the room to the table on the dais and gave a smile to Pansy. Pansy blew her a kiss and winked before returning her attention to the speaker.

Hermione returned her attention to Draco. He leaned in and nipped the side of her neck, then sat up straight, pretending to pay attention to the speech as his fingers rubbed at Hermione's clit. He pressed deep, slipping one finger into her and giving a few quick thrusts. Hermione clutched at the tablecloth and closed her eyes tight. "Y'know, I only expected to show off a little for you," she murmured, her teeth gritted. "I didn't plan for you to actually do -- fuck, right there."

Draco chuckled and repeated the quick circle on her clit that had made her gasp. "I'm not actually going to fuck right here, Granger. I'm not that much of an exhibitionist."

"Just a sadistic bastard, then." Hermione clawed the tablecloth, her water glass inching towards her fingers. She grabbed it and took a long swallow, hoping the chilled water would help to calm her rising temperature, but Draco plucked a cube from his own glass and held it up in front of her face. Hermione's eyes widened. "You wouldn't."

He laughed and sucked water off the ice cube, then kissed the side of her neck. Hermione gasped for air as Draco's cold mouth traveled up to the hollow beneath her ear. "I would, actually," he murmured. His voice was low, promising, with that deep rumble of arousal in it that made her want to agree to anything. "But not here. I expect you to bring several ice cubes to bed tonight, though. I have a few ideas that you might find...." His finger circled hard on her clit and Hermione groaned, her lips pressed together to keep the sound from escaping and giving them away. Draco grinned against her throat and finished his sentence. "Hot."

Hermione closed her eyes in surrender and let Draco's touch send her heart racing. She dropped one hand beneath the table and clung to his thigh, her nails digging in as he stroked her. By the time Pansy went up to the podium to give the ‘thank you and good night' speech, Hermione was struggling to breathe, her entire body trembling. "Draco, please," she whispered, dragging her nails up the length of his thigh to brush against his groin. His cock twitched under her fingers and he firmly moved her hand to rest on his knee. Hermione exhaled, almost sobbing. "Draco, please, let me.... I want-- I want--"

"Almost there, love," he told her. "Just a minute longer. Hold on." Pansy's speech reached its conclusion and the audience rose to applause. Draco bit the curve of Hermione's ear and ground his fingers on her clit. "Come."

---

Pansy stood beside Hermione, one arm around her waist, her eyes sparkling as guest after guest came up to congratulate her for the evening's success. Hermione smiled and nodded when she was spoken to, but her mind was drifting. Her orgasm had left her drained and red-faced, legs quivering so much that she needed to lean on Pansy to stand upright. She watched Draco approaching them, his head high and his lean body moving in long, relaxed strides. She almost hated him for looking so calm, without the roiling tension that still twisted around her spine and made her cunt pulse each time she moved. Almost.

Draco kissed Pansy's cheek and took Hermione's hand, linking their fingers. "I don't know about you," he said in a cheery tone, "but I've had a great time so far. By the way, Parks, excellent work on Hermione's wardrobe tonight. I thoroughly approve of what she's wearing." He licked the tips of his fingers and winked at Hermione. "And what she's not."

Hermione felt her skin heating with a blush. Pansy looked at them both with her eyes narrowed, then her head snapped up and she gave a little gasp. "You didn't."

"Right at the table. Afraid she missed your speech entirely." Draco nodded, grinning, and waggled his fingers at her as Hermione's blush deepened.

Pansy folded her arms under her breasts and pouted at Draco. "Unfair. I was planning on doing that to her later."

He laughed. "Nobody says that you can't. Especially our lovely witch here." He tugged Hermione close to his side and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "Do you?"

Hermione pretended to think about it. “Maybe." She looked at Pansy and licked her lips. "But other way around, I think. I was promised a reward for buying this dress, and I happen to know I'm not the only one who's missing her knickers." She smiled at Draco as Pansy laughed. "And I won't mind at all if you stare at us, love."

"What, what?" Draco clapped one hand to his chest and staggered, a look of utter shock on his face. "You'd let me watch? That's new."

Pansy smacked his shoulder. "We've let you watch before, you prat. You're not allowed to touch." She tapped her lower lip with one finger. "Actually, you're allowed to touch yourself. Hermione really does hit quite the high note when she has an orgasm watching you wank."

Draco snickered as Hermione blushed again. He tipped her chin up and gave her a slow kiss. Even with her eyes closed, Hermione saw the flash of a camera. She pulled away from Draco with a gulp, a photographer's crowing laugh beating on her ears. Beside the photographer stood a greasy-faced man with a notepad and quill. "That'll be the front page!" the man shouted. "Miss Granger, a few questions about your lovers!"

---

The office door creaked. Hermione rubbed her eyes and looked up from her reading. Draco shut the door behind him and dropped the day's paper in the center of her desk. "I really should learn to expect these things," he said, sprawling into the visitor's chair and plucking a quill from the holder to toy with the feather. "I am dating a Gryffindor, after all."

Hermione bit her lip and gingerly drew the paper towards her, flipping to the society gossip column. The photo below the fold showed her with her hair falling out of its chignon, her eyes narrowed, and her wand out. "Go To Hell Granger," she read. "Sex and hexes in Hermione's harem." She threw the paper on the floor and buried her face in her hands. "Dammit, Draco."

He shrugged and dragged the feathers of the quill down his pointed nose. "We would have stopped you, but neither Pansy nor myself is fool enough to get in the way of a Gryffindor waving a wand." He brushed one of the small, faded scars along his jawline and raised a brow. "Learned that lesson when I was sixteen."

Hermione pressed two fingers to each temple and stared at him for a few moments, then a smile twitched at the corners of his mouth and she huffed. Slumping back in her chair, she shook her head in resignation. "Plus it gets Pansy hot when I get defensive and protective."

"Plus it gets Pansy hot," Draco agreed with a laugh. "You two nearly burst my eardrums last night with all the screaming. Silencing spells, Granger, I know you know them."

She rolled her eyes and ran her fingers through her fringe. The jokes were making her feel slightly better, and she decided to worry about damage control later. "Did you have anything else or did you just want to harrass me about my Gryffindor tendencies?"

"I always want to do that." Draco lifted his hips and dug in his back pocket. He tossed a folded parchment in front of her. "New proposal for you," he said as she opened it to read. "After due consideration, I've decided that photographers and journalists should be examined by the Ministry and recategorized as dangerous creatures, XXXXX classification."

Hermione raised her brows. The definition of that classification floated into her head and she laughed uproariously. "Impossible to train or domesticate. Mister Malfoy, this proposal is ridiculous." She grabbed a wooden stamp from her drawer and pounded 'approved' across the top of the parchment. Grinning, she slipped around the desk and slid into Draco's lap. "I told you I don't refuse all of them, Malfoy. As I said, I'm willing to work with you. Or under you."

He squeezed her thigh and kissed the side of her neck. "With me now. Under me tomorrow. Pansy won the toss-up for your free night. Something about you modeling new lingerie for her. And for me, if I'm very, very good."

Hermione laughed and took his hand, sliding it to the inside of her knee. She nipped his ear and whispered to him. "It's entirely possible that the lingerie I'm intended to model includes no knickers at all. Why don't you check? I might just scream the building down for you." She wriggled her arse on his lap. "If you're very, very good."