That was the one word bouncing throughout the young blonde's mind like a tennis ball going back and forth over the net as she read the note once, twice-now five times over, almost as if she hoped the offensive words would rearrange themselves into the message she wanted. Yet no matter how many times she scanned over the words, the message remained the same.
Please don't hate me-though I have a good feeling you're already plotting my death as we speak (or this case you read)
You bet your ass, you fucking prat! She scowled.
But the mission has spun out of our control and Kingsley just received word that a group of rogue Unspeakables are hiding in southern Germany, in an area that's popular for underground business. He needs me and my team to continue our stake-out for another week. Maybe even two.
Her blood pressure was already rising at one week. She started seeing red at two, especially when she thought of Marissa Clearwater, the floozy tight-skirted skank Kingsley added to Harry's team who did little to hide her more-than-inappropriate feelings for her superior. Nisa was sure the bitch was thrilled to hear she and Harry would be spending more time together on their "stake-out".
I know what you're thinking. It's Valentine's Day and I promised you I would come home. Now with this extended stake-out, I won't be able to. Before you get carried away-if you haven't already that is-keep in mind I didn't accept the mission thinking I could get out of our plans.
By plans he meant the dinner reservations she made at their favorite Italian restaurant weeks ago. She informed him of what they were doing at the time she made them, emphasizing that she reserved a table for two on Valentine's Day. She told him again when she received confirmation from the restaurant, and then right before he left for the mission almost two weeks ago. Saying it not once, not twice, but eight times total during the walk from the kitchen to the fireplace in the living room.
"Alright, alright, alright!" Harry snapped, fastening the buttons to his robes. "I got it. Valentine's day, table for two, seven o'clock sharp."
"Apologies, Potter," she remarked. "Figured I remind you since that head of yours is one big, black hole."
"Well, I heard you the first four times, thanks."
"My sincerest apologies, Potter," She placed a hand against her chest, taking a step back. Harry shook his head, focusing on clasping each button. "You better run along then. I'd hate to keep you away from your wife."
"Nisa," He turned over to her, eyes hard, his hands balling into fists. "Enough! I told you a thousand times already. It's not like that. You make it seem like I march into Kingsley's office and beg him to put me on every mission that falls into his lap. Which for the thousand-and-one time I don't."
She folded her arms against her chest, a suspicious left brow raised high. "Really? I find that so hard to believe, Potter, considering the fact you always love showing off what a grand, noble hero you are. Even in school."
He scowled at her. "This coming from Hogwarts' infamous drama queen who couldn't stand sharing the spotlight with anyone else other than herself and her ego."
Both brows raised, eyes sharp and slit, she stared down at him. "I'm sorry. Are you trying to say something?"
"Say it!" she snapped. "I want to hear what you have to say, Potter!"
"Not-hing, Malfoy!" he emphasized, his annoyance leaking through the words. Sighing angrily, Harry shook his head as if he couldn't be bothered, a gesture that hurt her more than she would have liked. "Forget it. I have work."
"Then leave!" The ice in her voice could have frozen an entire army of death-eaters at the spot.
She spun around on her heel and marched to the kitchen, armed with a plan to stuff her face with Nutella-coated pickles, then finish off the last ounce of brownie ice-cream in the freezer. Within five steps, a hand grasped her wrist, halting her dramatic exit.
"I'm sorry." Harry said.
Nisa bit her lip, feeling bits of her frustration melt away as he stroked her skin with his thumb, but still didn't look at him. Even when he took a step closer to her and cupped her cheek with his hand, turning her head over to him. She focused her gaze on the cherry wood floor beneath their feet.
"I didn't mean to snap at you." He stroked her cheek and-damn it-she'd be lying to herself if she said the familiar touch didn't tame at least some of her anger.
"You're my wife, Nisa," He stroked her cheek again. "And I love you."
She still didn't look at him.
"I love you," Harry repeated. He crouched down and ran his hands over the small, three-and-a-half-month baby bump protruding from her stomach. He pressed a soft kiss against it. "I love both of you."
He pressed another kiss against the baby bump, then got to his feet to kiss her on the lips.
Pride kept her from responding to the kiss, even though she melted from the softness of his lips. It kept her from saying goodbye to him even when he kissed her again, frozen in place, arms crossed over her chest, watching him disappear in the green flames and smoke.
Pride and frustration and even shame were swirling inside her like a martini as she remembered their less than speculator departure, along with the two letters she received since then. One saying he arrived at his location in one piece, another of him expressing his boredom for the mission that was more taxing than he thought it would be, visiting the same place everyday and seeing no signs of danger. Both short and to the point, lacking any sign of affection or even emotion, coming off as cool. Almost cold.
She took a sip of her lukewarm tea, grimacing at the excess use of milk her assistant put in, then continued reading her note.
I promise I'll make it up to you. I'll make reservations at the restaurant. I'll treat you to a week's vacation to any place you wanna go and not even blink at the innumerable shopping bags you bring to the hotel room. I won't even complain if you drag me along for your shopping escapade and decide to make me your personal mannequin.
A sound that was a cross between a snort and a giggle slipped from her lips as she pictured Harry trailing behind her, arms filled with a mountain of Prada bags and Chanel dresses. She read on.
Whatever it is-whatever whim you decide is justified- I'll do it. I'm really sorry, Nisa. I know how much you were looking forward to Valentine's Day. I promise, though, I'll make it up to you.
P.S give the little guy a kiss for me and tell him that Daddy loves him.
She dropped the letter onto her desk that was littered with pictures of houses, sketches of the redesigned homes, and notes on alterations, then turned her attention to the white owl perched patiently on her window frame. It stared at her with what looked like pity.
Nisa wondered if she looked that crushed and pathetic to gain pity from an owl.
"If I replied with a backhand slap to the head for your owner, would you personally deliver it for me?"
The owl blinked its large eyes, staring at her blankly as if she spoken Pig-Latin.
Like owner, like pet. Rolling her bluish-gray eyes, Nisa grabbed a fresh piece of parchment and a quill, dripping it in black ink.
I'll be holding you to that promise, Potter. I expect groveling when you come back, along with two weeks of Harry-time with no fire-call or letter from the Ministry, and at least a dozen shopping trips around Paris with you as my shopping buddy and male mannequin.
Nisa signed the note with her name, then after thinking about it for a second or two marked it with a kiss from her own lips, satisfied with the rose-pink lip-stamp. She rolled up the note and tied it to the bird's ankle, watching it leap out the window and fly away.
She leaned into her chair, watching the owl until it was gone from sight. Her eyes flipped over to her desk, eyeing the sketches that still needed to be looked over at, the post-its marked with notes on certain changes, and her appointment book that was flipped open to today's date, filled with the remaining clients she had yet to meet that were eager to see the lay-outs for their dream-homes. Her eyes landed on the framed pictures that were pushed to the left corner.
The first two were small ones. One was of her and Harry taken at the Ministry's masquerade ball, faces concealed with masks. Another was of them on a lazy Sunday afternoon lounging on the couch, her dressed in one of his Weasley sweaters, hair tied in a sloppy bun, pushing away a smirking Harry who was trying to kiss her. The larger one behind the pictures of them taken at their wedding, having their first dance together as man and wife. She was a vision in white in her Lazaro princess ball gown and Harry her special Prince Charming in his black suit.
Nisa watched the newly-weds sway and move together, gazing deeply into each other's eyes that were filled with such love her heart ached.
It was hard to believe that it was only a few months ago they had gotten married. It seemed like it was just yesterday, starting off so horribly with disasters coming at her left and right, but ending as the perfect fairytale she always dreamt about. Then the fairytale continued on when her new husband swept her off her feet and carried her away to their honeymoon.
She bit her lip, shivering with a small smile, as she remembered how Harry stripped her of her dress and ravished her not only well into the night, but for the first two weeks of their month-long trip, practically keeping her chained to the bed.
She gotten a reenactment of that honeymoon-ravishing when she announced to him over dinner she was pregnant. Harry scooped her up into his arms and carried her straight to the bedroom, laying her flat on the bed, using most of the night to show his excitement of becoming a father.
The small, nostalgic smile fell off her as she remembered how the fairytale ended. As soon as they came back from their honeymoon, reality sank in. Looking back, she suppose she shouldn't have been surprised by that. Eventually the honeymoon stage must end. She just didn't expect it to happen so soon. It started out in small ways with owls coming from the Ministry during the weekends, requesting Harry's presence. Satisfied clients from her interior-design business needing alternations done for one house, then ideas for a vacation home. Then Harry heading back to the office after his shift ended because his boss or a partner needed him, and her meeting with the friends of her clients who were impressed by her work and wanted to see if she could make their dream home a reality. Next thing she knew, lunch dates were being canceled, owls were coming to the house or her office to drop off notes informing her he would be late for dinner, and Harry was spending more time in his office than their own home. Whenever he came home, she was already fast-asleep. Whenever she woke up, he was long gone.
She also couldn't help noticing how with the distance between them widening, their affection towards one another cooled with that distance, becoming very chilly. During the early days of their relationship they could barely keep their hands off each other. That passion only deepened after their engagement, and given how wild they were during their honeymoon she was sure that was how life would be like.
Then they came home. Within a week, Harry was called into Kingsley's office and an hour later had to leave for a mission in Russia. Then days later he was called away for another mission. And another and another, coming back so late and leaving too soon. Their bed was getting colder. They went from making love three to four times a day to now once or twice a week if they weren't too tired or irritated. Affectionate touches and caresses were halted and knocked away with annoyed swaps of the hand or the cold shoulder. Kisses started to fall onto cheeks or the head instead of the lips, light and absent-minded.
She knew Harry wasn't deliberately avoiding her, and was aware that the complications that came with his job weren't anything new. She had to deal with them when they first started going out, but now the complications seem to have worsened, given the long hours Harry spent at the Ministry, and how he sometimes came back from the missions with bruises.
The last one sent him right to St. Mungo's, straight into the ER with a severe concussion, his left leg twisted and broken in several places, and two bruised ribs. She couldn't remember feeling so terrified when she sped over to the hospital, seeing her husband lying on a gurney, so still and pale. Then that fear exploding into fury when she learned he had taken a hit that was meant for one of his partners, putting his life on the line without a second thought. Suffice to say, despite the healer's wishes, Harry didn't spend the night taking it easy. He spent it arguing-screaming actually-with her over his stupid stunt, him defending his actions and her calling him every horrible name in the book, inserting "You goddamn idiot!" every ten seconds.
A slight fluttering in her lower region brought her back to the present. Nisa placed her hand against the bump, picturing their baby placing their hand at the spot she was touching.
"I was really hoping that your Daddy would come back sooner," she whispered. "I guess it's just the two of us."
It was Valentine's Day for Merlin's sake. Didn't those stupid rogue idiots or dark wizards or whoever the hell the Aurors were chasing know it was a day reserved for love. More importantly a time for couples to ignite their former spark. That was what she was hoping for. That was her plan. She would meet Harry at the restaurant in a dazzling dress that would show off her newfound pregnancy curves, Harry would be stunned into silence, and they would have a nice candle-lit dinner, and then for dessert rediscover their spark.
"Mrs. Malfoy-Potter? Mrs. Malfoy-Potter?"
Nisa blinked her eyes, then looked over to her front. Her assistant, Clara, stood in front of her, wearing a hesitant smile that grew more awkward when she saw she had her boss' attention, gawkily shuffling her feet.
"What is it?" she demanded.
Clara handed over a clipboard she had tucked in her arm that was stacked with over several sheets of parchment. "Mrs. Santgio owled ten minutes ago. She said she would love to have an extra room added to the master suite. Like a study or an entertainment room. Apparently she needs her me-time."
Of course she does, Nisa thought with an annoyed eye-roll. She also thought adding an extra room to every suite in the south wing would be amazing for guests. She also thought having a walk-in closet in the bathroom instead of the bedroom was a splendid idea. She also thought having an extra game-room for her darling grandchildren would be the bee's knees, even though Nisa already had her team build several playrooms for them.
As difficult as she could be, the woman was her first and best client, so Nisa held a lot of respect for her. She was also a darling elderly woman even if she could be eccentric sometimes-well, actually a good seventy-five percent of the time. Actually, the word eccentric almost seemed too soft. Nisa typically got several owled-notes a day from the woman on ideas or changes for the latest house she was doing for her.
"She also said that she'll be stopping by in an hour to see how the house in Vermont is coming along."
Lovely. First the letter from Harry, now this. It was like the fate decided they needed someone to torment on this day of love and figured she'd be the perfect victim.
"Anything else?" Nisa already regretted asking the question as it slipped out her lips.
Clara confirmed her regret, handing her another awkward smile, toying with the owl charm of her necklace. "She also may have, might have hinted that she's bringing along a few friends who are interested in renovating their homes. And maybe building new ones."
Friends who would be just as picky on the details and expect renovations to fall into their lips like Mrs. Santgio.
"And then you have another meeting with Mr. Garcia. He's interested in having a villa by the beach in Verona. A birthday gift for his father. Then after that, there are a few more clients who want to meet with you."
"Um…seven, give or take."
Lovely. And to think Pansy thought being an interior designer was a breeze. If she had to deal with half of her clients, scramble through the notes and ideas stuffed in her thick binders, and go through the last-minute changes clients desperately needed to be added in, it wouldn't be seen as such a breeze after all.
Pressing her fingers against her aching temple, wishing she could take aspirin to relieve the pain, Nisa replied "Tell Mrs. Santgio she has an hour and only an hour to talk. And do inform her that today's the absolute last day to pass along any changes she wants for the house. Since his father is close to retirement, suggest to Mr. Garcia that a villa in Hawaii would be better. More relaxing. Inform the remaining lot if they're even a minute late to their appointments, I won't see them and they can expect to be charged a five hundred dollar late fee. And fetch me another cup of tea-I've been drinking an icicle."
"Right away, ma'am." Clara nodded.
"Don't call me that." She felt an ancient grandmother whatever the girl stammered the title. For Merlin' sake, she was only twenty-three.
"Yes, ma'am. I mean sir-no!" Clara winced. "I mean-"
"Go!" Nisa ordered.
Squeaking, the girl nodded and speeded off. Nisa rolled her eyes as she watched her go. If the girl wasn't quick on her feet and proven to be quite reliable, she would have been let go ages ago.
However, as Nisa took another unfortunate sip of the poorly-done tea, she realized there was still room for improvement. A lot of room.
"And for Merlin's sake, don't drown my tea in so much milk!"
The meetings were just as she expected: excruciatingly painful and long. She was never so happy to see the last client leave her office, closing her binder and leaning back into her chair with a huff. A quick glance at the clock showed she had plenty of time to make it to the restaurant. After all she did make the reservations; it would be a shame for them to go to waste. And her stomach was growling. But as hungry as she was, as much as she loved the place, she wasn't in the mood to be surrounded by love-dovey couples that were bound to pack the restaurant and be reminded of the fact she was alone.
She stopped by a local pizza parlor that was a block away from her office, figuring it would be the perfect spot. She realized her mistake a good ten minutes in when she was seated in a booth that was in between two couples. One too busy staring into each other's eyes to notice the plates of spaghetti the waiter left at their table. The other in the same position, but their stare-off was interrupted by the sparkling gem gleaming in their bread basket.
"Oh my god!" the girl squealed. She picked up the ring and stared at it in wonder. Judging by the shape and shine, Nisa guess it was a two-carat diamond. "It's beautiful."
"I love you, babe," Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she looked up from the ring to her boyfriend grinning across the table, his eyes wet. "And I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Heart-pounding, she lowered the book then felt her heart leap to her throat as Harry slowly got down on one knee and took her hand.
"Nisa," he said. "I'm no prince."
A sound emerged from her mouth that sounded like a snort, a giggle, and a sob rolled into one.
"I'm no prince," he continued. "I can't dance to save my life. I don't always know the right thing to do or say. But I will fight for you. I will slay any dragons that would dare make you cry or make you feel anything less than the amazing woman I know you are. I will gladly play the fool and joggle-or attempt to joggle-if it would bring a smile to your beautiful face. And I will love you unconditionally and eternally as any prince would their princess."
She pressed her hand against her mouth to hold in her sob, but the sucker still managed to escape.
"So, Draconisa Lyra Malfoy, will you marry me?"
Harry opened the box, revealing a simple but flawless princess-cut engagement ring she was proud to see was five-carats.
Oh dear Merlin.
Oh dear Merlin.
Oh dear great Merlin.
"You…you…" Why the hell was it so hard for her to get the words out? "You goddamn sappy Gryffindor."
Harry grinned. "And you my dear, cute Slytherin."
"I am not cute," she half-heartedly protested. "And that had to be the cheesiest proposal I ever heard."
The grin on his face remained, unfazed. "So is that a yes?"
With a sob and giggle erupting from her mouth, she leaped onto the boy, knocking him onto the ground and covering his face with a thousand kisses, chanting yes, yes, yes you goddamn idiot, I'm stunned you even had to ask.
Against her wishes, a smile curled her clips, reminiscing of that night. How long and deep the kisses were, leading to rough, deep love-making on the bookstore's floor. If it weren't for the timing, she would have been sure that was the night they conceived their little prince.
Then her smile shattered as she realized how long it had been since they've been together. Since they had that type of fire. Even the kiss they shared-well, what Harry initiated and she refused to partake in-before he left was too light to be considered a kiss. It wasn't even good enough to be counted as a peck.
"Is there anything else you need, madam?"
Other than her husband? Even if it was just to share a meaty-supreme pizza with her. She was tempted to ask, but knew her waiter couldn't deliver that to her. "Another large pizza with extra pepperoni. And a strawberry shake." She and the baby were craving something sweet.
Two hours later, stomach stuffed with pizza and repeated orders of shakes, Nisa left for home, mind juggling with the lists she needed to revise and the people she needed to call. She juggled with wrangling her keys out of her coat pocket while holding binders and folders filled with to the brim with notes, a heavy workbag strapped to her shoulder, and her purse. She was cursing the stupid house-elves for not answering the door.
You think sensing the wards go down would clue them in, she thought. Muttering under her breath, she rolled her eyes and pushed the door open with her shoulder. She dropped her bags and papers onto the floor, kicked off her black satin pumps, and slipped off her jacket, holding it out for Kreacher to collect. Only the house-elf didn't come for her jacket. Actually, none of the house-elves came to greet her at the door.
Where the hell were they?
Nisa walked further into the house, stepped into the living room where a big, caramel-colored teddy bear sat on the couch, a red bow tied around its' neck, holding a small red box in its hands.
"What the…" She took slow steps towards the bear, as if it was a rabid dog about to bite her any second. She ran a hesitant hand against its face, marveling at its soft fur before picking up the box, opening it slowly.
Inside laid the beautiful emerald and diamond tennis bracelet that caught her eye during their last visit to New York City, and then broke her heart when the saleswoman informed her that it was out of stock. It was even more beautiful than she remembered.
Nisa lowered the bracelet and looked at the bear, surprised by the light, almost childlike voice that came from his lips.
"Kitchen." It repeated.
After fastening the bracelet onto her wrist, Nisa followed the instruction, stopping short at the surprise that greeted her.
Baskets upon baskets overflowing with chocolate-covered strawberries and her favorite truffles took over the kitchen table, the sweet aroma setting off her stomach and reminding her there was still room for dessert. She plucked a strawberry from the basket, moaning at the taste of fresh fruit and her favorite Bulgarian chocolate that went too perfectly together.
Harry may have soured her afternoon with his letter and set back her plans, but he was slowly gaining back husband points with the gifts.
She was about to finish off her third strawberry when she heard the word. She looked up, seeing the head of a black teddy bear popping out of the chocolates and strawberries, looking at her with deep green eyes that were too familiar.
It couldn't be. There was no way-
Feeling a smile spread across her face, Nisa ran up the stairs. Placed in front of the bedroom door was another teddy bear wearing the same red bow-tie, this time with creamy-white and had the same green eyes as the previous one, head covered with wild black hair, holding a single red rose in its paws.
"Come inside." It said, its voice a tad deeper compared to the other two bears and easily recognizable.
Nisa picked up the bear and leaned down, inhaling the sweet perfume of the flower and the familiar scent made up of tart and cinnamon and pine that clung onto the bear's skin. There was only one person she knew who was associated with that scent.
She pressed her hand against the door, pushing it forward. Within two steps in, she paused, the stuffed animal slipping from her fingers, taking in a sharp breath as if she was punched.
The room she was standing in now didn't look at all like the room she left this morning. Dozens of small, white candles lit the room, glowing from the nightstands, the dresser, the fireplace mantel, and the window-frame. Crimson-red rose petals practically flooded the room, sprinkled all over their bed, scattered on the floor that made up a trail leading to the bathroom.
She quickly found out what was at the other side of the rose-trail when Harry slowly emerged from the bathroom, black hair maintaining its usual bird's nest state, vivid emerald-green eyes glowing in the candlelight.
A grin that could be seen as maddening turned her lips. A grin that morphed into a fit of giggles when she took in what he was wearing.
White boxers stamped with thousands of red and pink hearts, a gag gift she got him last Valentine's day.
Only Harry, she mused.
Dozens of question were hanging on the tip of her tongue. When did he get back? How long has he been back? How did he plan this? How-
Harry cut her off. Not with words but with music. Soft, beautiful music that filled the air with a snap of his fingers. Tears pricked her eyes as she recognized the melody.
Heart beasts fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow
It was the song they played when she walked down the aisle. Granted it was the instrumental version, but the music still touched her nevertheless. Especially with Harry singing to her, looking at her the way he did when she did her bridal march. Like she was the most beautiful being in the world and he was in awe by the fact he had the privilege to be near her.
One step closer
The tears she was trying to hold in broke free from their prison, spilling down her cheeks. It had been too long since he looked at her like that.
I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid I have loved you
Harry took slow steps towards her, his eyes never breaking away from hers, reaching out for her hand and holding it tight.
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more.
"And a thousand more after that," he whispered to her.
Nisa was too choked up with tears to speak.
The music in the room changed. The new melody was just as soft as the previous one but had an acoustic feel to it given by the soft twinge of the guitar.
When your legs don't work like they used to before
And I can't sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
He tugged her closer to him, smiling at her tears. Harry gently pulled at the pins securing her ballerina bun, setting her platinum-blonde hair free from its' restrictions and letting it tumble down her shoulders.
And, darling, I will be loving you 'til we're 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me-I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
Harry twirled her around before dipping her slow, causing giggles to flutter from her lips.
So, honey, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I'm thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
When Harry brought her back up, he pulled her to him, pressing her back against her chest. Nisa shivered at the smooth, hard muscle and the soft, wonderfully-bare skin. She wanted to trace and mark that skin with her fingers and mouth, but Harry held her firmly, arms wrapped around her, hands lovingly stroking her sides and her baby bump.
When my hair's all but gone and my memory fades,
And the crowds don't remember my name
When my hands don't play the strings the same way (mmm…)
I know you will love me the same
'Cause, honey, your soul could never grow old, it's evergreen
And, baby, your smile's forever in my mind and memory
I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it's all part of a plan
Well, I'll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping you'll understand
The music changed once more to a different tune. Harry's voice dropping to a low whisper. He twirled her away from him and reeled her back in, this time setting them face to face. She entwined her arms around his neck. He settled on hand on her hip, the other on her back, drawing lazy figure-eights and causing goose-bumps to break across her skin.
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
She bit her lip in a fruitless attempt to control herself, but it went in vain. Her makeup was being ruined by the flood of tears streaming down her face. Her smile was so big, her face was hurting. Each time she tried to speak, more giggles mixed with tears came out of her.
Because Harry was here, actually here with her. Because of what he did for her. Because of what he had on. Because of…so many reasons, all of which came back to him.
And when you smile
Harry took his hand that was resting on her hip to cup her cheek, brushing his fingers against her lips.
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause girl, you're amazing
Just the way you are
She leaned down and pressed her forehead against his; inhaling his sweet scent she missed so much.
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
Nisa tried to unscramble her thoughts, to put them into words, but the only thing she could do was try to suppress the tears. Touched by the gesture and annoyed with herself for being such a weeping mess, she dropped her head onto Harry's shoulder.
"How is it possible you get more and more cheesy as the years go by?" When in doubt, taunt.
She could tell a grin was turning his lips by the way his arms tightened around her and the soft kiss he placed against the nape of her neck. "Maybe I'm just a fool in love."
"Well, you have the fool part right," she commented. Her eyes may have been leaking tears, but that didn't stop her from rolling them. "Sappy Gryffindor."
Harry pressed another kiss against her neck. "Adorably cute Slytherin."
"I am not cute." She swapped his arm.
"You're right, you're not cute," he said. His lips stamped another kiss on her neck, then another. "You're amazing," he practically-sang.
Rolling her eyes again, Nisa was ready to call him a sappy Gryffindor again. The remark slide off her tongue, coming out as a breathless sigh as Harry leaned in closer, placing more kisses against her skin. Still soft as the formers ones, but this new set of kisses held a purpose behind them, driven by slow but pulse-throbbing precise movements that made her body abuzz with awareness. Awareness that trembled into need as she heard the buttons of her white blouse being undone, the cool air brushing against her bare skin.
"You're also gorgeous." Harry's lips traveled down her neck, then leaped onto her chest, following the path his teasing fingers were drawing against her skin, leaving a burning trail in its wake that sent heat to her core. He kissed each inch of newly-exposed skin, making her knees turn to jelly.
"Stunning." A long, drawn-out breathless moan slipped from her lips as Harry toyed with her bra-covered nipple, kissing the sensitive bud that immediately hardened from his touch, sending a flare of heat so intense her panties were dampening. He kissed and stroked it, then moved onto the other nipple, delivering the same treatment to it while still caring for the other one, rolling it in between his fingers as he kissed and nibbled the new one.
She gripped onto his head, needing him to keep her steady. "Harry."
"Wildly hot." He murmured against her skin, undoing the last button. Breathing heavily, Nisa shrugged the blouse fall off her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor. She bit her lip, moaning, as she heard the zipper of her skirt being pulled down.
"Insanely sexy." Her skirt soon joined her blouse, pooled around her ankles. It was a black pleated skirt that was one of her favorites and made of fine material that required the upmost care. Yet she couldn't bring herself to care, given the special attention her husband was treating her to.
"Harry." she moaned. Heat simmered inside her body like a potion's cauldron, building and stirring, as she felt two firm hands pressing against her flushed skin, caressing and groping her ass-cheeks. "Oh my god."
"Utterly and unbelievably beautiful." Harry softly kissed her left upper-thigh, then the right, smiling up at her.
Grabbing him by his hair, Nisa pulled Harry onto his feet, into her. The heat that was stirring in her body from his light caresses and teasing exploded to blazing wildfire as their lips came together in a desperate, passionate kiss. The fire was so smoldering, so intense, and she loved every second of it. She gave herself into the fire, wrapping her legs around his waist, allowing herself to be burnt with his searing touches and kisses.
It was like they were back in school again, racing each other for golden snitch, trying to come out on top in dueling matches, viciously competing for the upper-hand. The kisses that were exchanged between them were fiery and so hard, it was almost violent. Their lips slid over each other, clashing with a teasingly angry and fluid motion, igniting sparks that stirred in the pit of her stomach. Harry increased the tactics of his attack by unclasping her bra and letting the offensive garment join the rest of her discarded clothes, diving right into her chest. Moans, sighs, and mewls tumbled from her lips as he kissed, licked, and played with her, doing sinfully-wonderful things to her nipples that have always been tender but grew more sensitive since she gotten pregnant. A side effect she disliked but with Harry's mouth sucking away at them, his tongue flicking the sensitive bud teasingly, she loved it.
Nisa was so lost in the overwhelming sensations, as if she were heavily intoxicated without having a drop of liquor, she had no clue Harry was taking her somewhere. The thought didn't occur to her until she was spread out across the bed and Harry chained her wrists to it with black velvet handcuffs.
"So it's going to be that kind of night, Potter?" she teased.
Harry smirked down at her, his deep eyes sparkling mischievously. "You complaining, Malfoy?" He leaned in and bit down on her neck. Not hard enough to hurt her, but packed with enough force to leave a mark. More than enough to excite her.
"N-n…no," she moaned, trembling as his lips moved an inch lower, right at her sensitive spot, and bit down, soothing the bite with his tongue. She whimpered, arching her body closer to him. "Not at all."
"Good," he purred. He pulled back from her and Nisa cried out from the lack of contact until she saw the look in his eyes that roared of pure hunger. "I want to make you scream."
Oh Merlin. She didn't think it was possible but her nipples hardened even more. She already knew her panties were a goner; they were completely drenched. She tried crossing her legs to wade through the feeling, but Harry slipped his hand up her thigh, playing with the band of her underwear, making needy and sharp breaths huff from her chest. "Do it. Do it!" she begged.
Harry entangled his fingers in her hair and yanked hard as he delivered a bruising kiss to her lips. Nisa cried out in both pain and pleasure from the sensation, the volume of her cries increasing as he added tongue into the mix and tugged harder at her hair. She cried out more as his lips traveled lower and lower, dropping kisses here and there.
"Harry." she purred, shutting her eyes tight. Her hands squirmed in the handcuffs, wanting to touch him. "Oh Merlin."
"Look at me, love."
Panting, Nisa cracked one eye open. Her heart rumbled painfully in her chest, body quivering, as she took in the sight of Harry settled between her legs, spreading them wide.
When Harry saw he had her full attention, he grinned wolfishly before he latched onto the soaked undergarment with his teeth, pulling them down her legs and tossing them aside.
If that wasn't hot enough to turn her on more, she didn't know what else could top that. She quickly found the error in her thinking as Harry leaned down back, teasing her with ghost brushes of his fingers and lips, never really touching her, making her cry out for full-contact.
"You're so sexy, Nisa," he whispered, his warm breath brushing against her skin. "So sexy. So beautiful. So wet."
The last word came out as a growl, humming in approval as he took in her damp state and leaned in. He sealed his lips against her throbbing, wet center, pressing his teeth against the skin, biting down hard as he thrust his tongue inside her.
A desperate, wordless scream bellowed from Nisa's mouth as she arched her body towards his hot mouth, her hips thrusting wildly, hands trying to free themselves from the bounds of her cuffs. Dear Merlin, she needed to touch something. Her aching breasts to create more friction; Harry so he could come closer to her. Actually, forget touching. She needed to hold onto something. Anything to help anchor her through the glorious torture her husband was subjecting her to. Her hands curled themselves into tight fists, pulling hard at her cuffs, as Harry licked a hot trail down her clit before entering her once more, biting harder and thrusting deeper. Impossibly, incredibly deeper.
"Shit!" she howled, not giving a damn how unladylike she sounded. Who in the name of Merlin could remain so cool, so sane, being at the mercy of Harry's glorious torture and the sensations his torture were bringing out. They were growing, spreading and unfurling, building at tremendous pressure that was growing too much for her. It was coming from every corner, closing in on her.
"Harry, oh…." Dear Merlin, she was drowning. She was drowning in a vast sea of fire. "Harry!" she screamed as she came, a firestorm bursting out of her in an explosion of white.
Harry sucked and licked every bit of that explosion, not letting a single drop go to waste. "Mmm," he moaned, looking up at her, his eyes as teasing as his smile. "Delicious."
Body suffering from the aftershocks of the intense orgasm, Nisa weakly nodded. She felt her mind, her heart, everything that was basically insignificant melt into a puddle as Harry crawled his way back up and kissed her again. It was a deep, almost-lazy kiss but stirred flames that licked the pit of her stomach. Harry's lips were already a sinful delicacy on their own, but add the sweet temptation his lips already delivered while being coated with her unique taste? To say that it was addicting would be a vast understatement.
And she wanted more. She needed more.
Nisa pulled away from the kiss and stared down at the boxers he had on, the only barrier keeping bare skin apart. "Take them off."
Harry smirked down at her, dropping a soft kiss at the corner of her mouth, then another right at the center. "I thought you liked them. That is the reason you bought them in the first place, isn't it?"
Cheeky bastard. "I love them," she said. "I especially love them when they're on the floor."
Pulling another smirk, Harry complied her wish, sliding the boxers down his legs.
Dear Merlin. Nisa's heart flew right to her throat.
He was so big. She bit her lip, legs squirming, toes curling as she took in the size. So big, so thick. And hard. Impossibly so, that his dick was practically sticking out from his thighs.
"Like what you see?" Harry teased.
Nisa looked him directly in the eye and tugged at the handcuffs. "Get these off me," she demanded. "Now!"
The cuffs disappeared with a wave of his hand. Harry barely got a word out before Nisa pounced on him, wrapping her legs around his torso and sliding herself in, impaling her with his cock. She clutched onto his shoulders, breathing heavily as heat surrounded her.
"Oh…fuck." She whimpered.
"Shit." Harry murmured, his voice tight.
She could tell by the tension stiffening his body, the tight hold he had on her waist, he wanted to move. He wanted to follow through with his plans of making her scream, but held himself back for her sake, giving her time to adjust. Nisa took in deep breaths to get reacquainted with the feeling of being full. Once she did, she gave a small push that was answered back with a slow, deep push that made fire flare and lick her skin. She gave another push, more firm, and received one just as strong.
Back and forth they went, pushing and pulling, growing bolder and falling into a rhythm that soon filled the room with sounds of heavy kisses, fleeting touches and pounding flesh, jagged intakes of breath and moans.
A sharp, drawn-out gasp bellowed from her lips as Harry found that blessed sweet spot, causing her to claw thick lines down his back with her nails.
"There!" she screamed. "Harryrightthere!"
Harry growled into her ear, thrusting furiously into her, making sure to hit that spot with each push and pull.
"Yes, yes, yes!" she chanted, throwing her head back. Harry tugged at her hair as he thrust deeper inside. "Harder! Fast-oh…faster!"
"Merlin, Nisa! You're so tight!" Tugging harder at her hair, Harry pushed her down till she was hanging off the bed, bending her back while slamming into her again and again.
"Yes, yes, yes-oh…oh...Harry. I'm gonna…I'm gonna…" Nisa cut herself off as her world exploded in blazing white heat.
"Fuck-Merlin…fuck…Nisa!" Harry howled as he thrust into her once more and released himself inside of her, his body trembling.
They collapsed onto the bed, a mess of tangled and boneless limbs. Harry collected her into his arms, pulling her close to him. Nisa rewarded him with a kiss to his chest, nestling against the smooth skin.
They spent a few minutes trying to catch their breath, recovering from their orgasm-high. Nisa drew lazy figure-eights on his chest. Harry combed her hair with his fingers.
"I hope you realize that I'm still holding you accountable for canceling our dinner plans, which I expect you to make up for."
She could feel Harry rolling his eyes as he snorted. Unfazed, she continued on.
"I'm also still holding your promise of taking me shopping. I was thinking Paris."
She shivered as Harry ran a hand against her side, stroking the skin of her hipbone.
"Let me guess. You want me to be your escort for your shopping marathon?" he said.
"Of course," she snorted. "Who else is going to carry the bags?" She looked up at him pointedly. "I want to hear zero complaints when we go shopping for you. You're going to try out all the clothes I picked out and do so with a smile."
Harry groaned, and even though Nisa knew he was teasing she still swatted his arm. Harry accepted the abuse, holding her tightly and pecking her head.
"And," she said. "I expect two whole weeks of Harry-time." She draped an arm around him. "With zero calls or letters from the Ministry."
Chuckling, Harry dropped another kiss on her head. "I don't think you have to worry about anymore interruption from the Ministry."
Nisa lifted her head up to look at him questioningly. Harry kissed her forehead and jerked his head towards the document lying on the dresser. Nisa crawled over, reaching for it.
The first thing she saw on the document was the Hogwarts' seal. Instead it being a letter of admission to the school, it was a job application for a position as a instructor for Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"I've been doing some thinking," Nisa tore her eyes away from the application to Harry, who was propping himself up on his elbows. "The reason I became an Auror in the first place is, well, because I was used to the job. Fighting against the dark wizards, trying to save the day. Also because I wanted to protect the ones I love." He stroked her cheek with one hand, while the other cupped her baby bump.
Nisa arched into his hand.
"And during my stay at the hospital, after the doctors told me my diagnoses, and you exhausted yourself from screaming at me," Nisa glared at him half-heartedly. Harry smiled at her and lifted the corner of her mouth with his fingers. "I did some thinking. Long thinking, actually. I became an Auror because of the familiarity. Because I wanted to keep the world safe. Because I wanted to keep you and our baby safe. Then I realized me getting so caught up in the job, taking action without really thinking things through, is putting those I love at risk."
Tears stung her eyes as an image came to her mind. Harry lying so pale and still, looking just as he did when Hagrid carried his motionless body back to Hogwarts after Voldemort supposedly finished him off. She was just as terrified in the hospital as she was then.
"I had a long talk with Kingsley. I told him that this would be my last mission before I hung up my Auror robes. He was puzzled and disappointed. He said I was on my way on becoming Head Auror. Thought that I was making a mistake," Harry shrugged. "I simply told him that I had something else more worthwhile."
He brushed her lips with his thumb, then used it to gently wipe away the hot, plump tears that rolled down her cheeks.
"You gave up your job? For me?" she whispered.
Harry smiled at her. "For us," he corrected, stroking their unborn child resting inside her.
What the hell could one say after hearing that? Her husband gave up a job he loved just for her, choosing one that was more lenient and far less dangerous. There was no words to describe the thoughts running through her mind, so Nisa expressed herself in a different way, unleashing a storm of kisses. Each one more joyous, much deeper than the last.
"You-you-you…" She couldn't find the right words.
"Me." Harry echoed with a playful smile.
Nisa swatted him for his cheekiness and pulled him into another kiss, one that was thorough and unhurried, done as if they had all the time in the world. The remaining parts of her that hadn't been burnt in the fire from their lovemaking completely melted at the sparks that flew from his lips to hers, connecting them together. At the familiar, artful strokes of his tongue that tasted and teased her.
Moaning, Nisa slid her hands to his neck, securing them firmly and bringing him closer to her even though they were already close enough as two people could be.
Harry slowly detached his lips from hers but didn't completely pull away. He looked deep into her eyes, almost as if he was seeing her for the first time.
"I'm sorry." he whispered.
She frowned at him questioningly. With a gentle, almost-regretful smile Harry elaborated. "I'm sorry that I've been so distant. That I let work take over my life and come between us. Most of all that I let you think it was more important to me than you. That couldn't be any more further from the truth."
As much as his impulsiveness irritated her, along with his Hero-complex that called on him to save every poor soul that crossed his path, she knew she also played a part in their estrangement. "I didn't make things any easier," she confessed. She shrugged, chuckling lightly. "One of the perks of being pregnant: having all those lovely, bloody hormones."
"Not to mention the perks of having a Slytherin wife. It definitely never gets dull." Harry tried and failed to suppress his chuckle, accepting the swat Nisa tapped on his arm.
"You chose to marry a Slytherin, Potter," she reminded. "Don't forget."
"How could I? It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life," he said, and then after a second corrected himself. "I take that back. Marrying you was the second-best decision I ever made."
"What was the first?"
Harry gave Nisa her favorite smile, the one the touched his eyes, lighting them up, before they touched his lips. The beautiful smile that never failed to make her stomach swoon and her toes curl. "Walking into the bookshop after a month of watching you and using every ounce of Gryffindor courage I had to ask you out on a date."
"Go out with me," he had said. Not once, but three times, easily dodging through the two rejections, making it clear he wouldn't let her be until he got the answer he wanted.
At the time Nisa was so sure that she was walking into a trap. In their seven-long year rivalry, there were only a handful of times she actually thought they had a moment. When she first met him on the train, seeing him as the adorable boy that fascinated her at the robes' shop and then later recognizing who he was, wanting him more than anything she ever wanted in her life. Potter broke her heart, dismissing her, claiming Weasley was better company. The time in fourth year, after the disastrous Yule ball, when they crossed paths and he looked at her not with hatred or irritation but with a look that made her hold her breath. Then sixth year, disarming her in the bathroom before shoving her against the wall, holding her tightly. It was during their struggle for control that they took notice of their position, of how close they were to each other, how their bodies molded perfectly into each other. She, with a sharp pang that shook her heart, realized this. So did he. She could tell by the way his eyes looked deeply into hers before they dropped to her lips as he slowly leaned in. She was so sure that time her wish would come true. The unattainable wish of him looking at her the way she dreamt, which she wanted to dismiss as a silly fantasy but always held onto with desperation of a child. She was so sure it would actually happen. Until he pulled away from her with a jolt, like he had woken up from a dream, and then walked away from her without a second glance.
When he approached years later at the bookshop, asking her out on a date, she was sure fate was just toying with her like it usually did. The first time he asked, she thought she was dreaming. Or that her hearing was temporarily off. The second time he asked, she dismissed him, sure that it was just a joke. The third time, though, she saw that look. The look she had a taste of back in sixth year that haunted her dreams, the look she fantasied about receiving from him. The look that made her silence her doubts and accepted his invitation.
At the time she was sure she walked into a trap, one that was bound to leave her heartbroken. Now? She was never more glad for accepting his offer, just as she was glad that Harry refused to back down.
"Accepting your date would have the best decision I ever made," Nisa said. "Right after helping you update your horrendous wardrobe from rags to actual clothes."
"You're hilarious, Malfoy." he drily remarked.
"Thank you." she accepted the comment with a smirk.
"Not to mention ridiculous," He catch her hand that was ready to strike him, bringing it to his lips and softly kissing it. "It's one of the reasons why I love you so much."
She couldn't suppress the smile that flourished on her face. She tried laying her head back down on his chest to cover her face, but Harry was having none of that, placing his finger under her chin and titling her head up.
"I love you, Nisa." he whispered.
"I love you, too, Harry." she whispered.
"Happy Valentine's day."
She kissed him softly before laying her head back down on his chest, sighing in contentment as Harry enveloped her in his arms and spelled the blanket to come up to their chests, feeling warmer than she had in weeks thanks to the person holding her tight.
Happy Valentine's Day indeed.