After a night of tossing and turning, Hermione encountered two sleeping witches on the couch in the exact same sitting area she had left them the previous evening. Hermione smiled when she saw the two Black sisters holding hands while seemingly having spent the night in the most uncomfortable position ever imaginable. She quickly shuffled to the kitchen as quietly as possible to make them all a nice cup of tea to start the day. After a moment’s hesitation she grabbed some toast as well and the leftover egg salad she had made the other day. When she arrived moments later and put the tray down, the soft thud woke Narcissa who blinked lazily at the brunette who was busy frowning at the tray as if it had insulted her.
‘Good morning darling,’ the witch purred but her sleepy expression quickly turned into a pained one when she tried to get up and discovered the nasty crick in her neck.
‘That’s what you get for falling asleep on the couch,’ Hermione said and the sound of her voice made Andromeda stir, ‘is she still angry with me?’
‘She was not angry with you, Hermione. I think she was angry with herself.’
Hermione nervously wrung her hands, ‘did you talk about me yesterday?’
‘We did and Andy will discuss what happened with you later today. She just needed some time. Now how about some tea?’
Narcissa smiled warmly at Hermione who finally relaxed a little bit. The older woman couldn’t help but notice the dark circles underneath the Gryffindor’s eyes and pitied the girl. She hoisted herself up and grunted at the discovery of more sore muscles and joints.
‘Ouch, I’m getting too old for sleepovers like this. Would you mind terribly giving my neck a rub, darling?’
Hermione ignored the fluttery feeling in her stomach and reminded herself that Narcissa only called her darling because she needed a favour. The brunette nodded and tried not to faint at the sight of the pregnant witch pulling her overly large sweater lower baring her shoulders in the process. Narcissa moaned loudly the moment Hermione started kneading the tense muscles underneath her hands.
‘Honestly, you two should just shag and be done with it,’ Andy’s voice suddenly sounded from the couch causing both witches to jump.
‘No Andy, I’m afraid Hermione was right. I made her uncomfortable with my innuendos and it was wrong of me. So don’t be afraid,’ Narcissa said while glancing at Hermione over her shoulder, ‘I won’t bother you again.’
Hermione nodded but couldn’t help but notice the disappointment that settled in the pit of her stomach. She watched as the blonde witch rose from her seat and announced that her baby felt like a bludger hitting her bladder before disappearing through the nearest door, leaving Hermione alone with Andy.
‘Are you still angry with me?’ Hermione asked with a timid voice and Andromeda immediately stood up from the couch as well.
‘No love, absolutely not. They always say to not shoot the messenger and that’s exactly what I did.’
Andy enveloped Hermione in a hug and felt the younger witch melt into it, ‘I often get so absorbed in my research that I don’t think twice about the consequences it has for other people. I’m sorry for being rather tactless Andy. It must have been so hard for you to hear that your sister….’ Hermione couldn’t finish her sentence out of fear of hurting Andy again but the older woman merely sighed.
‘That my deranged sister might have been in need of help? But that I chose to hate her for her actions instead? That wasn’t easy to hear, no, but it’s the truth Hermione. And I’ll find a way to deal with that.’
Before Hermione could reply, Narcissa had returned to the room with Draco in her wake. When the wizard was offered to join them for breakfast, he glanced at his wristwatch and frowned but his mother wasn’t having any of it.
‘Don’t give me that look, young man! Either you join us for breakfast or you don’t.’
‘Just call it lunch instead?’ Draco drawled, ‘because that’s what it is at this time of the day.’
Hermione snorted and summoned another cup of tea that Draco barely caught in time before it smashed against his head. He squinted at Hermione before sitting himself down and cleared his throat.
‘I just wanted to inform you that I have sued the Daily Prophet for the slander they wrote about you mother.’
Narcissa sighed, ‘oh dear, I’m afraid Ms Granger beat you to the punch Draco. Her fierce article in the Quibbler made the Wizarding Community, and with them the Prophet, change their views about me.’
Draco squared his jaw, ‘I know. I read it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let Skeeter get away with insulting my mother and my baby sister.’
Hermione noticed the loving gaze that slipped across Narcissa’s face as she listened to Draco proclaiming his love for his unborn sibling. The brunette couldn’t help but stare at those azure eyes that were often perceived as cold, but showed so many emotions if you cared to look. She let her eyes trail over Narcissa’s cheekbones and her plump lips and nearly choked on her tea as she noticed how the blonde’s breasts had gotten more voluminous as well. Merlin’s beard was she even supposed to see things like that? She hadn’t exactly looked before? Right?
‘You were miles away,’ Andy said with a grin, ‘I wonder what you were thinking about seeing as you were staring at Cissy’s –‘
‘Right!’ Hermione interrupted the middle Black sister, ‘I just remembered I had an important meeting at St. Mungo’s.’
‘I’m not aware of any meeting,’ the President of the Board of Director’s countered, pointedly ignoring Hermione’s pleading eyes.
‘Yes… well… your presence isn’t required!’ Hermione practically shrieked before disapparating on the spot.
Draco shook his head, ‘brilliant or not, she’ll always be a little weird in my opinion. Now then Andromeda, shall we go?’
‘When are you going to start calling me aunty?’
The blonde wizard rolled his eyes and Narcissa looked confused, ‘where are you two going?’
‘Draco agreed to babysit Teddy for a while and I took some time off from work… you know… to process things.’
Narcissa smiled at her sister, ‘of course Andy, take your time. I’d offer to babysit him too, but I don’t think I can keep up with a five-year old little wizard in my current condition.’
‘Oh, you definitely wouldn’t. His magic often goes as haywire as yours. Last week he managed to transform the rubber duck in the tub into a real one by accident. By the time I had caught the beast, the entire bathroom was soaked while he was screeching about the soap that had gotten into his eyes.’
Draco groaned, ‘wonderful.’
The sleeping Gryffindor grumbled something unintelligible, but Narcissa wasn’t going to let that deter her and she shook the young witch harder.
‘Hermione, wake up!’
Hermione managed to open one eye and groaned. It was pitch black outside so it was either still very late or very early. She had once again been tossing and turning before finally succumbing to a restless sleep, but this time it wasn’t because she was stressing about Andy. No, this time she couldn’t stop wondering why she had been so disappointed about Narcissa losing interest in her.
‘What is it?’
‘I crave pickles.’
The brunette closed her eyes again, ‘marvellous. Enjoy.’
‘No,’ Narcissa whined as she shook Hermione again, ‘I crave pickles but we have none!’
‘I’ll buy pickles tomorrow! Go to sleep Narcissa.’
‘I’m your employer! You should do as I say.’
Hermione turned on her side and opened both eyes now so she could glare at the blonde, ‘only if it’s within reason. Fetching you pickles in the middle of the night is NOT within reason.’
‘But I’m pregnant,’ Narcissa said with a pout and Hermione could feel her resolve crumbling.
‘You’re taking advantage of my sleep muddled brain. I can’t think properly right now!’
‘That means you’ll find me some pickles?’
‘Yes!’ Hermione said exasperated as she threw the blankets aside, ‘anything to get you to leave me alone so I can sleep again.’
The pregnant witch squealed in delight, a sound Hermione had never expected to hear from her and kissed Hermione firmly on the cheek. The younger witch flushed scarlet, grateful that they were standing in a pitch-black room and desperately tried to ignore the feel of Narcissa’s body against hers only separated by two very thin nightdresses. Now, where could she find some pickles?
Hermione smacked her own head with her ledger. She had been in her office at St. Mungo’s for three hours now but hadn’t managed to write down more than two sentences for her thoughts continued to drift off to a certain blonde witch. She could still hear Narcissa’s moans reverberate through her mind. Honestly, pickles couldn’t taste that good?
Despite her initial discomfort about Narcissa’s innuendos, she had quickly discovered that she missed the woman wrapping herself around her shoulders and whispering filthy suggestions in her ear. Hermione silently berated herself. How in Merlin’s beard could she be more turned on by the thought of sleeping with Narcissa when the woman wasn’t trying to seduce her into her bed anymore?
She almost jumped in her chair when one of the Directors of St. Mungo’s barged into her office. They had all been ecstatic when she told them about her discovery earlier today during a meeting. The fact that she’d changed directions with her research and wasn’t closer to solving the initial problem had been instantly forgotten. Hermione smiled at the wizard who began to inform her about the next step in the research. They had decided to ask the three best Healers of St. Mungo’s to perform the magical blood dialysis on Hermione to see if her hypothesis held any truth.
Hermione wasn’t really listening. She knew Andy would tell her again in a less condescending way, but she had to keep her investors happy so she suffered through his monologue while trying desperately not to think about Narcissa’s bare shoulders. Or the press of the woman’s breasts against her back when she’d hugged her out of gratitude for those pickles. Or the times she accidentally moaned at something. Merlin’s beard, she had it bad.
When she arrived at the Manor several hours later than expected thanks to two other members of the board harassing Hermione with ideas to boast their own egos, she felt stressed and tense and antsy. The fact that Narcissa greeted her, barely dressed in a tanktop and shorts and holding her jar of pickles was not helping!
‘There you are! I was wondering if I’d scared you away, but I’m trying very hard to behave!’
‘You didn’t scare me away,’ Hermione said after having counted to ten to regain her composure, ‘I just had a very busy day at work.’
Narcissa tilted her head to one side and bit her lip while Hermione cursed her for being so ridiculously adorable, ‘you know what? I’ll trade you a massage. You give me another foot rub and I’ll do your neck.’
Hermione felt herself nod before she realized what she’d just agreed to but Narcissa’s blinding smile more than made up for it. That was until the blonde asked Hermione to take off her robes. The Gryffindor witch felt every ounce of bravery leave her body like water through a colander.
‘Take your robes and your sweater off, darling. How else am I supposed to reach your neck properly?’
It took Hermione all of her self-restraint to not slap Narcissa’s hands away when the woman reached out to help her undress. The younger witch felt so confused. Narcissa was behaving! She hadn’t said anything inappropriate anymore, hadn’t been following Hermione around the Manor anymore and yet, the brunette wished for nothing more than Narcissa to want her again. Now that the pregnant woman was just being polite to her, Hermione almost couldn’t bear it.
‘Salazar’s snake, your neck feels like it’s been hit with a Petrificus Totalus!’ Narcissa exclaimed the moment her pale fingers wrapped themselves around Hermione’s tendons.
‘It’s often like that,’ Hermione admitted but her voice sounded hoarse, ‘when I’m stressed, it always twists my muscles into knots.’
The blonde hummed and started kneading, ‘perhaps I should order one for you as well. It looks like you might need it.’
Hermione’s nose crinkled in confusion, ‘order me what?’
‘A sex toy.’
With a strangled shriek Hermione leapt from the chair and turned towards Narcissa, ‘what? Why would you think I need that?’
The blonde merely shrugged, ‘to alleviate the tensions in your body? I was thinking of buying one for myself because I can’t seem to get my hormones to calm down. Using a vibration spell has never really worked for me but I hear muggles are rather inventive with toys. Shall we take a look together?’
Hermione blinked and blinked again before turning on her heels and marching upstairs, ignoring Narcissa’s confused questions as to where she was going and whether she had forgotten about her foot rub. She just couldn’t deal with this she thought to herself as she opened the shower and turned the tap towards the cold side. As the freezing droplets cascaded down Hermione’s body, the witch shivered but it wasn’t from the cold.
Slowly she felt her hands move on their own accord, trailing a path down her body starting from her neck and caressing their way to her stomach. She cupped her own breasts, desperately trying not to envision Narcissa doing it and slipped a finger between her legs. But after a few minutes of teasing and even a few minutes of frustrated rubbing, Hermione had to admit defeat. Her body wanted sex, but her mind didn’t allow her to take care of her needs herself.
Hermione’s head fell backwards and landed against the tiles with a thud, her frustrated cry echoing through the bathroom. She didn’t want Narcissa to buy a toy she realized, just as much as she didn’t want the woman to stop lusting after her. Because for the first time in her life, Hermione had felt wanted. Desired. And she couldn’t even care that those desires might have been hormone induced for she felt enormously attracted to the youngest Black sister.
Suddenly Hermione made up her mind. It would just be another business agreement. Narcissa would be relieved from her aroused state and Hermione would finally experience what it felt like to share the bed with someone she fancied. No offence to her previous bed partners of course, but they had been male and Hermione suspected that the cause of her disappointing sex life had something to do with that. Plus it would allow her to relax a little during these stressful times. She nodded to herself, yes, it was a flawless plan.
‘There you are,’ Narcissa said when Hermione re-emerged into the sitting area, ‘I was contemplating reporting you as missing.’
‘I’ll do it.’
The blonde stopped flicking through her magazine and looked up, ‘do what?’
‘I’ll sleep with you.’