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Standing a Chance

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Narcissa woke slowly, internally knowing it was still rather early in the morning. She had time to lay here while she woke up all the way before she had to get up and get ready for the list of meetings she had today. All the running would be worth it come the weekend when they had two beautiful weeks off to lounge on the Riviera at her favorite of the Rosier beach houses to celebrate their anniversary. It had hardly felt like a year had passed since that first date under the fireworks, but passed it had.

“I don’t understand how you wake up this early naturally,” Pansy grumped from Narcissa’s left, snuggling in tighter to her side and valiantly trying to go back to sleep.

“And yet you’re the one speaking to me, not the reverse,” Narcissa teased quietly.

“Breathing changed, woke me up, it’s not because I want to be. Get Granger if you want the morning person.”

Narcissa kissed Pansy on the crown of her head and smiled. It didn’t help that they’d been up later than they should have been once again. It was just so very hard to control herself once she saw her loves in her bed, ready and waiting for her. She had to have them at least once before drifting off to sleep. Usually more than once. Perhaps with an encore. It was certainly good that she had two loves, she thought, as insatiable as she was proving to be with them.

“Morning,” Hermione said from her other side.

“Good morning, darling,” Narcissa greeted, turning to accept the kiss Hermione offered.

“Mmm,” the younger witch yawned. “I can’t believe you keep keeping us up on work nights.”

“Can you truly not, darling, really, after all this time?” Narcissa teased.

Hermione slapped at her arm playfully. “You know exactly what I mean Narcissa Black.”

“I don’t exactly hear you complaining in the moment. In fact, we’ve woken up with enough time that I could hear you not complain again.”

“You’re incorrigible.”

“And you two talking is not helping me get what little sleep left I have the chance to get,” Pansy grumbled. “How’s that for not complaining.”

“And yet last night--” Narcissa said before Pansy cut her off.

“I’m awake at night naturally anyway. If I didn’t live with the two of you I wouldn’t go to bed until one in the morning anyway, but at least I would have peace and quiet until the alarm went off.”

Hermione leaned over Narcissa so she could kiss down Pansy’s neck and arm. “Such a grumpy Slytherin. Were it not for Narcissa I would think you’re all like this.”

Pansy’s arm shot out and pulled Hermione down on top of Narcissa, pinning her there. There was no real force behind the gesture, the woman could move if she wanted, but well, Narcissa had no issue with her not moving and she was sure Hermione felt much the same.

“You technically could go back to Parkinson Manor, darling, if you really need your beauty sleep that much. Goodness knows there wasn’t a formal move in agreement or anything.” 

There really hadn’t been, but it had been weeks since the last time either of her loves had slept anywhere else but her bed and even before that, her closet, massive as it was thankfully, had been filling with clothing that was certainly not hers. She was subtly getting rid of Hermione’s more hideous things and replacing them with similar, but more stylish pieces with Pansy’s help as a side effect. Hermione didn’t pay attention enough to her clothes to know the difference, such was the selective focus on other more important things such as work, politics, and books. She didn’t think the woman’s lease had ended either, but well, her cat was wandering the Manor somewhere too, and if that wasn’t an indication that she was here permanently, move in conversation or no, she didn’t know what was. Such things suited her just fine.

“You won’t be getting rid of me even if you had an industrial grade de-sticking potion. I’m here to stay and you damn well know it, you bloody morning gremlins.” Pansy huffed.

Hermione laughed and pushed herself up. “I’ll go put on the tea. I think that will rouse her enough that she isn’t so grumpy.”

“Wonderful idea, darling.” Narcissa stretched, feeling Pansy’s body rub at her own with the motion and shivering in delight. “I think I’ll take a shower while you assemble that.”

“Shower?” Pansy asked, sitting up right almost instantly.

“Or that might perk her up,” Hermione laughed as she walked out of the room.

“And you both say I’m the insatiable one,” Narcissa said, pushing herself up slowly, luxuriating in the time to slowly get ready, to come into herself for another day, and to be stared at by Pansy as the sheet slipped off of her chest, revealing her body rather handily. 

“Oh shut up,” Pansy said, rolling her eyes. “It’s all of us, sure, but most egregiously you. I’m sure Hermione could put together some fancy report on it with tables and everything if she wanted to. I would certainly help.” 

“I’m sure you would, darling.” She pushed herself up and out of bed, Pansy right behind her, still talking, all thoughts of grumpiness left behind as her eyes were on Narcissa’s ass. She never had been able to be grumpy when staring at Narcissa’s ass.

She turned on the shower, a huge modern thing that she’d gotten as part of making her manor the oasis she’d wanted it to be after the divorce. There was also a tub that was fortunately big enough to hold all of them. She thanked her past self for buying one so large instead of a more regularly sized one.

Steam filled the room quickly and she stepped in, Pansy right behind, plastering herself against Narcissa’s wet back, soaking up both the warmth of her and the water. Narcissa laughed, the sound bouncing off marble walls and making it seem even bigger than it was.

“One would think you’re a cat as much as you like being warm, Miss Parkinson.”

There was a spark in her mind, something that she was trying valiantly not to think about in Narcissa’s presence but was only serving the opposite purpose. Narcissa wasn’t even trying to poke, Pansy just had her shields in their normal arrangement, where Narcissa was allowed inside them, up to a point, and still she could hear everything clearly. She must truly be excited. Now the question was, did she ask about it, or did she try and figure out just what was happening for herself.

That much, at least, was an obvious answer. She would figure it out for herself. It always was more satisfying that way after all. And she had the distinct impression that Pansy would not tell her even if she did do the uncharacteristic thing and ask right out.

“I just like being pressed against my girlfriend’s tight body, and who doesn’t love a hot shower?”

“Dermatologists, according to Hermione.” What that was, she was still rather unclear on. Why was there a doctor just for skin, surely it wasn’t that complicated. Muggle medicine truly mystified her.

“Well they certainly aren’t right.” Pansy detached herself from Narcissa and grabbed Narcissa’s bottle of honey-lavender shampoo. She poured a bit onto her hands and started to work it through Narcissa’s hair, nails scraping pleasantly along her scalp and then down until all of her hair was thoroughly soaped. She pushed Narcissa under the spray again and then rinsed her hair until it was clean. 

Narcissa hummed and opened her eyes. Such things she hadn’t ever demanded of the woman. Pansy just enjoyed cleaning her hair for her, enjoyed working her conditioner through as well, which was what she was reaching for then, loved washing the rest of Narcissa too, though usually with a stop to eat Narcissa out if they had time. This morning with Hermione waiting on them with tea, however, that pleasure would probably be delayed until later. She worked the conditioner into the ends and then up, twirling Narcissa’s hair to rest on her head as the conditioner soaked in for a few minutes, before tending to herself. 

As much as Pansy liked to wash Narcissa, she only let the favor be returned on special occasions, usually when she was in the tub with Hermione and Narcissa only. Narcissa didn’t mind. The show of watching her get clean was its own reward to touching. Pansy would come right into her arms after she was done, after all. She would be fine with anything as long as Pansy came back into her arms at the end of it.

Her own ablutions done, Pansy pulled Narcissa back under the spray again, rinsing out the conditioner and then scrubbing her body, washing away all the sweat and wetness from the night before with ease. When she was completely clean, Pansy stood straight and stepped into Narcissa, just as she always had at the end of this ritual, just as she always would. Narcissa kissed her gently, holding her like the precious thing she was. She loved this woman, truly, madly, and deeply, as she had since that first night together, but even more with the intervening year of time spent together, of memories made, of thoughts and promises for a future.

Narcissa shut off the water just as Hermione walked in holding a steaming mug of tea. “I do hope you’ve left me with some hot water.”

She shook her head. A running joke, come around yet again. Magical water tanks never ran out of hot water. What was the point of magic if you couldn’t have unlimited hot water, after all.

“Maybe I’ll charm it cold just to hear that adorable squeal,” she said instead, handing Pansy her towel before grabbing her own, patting her hair dry before moving on to the rest of her body, intently aware of twin stares on the more interesting parts of her anatomy.

“That would be mean,” Hermione finally said as Narcissa stood up. “And you aren’t ever mean to me.” She sent Narcissa an innocent smile.

“She still has to work on her manipulation, don’t you think?” Pansy asked, standing on her tiptoes so she could put her chin on Narcissa’s shoulder. “That was just blatantly obvious. She’s going to have to do better if she ever expects such things to work on us.”

Hermione rolled her eyes at Pansy, but couldn’t quite take the fondness out of the gesture. “Who says I was trying to be manipulative. I was just stating facts. Five orgasms in a night is not mean.”

“You did have to beg for three of them,” Pansy said, raising her eyebrows, “some people might think that’s a bit mean.”

“I’m not some people, I’m Hermione Granger and a woman who loves Narcissa very, very much.”

Narcissa grabbed her robe off the back of the door where it was hanging. She left Hermione and Pansy to their light-hearted squabbling and found the tea service that Hermione had floated in, fixing herself a cup of tea and setting down at her vanity to drink it slowly. The sound of the shower turning on and the edge of a very distant moan came from the bathroom before she was even a quarter through. So she’d had another few minutes alone then, Pansy and Hermione’s play fighting turning into play fucking as it did a decent amount of the time. She smiled at the thought with all consuming affection.

But now that she was alone again, sipping her tea in the quiet, she did have to wonder about just what Pansy had been trying so hard not to think about. It had certainly been something good, something she would want, she was sure, but what could that be? She already had most everything she had asked for in life. She had two women she truly loved, who she was with for no other reason than she wanted to be, Draco had finally moved in with two people he loved of his own, and she would bet that a wedding would happen before the year was out. Ginny Weasley was not a patient person, and now that she’d moved in with both of her men, well, Narcissa almost felt bad for how much she was going to run right over them, less Draco than Harry of course, but still. With that woman he was a bit slower on the uptake than normal. She was happy. Her son was happy. Her loves were happy. What more could a woman truly want?

Hermione and Pansy appeared a few minutes later, fresh and clean and more flushed than they should be from just a normal shower. “I do not want to hear about my keeping you up at night if you fuck in the shower first thing, darlings.”

Pansy stuck out her tongue. “Some of us can’t stop by the Ministry as easily for an afternoon delight so the morning is the only time before we’re all home in the evening.”

Narcissa looked at the woman steadily. “As if I do not show up to Witch Weekly on occasion as well?”

“You know what I mean.” Pansy gestured to Hermione. “She won’t leave her desk between the hours of nine and five. You might show up later, but she certainly won’t, goody two shoes little Gryffindor.”

Narcissa laughed as Hermione sputtered. “You just said Narcissa fucks me at work, that isn’t exactly what a goody two shoes would do!”

Pansy just stared at Hermione much in the same way that Narcissa stared at her only a moment before. “Uh huh. Sure, Granger, sure.”

And here was that little zing of excitement again, just as strong, but no more explicable. She did her best not to react, to seem as if she hadn’t heard anything at all. If Pansy knew she’d sensed something, she would bury any physical traces of it elsewhere and she would certainly need those to figure it out. But for now, she drank the last of her tea and sighed, reaching for her wand. For now there was a day to get ready for and meetings to attend, and of course a very special lunch with Pansy to make time for now that the woman had so very much asked for it. There would be time for poking around in the lag between when her final meeting was and when Pansy would return home. She would have perhaps an hour before Hermione appeared and an hour and a half before Pansy. Tuesdays weren’t nearly as busy as Mondays for her, but there was still certainly bleedover. That would be a perfect time.

Except. It wasn’t really. She hadn’t managed to find anything at all out of the ordinary around their home. Pansy had thought ahead enough to not leave a trace at home. Short of poking into things that she certainly should get her hands into, like personal correspondence and finances, there was nothing else to check. She huffed out a breath and sat down on their bed. She had to admire Pansy for the plotting, really, but at the same time, well, she was very curious.

“Narcissa?” Hermione called from the foyer.

She pushed herself up and walked to the stairs. “Upstairs, darling. I was just getting a start on packing.” Goodness knew that with Hermione’s penchant for undetectable extension charms on every bag and piece of luggage they owned, she could just take everything she owned, quite literally, but that seemed like an overabundance, even for her usual self. 

Hermione’s excitement filled her mind, thinking about something she’d just done and how it was tied to their anniversary vacation, but blurring the best bits. Oh Merlin, now Hermione too? How in the world was she going to get through this week if both of them were obviously plotting something, but not letting her unravel their plots. It was just patently unfair.

“Oh, I should get on that as well. There are so many books I want to read!” And there was an image of a hollowed out book with two distinct place holders inside, square, not that large, really. Not enough to get her a clue, just enough to tease.

Hermione smiled up at her one last time, before banishing her work robes and then darting towards the library. Narcissa shook her head. She should have expected that the moment she said pack. The Rosier beach home had a small library, but nothing like Black Manor itself. She planned on keeping Hermione mostly occupied with both the beach, touring town, and fucking, but even she knew that if given half a moment Hermione could blow through the books that were there in the two weeks they were staying. Actually, if they lasted two weeks she’d be surprised. Which is why she’d told Hermione to pack a few from their own library, which of course led to this. She wouldn’t see Hermione again until dinner, she was sure.

Well, she supposed she could get started on the meal in the meantime. Something simple would have to do. They were running low on supplies, but sending for an owl order right before a vacation made no sense at all. Even with magical preservation spells, things left too long under them didn’t spoil, of course, but they just began to taste oddly. She settled for mushroom risotto and settled in to cook. Both Pansy and Hermione had been rather amazed that she loved to cook, especially for loved ones. It hadn’t been a skill she’d been trained in, of course, that was what house elves had been for when she was younger, but striking out on her own, she’d found the practice soothing. Magic to clean up the messes most definitely helped as well. 

“Smells wonderful,” Pansy said, popping into existence right outside the door. Adding her loves into the wards of the manor had been one of the smallest things in terms of scope, but one of the ones that made her happiest. Being able to apparate in and out as they pleased? A simple joy. “What is it?”

“Mushroom risotto,” she said, scooping up a bit of rice on her spoon and tasting it. Yes, it was done now, perfect. “You have good timing. Fetch Hermione from the library, if you would.”

Pansy leaned back out of the kitchen doorway and bellowed, “Hermione, dinner’s ready!” with her voice magically amplified so no matter what corner of the space she’d gotten into, Hermione would hear it.

Narcissa just looked at Pansy with a rather deadpan expression. “One might never know that you were raised in a noble house.”

“Oh please, I think we both know I can speak with all the wit and charm of our station when I want to. I just don’t want to.” She flounced over, wand pulling out plates and cutlery and setting the kitchen table. Unless Draco and his loves were oven she saw no need to use the dining room, not anymore. That was far too stuffy and proper for a weeknight meal with her darlings. Some traditions truly should be left in the past.

Hermione appeared a moment later, bright eyed and still as excited as she’d been when she disappeared into the books. There was a flash of a book on a shelf that she didn’t recognize, and then a suitcase full of books with a featherweight charm on it. She had to laugh at that. Of course there was a suitcase of books already. But the time they left on Friday afternoon there might just be another one too.

“Oh that smells lovely!” Hermione said, coming to kiss Narcissa on the cheek before grabbing out a bottle of white wine from the magically powered wine fridge and uncorking it.

“I rather hope it does after twenty minutes of continuous stirring.” Narcissa chuckled. That was the one thing about risotto, it took time and arm muscles of steel, both of which she certainly had, but still. 

They sat down for dinner and Narcissa wondered if she should try and poke at Pansy to see if she could get anymore information out of her via random feelings or memory flashes. Hermione’s secret she was sure she could find later in the middle of the night, nestled in the library, but Pansy’s would be harder to search out without any more clues. But did she tip her hand this early? Hmm. Perhaps the next day or maybe Thursday instead. She couldn’t let the other woman know the game was afoot when it’d just gotten started after all. So she let their dinner play on as it normally did, stories of the day, bits of commentary on the news, snark in droves, and as always, lots of smiling and laughter. Every one of these dinners healed some part of her that had had to sit through too many quiet dinners as a child, as an adult watching Draco struggle to stay silent unless spoken to, Merlin forbid she remember the ones under Tom Riddle. Her witches were a healing balm in more than one way, in almost every way.

With them dinner past quickly, bleeding into time spent together cuddled on the couch doing various things, Hermione reading a book she’d found earlier while doing her packing, Pansy glued to some muggle reality show she said she hated but couldn’t stop watching, and she herself working on a proposal for her foundation idly, but really more watching the other two. She had work hours to actually complete the thing after all. She lured her loves up to bed a bit earlier than normal so they could still have plenty of play time but manage to get their rest tonight, and then made sure she was on the outside edge of the cuddle group they all ended up in at the finish. She had plans after all.

Sneaking down to her own library was easy enough. Goodness knew she’d snuck around Black Manor so well as a youth that she could have been a ghost for all her parents knew. It came in handy now. Even with the remodeling she’d done, some of the boards that squeaked had been left behind, which she avoided deftly until she was in the room in question.

She frowned at the room. Now the question truly was, if she were Hermione, where would she hide a book in the absolutely massive room. There were shelves surrounding three different stories, cat walks surrounding the upper two. Narcissa tended to frequent the upper level, liking the view from the few reading nooks tucked up there, but Hermione liked more room to spread out. Her favorite reading couch was in the far corner in front of one of many fireplaces in the room, scattered throughout so whatever you ended up reading you’d be warm in the winter. She wouldn’t be so daft to hide it near there though.

She smiled. Hermione’s least favorite section was on the second floor, the one that she’d been slowly cleaning out over the years when she had a day or two to kill or needed some good material to blast into pieces. All the old books on muggles that her parents and their parents and on down the line had gathered to prove to themselves that muggles were animals. She’d charmed them all so no one but herself and now her loves could touch them. They all sometimes needed to hex something until it only existed on a microscopic level at points after all. That section was the least likely for Hermione to hide something in, and therefore the most likely place. If not there exactly, then somewhere near it. The entire second floor beyond that was family records, records of other pure blood houses, and the like. Nothing bu vainglorious propaganda.

Narcissa climbed the stairs and went right to the section. Nothing looked out of place, nothing was added to the books that needed to be gotten rid of, nothing was added to the books she’d been stocking in their place. She looked at the shelves around, looking for something that didn’t belong. To give Hermione credit, she had to roam about ten shelves in the opposite direction before she found it, a book she’d never seen before and a space of dust that wasn’t quite settled the same as the others around it. She grabbed up the book and opened it, finding that hollowed out book she’d seen in Hermione’s thoughts, but now it had something in both compartments. Two velvet boxes, nestled snugly inside. She breathed in. Was this?

Unable to help herself Narcissa opened both of them, finding rings inside, one obviously meant for her, the complete opposite of what her last engagement ring had been, it was small, practical, and wouldn’t get in the way of her day to day activities and instead of diamond it had her favorite gemstone aquamarine, a deep blue-green shining up at her even in the dim moonlight. Then there was Pansy’s, black diamond glinting up at her wickedly, the exact opposite of what a pureblood bride would want in a different way. Narcissa put her hand over her mouth for a moment. Hermione was going to propose on their trip. They’d spoken about it, of course, she didn’t want her only marriage in this life to be one from obligation, though she understood if her loves hadn’t wanted to get married, but both of them had jumped to assuring her they definitely wanted to, if only with her and her alone. And here it was, proof that it would happen.

She closed the boxes and placed the book back on the shelf and took herself back to bed, cuddling into Hermione that much more that night. Well. She had one answer. It was only a matter of time before she had Pansy’s as well.

Except all of her attempts through the next two days were met with nothing more than a vague sense of excitement. Narcissa truly wanted to scream to the heavens about it at the same time as being wholly proud that whatever it was was a big secret, she had gotten that much, but that Pansy had gotten good enough had shielding her excitement from Narcissa, even if it was rather overwhelming at points. She would have to ask her after all of this just what she’d done to her shields to change things around.

She had resorted to poking the bear metaphorically at dinner on Thursday, but Pansy had just smiled rather infuriatingly and gone to pack. So here they were on Friday afternoon, mustering all of their things together so they could make sure everything was there before charming it all until it would fit in their pockets and then take their portkey to their new home for the next two weeks.

“Pansy, darling, did you happen to pack that new lingerie set I got you?” She’d gone shopping to secretly celebrate the face that they were taking the next step in their relationship, and nothing said proposal like new sex toy and lingerie, of course.

Pansy’s muffled reply came down the stairs to the foyer from their room. “-ck in the blue bag.”

Was that check in the blue bag, or has she said something else? Well, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to just check considering her love was rather frantically looking over her beachwear options and just ‘didn’t know what to pick because she would ‘end up in a French tabloid and if she didn’t get called hot, some catty fashion writer was going to write about her looking dumpy and she did not have time for that, Narcissa’ and so she would rather not disturb that.

Narcissa turned the blue back on its side and opened it, finding the lingerie on top in the first second, but also, something velvet caught her eye. Velvet? Really, in the Riveria during summer? That would be far too heav--

She actually looked at it. It was a velvet box. She almost laughed out loud. It couldn’t be. She opened the box and there was a ring, a deep red garnet in the setting next to two deep green emeralds. Hermione surrounded by two Slytherins, obviously. Both of her loves were going to propose on this trip, and from what she’d overheard from Hermione so far, neither of them had a clue. She shut the box, tucked it back in the bag, and zipped it up, setting it directly where it had been before she’d touched it. Well, wouldn’t this be a more exciting trip than she’d been expecting. It seemed fitting considering falling in love with two women had been a more exciting life than she’d been expecting anyway.

Now the only thing she had to do, was to try and get her loves to propose at the same time and watch the absolute hilarity before taking them back to the beach house and showing them all the love she could give with both of their rings on her fingers. Perhaps she should owl ahead to a jeweler or two in France to add her own bit to the chaos. It was certainly a rather delicious idea.