A Private Fitting
"Get them off."
Lucius Malfoy looked down his nose at the tousle-haired woman kneeling at his feet. "I beg your pardon, Miss Granger?"
"I said, take them off. I can't possibly measure you properly with a layer of - is that silk? - in the way."
Lucius sighed. This was so undignified. "It is indeed silk. Now, as you're down there, I suggest that it would be easier if you removed them yourself."
Muttering something that sounded suspiciously like I'm not your damn house elf Hermione applied herself to the task, doubling the fabric carefully over before using both hands to roll the garment down over skin dusted with fine blond hairs and ease it off over the curve of a rounded heel to reveal long toes tipped with perfectly manicured nails. She dealt with the other sock with the same care, dropping them neatly on the arm of the chair before placing the Pureblood's now naked foot on the measuring plate. She couldn't suppress a grin as he winced at the contact of flesh on cold metal. "Sorry."
"Get on with it," he growled. "I don't have all day."
"Yes," she said, biting her lip against a harsher retort. The War and Azkaban clearly hadn't removed an ounce of arrogance from the head of the House of Malfoy. She slid the upright of the measuring rod down to rest against the pad of a second toe slightly longer than its neighbour and picked up the ends of the yellow tape, threading one through the ring on the other and drawing it under the ball of his foot at its widest part before pulling the tape firmly across the base of those elegant toes. She could feel her own toes curling with appreciation.
Really, she told herself sternly, anyone who feels this way about feet has no business working in a shoe shop; let alone a specialist shoe shop. But when she had taken the temporary job, purely to earn some Muggle cash, she simply hadn't expected to find anyone with such a perfect foot in here. Most of the clients had spent so many years cramming on shoes too narrow, pointed and high that their feet were too deformed for anyone to consider them things of beauty. And the irony was that this was not just anyone, but someone from the Wizarding World. Someone she knew. Someone with the most beautiful feet she had ever seen. Someone... who had just noticed her distraction.
"Miss Granger? Do you need to make a note? I have a Jotting Quill you could borrow."
"I... No. I've got a pencil." She scrabbled in her pocket, not daring to look up to see the contempt for such a Muggle implement on his face. Oh Merlin! This was Lucius Malfoy she was fetishizing about. What on earth had come over her?
She made a note of the measurements, and released the tape, grateful when he lifted his foot from the now-warm metal without further comment. If she'd had to touch it again she didn't think that she would be able to stop.
She was about to slide the foot gauge away when his hand came down on her wrist.
"I do," he said, with a trace of amusement in that infuriating upper-class drawl, "Have two feet. I don't think that you've quite finished yet... Hermione."
Ye Gods! He was flirting with her. She had a sudden horrifying flashback to the time that the Death Eaters had been torturing her in Malfoy Manor. Wandless and disgraced, Lucius had taken no part in that, but did he think that she could forget it?
His left foot was slightly wider than the right. Not enough to make an off-the-peg shoe uncomfortable, but she had never imagined that Lucius Malfoy, or any Malfoy for that matter, would buy anything but bespoke clothing. Purely to distract herself (and him) she voiced the thought, and this time she looked up to see his response.
"You are right. Fairy cobblers produce excellent shoes, slippers and riding boots but, as you will have gathered, my needs are rather - specialised - and beyond their limited capabilities."
He leaned down to meet her eyes. "Yes, you do, don't you, Hermione? It seems that we share an... interest... you and I." His lips curved in a predatory smile. "You may touch, if you like."
She swallowed. She ached to run a fingertip down from ankle to toes, and back under that perfectly arched instep. Was he ticklish? How would he respond? How would she? Her crotch was moist just from thinking about it. "Not here," she stuttered.
His eyes hooded, calculating, as he leaned back in the chair. "Elsewhere, perhaps. Meanwhile, I think that I would like to try something with a five inch heel to start with."
It was an invitation. Wasn't it? Hermione's gaze travelled up the whole elegant relaxed length of him, from the heel of the foot cradled in her hand to the curve of his white-blond hair where it arched across his temples casting a dark shadow across his brow. He scarcely needed another inch of height, let alone five. This was a man who could intimidate with a smile, could look down that aristocratic nose at men six inches taller than he, could...
"Could I be spared a moment of your attention, Miss Granger? I think the green stilettos first. And then the grey snakeskin sandals."
"My attention?" Oh you do have that. "Yes, of course. I'm sorry. I'll see whether we have your size."
Snakeskin. Naturally. And grey. To match his eyes. And dark green patent leather. The man was a Slytherin still. It was only when she had retrieved the box from the store room and opened it to see the sandals nested in their tissue paper that the sheer bizarreness of the situation hit her. Lucius Malfoy buying fetish footwear in a Muggle shop. And propositioning her.
She ran her fingers over the rough snakeskin. The sandals had separate buckles on each of the six slender straps designed to encase foot and ankle. Knowing that it was wrong, but unable to resist the temptation, Hermione took out her wand and tapped the box, muttering a spell that undid every buckle before replacing the lid and carrying the two boxes back out to the fitting booth. At least the nature of the establishment meant that the privacy of clients was assured by supplying discrete separate rooms where even the most - unusual - types of footwear could be tried in private. Balancing both boxes on one hand Hermione pushed open the door and backed in, before turning to face her customer. When she did, she almost dropped the boxes.
He had unfastened his over-robe to waist level and laid the fabric back over the arms of the chair. Beneath he wore only a plain, thigh-length tunic and the whole length of his naked legs stretched before her, their pale skin seeming to gleam against the dark fabric of the open robe. He had tilted his head back against the leather of the wing chair so that his loose white hair flowed straight down over his shoulders and he was watching her, down the length of his aristocratic nose, like a hawk assessing prey.
"You took your time, Miss Granger," he said. It was an off-handed comment, not an admonition, and she felt as if she had been given an unexpected gift. As she had.
"It took me a while to find your size," she lied as she lowered herself to the stool before him and reached for the shoes with one hand and the shoe-horn chained at her belt with the other. He made no further comment, but she was certain that he had recognised the lie.
Again, she cupped his heel and guided those beautiful toes into the opening of the shining green leather. It was like watching a snake swallowing its prey. She used the horn to ease first one heel, then the other, into the embrace of the smooth leather. Then she sat back and watched him test both feet against he floor before he gripped the arm of the chair and pushed himself up, allowing the robe to fall closed as he examined himself in the mirrored door.
"Are they... comfortable?" she asked.
"No," he said, then turned and smiled. "But that isn't the point, is it? The point is whether they look good. And what is your opinion of that, Miss Granger?" An eyebrow quirked upward in enquiry.
She swallowed her first thought. On you, anything would look good. And opted instead for; "They're fine."
"Fine is not good enough." The grey eyes narrowed, examining her in the glass, "We are looking for 'sensational'." He turned, and flowed back into the chair. "These will not do. Try the others."
The others. For a moment she regretted her rash impulse to unfasten the buckles. It had not been necessary. But as she pulled each thin strap through the metal ring, inserted the tongue through the hole, and adjusted it exactly to the shape of his foot she relaxed. The physical movement was soporific. When she had finished she ran a finger down the snakeskin, revelling in the texture of the scales, the contrast between cold buckles and warm skin trapped in the confines of each strap.
This time when he stood he did not let the robe fall closed but hooked it back with his fists resting against his belt. The long line of thigh, calf, ankle, heel and toes were pale against the forest-green velvet.
"Well?" he asked.
"Stunning," she said, involuntarily, and only half-meaning the sandals.
He reached down from the additional five inches of height, took her chin in his fingers and tilted her face up to his. "Yes," he said, and he only half-meant the sandals too. "I think that we do understand each other. You may unbuckle these and pack them for me. Deliver them to the Manor personally at eight tomorrow evening. You will also bring two pairs of the thigh-high lace up boots - green in my size, and red in your own. On my account."
"I..." The protest died on her lips as he smiled that devilish smile.
"A private fitting," he said. "I will pay handsomely; if not in coin." Then, with a swirl of his robes, he was gone.
Hermione watched her reflection in the swinging door mirror.
"Damn you," she whispered. And went to find the boots.