Continuing Tales

The Catfish

A Harry Potter Story
by Miss Dasti

Part 9 of 25

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A few steps outside of Lucius' bedroom Hermione remembered that Shorecliff Drive was as foreign a place to her as Malfoy Manor, and just like back then, she was once again reduced to wandering strange halls with increasing desperation, looking for a room that the real Narcissa could've found in a heartbeat. The longer it took, the more suspicions she'd arouse, and god knew she didn't want Lucius to start firing off his security questions again.

Fuck it all, but this was too much stress to deal with in one day.

As luck would have it, she only had to run in a blind panic down about six hallways before she spotted her salvation in the form of another house-elf. He was bustling away in the opposite direction carrying a small laundry bag and a shoebox, but he stopped when she called after him, "Wait!"

He turned to face her. It wasn't Francis like Hermione expected; this elf looked considerably older, and his expression wasn't nearly so pleasant. He, too, wore a silken pillowcase. Hermione had a suspicion that all the Malfoy elves wore them as a sort of uniform, similar to the Hogwarts elves and their towels. His particular one was dark gold.

"Oh thank god," she gasped, sagging with relief. "Could you help me? I'm lost."

The elf looked her up and down with a surprisingly critical eye. Hermione tensed. "Interesting," he said, and she started at his voice: totally human, deeper and older than Francis' but with the same upper-class accent. No wonder Lucius had approved of the change. Hermione hated to admit it, but they were much easier to talk to than the elves she'd worked with at the Ministry. She didn't necessarily support the elves changing so much to appeal to wizards' preferences, and would never suggest it to one, but in her blackest of hearts, she preferred it the Malfoy way.

"What's interesting?"

He raised an eyebrow and put his nose in the air, looking very patrician indeed. She wondered if his duties over the years had included raising the Malfoy children. It would make a lot of sense. "You have vacationed at this property dozens of times. Now it seems you're unfamiliar with the layout."

Hermione gaped at him. It took a long minute for her to unstick her tongue. "I'm just… I'm a bit disoriented."

His eyes narrowed. "I see. Well, you're in luck: I've laundered your clothes and gathered up your shoes each from the back porch and the west stairwell"—he hefted his parcels—"and was just in the process of bringing them to your room." He turned and resumed walking down the hall, calling back at her as he went, "Come along, then, and mind you don't drip on the hardwood."

Hermione had to jog a little to keep up with him, clutching nervously at her towel. She had a strong suspicion that this was the elf that Francis and Harriot had mentioned earlier. Lucius' personal elf. Fergus, they'd called him. She wanted to confirm it but couldn't think of a way to do so that wasn't risky.

Anyway it didn't matter, for in a moment he'd led her into the master bedroom, set her clothes down and announced, "If you somehow lose your way again, Mrs. Malfoy, please call for me."

"Thank you…" Hermione paused, then dared to add, "Fergus." She was ready to play it off if she'd gotten it wrong, but to her massive relief the elf only bowed and apparated. She let out the breath she'd been holding and sent out a silent prayer that she'd never have to deal with him again. The other two had been pleasant company, and Fergus had reminded her of a butler. The sort of butler you'd read about in a shitty murder mystery novel.

Hermione busied herself with drying and dressing, paying closer attention to the tasks than she normally would have. She could feel the thunderous avalanche of shame hurtling down on the edges of her mind; if she lost focus now, if she allowed herself to stop and think, she would be consumed. But without Lucius nearby to run his hands—and mouth—over every inch of Narcissa's skin, she couldn't generate enough distractions to fend off her own crushing scruples for long, and once she'd stepped into her heels and pulled a comb through her damp hair, there was nothing left to do but sit down on the edge of her massive bed and sob miserably into a pillow sham.

Oh Merlin. Oh god, what had she done? If anyone ever found out about this, she'd lose everything—her friends, her job, possibly her life (if Lucius was the one to catch her). She was hanging in the balance now, all because she'd been such an impulsive idiot and allowed herself to take a bath with Lucius Malfoy.

She laughed a little, suddenly, mid-sob. It was so fucking ridiculous. Lucius Malfoy had just taken a bath with—and done a few unmentionable things to—a Muggleborn witch, and he hadn't even noticed! She almost wanted to rub his bigoted face in it. But that made her think about his bigoted face, and what he'd rubbed it in earlier, and was immediately pulled back into the remembered pleasure of it.

She caught herself when she felt a now-familiar hot flush traveling down her body. Jesus, when had she become such a mess? She was Hermione fucking Granger. And Hermione fucking Granger had never even come close to allowing her libido to govern her decisions. It was just—him. He was to blame, really. She would've had no trouble keeping her head around anyone else on the planet.

She tried to find her way to the foyer. Truly. She gave it her all. But when she rounded the same corner past the same portrait of the same ugly seagull six fucking times, she was forced to acknowledge that she was too directionally challenged to go on. She needed help.

With a little groan of defeat she called out, "Francis!" and then, when no response came, "Harriot!" Fuck it all. They must've been busy, or the magic hadn't worked because Hermione didn't carry the Malfoy name, and they therefore weren't bound to her summons.

Carry the Malfoy name…

Hermione shook off the thought as if it were a poisonous spider, and yelled, "Fergus!" with a break in her voice.

He snapped into being in front of her, bowing once (or rather, jerking his head a little). "What do you require, Mrs. Malfoy?" And then, without missing a beat, "You have been crying."

"I—no," Hermione hiccoughed, "I've just got allergies. I need you to lead me to the foyer. It's been so long since I've been in this house that I've lost my way again."

He stood there watching her closely for far too long, and at one point as her nerves peaked Hermione wanted to scream at him for being insubordinate. The impulse shocked her. Jesus, it was happening. Two days in Narcissa's shoes, and she was already going against her own life's work. She was turning into one of them.

"This way," he sighed at last, turning and flicking his fingers. Hermione noticed a rather nice watch looping his tiny wrist.

Lucius had apparently been waiting on her for quite some time. As she entered the front room she spotted him lounging in a window seat with a nearly empty tumbler in his hand, peering out at the misty view, his sleeves rolled up and his topmost buttons undone. He'd tamed his hair back in another plait; Hermione found herself wanting to undo it again, just to card her fingers through the strands and pull away at the kinks. He didn't turn as she and Fergus approached; the elf gave him a real bow and said, partially at the carpet, "I've located your wife, Master Malfoy."

"So you have," he said at the window; Hermione couldn't help but stare at his lips. A snipped of memory—him, naked, twined and writhing with her in the water—sprang across her mind's eye. She could feel the blush rising in her face and quickly looked down. "Thank you, Fergus. If you would, please instruct Francis to strip the fruit trees. They've fermented and all of the animals are drunk. A peafowl tried to fly into a third-floor window and injured itself. Also, remind him to feed Belgium. She's passed out at the moment but will be hungry when she awakens."

The elf bowed and snapped away. Hermione gulped. Lucius must've gone to the manor and back while she'd been bumbling around Shorecliff like a lost child. She felt a stab of remorse for the injured bird. She hadn't meant to hurt any of them. Then she thought perhaps it had been Fairway, and she didn't feel so bad anymore.

Lucius stood; his eyes were boring into her again. This time she forced herself to return his stare, doing her best to emulate Narcissa, though it was difficult with her blushing so furiously. He leaned in—she thought for a moment he'd kiss her, and almost jumped forward to meet him, but he merely took her hand, twining his fingers with hers. Then he made for the door.

He led her down a stone-flagged path out a side gate and along the edge of the cliff. Hermione had never been keen on heights; she kept her eyes straight ahead, trying to pretend there wasn't a sheer drop just a few feet to her right. But as the path began to descend down the precipice, becoming more rugged and challenging, she found herself flat against Lucius' side, clinging hard to his arm as if for dear life, and damning Narcissa's heels to hell. More than once she shut her eyes and relied on his guidance. He chuckled at her. Prick.

At a particularly nasty bend in the path Hermione abandoned all pretense and slid up behind him, locking her arms tight around his waist and pressing her face into the center of his broad back. Fuck all that nonsense about Gryffendor bravery, this danger was too real. Lucius grunted a little and tried to wriggle free but she made a sobbing noise and held on tighter. He laughed. "Good lord, woman, where is your composure? Here—take off your heels." When she didn't move, a soft warning crept into his voice. "Narcissa." She squeaked again. "Do as I say."

Hermione gulped and knelt shakily to undo her straps. When she pulled them off, he took them from her, then—to her horror—knocked her legs out from under her and hefted her up in his arms. She screamed and clawed for purchase at his shoulders. He winced. "Good god, woman. Relax." He caught the look of dull shock on her face and gave her a brief, remarkably natural smile. "We're nearly there."

It was too surreal. He went on walking; she found herself staring at him, unable to look away, not the smallest reason being that the only other things to look at were the death-plummet to her right, and the rickety path ahead. In the daylight he looked damn near a god, so very refined and aristocratic even with his shirt undone, his hair so shockingly white it was blinding, his eyes like polished coins. She felt the play of his muscles all around her and experienced the now-familiar burning in the pit of her stomach. Christ she hated herself sometimes.

Her fingers loosened on his shoulders, and eventually she dared to loop her arms around his neck. His lips curled up in a corner, smugly, and he glanced down at her. She must've forgotten her brain back at Shorecliff, for within minutes she was leaning into the crook of his neck and breathing him in. He smelled sublime. She heard him chuckle again.

"Open your eyes."

Hermione obeyed only reluctantly—then gasped loud enough to make him wince.

They were standing in the middle of a wide stone ledge with a spectacular view of the cliff face and the frothing sea below. The sun was slanting down now, bathing everything in orange. Hundreds of winged figures were taking flight off the crag, each about the size of a large cat; Hermione instantly recognized them as drakes. Each one was a different vibrant hue, and all together they spiraled up on the high winds and formed a whirling, glittering tower of color, punctuated here and there by a kaleidoscopic burst of flames. Some rose up nearly to the clouds, clasping each other in what appeared to be some sort of mating ritual; others folded in their leathery wings and hurtled into the water, only to shoot up again with a silvery fish in their jaws. It was mesmerizing.

"Oh wow," she breathed. Lucius set her down and handed back her shoes; she yanked them back on distractedly as she wandered right up to the edge, forgetting her fear for a moment. "They're so beautiful."

He wandered up close behind her; she felt his hands, warm and heavy on her hips. "This is the largest known colony in Briton. They gather like this just once a year to breed." He gestured at the cliff, where Hermione could just make out the rough stony nests built into the side and, within them, the tiny, wriggling young. After a moment Lucius added, "Draco used to love this."

She glanced at him quickly. For the most part he looked nonchalant, but having spent so much time staring at his face, she could distinguish the sadness under the well-practiced mask. Her immediate instinct was to touch him, comfort him, but at the last second she remembered herself and drew back. He's a criminal, she thought, looking into the aquiline face, the sharp eyes. He's wicked and whatever happened between him and Draco was probably well-deserved.

But she couldn't resist sticking her nose where it didn't belong. "I sometimes feel as if I never listened to your account of what happened five years ago," she said delicately, twining a golden strand of Narcissa's hair around her index finger.

He raised an eyebrow at her. "That may be because I never really provided one."

She shot him a darting look. "So why don't you now?"

He hummed. "I could delve into it. But first I want to know the reasons that have led you to ask."

It was on the tip of her tongue to go on layering her ruse, and spout some nonsense about how, if they wanted to reopen their relationship, he needed to be honest with her about everything. But something made her stop. She moved her eyes slowly over his face, coming to a rest on his lips. They looked soft and warm; she remembered them on her flesh. She finally gave him the truth. "I don't think I understand you. And I want to… badly."

A line appeared between his eyebrows. "I find it shocking that you do." He seemed to come to a decision. "Very well." He sounded more resigned than anything. "I don't feel this will settle matters, but then, how could it possibly hurt? The simple truth is that the War destroyed me. I may have brought it upon myself, and it is certainly no excuse for my behavior, but it is why everything happened as it did. At times I think I must have died when I arrived in Azkaban; my memories from then until after the Final Battle are all surely ones I pulled from the depths of hell." He looked into her eyes. "I know you and Draco both believed I failed you. And why wouldn't you, when I spent most of the miserable affair wandless? I also knew you resented me for bringing this debacle into our home in the first place." He ran a hand fretfully over his hair, scowling at the flat red horizon. "So I resorted to the only thing I knew when faced with disaster: I became angry. When Draco confronted me after the Battle, I gave him my wrath. Anger was all I had."

Hermione listened with her jaw hanging open. "Why didn't you just reassure him? The War was damaging to everyone. People need each other after tragedy." She thought about Draco, crying out, surrounded by the Fiendfyre. "He was traumatized. He needed you to comfort him." She paused. "Why didn't you apologize to us? Aren't you sorry?"

His eyes snapped around and he glared at her. For a moment she believed he'd yell at her. Then gradually his shoulders relaxed, and his breathing grew soft again. He looked puzzled. "I have never been sorrier. But I offered no apologies because it would have simply been too little, too late. A meaningless gesture. You and Draco would have rejected them, and I feared that rejection. I sensed that an altercation was inevitable, however, so I did a selfish thing. I gave you both a reason to leave. It was less painful that way."

Hermione felt a massive surge of some unnamable emotion. When she opened her mouth and spoke, it manifested as anger. "So you pushed your family away because you were afraid of being vulnerable?" She had no idea where all this feeling was coming from, but she abandoned reason and went on riding it through. "That's terrible. Th—we needed you, and even after everything you couldn't bear to abandon your pride for us."

Lucius tilted his head at her. "Do not presume to understand."

Her temper flared. "I can presume whatever I want! You—you're such a coward!"

His mellowness didn't hold in the face of that; he straightened his spine and moved closer, towering over her, and she was struck suddenly by his height, the breadth of his torso. "How dare you?" he breathed; she shivered and the rumbling malevolence in his voice. "You dare judge me? You know nothing about what I have been through, about how much I pay for my mistakes. To have my family"—he thumped a forefinger into his chest—"come to me expecting shelter from the storm, when I have none to give—how could you possibly understand? To watch my child suffer at the hands of a man that I had pledged my life to, and to be forced to stand by and watch!"

He made an enraged noise in the back of his throat and stormed off, back towards the path, but Hermione was all fired up on a passion that didn't even concern her; somehow she sensed that he hadn't said any of this to anyone before, and some mad part of her wanted to push him, force out all of the old shame and rage right there on that ledge.

"Don't you run away—"

Lucius immediately rounded on her. "You have no idea," he snarled. A long arm whipped up and he pointed at her face. "How could I apologize when you had already turned against me? I am not a masochist. I will not dash myself on the rocks if it would serve no purpose." He dropped his hand and shook his head. "As soon as I emerged from Azkaban I knew you would not hear me out. I came home expecting us to be united in our plight; instead I found I had been abandoned. You left me no choice but to shut you out."

They stood in silence for a few endless moments. Hermione didn't know what to say. She was overwhelmed by the bleakness of the situation into which she'd toppled.

As she groped for some sort of answer, a yellow drake landed on their ledge and crooned low in its swanlike throat. Lucius glanced at it, his mouth a flat line. He reached into his pocket almost mechanically and drew out a small drawstring pouch, from which he pulled a dog treat. The drake crooned again; he tossed the treat over. It snapped it up and licked its scaly chops.

Hermione closed her eyes a long moment. "You really shouldn't feed wild animals."

Lucius clicked his tongue. "One cookie is not going to drive the species to extinction." He gave her a wry look as he tossed another at the beast. "Oh calm your tits, it's a god-damn drake, it's not going to follow us home."

She gave an involuntary laugh. "You are so rude."

"Only occasionally." He clapped loudly, once, and the drake screeched and took off. The sun was sinking and the light around them had gone from auburn to steel blue; night was approaching. Most of the glittering figures had left the precipice. The show was over.

Lucius dusted his hands and started back for the path; Hermione hesitated. "Can't we apparate from here?"

He scoffed. "And what would be the fun in that? I rather enjoyed the hike down."

Hermione glared at him. "I'm not going back up in the dark."

"You may find it less frightening in the dark. The drop would be harder to see."

"So would the path. No, sorry, I won't do it."

He sighed and about-faced. "Very well."

A touch and a turn later, and they were back in Shorecliff. The dining area, by the looks of it. Hermione was momentarily annoyed that they hadn't apparated to their little viewing platform in the first place—but the issue was driven out of her mind when she inhaled a whiff of Harriot's cooking. It seemed the little elf had been very busy: dishes and cutlery had been laid out neatly on the sandy teak tabletop, and Hermione could see steam still wafting off the entrée.

"Ah, perfect timing," Lucius said. As he had back at Malfoy Manor, he drew out Hermione's chair and saw that she was seated before settling in himself. It truly was a twisted world if the most courteous man Hermione had ever met happened to also be one of the vilest—although she was still having a difficult time remembering just how vile he was.

As soon as they were seated, Hermione heard a pop and saw Harriot's long ears appear at Lucius' elbow. She served them quickly and discreetly; Hermione still felt a little uncomfortable, but she supposed since the elf was free, and clearly not being held here against her will, whatever she chose to do with her own time was her prerogative. It was a small reminder of why Hermione had given up working in elven welfare: it had been too much of an uphill battle.

Lucius tucked in as soon as Harriot apparated away again, but Hermione could feel him watching her closely as she ate. The food was delicious enough to detract from her nerves. Harriot had laid out the most orgasmic arrangement of sea foods Hermione had ever tasted in her life; she sampled a little of everything and then some. Jesus, even the bread was incredible. Like baked bliss. And the wine—she was halfway through her glass before she noticed the Malfoy crest on the bottle, and realized this must've been one of the famous family vintages. No wonder they were still so prized even after the War had drug the Malfoy name through the mud. Here was by far the finest pinot gris Hermione had ever consumed.

But her ultimate undoing was the ceviche. Christ on a trampoline. She had to exercise some control not to snort it directly. It wouldn't be too weird if she asked Harriot for her recipe, would it?

Lucius' eyes never left her face.

Eventually the silence became uncomfortable to the point of disturbing the meal, and Hermione paused in the middle of her second helping of ceviche (all right, it was her third, but so what? She exercised regularly, she could afford to indulge on occasion).

"I'm sorry," she said, breaking the silence.

Despite all his staring earlier, Lucius suddenly had no interest in meeting her eye. He took another bite of food (he had a taste for the ceviche too), downed a long drought of wine and then said, "That's interesting."

It wasn't the response she'd been expecting. It made her uneasy. "I am."

"I don't doubt it." Lucius wiped his mouth and finally looked up at her. "But what is it you are apologizing for?"

Hermione thought. "For pushing you earlier," she said eventually, then hesitated. "And everything else. I feel as if it's all I can say."

She wasn't even sure what she was referring to anymore. Was she Narcissa, the contrite wife appealing to Lucius' affections by giving in to his wish for reparation? Was she hoping to wheedle her way closer to him and uncover more information about his felonious side-life? Or was she Hermione, apologizing for deceiving him, for putting them both in this decidedly fucked-up situation?

Lucius' eyes wandered to the tapestry of a seagull hanging near the window. (Merlin, this place were full of those, and they were hideous.) "I think," he said slowly, "I should like to accept, but not now. In any case I do not want to linger on what happened earlier." He met her eyes levelly for a long moment, during which she struggled not to sneak another bite of food. "As I recall, you enjoy Piotrowski's music. Have you read any of his late wife's fiction?"

Hermione perked up again. "All of them," she said at once, not quite able to keep the maniacal note out of her voice—the one Ron said she got every time she started talking about books. "Fairness To Return and Tired Ramparts are my favorites, but I never got a copy of her last one. Gladysburg. I missed the reading in February."

The memory of it still nauseated her. Belby had asked her to work late, and she'd been stuck in the office that snowy night, wishing that for once in her life she'd chosen leisure over work. She'd regret it tenfold when Emilia Piotrowski died of heart failure two months later. The woman had been as much an artistic genius as her husband, and she had had the same eccentric habit of keeping her work just as small-scale. She'd held readings for each of her new novels as they were completed, and during these she released only a few hundred copies to the public. A fabled few were ever signed. And once they were all sold, getting a copy was damn near impossible. Her readings had become a sort of booklover's convention; whenever a date for one had been announced the Cauldron had been packed for weeks in advance.

Now that Emilia was gone and printing had stopped altogether, her novels had become so scarce that Hermione's own small unsigned collection was now worth a nice sum. Flourish and Blotts had a signed copy of Emilia's last book, Gladysburg, on display—never for sale, as they'd told Hermione nearly a dozen times. And no, she was not allowed to touch it. Hermione had gone a little insane staring at it in the window.

"Hmm, that is unfortunate," Lucius said, looking pensive. "I have not been to one of her readings for many years. Not since Tired Ramparts, in fact. Actually, that was my least favorite of her novels."

Hermione gaped at him. "How dare you?"

He laughed. "I didn't agree with the message."

"The—are you kidding me? Hers were honest words. It was an honest message."

"I disagree." Lucius lifted a mug of dark tea to his lips. For a moment Hermione didn't understand where it had come from, but then, looking down, she realized Harriot must've cleared the table while she'd been distracted. Now all that sat in front of her was a mug and a mint. She said a silent, heartfelt goodbye to the fifth helping of ceviche she never ate.

"You think she wasn't being honest?" Hermione went on, popping the mint into her mouth. Immediately she felt it dissolve and magically freshen every cell in her body. She shuddered and tried to hide her gagging behind her napkin. Lucius smirked at her.

"I think she was misleading her audience by focusing too much on the wrong topics."

Hermione managed to recover fast enough to nearly cut him off. "The book's about death, Lucius, there aren't any pleasant topics to focus on."

"Of course there are." She gaped at him, and his smile deepened. "Perhaps pleasant isn't the word, but I still disagree that Emilia had only bleak material to work with. Judging by the way your jaw has become unhinged, you aren't interested in listening to what I have to say, but try. For me." He paused; their eyes fused. When Hermione said nothing, Lucius continued. "I do not like Emilia's way of painting death as some utterly appalling thing. She spent most of the book waxing eloquent about the horror of it. It was reminiscent to me of the Dark Lord and his rhetoric; those who had subscribed to it viewed death as the epitome of evil, the most terrible thing that could befall a person. I myself was once included in that group. It has taken me many years to understand that death is a sacred thing, and far more complex than that. Like birth, it is vital to life. But also like birth it is one of the most abused and misunderstood concepts. Emilia's is a popular outlook: to understand death in any other manner borders on taboo."

Hermione couldn't help herself. "Does all that make it easier for you to kill people, then?"

He stared at her flatly for so long that she was forced to rupture the silence herself, or risk suffocating in it. "Never mind."

"Never mind, indeed." His voice was a calm sort of livid.

Hermione floundered, quailing under the look he was giving her. "I—look, I understand that death is necessary and all that, but people shouldn't go around thinking it's a positive thing. If you convince yourself it's not all bad, what's stopping you from killing people to get what you want? Or empathize properly with people who have lost someone?"

"Fear of death did not stop Voldemort from killing people to get what he wanted. Nor did it draw out any compassion from him."

She started at the name. She didn't think Lucius would ever dare say it, but he gave no indication that he was even aware of what he'd done. His eyes were scouring holes in her; when he spoke again, his voice was soft. "I was not arguing that death is some sort of party. I was merely disagreeing with Emilia's blind fear of it." He lifted his tea, looking again at that ugly watercolor seagull. Hermione didn't bear the silence very well, weighed down as she was by the subject matter, and almost cried for relief when he changed it. "It's laughably late in the match but I never did mention how beautiful you look today."

Hermione blushed. Butterflies materialized in her stomach. She glanced down—and saw Narcissa's hands on the tablecloth. The butterflies immediately crumpled to ash. Damn her, she'd forgotten she wasn't even in her own body. Lucius hadn't even been talking to her. It was, for the first time, not a relief to remember that he didn't know who she was. Rather, a weight like a dead elephant seemed to collapse in the pit of her gut.

"Thank you," she said, and she sounded strained even to her own ears.

"Not a style you've worn before," he mused, reaching over and running a fingertip along the edge of her sleeve; he made the barest of contact with her skin. Electricity shot up her arm. "Even so… purple has always been your color."

All of the sudden, and with no explanation, she was irritated. "Right."

He noticed the change in her mood. The corner of his mouth curled slyly. "I'd missed your eyes," he went on, and she registered that he was closer now—closing in on her again. "Many things have changed about you, but those have remained the same."

She drew back a little, frowning. She had not the fuzziest clue why she was so pissed all of the sudden, but it only seemed to encourage him. "Still, I must confess," he murmured (she could feel his breath now, cold from the mint, caressing her cheek and the length of her neck; despite herself a little peal of anticipatory pleasure shot through her), "there is one thing you certainly do better now."

She turned to him, finding him even closer than she'd expected. His eyes were all she could see. It felt as if every emotion in her body was being pulled out of her into those eyes—well, almost every emotion… "What?" The word was a breath. She could feel herself beginning to tremble again but she didn't waste any energy hating herself for it this time: she'd had a taste of what he could do, and that alone silenced her reservations. She did acknowledge that she'd probably need therapy after all this was done but she wouldn't bother with logistics now, not while those sinful lips were hovering so close to hers.

He shifted, and she felt his hands on her again, on her cheek, on her neck. He was drawing her in and she didn't once think about resisting. "The way you kiss me," he breathed, and all the hairs on her body rose as if anticipating a lightning strike. His gaze was dropping and she instinctively tilted her head up to meet it. "So… sincere." And then his lips touched hers, at long fucking last, and she didn't care about decorum: she sighed like a lovestruck teen being snogged for the first time, and her whole being was reduced to mush.

She realized sharpish that he was trying to frustrate her. When she pushed in to deepen the kiss and send them back to that delirious, heart-pounding place she remembered from earlier, he'd draw back, teasing with a nip of teeth or a flit of tongue; when she buried her hands in his hair and tried to hold him steady he tilted his head up just enough to be noncompliant, laughing a soft, languid laugh. It was both enraging and terribly sexy. She was on the verge of slapping him when suddenly the air compressed around her, and she just had time to figure out they were apparating before she found herself back in the master bedroom, sitting on the foot of the bed where just hours ago she'd cried herself silly. Now she was in Lucius Malfoy's lap, locked in the shackles of his arms, and sorrow was the farthest thing from her mind.

She was forgetting herself in the feel of him, the delicious smell that mingled tantalizingly with the aroma of pea-and-peonies from their bath earlier; Narcissa's body moved of its own accord and pressed as close to him as humanly possible. It brought her thigh in direct contact with his groin, which stirred against her and sent a shot of pure, heady lust right to her center. There was no messing about with peeling off clothes this time; Lucius seemed to think enough slow undressing had been done that day. She felt him withdraw his wand, and a second later she gave a little shocked gasp as all the barriers between them vanished. Now every searing inch of him was ironed against her and she didn't think she could rip away from him even if she tried.

It was insane, really. There she was again, for the second time that day, hiding in Narcissa's body and pressed up against a very nude Lucius Malfoy, snogging him with a desperate abandon that hadn't even existed in her life until this point. She wasn't nearly as coy as before. Her hands went everywhere, all over him, one moment gripping his lovely arse and the next massaging over the steel length of his manhood. She watched his hands now, and whenever one strayed near his member she shoved it away. There would be no wanking off at random this time. He noticed the difference in her demeanor; she felt him smiling against her lips as he gamely returned every stroke of her hand with one of his own. His fingers made lazy circles around her areolas, darting in to flick or tweak or pinch as he saw fit; in no time at all he had her nipples upright and aching. He didn't move a hand between her legs, though. Hermione was prepared to let that slide for a few more minutes, but if he didn't get around to touching her soon she was fairly certain she'd burst into flame and roam the countryside as a horny fire demon the rest of her life.

Merlin she loved the noises he made. Deep growls and soft, low exclamations that vibrated under her skin. In just a few moments, the both of them were wound up past the point of no return. The thought didn't scare her nearly as much as it should have.

She was reminded again how mercurial he could be when he suddenly gripped her hard and threw her down in the center of the bed. She yelped in shock; that little edge of fear was back, ramping her awareness up to cocaine-level clarity. He slid over the bed towards her, trailing his mouth up her body, biting and kissing at random. Every touch branded her, shot fire right down to her bones; he slid past her sex without so much as glancing at it, up over her navel, between the peaks of her breasts, right up to the hollow of her throat, which jumped in time to her drumming pulse.

Then he did something she hadn't anticipated. He groped around for his wand, found it lying discarded on the mattress nearby and flicked it a second time. The canopy above them rustled and parted. Hermione gawked. Set into the ceiling above the bed was a huge, circular mirror; in it, she saw Lucius and Narcissa entwined on the teal duvet like sirens twisting in the sea. Lucius took her wrists and pinned them above her head; she felt suddenly vulnerable, terrified; her eyes locked onto Narcissa's in the mirror and an upsurge of panic made her struggle. But Lucius subdued her by layering the solid expanse of his body over hers and claiming her lips with his own again, and she lost track of who, and where, she was.

He was heavy on her, and she felt his cock jerking against her skin like some living thing trapped between their bodies. Her sex clenched in response and a moan escaped her throat and into the charged bedroom air. He shifted, pulsed again, she clasped, and her breath hitched, and her head swam, and she realized there was no way in heaven nor hell that she would leave this bedroom the same person.


But oh—there—he was there. She stilled when she felt the silky head press at her entrance. The softest touch, hardly real, yet Narcissa's body reacted as if he'd lashed her with a live wire. Her legs slid up a little, reflexively, falling just slightly to the sides, and that agonizing point of contact between them became the center of the universe.

Unwillingly she looked at the mirror again, at the debauched bodies lying poised before the race. A scene in which Hermione Granger had absolutely no part. She focused on the hard lines of muscle in Lucius' back, shifting and flexing as he spared her some of his weight; her eyes slid down just as he flexed the muscles in his rear and nudged her, nearly pushing inside her and oh god it had been so fucking close—she slammed her eyes shut and imagined something different, a desperate pretend scene wherein Lucius was actually poised above her and not Narcissa; she gasped as the image flashed in her head, of her own body and her own self pinned down beneath him; her back arched and she drew her legs around his hips, trying with all her might to pull him in, but he resisted.

Lucius' hands withdrew from her wrists. When she tried to move them, she found she was somehow still restrained. She opened her eyes again and saw that he must've cast a nonverbal spell, as she was now pinned down to the bed by thin black ties around her wrists and ankles.

"You are an intoxicating little thing," Lucius purred. He slid off her, drawing back onto his haunches, looking down at her with an expression that immediately turned her boiling blood to ice. "But so outrageously incautious." He flicked his wand again, and a small glass phial, about the size of her little finger, appeared spinning in the air at his temple. He caught it and examined its contents. "The one thing Narcissa hates more than Clements Piotrowski is ceviche." He looked into her eyes, and Hermione had the sensation of falling into a bottomless pit. "We honeymooned in Lucerne. Had I brought Narcissa to this place for the weekend, I imagine she would be quite distressed. There is a different significance to this house in our marriage, you see." She felt the tip of his wand trace a soft line from the juttering pulse-point on her neck down to about an inch below her navel, where her heart had sunk and settled in a quivering mass. "So who, then, are you?"

The Catfish

A Harry Potter Story
by Miss Dasti

Part 9 of 25

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