Continuing Tales

A Great Task of Solitude

A Harry Potter Story
by Laurielove

Part 10 of 27

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Days passed.

Hermione convinced herself she was so engrossed in her work, that her other preoccupations were subdued. She ignored the fact that at night when darkness ignited her imagination and her body, they were anything but subdued.

Lucius Malfoy bided his time, waiting. For what, he was not entirely sure.

Conversation between them remained amicable, and she would still join him for tea, but there were moments of awkwardness. If they passed each other in the corridors, Hermione would keep her eyes lowered until the last moment, at which point she would glance up at him through her lashes and smile hesitantly, not sure whether to stop and chat or not. They both knew they had moved beyond small talk.

Every time he approached her, she felt the knot in her belly tighten, her throat dry up, and her skin tingle with immediate anticipation.

The atmosphere of the house was becoming stifling. She desperately wanted to throw back the shutters and let in some light and air.

Something would have to give.

And so it was, late one Thursday afternoon in mid-December, that she found herself before a roaring fire, seated in the sitting room next to Lucius Malfoy. She had accepted his usual offer of tea, and her break had stretched longer into the afternoon than she normally allowed herself. The long legs of the man beside her were extended out before him, crossed at the ankles, and he was holding a glass of whisky on his torso. He seemed more relaxed than she could ever recall.

"It's nearly Christmas, you know. Are you going to put up a tree?"

Lucius turned his head and looked at her in silent amusement. He didn't speak. It was clear he wasn't going to.

"You could have the most beautiful tree in the hallway. It would be glorious. I could help decorate it. I'd do it all, if you liked. I love decorating Christmas trees. It's easy when you're magical."

"And who exactly would see this tree?"

"We would. And Grimble. That's enough. You never know, he may turn out to be a proper jolly little Christmas elf!" She giggled again. Lucius looked at her.

He wanted to embrace her. When he had held her she had been so slender with subtle yet enticing, undulating curves ... How had they risen along her body? He tried to remember.

She glanced up at him, clearly expecting a proper response. After a time, he humoured her.

"We had a tree when Draco was a child, but I see no point in bizarre Muggle quasi-religious traditions now."

"Everyone has a tree! Muggles, wizards, everyone. And anyway, the tree is a pagan ritual, far removed originally from Christianity. It can easily be embraced by people like us."

He froze.

"People - like us?"


"And are you equating you and me together in this category, Miss Granger?"

Her heart fell from within her.

Why did he have to do that? Why did he have to remind her of who he could be when things were going so well?

She drew herself up. She could see a slight smirk dancing at the corner of his mouth. He was teasing her. She would not give him the satisfaction.

"Oh no, Mr Malfoy, of course not. But don't worry, your skills and intellect are not that far below mine." She gave an exaggerated smile and drank from her tea cup.

Lucius could not help his own smile deepening. Spirited too. But that he knew already. Her reaction to his little taunt didn't surprise him.

He had not, after all, spoilt things, but there was a heavier feeling to the air now. Hermione sipped her tea again.

"Will you see Draco at Christmas?"

"Only briefly, I should imagine."

"Does that bother you?"

Lucius looked at her in stern surprise. But Hermione kept her head resolutely lowered, not giving him the chance to steer them away from the subject in reproach. He found himself answering honestly.

"Not as much as it used to."

"Will he be at his mother's?"

Spirited indeed.

"Yes, I suppose."

Hermione looked up. He looked pensive, but still she was not sure why she said what she did next.

"Do you still miss her?"

His eyes darted to her. His features flinched, his body tensed.

Hermione's breathing deepened but she held his gaze steadily, waiting for a response.

"Not anymore."

"Was your parting entirely one-sided?"

His finger was tapping on the armrest, but he remained there, staring now at the place where his digit was beating a frantic tattoo.

"Yes ... no ... I'm not sure ... how dare you ask such impertinent questions! You insult my hospitality!"

He stood abruptly, pushing his chair back with a scrape and storming to the other side of the room, folding his arms and turning away from her.

Hermione hung her head in shame. She had no wish to upset him. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ..."

But to her surprise he interrupted her, not with more vitriol but with further explanation.

"I would never have left her, out of duty as much as anything. But we had no relationship by the end. I do not blame her for doing what she did. It was a relief to me when it happened, I suppose. I was not the person she had married. She knew it, as did I. The charade became too much effort, and for what? ... I had no pretence left in me. Nobody cared. I did not care."

"There is always reason to care."

"Not then."

"Of course there was."

His anger was piqued. Neither shied away from it. "Don't be so condescending! You, more than anyone should know better than that."

"Yes, and that is why I can say it with such certainty. Even at my lowest points I still knew I could carry on. That I had people around me who would be there at the end."

"Ah - but you see, you left with your sense of identity intact, reinforced probably. I did not have that luxury."

"No." She stared hard at him. "You emerged a better person."

Lucius turned to her, at first astonished and then brooding. Did she have such faith in him? What reason did she have for that?

"Is that what you think?"

"Yes. I saw you. I saw you at the end at Hogwarts. All grandeur, all pretence, all bluff stripped away. I saw a family, just a family, clinging to each other. It was one of the most moving sights of my life."

He looked at her for some time before turning away with a sneer. "You should have saved your emotional expenditure."

"Why do you insist on denying yourself happiness, Lucius?"

He sneered.

"I knew you. Before the final year of the war you seemed to embrace life to the full. Your soul was replete, swollen with vitality."

Lucius fixed her with a stare of incredulity, his deep sonorous voice reaching her with a cold, penetrating edge.

"Is that what you think?" For a time he said no more, merely searched her face for confirmation of her beliefs. At length he continued. "Even if that was the case - and I can assure you, it was not - thereafter came Azkaban, Miss Granger and the deconstruction of my home and family. How confident are you in the state of my soul after that?"

She didn't answer. There was nothing that could be said.

His broad form leaned hard over the table and he glared at her with more desperation than she had ever seen in him.

"You say you saw me full of life before that. How wrong you are, Miss Granger.

"Do you know what it was like to live constantly under the threat of failure, both from him and from one's own expectations? Believing that you are doing the right thing - then wondering why that thing, which is supposed to be so right, so pure, causes nothing but pain and suffering? And for that to become the norm - when death and violence and torture become the usual course of events - the suppression of any sort of moral code - and yes - I did have one, even I. Searching, searching desperately for the right path for me, for my son - confused and battered and so tired, and still having to carry on - with him, with ... everyone. And you tell me, at that time, my soul was replete!?"

Hermione listened, his every word searing her consciousness. She couldn't let him go now. She swallowed hard, her muscles clenched, and she said evenly, "Well, if it was pretence, you did it very convincingly. You must have been acting on the memory of a time when it really had been the case, when your soul was indeed still full."

He waved his hand dismissively at her. "Do not talk to me of a soul. I no longer remember what it is."

Hermione stared in despair at him, tears falling.

During the course of the conversation, Lucius had paced the few steps in front of his chair. Now he stopped and looked down at her, his eyes blazing fiercely.

He looked more terrible, more magnificent than ever before.

"I went for a long walk the other day. I told you, do you remember? I asked if you wished to join me."

She nodded.

"I reached a hill and I was thinking. I realised that I could not remember a moment when I had last been happy. I tried very hard to do so, and ... nothing."

Hermione stood too, her face still wet with tears. "That's not true. That can't be true."

His passionate temper had abated and he looked at her with a disturbing evenness.

He shook his head.

"But that can't be ... you cannot allow that to be," she sobbed.

He laughed softly at her ridiculous suggestion. "One cannot change the past. It is simple. I have no memory of being happy."

"That does not mean the memories are not there. It just means they've been too deeply buried. You need to release them again."

He smirked with bitter futility. "You have such faith in humanity, Miss Granger. Unfortunately, memories which at the time were perhaps of great happiness can now, due to changing circumstances, bring only desolation and misery."

"Not all, surely?"

"In my case, nearly all."

She looked into his eyes, searching them for hope. There was a tiny glimmer, which at that moment she knew she would latch on to and never let go.

"You must try to think back to something, anything ... I don't know ..." She wracked her brain, increasingly desperate. "Perhaps when Draco was born."

His features tensed and he exhaled sharply in frustration, almost groaning with despair.

Hermione was not deterred. "You must. Tell me."

Lucius looked angry and confused. He glared at her, but she held her nerve. His arms flailed at the sides, unsure what to do, and his hand came up to run through his hair, dishevelling it, a sight she'd so rarely seen. And then at last he spoke, his words pouring from him in a great gabble, trying to get it over with.

"There was a lot of screaming and people rushing about frantically. It was not an easy birth, I believe. I tried to help as best I could, but she made it abundantly clear she didn't want me anywhere near the place. Her mother was there."

"And then?"

He sighed heavily, reluctant to continue. Hermione held his gaze steadily.

"They only allowed me in several hours after the birth when things had been ... made good again, shall we say. Her mother was still there."

Hermione waited.

He huffed with increasing annoyance. "I do not know! I cannot recall. It was many years ago now. Thirty, I believe!"

"Of course it was thirty - don't you know how old your own son is?" He looked a little shamed then his features softened and he stared into the middle distance. There was silence for some time, then Lucius started to speak slowly, pulling up the memory from so deep inside his psyche, it was clearly taxing his concentration.

"I went in. The other people left the room. Narcissa was sleeping. The light ... the windows, French windows, were open, curtains blowing. It was warm, summer. There was a white piece of furniture ... new ... covered in soft white ... something ... near them.

"I heard a noise first. A small mewling noise ... like an animal. It was coming from the white object - a basket. I approached it ..."

He closed his eyes. Hermione was holding her breath.

"I leaned over and looked in. There was a tiny bundle, all white, and out of the white, a face ... a perfect face ... two eyes, nose, mouth ... I could not believe it could be so perfect. And then more white on top - lots of it." He smiled, eyes still closed.

"I reached down, my finger about to touch this tiny perfect thing which I had helped to create ... all that white hair ... clearly I had helped to create it. Should I touch it? Was it permissible? Would I disturb it? Would I harm it?

"I touched his cheek ... so soft, warm and alive. And then he moved, a strange shake, where his limbs came out and shuddered. But his hand touched mine, and his fingers, so, so tiny ... encircled mine. And so strong. I could not have withdrawn my finger from his grip had I wanted to.

"And there I stayed ... until she woke up and he stirred. That strength ... I wanted him to be that strong for all his life."

The beauty of his words took Hermione's breath away. She waited, letting them seep in, then spoke.

"At that moment - were you happy?"

He finally raised his eyes and looked at her. "Yes."

Hermione simply looked back at him.

They were standing very close. A strange calm and peace had suddenly descended.

And then Lucius raised his hand, slowly, almost uncertain, and brought it to her face, cupping it gently. "Thank you."

She didn't remove her eyes from his. His thumb stroked lightly over her cheek. Then she turned her head and kissed his hand on the soft tender flesh where the thumb joined his palm.

At this moment too - he was happy.

Hermione's eyes closed. The world felt so right. What was he doing? She couldn't see. She thought she could feel soft regular breaths escaping him and falling onto her face, ever closer.

The clock on the mantelpiece chimed and struck the hour. She counted it. It was seven o'clock. "May I stay here tonight?"

"Yes ..." His voice, tender, so close. "... Hermione."

She opened her eyes. He was so near, he invaded her senses without them consciously working. She had tears in her eyes, fresh ones. He saw them and stopped.

The moment, held in time, was perfect as it was.

Mutually, they drew back from each other.

Hermione moved to the door, and with a look back at him but not another word, she left the room.

She ascended the stairs slowly as if in a dream. The house was still dark, cobwebs still hung around it, but somehow, now as never before, she felt a part of it. It had warmed to her; it had accepted her.

Hermione returned to the room she had stayed in before, ran a bath and allowed her limbs to soak slowly and gently, the perfumed bath oils and lotions imbuing her with a rich intoxicating heaviness.

It grew late but she didn't feel tired. Her body was alive, singing. She patted herself dry and put on the cream satin camisole hanging from the wardrobe.

She lit candles around the room, more than normal. The night air danced with their flickering amber glow.

Pulling back the heavy covers, Hermione climbed into the high bed but did not sleep. She lay, staring up at the ruched canopy of the bed, almost iridescent, lush in the light.

Hermione focused on her lungs pulling in breaths. Her skin was alight, her body heavy and needy. She lay completely still.

There was a knock at the door. Soft but distinct. Three times.

Hermione's eyes closed briefly. Her body hummed.

She grasped the covers and pulled them off her then slipped down from the bed. Without putting on any other clothing, she crossed to the door and opened it.

Outside stood Lucius.

Their eyes met, but they said nothing. A moment passed, their hearts beating the few seconds away, their eyes not leaving each other.

Hermione took a few steady steps back into the room, still holding his gaze.

He stepped inside and, not looking behind him, pushed the door shut.

The silence pervading the room was not noticed by them.

Hermione stood perfectly still a few feet from him. He looked at her face, then she saw his eyes slip down her body, over her breasts where her nipples stood out hard under the thin cami, down her long legs, barely concealed. Then back to her face. His chest was rising and falling heavily.

She lifted her hand to the opposing shoulder and slowly slid the strap off. Then, ever more deliberately, she did the same with the other. His eyes followed her every movement. The thin strap was pushed to the edge and then it fell, and with it the cami tumbled down her body and pooled at her feet.

Hermione stood naked before him.

Lucius could not breathe. He had never seen such beauty. Not only her body and her face, but her soul, so clear in her eyes, shining with luminous certainty before him.

He felt the needs of his body rising within him, manifested painfully in his groin. He drew in a shuddering breath.

Hermione crossed to the bed and lay slowly down on it, her arms raised above her head, her hands stroking the velvet covering.

Before anything else, it must happen.

She parted her legs, drawing one up and to the side, revealing herself fully, open and ready for him.

Lucius took a moment to gaze at her but all emotion at that moment was contained in one place only. He knew he could do nothing else. He knew she needed it as much as he.

There was little time, such was his desperation. He could only fumble to undo a few buttons to release himself.

He lowered himself quickly and desperately to her. Pushing aside her leg with one hand and holding himself in the other, he thrust fully into her immediately.

Hermione's eyes widened in shock and revelation and she gasped.



Never had she been so full. She knew it. She knew it would be this way. It should be this way.

She turned her eyes to him. His face was mere inches above her. When their eyes met he groaned, the deepest sound of satisfaction, but he did not move. At that point there was no need. They were joined. It was enough.

She encompassed him completely. He could not believe it was only that one part of him inside her, so enveloped did he feel by her tight, wet heat.


Only when he was sure they had both fully absorbed the reality of sensation did Lucius start to make love to her.

His hands moved to either side of her face and he gazed deep into her eyes, those brown eyes which had so tormented him. There were tears in them now, tears which he recognised as tears of joy. He bent and kissed them away. Then, the salt still strong on his lips, he moved to hers. Hermione parted her mouth and breathed out. So sweet and good. She let her tongue flit over them moments before he touched her. Their lips met, a moment as sacred as when he had entered her. His kiss was so tender, so different to what she could have imagined all those years ago. She sighed into his opening mouth, moving hers across his in a blissful tasting.

Lucius' fingers clenched in her hair, gripping her, holding her completely to him. He slipped his tongue into her supple mouth and immediately felt her melting further under him. Her acquiescence and desire astounded him, but he took little time to think on it. At that moment, Hermione pulsed around him, causing him to moan into her mouth and push into her again. She arched up to meet him, feeling his flesh deep and hard.

Her tongue had now met his and she teased him with it, flitting it in and out of his mouth, running it lightly over and around. He allowed her to continue for some time, enjoying her tantalising sweetness. But then he gripped her head in his hands and claimed her mouth with his. She moaned against him. His teeth ground onto her lips, urgent with his hunger for her. They tasted the bitter crimson of her blood. It fuelled their belief in each other.

Her hands came up, fumbling at his shirt, feeling for the buttons. He raised himself up enough for her to undo a few, all the while careful to remain inside her, kissing her mouth, her face, her neck, any part of her. She exhaled a laugh and gave up trying to slip the buttons out of the holes. Holding them firmly, she ripped them apart. He smiled against her skin, thrilled by her ardour.

Hermione pushed the shirt off his shoulders and tugged it off his arms. At last his upper body - that firm, muscled torso she had so dreamed about - was before her. She ran her hands over it, lightly teasing the nipples as she went. Pushing herself up, her mouth caught the flesh before her, her tongue licking, tasting its pale, smooth glory.

Lucius sucked in a breath, his eyes closing in bliss, and he could not help but swell and surge within her. Hermione's breath caught. Every inch of him was so real, so present. Once more, he ensured he was fully in her with a sharp thrust, before lowering his head to her warm breasts. Taking a moment to gaze at the sight before him, his mouth descended with a groan and he latched onto her nipple. Hermione sobbed; the sensations pulsing through her defied her imaginings. Her hands reached up and her fingers entangled in his hair, holding him there.

He sucked hard, his tongue flitting over the hard bud of flesh. She breathed out deep and slow and arched high against him.

How had she waited so long? There was nothing wrong with this. Never had anything felt so right.

He flexed his back, causing him to move deeper yet into her, and latched onto the other nipple.

"Yes." It was the first word either of them had said.

Lucius groaned against her flesh. She tasted so fresh, so vibrant and new. His entire body was pouring itself into her. His hand descended to where they were joined and, tenderly, he found that perfectly ripe place and circled it. Hermione let a sigh of utter contentment escape her. He continued to suck and pull her nipple into him, sending shoots of pleasure through her to the point where he circled her tingling flesh.

So close. So close.

He rocked within her. Surely he was larger than anyone before. It had never felt like this. She wanted to feel more. Reaching down to grip his head, she tugged it gently back up to her.

Their eyes met once again and she seared him with a deep burning kiss then whispered, "Move. I want to feel all of you."

Her confidence, her expression of need, enthralled him. He could not remember ever feeling this way with a woman, certainly not the first time. But this wasn't what any other woman felt like.

This was what Hermione felt like.

His features creased and he gripped her shoulder.

Slowly, in stark contrast to his desperate initial plunge into her, he pulled out nearly all the way. Her mouth opened wider as she felt her flesh closing back into the space he left. And then, before she could register the loss too deeply, he pushed forward again, as slow as he had pulled out, managing to stroke along her tight little nub at the same time. She inhaled sharply as pleasure caught her, gripping his back so hard it stung. He adored it.

Hermione clenched tightly around him as he pushed in, drawing him ever deeper. She bit her lip, not once taking her eyes from his gaze.

Never before so good. Lucius' mind reeled with the revelation.

Once again he pulled out as slowly as he dared, but her slick wet heat was so intoxicating, milking his pleasure so sublimely, that he knew he couldn't hold on much longer. He began to pick up his pace, positioning himself so as to catch her clit with each thrust.

Her eyes widened, her mouth opened, the grip on his back intensified, and her breathing became shallow and irregular. He knew he was holding her on the brink.

How open she was in expressing her pleasure. How tuned his body was to her already.

Never had he had such an instinctive feel for a partner.

Lucius pushed fully into her once more, stroking over her clit at the same time. Hermione's eyes, fixed into his, opened fully, as if in shock. Her breath caught, and she came.

It felt as if she had been pulled up and away from the bed. What started as a tiny ripple, pulsing around the hard, rigid flesh of his cock, quickly swelled beyond containment. It flowed through her, feeding back on itself in surge upon surge. Her body felt so electrified she thought for a moment she would fuse into him. She cried out into the room, his name ripped out of her on the wave of ecstasy.

He needn't hold back any longer. Gazing at her, her face twisted in rapture wrought by him, she was the epitome of beauty. He allowed himself his pleasur and happiness.

Lucius felt her tightness squeezing him as her orgasm gripped her and recognised the inexorable rise within him. His fingers dug into her tender flesh and he burst into her with a guttural groan, spurting into her once, twice, again.

And caught amidst his cry of pleasure was her name, "Hermione!" She heard it, took it, and kept it deep inside.

Lucius collapsed on top of her and she held him there.

After some time he rolled off a little to the side, but remained inside her. She smiled gently at him, stroking his hair from his face and kissing him softly. He smiled back - the warmest, most natural smile she could imagine.

They remained like that for some time until he had softened to such an extent that he slipped out of her. Hermione yawned blearily and rolled onto her side, taking Lucius' hand and placing it over her waist to hold her against him. He fitted his body into the curves and dips that he had only been able to imagine for so long. And there, spooned together, the two lovers fell asleep.

A Great Task of Solitude

A Harry Potter Story
by Laurielove

Part 10 of 27

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