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It's All Greek to Me

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It's All Greek to Me - Fic Aesthetic

Hermione had been gathering flowers and fresh herbs in a meadow while she was camping with her mother. Her father had to work -- there had been an emergency at her parents' dental practice. She cherished spending time with her mother, especially before summer ended and she went back to Hogwarts. Especially when Hermione knew that a war was coming to a head; Voldemort had returned and he certainly didn't care about education other than the supremacy of purebloods. She would be turning 18 in a few months and was already legally an adult in the wizarding world.

Hermione enjoyed going back in her muggle roots, taking pride in the manual life that she’d grown up with, without magic. She knew that it was only a matter of time before the wizarding world was in a full-scale war and Harry, along with her a Ron in the middle of it. Her parents would need to be protected because of her involvement, but she hadn’t summoned her courage to do anything about it yet.

Lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice the rustle of wind behind her and the shiver that ran down her spine until someone grabbed her. The coldness of the hands made her think of a dementor, but Hermione couldn't think much more about that as her stomach dropped and she realized she was flying on a broom. Her eyes were closed, too afraid to look to see how high she was.

“Scared, Granger?” a deep voice growled in her ear. It was familiar, but in the gravity of the situation, she couldn’t place it. 

Daringly, she opened her eyes, enough to glimpse where she was being taken, a strong arm secured around her waist. Her world went black as she saw they were headed straight for the ground. 

Hermione woke, her temples throbbing. She was surrounded by warmth, though, from the dim light she could see her breath fogging in the dark air in front of her. The plush couch she woke up on seemed to be radiating heat and she wondered if it were some kind of warming charm. Part of her wanted to lay back down, close her eyes and ignore everything. 

Then, she remembered what happened and struggled to sit up. The sofa below her was moving…? Hermione cried out in surprise at the black material shifting beneath her as she slid down to the cold floor. 

A whistle, crystal clear and echoing, sounded behind her. She whipped around, wrapping her arms around her to control the shivering without her heat source. Something poked her from behind and she whirled around to face a giant beast.

“Down, Fluffy,” the same voice from before commanded. The beast, or rather the dog, slumped back down to where it must have been lying before she woke up. 

“Fluffy?” she repeated and the three-headed dog eyed her with drool hanging out of one of its giant maws. It was, in fact, Fluffy from her first year at Hogwarts, the one guarding the trap door!

Footsteps sounded on the ground somewhere behind her. “He seems to have taken a liking to you,” her kidnapper drawled. His tone made her stomach flip. She could see his smirk in her mind’s eye.

“Malfoy?” she asked and stood to face him as he revealed himself from the shadows. 

In the dingy lighting, Draco Malfoy’s pallor nearly looked blue and his hair was almost white, his silver eyes glinting at her. His crooked smile, or smirk, rather looked like a crimson gash across his pale face. He had dark half-moons under his eyes and his features were sharpened by the shadows. 

“No. You must call me Hades while we’re here.”

“As in the King of the Underworld in Greek mythology?” Hermione recited. His mouth twisted.

“Ever so studious, Granger. Yes, for that is who I am in the Underworld,” he explained and raised his hand to raise the torches to a brighter level. 

The Underworld was cavernous and freezing and she seemed to only be in one room of it. It didn’t make any sense. How did this exist? How did Hermione not know the places of myths were true after learning all she could about the wizarding world? Was Malfoy trying to trick her?

Malfoy, or Hades, was studying her. “Wizard, Muggle, and the Immortal worlds exist together if you haven’t gathered that yet.”

She bit her lip and the flames flickered violently around them. “Why am I here, though?” Hermione was playing along, but she had to know.

“As much as it pains me to say,” he said ruffling his hair. “I need your help.”

Her eyes widened. A million questions overwhelmed her brain. Hermione didn’t understand any of it and it was killing her -- well, not literally, even though she was in the Underworld.

“In what way?” she asked pragmatically. 

His mercury-colored eyes flicked to hers. “I’ve been asked to identify if any of the Underworld plants or substances can be used in the mortal realm, but since you are at the top of our class in every subject including Herbology, I need your help.” He gritted out the last part of the sentence with the admission that she was better at something. 

“And your solution was kidnapping me?” she accused, folding her arms in defiance instead of in an attempt to get warm. 

Malfoy/Hades shrugged. “Would you have come with me if I’d told you all this first?” 

Hermione didn’t know if she’d believed him without seeing it. He arched his brow as if reading her mind. She scowled at him. Malfoy was still a Death Eater, whether he wanted to be or not.

“Can you answer another question before I decide whether or not to help?”

His mouth twisted again and he stalked up to her. Hermione noticed immediately that he’d grown since she’d glimpsed him last year. He was no longer the scared, gaunt boy who’d let the Death Eaters into the castle. Malfoy now towered over her and his formerly slight frame had broadened at the shoulders. His lips above her were still red and much fuller than she’d ever noticed and his long nose made him look regal, like a Greek statue. The angular face had filled out a little bit to make his jaw stronger. 

“I don’t think you understand who holds the power here, Granger,” he growled. The flames rose higher in the torches. 

She wouldn’t be intimidated, though his approach did have her blood pumping for some reason. Without breaking eye contact, she reached for her wand in the holster on her thigh. It wasn’t there. Her mouth went dry.

“You didn’t think I’d let you have your wand while you’re my guest here, did you?” Malfoy smirked above her.

She rolled her eyes. “Your guest ? More like your prisoner. Besides, you can’t hurt me if you want me to help you.”

“Is that a dare, Granger?” 

Hermione blinked. His tone was threatening and thrilling all at once. What was happening to her? She shivered but it wasn’t cold since the torches were high and warm at her back. 

To her surprise, he turned on his heel and started walking away into the shadows. “Are you coming?” Hades/Malfoy called, his words echoing.

She was rooted to the spot. Her mind couldn’t separate Malfoy and his new identity of Hades, but there was something different about him. 

Then, she felt the ground buckle beneath her and she jumped forward. A chuckle carried from the direction Hades had disappeared. Hermione swore under her breath.

“I believe the phrase is actually ‘Damn you to Hades,’” his amused voice corrected her.

Chapter Text

As they topped what Hermione thought was a large slab of brimstone, she gasped at the sprawling, reddish-brown field before her. It seemed endless and the waist-high plants were uniformly growing in rows. She saw shades meandering through them. 

Lugentes Campi ,” Malfoy remarked as they overlooked the fields.

“Mourning Fields, from the Aeneid ?” she said in disbelief.

She didn’t have to look at him to know he was smirking. “You think Virgil was a liar?” 

Hermione shook her head, but still didn’t quite believe this all was real. Would she wake up soon? Why was she dreaming about the Greek Gods and Draco Malfoy of all things? And if it was real, what did this have to do with Voldemort’s plan?

She snapped out of her reeling mind when he took her hand. Surprisingly, he was warm now and his skin was soft yet calloused in places, from Quidditch, she assumed. Malfoy gave her a tug that made her immobile feet stumble and she knew this had to be real. She blushed as he gave her a sideways glance. His pace had her trying to keep up with his long strides. 

“The shades can’t hurt you, but they’ll stay away from us as long as you’re touching me. Contact with them can be… unpleasant,” he explained. 

Instead of taunting her, he was comforting her? That was new. Hermione bent over one of the plants and examined the buds. There were small white and red berry-like fruit on the brownish-green stalks. She plucked one red bud off the plant to examine it more closely. 

A second later, a pale hand smacked the berry away, fingers grazing her cheek. “Malfoy!” she exclaimed. 

“Don’t you know not to stick unidentified plants in your mouth, Granger?” he mocked with a touch of concern. “It could be poisonous!” 

She scowled at him. “I wasn’t going to eat it, you prat! I was going to smell it.” Hermione smelled another red berry. “You’re right, Baneberry is poisonous by itself. But it’s also an ingredient in the Trace Detection tonic.”

His pale blonde eyebrows furrowed. “Trace Detection? Like for underage magic use?”

She smiled and shook her head. “No, it has to do with detecting trace amounts of magic around you and detecting potential breaches in the Statute of Secrecy,” Hermione explained. 

Malfoy mumbled something, clearly thinking about the prospects of using the plant. Hermione wasn’t sure if it was something that could be used in the war coming along. Speaking of the war…

“Malfoy?” He glared at her but said nothing. “I mean, Hades .”

“Yes, Granger?”

“Does this Lord of the Underworld thing have anything to do with Voldemort?” she inquired. 

His eyes widened for a second as he itched his left arm beneath his robes, and then his face went blank. 

“If you must know, I inherited this role from my godfather… Severus Snape,” he said haughtily. 

Hermione couldn’t help but laugh. She seemed to not be able to stop the burst of giggles from her mouth as she bent over with the force of it. Tears streamed down her face.

When she recovered, Malfoy was frowning. “I’m sorry, that was just too perfect to imagine Snape as the Lord of the Underworld, black robes billowing.”

“Are you quite finished laughing at my godfather?” She bit her lip. 

“What I don’t understand is why didn’t Snape identify these plants? He could have easily done it with his potion expertise.”

Malfoy repeated the gesture from before: running a hand through his shaggy blonde hair. He seemed to do it when he was uncomfortable. Had she made him uncomfortable? Hermione was used to doing so with other students, but not him. Malfoy always seemed too in control of his feelings and expressions and unruffled by her presence unless confronted.

“Snape wasn’t down here much because he was teaching. He actually inherited the role from the Dark Lord himself. That’s how Voldemort could go into hiding so easily.”

“Then typically, the role of Hades has been for bachelors, which doesn’t follow the myth,” Hermione pointed out.

“You speak of Persephone, then?” He gave her a wry smile that made her insides squirm. “That role hasn’t been filled in centuries.” 

“But you must carry the Malfoy line,” she said.

His eyes flashed with darkness for a second, but his mouth was in a firm line. “It’s not your business.”

“You’re right,” she agreed, wondering why she was so curious about the continuation of the Malfoys. “So you said Snape and Voldemort didn’t have time to catalog the plants down here?”

“That’s right. Snape thought it would be useful to force me to waste my summer down here in the doom and gloom,” he said with more melancholy than she’d ever heard him express.

Hermione put her hands on her hips. “Essentially, you brought me down here to do your job for you? What would Snape think of that? He finished off Dumbledore for you, do you always have others carry out your dirty work for you?”

He bared his perfectly straight, white teeth at her. “He won’t ever find out or I’ll leave you down here to rot, Granger.”

She whistled. “Wow, I never thought I’d see the day that Draco Malfoy admitted I was better than him, that he would threaten me to do his work for him. What happened to calling me a mudblood? What happened to thinking I was filth not even fit to dirty your shoes with?”

“I haven’t said that word to you in years,” he growled. She glared at him, though she knew he was right. Hermione hadn’t thought about it before, but he was right.

His fists were clenched by his side and there were a few meters between them. Malfoy/Hades seemed unable to speak, his tongue-tied by the thoughts running through his head. She wondered if he would actually leave her to rot down here. If Snape could kill Dumbledore and betray the Order, then she supposed Malfoy could punish a muggleborn however he wanted.

And then, a terrible chill ran through her veins, like a bucket of ice water drenching her body. This sensory feeling was followed by despair, hopelessness, and love lost. It made her think of Ron, of that stupid crush she’d had on him for years. Perhaps he’d realize it or she’d blurt it out, but ever since the Yule Ball, Hermione didn’t have much hope. 

“Granger?” Malfoy sounded concerned, his eyes luminescent and silver in the din. She realized she’d sunk to her knees in the rough soil. He was tugging at her elbow to help her up. 

She felt like a dementor had sucked part of her soul out. Hermione couldn’t move, she wanted to wallow in these feelings that had suddenly come over her. She squeezed her eyes shut, willing for it all to go away. 

“Hermione!” 

Was that Ron calling her name? She would have called her ‘Mione, that nickname she secretly hated but couldn’t bring herself to admit it out loud. If it wasn’t Ron, who was it?

Malfoy was holding her face in his hands and she realized his hands were damp, for some reason. She felt dazed and confused. They’d been in the Mourning Fields… arguing… then… Blinking, Hermione realized that her cheeks were wet with tears not his hands. 

If she dared to think it, she swore Malfoy looked relieved. “It was just a shade,” another male voice said from somewhere in the room. 

Hermione took in her new surroundings. He must have brought her there and set her on a sofa? They had sofas in the Underworld? It was plush, almost like Fluffy had been earlier. Why did she keep passing out? Was it because she was a mortal? A muggleborn?

“You’re right, Draco, that lip-biting thing she does is kinda cute,” the other voice remarked.

“Stuff it, Thanatos !” 

She struggled to sit up and see the other man in the room, the mythical personification of death. As far as she could tell, now that Hades had stepped away, Thanatos was another student from Hogwarts, someone slightly familiar. 

He awkwardly waved at her from his reclined position from behind an ornate, mahogany desk. “As Lord Git here said, I’m Thanatos, but you can call me Theo.” 

“Theo? Theodore Nott?” she ventured and he nodded with a bright smile. This room, presumably Hades’ office of sorts, was better lit than the other places they’d been. 

Thanatos or Theo had striking hazel eyes and light brown hair that was effortlessly messy. Hades was sulking from a stuffed chair across from her. Hermione hadn’t been more confused or had more questions in her life. 

“What happened to me?” she asked, her voice trembling.

Hazel and silver eyes trained on her. “A shade touched you, or rather went right through you. Besides giving you the heebie-jeebies, you felt the shade’s eternal mourning for her unrequited love,” Theo explained matter-of-factly. 

She shivered and wrapped the blanket closer to her. Glancing at Malfoy, she realized that he’d swaddled her in his robes since he was now lounging in a charcoal wool sweater, probably cashmere, and fitted black trousers. Why was she concerned about what he was wearing? Why did he save her? Why was she really here?

“I already told you, Granger,” Malfoy drawled. Had she asked that last question aloud?

Hermione didn’t miss the look that passed between Theo and Malfoy, though. There was something they weren’t telling her. 

Chapter Text

It had been a bad idea to bring her here, Draco thought. He wanted to tell her, he really did, but it was complicated and saying something outright wasn’t natural for Slytherins or Malfoys. The question was how could he convince her to stay?

“So, are more students like us filling the roles of gods and goddesses, then?” Hermione asked Theo. 

Theo gave her a lopsided grin that Draco rolled his eyes at. “Some, sure, mostly pure-bloods, though, no offense.”

“Wouldn’t that mean you’re not pure-blooded, though? If you’re fit to fulfill an immortal’s role?”

Theo shrugged in that devil-may-care way he always did. Draco cared, though. 

“I don’t know the ins and outs of it. It does have to do with lineage, I think, but how much I’m not sure. Perhaps, it’s personality,” Theo smirked at him. 

Hermione suppressed a laugh at his expense, but it didn’t lighten his mood. “Thanatos, don’t you have work to do? People are dying to get here,” Draco drawled. 

Theo glared at him. “I suppose. Summer is a slow season, though.” He stalked out leaving Draco alone with Hermione. 

“Isn’t Snape a half-blood? So, you don’t have to be a pure-blood to take on a role… Who else is a god or goddess?” Hermione asked, too curious for her own good.

As long as she wasn’t asking questions about her own presence here, he was fine with the questions. “Right as ever, Granger, you’re not required to be pure-blooded, but it's more common for us. My mother and two aunts are the Fates,” he said.

“Wow, that’s so interesting! Can I take notes?”

“No!” he said harshly. Draco needed to get a grip. Clearing his throat, he tried to put on an earnest expression. “This can’t be broadcast in the wizarding world and certainly not the muggle world.”

Hermione bit her lip, a habit that was making him want to tug the ripe flesh out from her teeth’s torture. He closed his eyes and thought of Snape punishing him to banish his feelings. Draco locked everything he couldn’t handle in categorized Pandora’s boxes. Speaking of, he should check on Pandora -- Pansy. 

“Were gods and goddesses always witches and wizards?” Hermione asked, interrupting his Occlumency. 

Draco shook his head. “I don’t think so, at least. Who can be sure?” He put his head in his hands.

“Why do you need me?” 

He let out a shuddering breath and some of his thoughts spilled out. “Because you keep me in check, Granger.” 

Draco didn’t see her reaction. He didn’t want to. “What will my mum think? She won’t know what happened to me…” 

He rubbed his palms over his face, fingertips digging into the hollow of his eye sockets, around the jellied feel of his eyeballs. Bury the regret , Snape’s voice whispered, repeating like a mantra. His godfather seemed to know more about regret than Draco knew about him, period. 

“I had a message delivered to her. I forged your handwriting and told your mother that you’d gotten word from your friends Potter and Weasley that they needed help with a summer assignment and that you’d be back in a few days.”

He knew she’d gotten to her feet. “Malfoy! You thought she’d believe that utter bollocks? She’s probably worried sick. What if she goes to check on me? She could go to Privet Drive. Summer assignment? Merlin, Malfoy!” Hermione rampaged.

Draco stood and grabbed her by the upper arms. She still tried to hit him in the solar plexus but failed to move him. He waited until she was gasping and still trying to fight him before speaking.

“I want to remind you that you’re here under my protection. You have no way out aside from when I take you back. Time moves about a quarter of the day faster here, so it will be less time for your mother to miss you. I promise I will take you back when I told your mother you would return,” he said evenly as if he’d memorized the speech -- he basically had.

She’d dropped her hands to her sides, her head down, staring at their feet. He could smell her hair: jasmine and honey. Relaxing his grip on her, Draco reluctantly stepped away. 

“What do you need me to do next?” she asked, her voice small. 

“This way.”

Two minutes passed and she was already arguing with him again.

“I’m not getting on that again,” she said, stamping her foot in defiance.

He scowled. “Granger, if we don’t fly it will take days to walk where we’re going. Don’t you want to get back to your mother?”

Hermione eyed the broom wearily. “There’s no other way?”

She was afraid. And for some reason, he didn’t want to see her like that. He wanted to believe that she was the daring, brilliant, frustrating witch that he’d always known her to be. Perhaps, she would let him show her how to ride a broom properly. 

Another fantasy to bury. Then, he had an idea.

Draco whistled, the sound echoing infinitely. Confusion wrinkled her smooth brow as she looked around. He smirked. 

Cerberus, also known affectionately as Fluffy, bounded around the corner, a spray of rocks scattered in his haste to please his master. To his displeasure, Fluffy started licking Hermione with one of its heads, the other ones salivating over her. 

He tried to ignore her giggles and baby talk over the hellhound and the jealousy it bolstered in him. Clearing his throat, Hermione shoved the beast off her and Fluffy had enough sense to look remorseful. Draco climbed on his back and held his hand out to Hermione.

She took it, her brave face back in place. His mask solidly shielded his emotions from her eyes as her warm hand closed in his larger one, pale over golden. He swallowed hard.

Chapter Text

“Wow,” Hermione said breathlessly as a field of white flowers emerged from behind a wall of dark granite. Fluffy stopped abruptly before flowers sprouted from the grass. It was still gloomy, like a cloudy Scottish day, but the flowers seemed to brighten up the endless expanse. 

Draco caught her with a solid arm around her waist before she slid off from the force of the hellhound’s stop. Suddenly, she felt too warm, though she knew the Underworld was cold in general -- it was probably the heat radiating off Fluffy. Hermione was confused about this entire situation. She was in a waking dream and, despite the circumstances, she was curious about the Underworld.

The white flowers shaped like six-pointed stars grew to her knees and brushed the tops of her thighs as she approached them. Hermione startled when she heard something behind her, but realized that it was just Hades following her. She examined the flowers and smiled.

Asphodelus ramosus ,” she heard Malfoy whisper beside her as he gazed at the plants. 

Hermione rolled her eyes. “So you didn’t need my help after all,” she huffed. Of course he knew what these flowers were… 

“Harry used powdered asphodel root to make the Wiggenweld potion for the Slug Club last year,” she murmured. Hermione was still bitter about Harry using the Half-Blood Prince’s notes. 

Especially after…. She glanced at Malfoy automatically and bit her lip. He was fine, no permanent damage from the abominable spell. Absently, she wondered what his scar looked like. No, she would not think about Malfoy shirtless.

“It’s also used in the Draught of Living Death. Remember we made it in Slughorn’s class and Potter beat you?” he smirked.

She glared at him. “That same book he used to cheat was the same one that almost killed you last spring,” Hermione snapped.

He grimaced and absently scratched his chest. “Why am I really here, Malfoy? You clearly don’t need my help to identify these plants.” 

Malfoy stood to face her, his height making her raise her chin to maintain eye contact. He really looked like the God of the Underworld glaring down his nose at her, refusing to speak or blink before she did. She thought he might be using some kind of Occlumency to keep his emotions from showing. 

“Am I your mudblood prisoner, your torture subject to show off your skills to Voldemort? Are you condemning me to an eternity of suffering your insipid presence and playing your games?”

He stalked up to her and his long fingers curled around her neck. Hermione refused to back down even as her airway was slowly being cut off. She refused to struggle in front of him. Her feet now dangled above the ground as he lifted her to his level. 

Hades’ eyes were bloodshot up close, the metallic irises glinting even in low lighting. His nostrils were flaring and it seemed like he wanted to say whatever it was, badly. She knew he didn’t want to admit whatever his plan was to her. 

Suddenly, he released her and she hit the ground knees first in the hard soil. She had to take a moment to drag in the ragged breaths she’d been deprived, her heart pumping fast. Hermione had to close her eyes to focus on the slowing of her heart and the oxygen replenishing. 

Looking up, she was surprised and confused to see Malfoy offering his hand to help her up. Hermione refused on principle. How dare he lose his temper and then try to act like a gentleman without apologizing? He stood a few feet away from her, his head down inspecting one of the flowers that he’d picked. 

“I’m sorry, Hermione,” he said, more to the asphodelus bloom than her. What was going to happen next today? First, she wound up in the Underworld and now Malfoy was apologizing and using her first name?

Hermione blinked at him. She struggled to find any words; she didn’t know where to start with him. Confusion wasn’t a normal part of her life. Closing her eyes, she attempted to regain control of her mind.

“Breathe,” a deep voice said into her ear and she inhaled automatically, a sweet and sickly aroma assaulted her senses and seemed to erase the cacophony of thoughts and replaced it with a limpness, a fuzziness, dulling her emotions. 

Hermione opened her eyes, which were heavier now, and saw the asphodelus blossom beneath her nose. She couldn’t even bother with getting mad, she felt slightly sedated. Molten mercury eyes replaced the flower in her vision. They were hypnotizing; they made her want to jump in and drown. 

“Better?” the voice asked. She nodded, her head felt like it was filled with wet sand. 

Chapter Text

Draco hadn’t wanted to do it. He didn’t want to drug her; the scent of the Asphodelus flower only creates a light sensation of euphoria, relaxation. Hermione had been agitated. He could see the questions, anger, frustration simmering to a boil with his legilimency skills. Draco hadn’t invaded her mind, but rather lightly probed her frame of mind.

She needed to calm down or else the shades in the vicinity would start to react to her magical and emotional presence. Those in the Asphodelus Fields were in a sort of limbo, they needed an even keel environment. Hermione had crumpled into his arms, one supporting her head and the other beneath her knees. 

He could tell she was awake, in a fog, so he decided to take her to a safer place. The only place Draco really felt safe in the Underworld.

Draco had only read a few pages when he noticed Hermione stirring. At first, she slowly roused herself on his bed and then she bolted upright, her honey-brown eyes meeting his in a panic. He’d sat in the chair across from the bed closest to the fireplace. Closing his book, he waited for the maelstrom.

“You drugged me!” she shrieked. “Give me back my wand and send me back home now, Malfoy!” Hermione stood on shaky legs, her bottom lip quivering in rage.

He shook his head and that small motion further incited her. She grabbed him by the sweater, the woven material stretching in her fist. Draco met her eyes wearily. His little lion was back in her prime, still wandless, but a demanding fury. 

“I can’t,” he whispered, more of a sigh. 

Her fist clenched more, knuckles turning white. “Why not?”

“Because it’s not safe for you there!” Draco growled. A line of confusion creased between her brows. 

“You-you don’t care about what happens to a mudblood like me, Malfoy. You’re a Death Eater ,” she argued like she was trying to convince him. 

She was still leaning over him, his shirt gripped in her hand, and she smelled like vanilla. He shut his eyes off from her fierce yet puzzled gaze. Draco didn’t want to do this, but he had to. She would probably run away either way.

“I care, Granger. More than I want to…”

She snorted. “What are you in love with me or something?” 

His eyes flashed, anger flaring. “No, you insufferable swot! The Dark Lord will hunt you down, don’t you understand? He will kill your parents and torture you! This is the only safe place for you.” 

Hermione stepped back from him and he stood a good distance from her. He could see her hands shaking. 

“I don’t see Justin Finch-Fletchley or the Creevey brothers here too. What about the rest of the muggleborns? Why me, Malfoy? I can take care of myself. We’ve been training, you know. What about the rest of them?”

His jaw clenched. “If Potter fails, you’re our only hope at stopping the Dark Lord, at setting me free from his reign.” 

She crossed her arms. He tried not to notice how her arms pushed up her breasts. He failed.

“Don’t you think Harry needs me now? Don’t you think my parents need me?” she asked, as rational as ever. 

Draco grimaced, but a thought came to him and he smirked at her. “How are you going to save them, Granger? I’m sure you have a plan, what is it?”

She bit her lip and he internally moaned. It seemed that this was her weakness. Hermione sat on the bed as if she couldn’t stand any longer.

“Why should I tell you? How do I know you won’t try to foil my plan if I get out of here?” He could feel the waves of sadness through a slight legilimency probe.

Draco couldn’t fault her. “I promise, on my honor as a wizard and a gentleman, I will not tell a soul or try to disrupt your plan.” He could have sworn he heard her snort at the word gentleman.

Her face crumpled as she tried to speak. Sobs wracked her body as she told him, “I was… I was going to… erase me... and the magical world from their-their memories… Send them far away, change their names….” 

Rather than continue to stand there with his mouth agape, Draco gave her his handkerchief. It was white, embroidered with a silver M. She used it, wiping her face, still sniffling. His hand tilted up her chin to look at him.

“Children shouldn’t have to save their parents, but you and I… We both have to. He threatened my mother’s torture if I didn’t join him if I didn’t do what he said. I can’t imagine not having my parents even though this is my father’s fault…” 

To his surprise, she put a hand to his cheek, her fingertips soft on his skin. “Your father is at fault for many things, Malfoy.” She smiled and laughed, her nose red.

Draco couldn’t help but joining her in a sardonic yet cleansing laugh. The laughter felt wonderful and doubled him over, it was like a lightening of the soul and it wracked his entire body and tears came to his eyes. He wiped his face with his hand and looked back at Hermione

She was gone.

Chapter Text

“Fuck,” he said to the empty bedroom. He’d lit only two of the torches to read by while she was more or less unconscious from the Asphodelus. It seemed colder without her. Of course, Hermione had fooled him. 

She didn’t know how to get out. At least that was a comfort, except that she could get into trouble just about anywhere; she was Hermione Granger after all, too curious for her own good. Common sense would have told anyone else that wandering away and trying to escape the Underworld was not a good idea.

There was one way to find her quickly. Draco whistled, the sound carrying throughout the caverns. His faithful Fluffy bounded through the door and he was virtually covered in slobber and saliva a second later.

“Fluffy, listen, find Hermione, please and bring me to her.” He climbed on the hellhound’s back, gripping the velvety fur. 

One of Fluffy’s maws was sniffing the ground, one was scenting the air, and the third was vigilant of where he was running. In the beast’s haste, Draco had to hold on as they sharply turned a corner to where the gates of the Underworld stood. 

“Look who showed up,” a mocking, deep voice greeted him. 

“Hermes.”

Hermes’ caduceus staff was at Hermione’s throat, the wings biting into her collar bone and the snakes pressed between her breasts. The glee in his fellow Slytherin’s dark eyes made him sick, his twisted smile taunting him. Fucker.

“She’s under my care, let her go, Blaise,” Draco demanded, trying to appeal to his frienemy’s compassion. 

Hermione’s eyes were wide and darting between them. She couldn’t speak for fear of the staff’s sharp adornments piercing her skin. Hermes/Blaise chuckled ominously.

“Can’t do that, Hades. I’ve been ordered by Zeus to bring her back.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “Kingsley shouldn’t be sticking his nose into Underworld business.”

Blaise shrugged and didn’t release Hermione. She licked her lips, which seemed a little redder than when he last saw her. Draco frowned at the situation. His plan was foiled by the Order and he was trying to help her! He needed more time.

Wandlessly, he tried to disarm Hermes, but that damn staff repelled the spell. That failed attempt only made Blaise laugh harder. 

“We’ll be going now, hell boy,” the wizard said, smirking at him. Blaise started dragging Hermione back towards the gates, back to the mortal realm. Draco was powerless to stop him, to save her from harm’s way now. 

Fluffy nudged his side affectionately and Draco absently patted him as he watched them go. When Hermes got to the gate and opened the sixty-meter high door with a touch of his staff, he had to release Hermione from his tight grip. Draco’s stomach clenched at the opportunity to snatch her back. Hermes’ stepped through the doorway before her, but when he tried to take Hermione with him, she was rooted to her spot within the Underworld. 

No matter Blaise’s tugging, she wouldn’t come through the gate, even if she tried to take a step. Draco stalked towards them, his confusion and elation growing at Blaise’s struggle. 

Hermione was looking back and forth between Hermes and Hades. Draco sensed her panic, her despair. He didn’t want that for her, but he didn’t know what was happening either. 

“She seems to have consumed the fruit of the Underworld,” a familiar female voice echoed from behind him. Draco whirled around to see his mother standing there, a shadowed expression on her face. “Pomegranate, was it dear?”

Hermione’s eyes widened. “I-I was so hungry and… it looked so ripe and delicious. I thought a few seeds would tide me over…” Her lip trembled, still coated in the pomegranate juice.

“Mother?”

“The prophecy,” he heard Blaise utter in surprise. “I’ll be back.”

He didn’t even pay attention to Hermes’ departure, Draco stared slack-jawed at his mother.

Chapter Text

“It seems my son hasn’t studied his Greek mythology as was recommended before he took on his role here,” Mrs. Malfoy said dryly to her.

Hermione had no idea what was going on. She couldn’t leave now, she couldn’t go back to her parents. What had Blaise meant by a prophecy?

“I suppose, since you are muggleborn, that he didn’t consider the possibility--”

“Of what, Mother?” Malfoy demanded, his anger making the torches flicker. 

Hermione suddenly remembered which myth had to do with pomegranates. “Persephone,” she said.

Malfoy stared at her in shock, his head whipping around making his blonde hair fall into his eyes. While he stood stock still, Mrs. Malfoy appeared to float towards her. She was one of the Fates, he’d said. 

“I’d heard you were clever, dear. More clever than my son and they were right,” Mrs. Malfoy smiled with kindness in her voice. 

“But that means…”

“Yes, Miss Granger. You will have to stay here six months out of the year. Though, I expect Hermes will return soon to bring you back to your parents for the remainder of the summer until the autumn begins.”

Tears sprang to her eyes. She wasn’t sure if it was because she’d get to see her parents again or if it was because she’d have to return to the Underworld shortly after her birthday. How could she be so stupid to eat something in hell? What would she tell her family? Harry and Ron?

She allowed Mrs. Malfoy to comfort her. While the witch had never been nice to her before, there was something nurturing about a mother. She smelled like clean linen, though Hermione knew that the pureblood matriarch had probably never done laundry in her life. 

“It’s alright, dear, I know my Draco has a soft spot for you. He always has, though he may not have shown it to you until now,” the witch whispered soothingly.

That comment sparked her frustration. “Kidnapping me was his version of kindness?”

“Draco makes decisions based on emotion, though he might deny it. He wouldn’t have agreed to take on the Dark Lord’s tasks without concern for his family. He wouldn’t have brought you here for any other reason than he thought you were in danger elsewhere.”

Hermione’s mind was spinning again at this revelation. It couldn’t be true, except that Mrs. Malfoy’s assessments were sound. She was one of the Fates after all. How was any of this real?

She peered over Mrs. Malfoy’s shoulder and saw Malfoy awkwardly standing where he’d been rooted to the spot. He seemed to be in the middle of an internal battle, his fists clenching and unclenching, his eyes shut tightly. 

“Is that true, Malfoy?”

His icy, gray eyes opened suddenly. What she saw reflected back was nearly enough to tell her that his mother was telling the truth. Emotions were swirling behind his irises and he was trying to keep it all in check.

He pursed his lips, the friction making them redden. Instead of speaking, Malfoy gave a curt nod. 

“What will happen when I return here in a few months?” she asked, directing it at Draco. “Will I be allowed my wand, at least?”

At Draco’s inertness, Mrs. Malfoy answered, “Yes, dear. Your being here has nothing to do with magic and more to do with the ancient ties our kind has with the immortals. Draco took your wand to ensure your safety here, but he will show you how to use it safely as to not disrupt the balance in the Underworld, right love?”

Draco grumbled something affirmative in response. “Right, well, I will be here as often as I can get away from the Manor to check on you while you’re here, Miss Granger.”

“Hermione is fine, Mrs. Malfoy. Thank you for your help.”

“It was my pleasure, Hermione. Please call me Narcissa,” the blonde woman smiled brightly at her. 

Hermione nodded. And a second later, a hysterical laugh announced the trickster Hermes’ arrival. 

Chapter Text

Blaise brandished a scroll and handed it to Draco. He hissed as it zapped him ever so slightly -- damn Zeus! Hermes chuckled at this. 

Sure enough, the agreement was in line with the myth. Hermione/Persephone was to be in the mortal realm from the spring to the fall equinoxes and come to the Underworld in the fall. It worried him, though. What could happen in those remaining months that he couldn’t save her? What if she was attacked, or worse killed. Would she hate him if she returned to the Underworld?

Nevertheless, he was obligated to sign the contract over to the Fates. This was meant to be, somehow. There was a dark sense of humor in all this. Why did he try to be a hero to save her? She didn’t even care about his gesture, his plan. It was all for nothing and now they were stuck with each other until they handed their roles over. 

“It’s all right, Draco. It’s only a few years that you have to stay like this, for both of you,” his mother reminded him. 

Three more years in Hell. Literally.

Hermione looked bewildered. He sensed it and saw it in her wide eyes, the whites of them visible around her brown irises. Draco wanted to say something before she left. What if she didn’t make it back? What if all he’d done was for nothing… just like his mission for the Dark Lord. 

Before he realized it, he was right in front of her, Hermes only steps away, seconds away from whisking her back to the mortal realm. He hadn’t planned what to say, he wanted to say so many things, things that didn’t even make sense to him, things buried deep in his throat that he had to keep from bubbling up.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” he practically growled at her. Hermione gazed up at him, her bottom lip held hostage by her front teeth. He remembered how her large teeth had been fixed after he’d hexed her. It was a small, childish thing, but something he felt guilty for nonetheless. 

She didn’t have the chance to respond because Blaise grabbed her arm. He hadn’t meant to command her, to insult her, but he knew that he had. Draco Malfoy failed again… The guilt gnawed at him until she vanished back to the mortal realm. 

Later, he was glad his mother had gone home as he sipped his firewhiskey. The burning down his throat was better than the fires that his actions had set in his mind. Draco hadn’t thought of the consequences once again.

“Why the long face, Drake?” Theo appeared from the shadows.

He drained his tumbler and ignored his friend by pouring himself another. “I thought you’d be happy, that you’d want to celebrate.”

“Fuck you,” Draco said bitterly. 

He heard Theo smirk behind him. “Don’t you have souls to bring here? I doubt you’re at your quota, Thanatos.” 

“Back to business, are we, Drakey?” 

“I told you not to call me that.”

Theo laughed loud enough to wake the dead… if they ever slept. “I know you couldn’t kidnap her permanently, but you get her for six months of the year. That’s good enough, right?”

Rage flared in his mind. He threw the glass against the wall, the shattering sound calmed him. None of this had turned out right.

“Good enough? She’s my fucking wife now, you lowlife! Against her will, mind you! Against mine too. I didn’t want any of this!” Draco seethed.

Theo was unfazed. “You wanted to protect her, to save your little wet dream from the Dark Lord. Knowing you, this is the best it could have turned out in any scenario,” the wizard drawled.

Draco shook with anger. “Wet dream? That’s what you think this is about? It’s not. I had a fucking premonition, you arsehole! I saw her being tortured, crucio’d within an inch of her life, her arm carved up with a cursed blade.”

“And you think that won’t happen still? How do you know it wasn’t you torturing her? Maybe that person was imperiused to torture her?”

He grit his teeth. “It was my Aunt Bella.” 

Theo crossed his arms and smirked. “And you think that with you she’s safer? Your aunt could come visit, you know.”

“She rarely leaves the Dark Lord’s side. My mother won’t say anything to her about Persephone’s identity,” Draco argued, hoping he was right.

Theo stood, straightening his suit jacket. “And what about the wedding?”

Draco sent a wandless stinging hex and got Thanatos on the buttocks. “Ouch, you fiend!”

Now it was his turn to smirk. “No wedding, you idiot. This is more or less a contractual arrangement and we will treat it as such. I can trust your discretion as to my bride’s identity?”

“Comes at a price,” Thanatos said sorely. Draco summoned a new bottle of firewhiskey and handed it to his friend. 

Chapter Text

Hermione felt like she’d dreamt everything she’d been through with the Greek gods and goddesses. Her parents had been worried, yes, but they’d been pacified by the fake letter Draco had written to them. She hugged them tightly, her father now there for their camping trip. Everything about this situation twisted her gut. 

At least Malfoy hadn’t thought her idea was terrible. If anything he’d been understanding about it all. They were more or less in the same boat but on different sides of the war. The war that neither of them wanted. And yet, she had to basically marry him…

Hermione tried to clear her mind and focus on her parents. She had an expiration date with them. Soon, they wouldn’t remember they had a daughter. A tear escaped her eye only to brush against her mother’s shoulder.

***

It was September 19th; Hermione’s birthday. They’d survived the Battle of the Seven Potters to see Harry’s 17th, Fleur and Bill’s Wedding happened and they escaped, they’d stolen the locket from Umbridge by breaking into the Ministry, and then Yaxley followed them back to Grimmauld Place... Luckily, Hermione had apparated them out of there to camp in the forest.

It had been Hermione’s idea for them to share the burden of the locket. It made each of them ornery and depressed, but Harry couldn’t take on all of Voldemort’s dark soul himself. That’s why she and Ron were there, that’s why they were in this together. 

Except, Hermione hadn’t told a soul about her immortal role. And in four days, she would be whisked back to the Underworld. Back with Malfoy. She didn’t have the heart to tell the boys. It would distract them from surviving and figuring out a way to destroy the horcrux. 

Since she’d left the Underworld, her communication with Malfoy had been limited to a coin. It was an enchanted galleon that he’d sent her by owl when she’d still been with her parents. Hermione blinked back tears. Malfoy had asked her to hold it sometimes, warm it in her hands so that he would feel it. That way, he knew she was alive. 

She tried not to think much of it. Malfoy may care about her well-being, but that didn’t mean it was any more than that. Glancing at where the serial numbers would be on a regular galleon, Hermione saw the countdown to her return to the Underworld. She had to at least write Harry and Ron a letter with some kind of explanation for her disappearance.

Hermione hoped there would be a way to communicate with her friends while she was away. It was one of the first of many things she would have to work out with Malfoy. She shuddered at the thought of six months in the Underworld. 

Unfortunately, since they were on the run, Hermione hadn’t been able to do any research other than the books she’d brought in her bag. She’d written McGonagall before she left her parents for the Burrow about books on the wizarding world’s relationship with the Greek Immortals, but the new Headmistress said Hogwarts didn’t carry any books on the subject. She’d suggested that it was pureblood lore.

She scribbled her letter to Harry and Ron furiously, the locket heavily resting against her sternum. Sure, it made her moody, but she had every right to be. Hermione had to go back to Hell -- who wouldn’t be upset?

A deep voice cleared itself behind her. She scrambled to cover what she was writing and ended up spilling her acorn tea all over it. “Sorry!” Ron squeaked and rushed to help her clean up the spill he’d inadvertently caused. The letter was ruined, but at least Ron didn’t see it, she thought.

“Ron!” she complained anyway. “It took me forever to figure out the right consistency for acorn tea!” 

“I’m sorry , ‘Mione. I was just going to suggest taking the locket from you… You looked agitated,” he said bluntly but seemed genuine.

Hermione all but threw the horcrux at him and stormed into her “room” in the tent. She fell onto her makeshift cot and sobbed into her pillow. Nothing was fair! She’d had to make so many sacrifices in the past few months and no one had remembered her birthday. Neither of the boys dared to follow her into her room and had left her to cry herself to sleep.

She blushed as the blonde head of the angel bent to kiss her hand. This must be heaven. Hermione wore a flowing white gown with sprigs of lavender woven into her hair. They were standing in a field of those same flowers at sunset, the sky soft pink and vibrant orange. 

After he stood up, she still hadn’t seen his face properly, but his skin was like porcelain from what she’d seen. He was wearing a white three-piece suit and when she looked down, Hermione realized he’d slipped a ring onto her finger.

It was a large sapphire surrounded by black small diamonds with a silver band and setting. The ring seemed to contrast everything, but it was quite extravagant and lovely in its own uniqueness. She looked up to find a blonde witch staring at her expectantly with a smile. Was she in her year at Hogwarts? A Slytherin, Daphne, was it?

“I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride,” Daphne said, her white Hellenic dress draped elegantly against the breeze.

Hermione panicked but realized she must have missed the rest of the ceremony. Perhaps, this was how it happened in heaven. A gentle hand stroked her cheek -- the angel wanted to kiss her.

She closed her eyes and turned to him. Soft, warm lips pressed against hers, a hand resting on her waist. She could feel the heat radiating from his body and it made her shudder with want. Hermione had never been touched like this by a boy, as though she were precious. Her first kiss with Viktor was nothing like this. He’d tried to snog the living daylights out of her, shoving his tongue down her throat. 

The angel was gentle, pliant and attentive as she stepped closer to him so their torsos were pressed together. Hermione allowed her hands to tangle in his feathery hair as she let him deepen the kiss. She moaned into his mouth when their tongues met, the taste of him like mint and sage. It was masculine and familiar. 

He relinquished her lips too soon for her pleasure. Their foreheads rested against one another, his neck craned down towards her. She opened her eyes to finally see him straight on.

Her stomach fluttered and dropped as if she were on a broom falling from a great height. Molten mercury eyes, darkened by passion, met hers. She pulled away suddenly.

“Malfoy?” her voice shook, her body shook and she woke up. 

Her dreams had betrayed her, her subconscious body had too. It tricked her into wanting him, or her dream version of him. Hermione’s eyes were swollen from crying, but she felt the slick between her legs. It had felt so real: the softness of his platinum hair, the gentleness of his hands and lips on hers, and the warmth of his body. 

How could she dream about him being so tender? He’d carried her several times in the Underworld while she’d been passed out and drugged, but he’d also nearly strangled her too. Malfoy was mercurial, that was for sure. Was her attraction to him due to the ancient magic binding them to their roles? It had to be, that’s why her clit was throbbing and her arousal was flaring.

Hermione decided to take care of her little problem anyway, no matter what caused it. It didn’t have to be Malfoy who she imagined. Her dream man was faceless, strong yet gentle as she stroked her clit and pleasured herself. Though, the last thing she saw before she came around her own fingers were his eyes, those dark silver eyes watching her.

Chapter Text

Draco woke up painfully hard -- not just the usual morning wood. His bollocks felt sore as he remembered the dream he had of Hermione. They were being married by Hera -- Daphne Greengrass -- and Persephone looked radiant. He’d put his family ring on her finger and she’d let him kiss her, pressing her body against him. 

He wasn’t sure who had deepened the kiss, but the brush of her tongue nearly made him cum in his pants. She didn’t even shy away when he pressed his erection into her soft, flat stomach. And then he’d woken up.

Draco was truly screwed. Would she ever be able to accept him? Would she ever forgive him? Would she ever want to… 

He fisted his cock and imagined what Granger would feel like. Would she be wet for him? Draco thought he’d noticed her checking him out. He pretended that she wanted him, even for a few minutes as he tugged on his prick, imagining her riding him.

Her brown curls fell in a curtain around them as she bounced up and down on his cock. Her arse pressed into his blue balls and she was moaning. He’d hit the right spot inside her as he bucked up into her velvety heat. Draco imagined her tits with puckered, dusky nipples bouncing as she rode him faster and faster…

His toes curled as one last thrust jetted his seed onto his own stomach. If fucking Granger was anything like that… he was in trouble if he thought she’d ever let him get near enough for him to do anything sexual in nature to her. 

Then, he remembered: it had been her birthday yesterday! He cursed that he couldn’t tell her he hoped she was having a good day, couldn’t give her a gift. Alas, Draco could only feel the occasional warmth of the galleon in his pocket. His heart soared and plummeted as he remembered that it would only be a few more days until she was trapped in the Underworld with him.

It was his dream and his nightmare simultaneously. Draco had no one but himself to blame. 

***

“So today’s the day, huh?” Theo drawled from the corner.

Draco rolled his eyes. The prat wouldn’t drop it! Instead of dignifying Thanatos with a comment, he brusquely left his office to meet Persephone at the gates where he’d last seen her. Dread and nervous excitement plagued him.

Thanatos’ constant yapping about what a love-sick fool he was didn’t help his mood either. Draco nearly forgot about his favorite thing about being Hades. The incessant talking ceased as Theo was sucked into the ground and transported to a different section of Hell. 

Hermes had just landed with Hermione as he strolled up to the gothic gates. At her appearance, he was concerned first and foremost. She looked half-starved and infrequently bathed. Her hair looked straw-like, eyes hollowed out. What had happened to her? 

“Thanks, Hermes,” Draco tried to say with as little sarcasm as he could. The trickster gave him a delirious grin as if he could see right through Hades’ heart. He swallowed and turned to Hermione.

Draco whistled for Fluffy. He felt envious when Hermione’s eyes lit up at seeing the hellhound. Why couldn’t that expression be for him? 

His stomach clenched at the sound of her laugh as Fluffy’s giant heads took turns nuzzling her. Despite her haggard appearance, a smile lit up her entire being. It was magical after months in Hell. 

“Alright boy, settle down!” he commanded and mounted the beast, pulling Hermione up with him. She was definitely lighter than when he’d done that months before... 

Draco watched her face morph into disbelief as he showed her into her quarters. This was what he’d focused on for the summer. He needed to believe that she was at least comfortable in the Underworld while she was staying here. She had a sitting room, which led into her bedroom complete with a four-poster bed and an attached bathroom with a shower and bathtub as well as a walk-in closet. While she never struck him as a witch obsessed with clothes, he wanted to make her feel welcome. 

Gryffindor red was too obnoxious for his taste, so he’d gone with shades of violet like the dress she’d worn to the Yule Ball. He’d paired it with gold accents to mimic her Hogwarts House colors. Draco knew from Snape that she hadn’t gone back to school this year, but he didn’t know where she’d been or why she looked like she’d been homeless for months. 

Hermione had been mesmerized by the size of the closet, which, with the help of his mother, he’d provided her with cashmere jumpers and socks, flannel pajamas, a plush robe, and slippers to stave off the cold in the Underworld. The rest of it, he’d assumed, she would fill with some of her own clothes. She stood there staring into space with her arms hugging herself. 

“Hermes didn’t tell you to pack a bag?” Draco asked hesitantly, rather annoyed if this was the case.

He was relieved when she pulled out a small beaded bag that any other witch would take to a special occasion. Raising an eyebrow at her, she sheepishly reached her entire arm into the tiny purse in response. His jaw dropped. 

“An extension charm, eh, Granger? Clever.”

She grimaced. “It’s all I had with me when we were attacked, so I really don’t have many clothes or anything.” 

“Attacked?” Draco said with more concern than he meant to reveal.

She nodded. “First, at Bill and Fleur’s wedding and then after we broke into the Ministry.” He nodded. His father had told him about the second daring plan carried out by Potter and his sidekicks. Their successful scheme had infuriated the Death Eaters. 

“Don’t tell me any more, I don’t want to know where Potter and Weasley are in case I’m interrogated,” he said hastily. 

He groaned internally when she bit her lip, eyeing him and the room. “Thank you for this, Malfoy. These rooms really are too much. They’re lovely, but I’m not used to this… extravagance.” 

Why was she acting so shy and meek? As if they were complete strangers… maybe that was better? To put their past behind them and start over. 

He waved his hand at her gratitude as if it all were nothing, as if he hadn’t spent over a month designing and decorating. “My mother helped a lot. She always said I had a fairly spartan style of living if I was left to decorating,” he said flippantly.

Hermione chuckled to his surprise. “I can’t imagine that. You were always kind of a ponce,” she teased. 

So much for forgetting the past…. “Well, not all of us can be brave and brilliant, Granger.”

Her eyes grew wide at the casual compliment. Draco mentally kicked himself.  

“I believe you were second in our classes, Malfoy, so you were still pretty brilliant even if you weren’t brave,” she remarked.

He ran a hand through his hair, trying to not show the blush creeping up his neck. They were being civil, which was better than he could expect, but now there was an awkward silence and he didn’t know what to say.

“Do you mind if I shower? I haven’t had a real wash in weeks,” she asked. 

He shook his head. “Not at all. I’ll leave you to it. There are towels in the bathroom. I’ll see if I can find you more clothes to wear than what’s in there.”

Draco couldn’t look at her now that he was picturing what she’d be doing after he left. She’d be naked in the shower, water caressing her smooth skin. He all but ran from her bedroom.

Now where in the hell was he going to get clothing for this petite witch? 

***

Hermione didn’t want to leave the shower, but her hands were pruned. The steam and heat warmed her through the bone for the first time in weeks. She’d probably looked like a wraith or banshee when she showed up, but at least that look was probably better than most of the shades in the Underworld. Part of her felt guilty for bathing and luxuriating in the comforts Malfoy had provided her when her best friends were hiding out in the forest. 

Living and surviving in the woods with two teenage boys wasn’t quite a picnic, though. She was responsible for pretty much everything besides the horcrux when it wasn’t her turn. She’d cooked what little they had, put up protection spells, laundered their clothes, etc. Hermione had a newfound respect for Mrs. Weasley and her numerous male offspring.

Speaking of the Weasleys, she felt like she could devour the same amount of food as Ronald at a feast. Her stomach no longer growled, but the hunger gnawed at her. Reluctantly, she turned off the shower and wrapped a fluffy, deep purple towel. Had Malfoy known that her favorite color was violet? Perhaps, it was a coincidence. 

Unwilling to deal with her unruly curls, she dried them as best as she could and tied them into a messy bun atop her head. She changed into a pair of flannel pajamas and encased her feet in the softest slippers she’d ever felt and shuffled out into the sitting room feeling pampered.

Hermione’s mouth watered upon discovering the delectable spread on the coffee table. It was a Sunday roast and more food than she’d seen in over a month. She made herself eat slowly as she salivated and gulped. There was even tea service to wash everything down.

Though she usually savored her solitude, it felt a little creepy without anyone near her in the Underworld. She didn’t know where Draco’s rooms were in relation to hers and didn’t know where he was or what he usually did. What time was it, even?

A knock sounded at the door. “Come in,” Hermione called politely.

Malfoy came in with something in his hands. He was dressed leisurely as she’d seen him before in a cable knit jumper with dark trousers. However, now, if she knew any better she’d say he looked nervous.

A small spark appeared and she realized that he was holding a small cake with a candle in it. “Happy Belated Birthday,” he said with a genuine smile.

She should be horrified; however, she was pleasantly surprised. While her best friends had forgotten about her birthday in their dire situation, a boy who’d tormented her years before had remembered. Hermione wanted to believe that this wasn’t some Slytherin ploy to gain her trust. They were in a difficult, unprecedented situation and he was trying to make the best of it.

“Oh, Malfoy. Thank you! Really, this is all too much,” she gestured to the room and food.

He shook his head. “It’s my fault you’re in this mess, so please, I insist this is me trying to make it up to you.”

The flame reflecting in his metallic eyes made her stomach flip. They were filled with something, dare she say desire? No, that couldn’t be. Just the amount of food she’d consumed and the smell of chocolate from the cake.

Malfoy set the cake in front of her on the table after magically clearing the other dishes. Instead of sitting next to her on the settee, he sat in the arm chair to her left. Eagerly, she blew out the candle, only for it to spark back to life after the smoke cleared. 

She heard him chuckle and looked at him in confusion. “You have to make a birthday wish, Granger,” he drawled. Hermione glanced back and the candle and realized he’d re-lit it wandlessly.

“How did you know--”

He shook his head with a smirk. “I know you didn’t make a wish.” She huffed indignantly, but paused for a second to think of something.

What she really wanted was to not be in this situation at all. Hermione blew the candle out again. And yet, the candle reignited again!

“Malfoy!” she complained.

“You have wish for something that’s at least possible,” he criticized.

Hermione glared at him, but he sat there seeming bored, drumming his fingers on the armrest. How did he know what she’d wished for? Was he practicing legilimency without her knowing?

She thought for another minute and then blew it out again. The smoke turned into golden glitter shimmering as it fell into jimmies on top of the cake. It was a small, lovely piece of magic. Hermione smiled.

Malfoy stood with a lazy grin. “I hope your wish comes true, Granger. Surely Potter and Weasley won’t get into too much trouble without you around.”

Chapter Text

Before the smoke dissipated, Draco bid her goodnight and his long legs took him three strides out of her sitting room. Had he made himself appear too sentimental? Had he been too honest? Honesty wasn’t really part of the Slytherin creed: half-truths and white lies were, but even a lazy voice speaking the unadulterated truth left him feeling vulnerable.

Draco had bared his heart to a Gryffindor lion and she’d been speechless. Rather, he hadn’t really given her the chance to respond, to react, at least in his sight line. He didn’t even realize that he’d been walking in the opposite direction of his chambers until it was too late...

“Hades?” A seductive voice called. Fuck…

Draco slapped on his best fake smile and turned towards the set of rooms that made his guts twist and balls shrink into his body. Hecate slithered up to him, her fingers starting to crawl up his chest. He cringed away.

“How are you, Hecate? I didn’t expect to see you here. I thought you’d be back at Hogwarts,” he said as evenly as possible. 

“Oh Draco, I just had to come visit you for the weekend to see that you’re not too lonely here,” she whined. Her dark hair tickled his nose, her curls coiling like Medusa’s snakes. She was a perfectly lovely girl, but she came on too strong and he wasn’t interested despite his father’s insistence on the match. That’s how she got her role.

He smirked, trying not to let her visibly ruffle him. “Astoria, I’ve got thousands of dead people to keep me company. Thanatos has also been a frequent visitor. You shouldn’t go to this much trouble for me.” 

Discreetly, he tried to take a step back from her, but Astoria seemed to anticipate it and moved with him. She was glued to him, her clear blue eyes focused on his every move. She had porcelain skin, but it made his own skin crawl to touch her. Hecate was too doll-like for the role, but he had to put up with her nonetheless. 

“It’s no trouble at all, Hades. I like to get away from that drafty castle. Would you like to come in for a nightcap?” Astoria flashed a devious smile and he could feel the heat from her body as close as she was to him. 

He tried not to look back toward Granger’s rooms. Draco didn’t want Hecate to know that Persephone had come to steal him away from her. He was surprised, actually, that his father hadn’t summoned him or told the Greengrasses about Granger. Draco wondered if his mother had even told his father. 

“I have an early appointment with my father tomorrow, so I’ll have to decline,” he lied easily.

She pressed more firmly up against him, her soft, lithe body so small compared to his. And yet, Draco didn’t want her. He probably could have risen to the occasion if he bent to his natural urges, but he was detached from her. He wanted…

“Malfoy?” He froze as if he’d been hit with a full body-bind. 

Double fuck !

“Hermione Granger?” Astoria peered around him. Draco pinched the bridge of his nose. This couldn’t get any worse…

“Yes, hello,” Granger said hesitantly, walking closer to them. 

Astoria looked up at him. “What is she doing here, Draco?”

“I didn’t mean to interrupt…” Granger began, her swotty voice inserting itself. Draco’s mind was spinning, trying to figure out what to do. 

“Astoria, you know, I will take that nightcap. Do you have firewhiskey?” he said, turning his back fully on Granger. Astoria gave him a coy smile and turned back to her room. 

While Astoria was babbling on about something, clearly distracted from the Gryffindor’s presence now, Draco turned back to the witch behind him.

“Granger, wait for me in your rooms. I won’t have you wandering about.”

“But…”

“Go!” he said sternly. The torches in the corridor flared wildly. He didn’t have to watch her to know that she had huffed and stomped back to her rooms.

It should have given him more pleasure to make Granger scurry away, but he didn’t like any of this sneaking around. Even Hades couldn’t control everything in his Underworld. Draco took a deep breath to steel himself for what he had to do. 

“Thank you,” he said, smiling fakely at Hecate through his mask. She’d poured herself a finger of St. Germaine and clinked her glass against his. 

“Are you going to tell me why Hermione Granger is here? I assume she hasn’t died,” Astoria said dryly. 

He grimaced and drained his tumbler. “Frankly, it’s none of your business, Tori.”

“Clearly, since it’s gotten you so flustered, Draco.” She turned to refill his glass and he pulled out his wand.

Obliviate, ” he casted. In slow motion, Draco watched the tumbler falling from her hand and he rushed over to catch it, wrapping an arm around her waist in the process.

“Oh!” Astoria said in response to him catching her swooning. “I’m sorry, I felt a bit faint just then. What were we talking about?”

He swallowed the bile in his throat. “I was saying how lovely you look tonight.” She flushed as he helped her to stand upright. 

“Thank you, Draco.” She licked her lips and her gaze went to his mouth. He had to do this… he had to ensure she was distracted, that she truly forgot. It disgusted him to do it.

Her lips were wet and warm against his, but she barely responded to him. He pulled away quickly and seemed to leave her dazed, eyes closed. Her eyes fluttered opened, lips still parted.

“I should go, I have an early appointment with my father in the morning.”

He’d wiped that line of conversation from her mind, so she looked shocked at this announcement. 

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier? I wouldn’t have asked you in. Will I see you tomorrow, Draco?”

He shook his head. “I have a lot of business to attend to. You should return to Hogwarts, Astoria. Focus on your studies and don’t let me distract you,” he said in what he hoped was a brotherly tone.

“But, Draco… We’re meant for each other. Our parents are drawing up contracts.”

He tucked a finger under her chin and he eyes widen. “I know. But I need to focus on the Dark Lord’s plans. You shouldn’t worry yourself over me. We’ll be together when He triumphs.”

She nodded sensibly. He prayed the day never came when those promises would come true. At least Astoria appeared pacified by the kiss and what he’d said. She needed to stay away from him for now. 

“Good night,” Draco bid with a bow and exited her rooms. 

He felt sick to his stomach during his walk to Granger’s rooms. Astoria was innocent in all this, but for Granger’s safety, no one outside the few who knew about Persephone could find out. He was risking everything for her, for a witch he barely knew. A witch he was supposed to hate.

Upon entering her sitting room, he was immediately assaulted by her wand to his throat. Draco gazed down at her with tired eyes, waiting for her challenge.

“What did you do to her?” Granger demanded, fire in her eyes. 

“I didn’t hurt her if that’s what you mean.” That answer didn’t appease her. 

“I’ve seen her at Hogwarts, Malfoy. I know she’s a student. You had that Slytherin glint in your eye. What did you do?” 

He was a little flattered that she had recognized something so subtle about him. Draco had to fight the urge to smirk in satisfaction. 

"I don't usually kiss and tell, Granger."

Her face flushed and the redness traveled down her neck. She looked away from him, pursing her lips.

"That's no-not what I meant, Malfoy. Stop toying with me," Granger asserted, want still at his throat.

He sighed, unable to relish his achievement in flustering Hermione Granger. Resetting his face into his usual mask, he resigned to tell her.

“I wiped her memory of seeing you and that conversation,” he said nonchalantly. She withdrew her wand.

She shook her head in disapproval. “I thought so.” 

“What would you have had me do, Granger? She showed up unexpectedly and no one can know you’re here.”

Granger rolled her eyes. “Yes, because that would certainly ruin your reputation…”

He snarled at her, striding up to her and taking her by the arms. “You know that’s bollocks! I did this for you, Granger. If Voldemort finds out you’re here… You will be tortured, you will die and then the war will be lost,” he yelled, shaking her. 

Instead of looking fearful, she was confused. For what seemed like the million time she questioned, “Why do you care, Malfoy?” 

He sighed. “I didn’t want to be a Death Eater, Granger. I didn’t want anything to change. I didn’t want my mother to be in danger. I didn’t want to become Hades. I didn’t want to alter Astoria’s memories, I didn't want to kiss…” Tears welled up and phlegm blocked his throat from continuing.

To his complete surprise, she wrapped her arms around his waist, her rogue curls tickling under his chin. His arms folded around her shoulders from where he’d been shaking her. Draco wanted to collapse around her like a supernova and fade into oblivion. If anything, that is what he was doing by hiding her away in the Underworld. 

“Either you’re a really good actor or you really do have a heart, Draco Malfoy,” she mumbled into his chest.

He hummed. “Don’t you feel it beating?” Draco whispered. Indeed, his pulse had started racing at her proximity. 

“Mmhmm… Malfoy?” she asked, tilting her chin up. Their mouths were mere inches apart.

“Yes, Granger.”

“What happens between us now? Why does this feel…”

“Comfortable?” he supplied, not wanting to pull away yet. 

She snorted slightly. “I was going to say strange, but it’s comfortable in a way.”

A knock on the door made them jump apart as the door opened. Thanatos’ head poked through with a devious smile. Draco rolled his eyes and had the urge to flip him off. Theo was like a bloodhound and seemed to always know where to find him in the Underworld.

“I hope I’m not interrupting something, but my friend here was eager to see you both,” Theo drawled and a witch entered the room.

Draco’s eyes widened. “Hera.”

Chapter Text

“Hello, Hades, Persephone,” the goddess said serenely. Her blonde hair flowed down her shoulders and the pink draping dress fell to the floor. The Greengrass sisters shared doll-like features, but Daphne had a grace Astoria lacked.

“I was asking how good ol’ Zeus was doing, but she wouldn’t answer me,” Theo said mockingly and Draco rolled his eyes. 

Hera/Daphne shot him a cold glare before turning a dazzling smile on Granger. “How are you doing, Hermione?” 

Granger looked as though she’d seen a boggart or a dementor. She was blinking rapidly at Daphne, her eyes wide.

“You’re Hera?” Granger confirmed, still looking shocked.

Daphne nodded and took Granger’s hands in hers. The Gryffindor seemed even more flustered by the hand holding. Was Hera giving off some queenly vibe that Draco didn’t sense? Theo, on the other hand, had a shite-eating grin about something.

“Goddess of Marriage and Birth?” Granger babbled, staring at her own hands in Daphne’s. Patiently, Daphne nodded again.

The Gryffindor princess was in a trance. Draco started to worry until Hera began speaking in a low, confiding voice.

“Persephone, you had the dream, didn’t you?” Granger blushed and nodded.

“I didn’t know…” Hera hushed her. 

“It will happen when you’re ready,” the Queen of Goddesses proclaimed and glanced at Draco with a warning look. “I would like to speak to Hermione in private, Draco.”

Thanatos was looking lecherous as the witches went into Granger’s bedroom and closed the double doors. 

“Why the fuck are you here, Theo?” Draco snarled.

“To watch this Greek tragedy unfold, of course,” Theo smirked.

***

Daphne sat next to her on the tufted bench at the end of her bed. While Hermione knew that the goddess was the same age as her, Hera seemed so much more mature and at peace than she’d ever considered herself. She was wringing her hands and Daphne laid one of her soft palms on top to steady her. Her serene blue eyes captivated Hermione.

“Don’t be anxious, Persephone. You are soon to take on the role of one of the most powerful goddesses, which hasn’t been occupied since the actual Persephone. You are the Queen of the Underworld, one of the three realms.”

Hermione bit her lip but spoke her wonderings aloud anyway. “Can you tell me more about the roles in comparison to the actual gods and goddesses?”

Daphne sighed softly. “Always thirsty for knowledge… What I’ve been told is that the gods of old were tired of dealing with humans and so they left the roles to wizardkind because they were human but more powerful than muggles.”

Nodding and trying to file that explanation away, Hermione was startled by Daphne’s other hand on her cheek. “What we should be discussing is how you are feeling about all this.”

“I-I don’t… I know know, really. While I didn’t want to abandon Harry and Ron, I can’t help but feel a little relieved not to be… erm… where they are,” Hermione tried to reason.

Hera smiled again. “I understand, and you can tell me anything. Kingsley, Zeus, already knows where your friends are. Don’t worry, help from the Order will come for them.”

“You’re married to Kingsley?!” Hermione blurted out. 

Daphne took in a deep breath and leveled her with an even stare. “We are not. Kingsley was already married when he took the role. His wife did not want to pursue the role of Hera and it passed to me many years later. Trust me, it’s a common joke among many in this small community,” Hera explained with a touch of exasperation.

“So you can refuse a role? Why can’t I refuse Persephone?” Hermione asked desperately.

Hera gave her a sad smile, her blue eyes nearly weeping for her. “Unfortunately, with the circumstances surrounding your role -- your capture and pomegranate seeds -- and the extent of time that it hasn’t been filled, it’s impossible for you to do so. There really isn’t a law or decree dictating this world, but it’s fate, really.”

Hermione willed herself to take a deep breath. “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, it’s just all so unexpected… Does this mean I must marry Malfoy?”

With a nod, Daphne said, “As you are both unmarried and of age, you are obligated to marry him, but only in this realm. In the wizarding world, you may be able to hide and deny it, but here, you will be his queen, his wife, until your roles are passed on.”

“When do they pass on?”

“Three years is the typical starting period, but if one wishes it may be longer.” Hermione shook her head. She basically had to stay married to Malfoy for 18 months out of three years. That was a long time to be attached to someone…

“You have time, though, Hermione. As I said, you will marry him when you are ready,” Daphne said gently.

Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes. “What if I’m never ready?”

“You will be. The Fates have told of it before you and now.”

It was all so mysterious. No one seemed to have a concrete understanding of this ancient world of the so-called Immortals. Which dimension were those lazy gods and goddesses in? Were there alternate realities? How would anyone know if everyone kept them secret like this Immortal world?

“Come back to me, Hermione,” Daphne said calmly, squeezing her hands. 

She blinked and realized she’d gone into the depths of her mind. “Sorry.”

“Trust me, this will all work out. You and Draco need to be honest with each other. Talk to each other. You have more in common than you consciously realize. Be good to one another. I know he’s making an effort with you. When Draco tries with all his heart, he succeeds,” Daphne said in a prophetic voice, her eyes blazing into Hermione’s. 

It made her tremble, so much so that the knock at the door made her jump from the bench. Daphne bid whoever it was to enter. Theo poked his head in.

“We gotta get going, Hera,” he said, his eyes roving around Hermione’s bedroom. “Nice digs you got here, Granger.” And Theo winked at her. 

Daphne sighed and moved to follow him out, but not before saying, “Remember what I said, Persephone.”

Hermione watched her go. Despite her status at Hogwarts and in the Wizarding world, these gods and goddesses were treating her with kindness. Even before she was forced into being Persephone, they were more or less courteous. And so far, Draco seemed to be trying to make up for everything he’d done to her upon her return. 

It was difficult for her to take everything Daphne said as truth, but her own observations had proven it. Draco Malfoy, Hades, God of the Underworld, was trying to protect her in the ways he knew how. Pixies fluttered in her stomach as a blonde head peeked in through the door ajar. 

“Are you okay?” he asked, standing halfway in and out of her room.

“I suppose… Come in, please. We should talk.” 

Malfoy obliged and stood by the fireplace as if he were posing for a nineteenth-century portrait. He lit a fire with the snap of his fingers, the glow warming the room more than the heat.

“What did Hera say?” he asked, still staring into the hearth.

Hermione bit her lip, trying to choose her words. “She said we will marry when we’re ready. And that you were trying, trying to get along with me. Are you… erm… ready?”

“Ready to marry you?” His silver eyes glinted at her. “We’re only seventeen and eighteen.”

“She said three years was the starting period.” Malfoy nodded as his gaze returned to the flames.

Hermione approached him, cautiously. “And we’ve known each other for nearly seven at Hogwarts?” 

He snorted. “Know is a strong word, Granger. I was a bully and a spoiled prat. Still am… All I know about you is that you’re top of the class, brilliant, loyal to your friends, and you have a mean right hook.”

He smirked at her and looked away again. Was he flirting with her? Before it seemed like they could have… 

“You’re right, we don’t know each other very well. And it’s not like we have classes to go to tomorrow. Let's stay up and get to know each other,” she proposed decisively. 

Malfoy looked at her dubiously, as if she were offering him something he suspected contained poison. “You should really get some rest. We have time, it can wait.” He turned to leave but she grabbed his wrist. 

That dark glint was back in his eyes for a split second and then it was gone. “Tell me one thing I don’t know about you for now. I’ll tell you something in return,” Hermione bargained. 

He thought, his eyes tracing something behind her. “I hate the color green.”

She wanted to roll her eyes at his shallow answer, but they had to start somewhere. “The sorting hat wanted to put me in Slytherin, but I told it that I needed to be brave because all I knew of magic was from books, to bolster my courage, so it put me in Gryffindor.”

To her surprise, he smirked. “I always thought you were cunning enough, Granger,” Malfoy drawled, his eyes alive with interest. He took her hand and bent to kiss it.

His lips felt like they had in her prophetic dream: soft yet firm and gone far too soon. Heat bloomed inside her, unbidden and sudden. Her breath hitched at the sensations spreading within her simply at his touch. 

Was this part of their fate? Were their roles pushing them together? Was it their situation, their proximity? When he closed the door with an uttered ‘goodnight,’ she stood there breathless.

Hermione gathered herself and grabbed a book to read until she fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Draco dreamt of her torture that night. Her cries echoed in his brain as the crimson of her blood welled up where the seams were split apart by his aunt’s cursed blade. He woke up gasping, sweating through his sheets even though the air was frigid around him. 

He didn’t know if he’d done enough to save her. Even the unforeseen Persephone role may not prevent her torture. Draco couldn’t be sure. He couldn’t drag his mother into this again as much as he needed her guidance, her comfort. It was too risky with the evil snake residing at the manor. 

As he calmed down, he went to take a bath in his Jacuzzi -- only the best for a Malfoy, King of the Underworld. The heat and steam warmed his soul, the ice in his bones melting away. He wanted, no, needed, to see Granger before going to his work for the day.

Draco remembered her grabbing his wrist, his lips pressing a kiss to her knuckles. She wanted to get to know him, but what would she find other than his tortured soul? He’d done evil, he’d erred, he’d repented, he’d cowered, it wasn’t anything a witch like her would want to see. And yet, she didn’t shy away from it, the brave soon-to-be queen. It was why he needed her. To balance him. 

He needed her smile, her ire, her brilliance, her passion; it stirred something in him that he’d once thought was hate and envy. Draco recognized it, just barely, as desire and hunger for something he couldn’t -- shouldn’t -- have. There was an ache in him to make her his. Was that Hades or him? His yearning for Granger or Hades’ desire for Persephone?

She was right, as much as it pained him to admit it. They should get to know each other before anything happened, before they’re married. What happened if he overstepped? What if his passion for her made her hate him more? But what if…

He daydreamed an extension of their marriage dream he’d had. Where Daphne left and he laid Persephone down on a blanket in the field of lavender. The drive to make her his in body and spirit was thrumming through his veins as she allowed him to peel the white dress off her golden skin. She gazed up at him with gentle, nervous eyes, but nothing about her was unwilling as she laid bare before him graced by the hues of the sunset. 

Draco pushed slowly into her wet heat. Her eyes were glowing as she begged, “Please… Hades… I need you…” 

With a groan he spilled himself in the roiling water, his fantasy tainted by the suspicion that the old magic of the Immortals was forcing her to want him. Nothing could be simple. Deep down, he admitted that he was attracted to her, but ever since he’d brought her to the Underworld she seemed even more tempting. He still had to try to get to know her, though. His suspicion would be something he’d ask his mother about the next time she visited. 

Later that morning, the knock on his suite door made his heart leap. He’d invited Granger to brunch in his rooms to continue her proposal of “getting to know each other.” It was a gesture of good will. 

“Good morning, Persephone,” he said cordially as she shyly walked in. 

“Thank you for your invitation, Hades.” Draco gestured for her to sit across from him at the small table. She’d worn a purple cashmere jumper, leggings that she must have had in her clever bag, and slippers. 

Her eyes swiveled around the room, his sitting room. “You weren’t kidding about being spartan.” Granger commented.

“Tea or coffee?” he offered, ignoring her observation. Draco’s rooms were various shades of black, white, and gray. Dark wood played a part as well in the furniture. The accents were silver and gunmetal gray, sleek and modern. 

Despite the simplicity, everything was fine quality. The silver tea spoon she was using to put a lump of sugar into her tea was worth fifty galleons alone. He wouldn’t tell her that. It wouldn’t impress her anyway, only a witch like Astoria would swoon over something like a silver spoon. 

“I’m surprised you take porridge,” Granger remarked as she cut into the eggs benedict. 

He swallowed the bite he’d taken before answering like a gentleman. “Mother always made me eat it as a child and I grew fond of it. The warmth of it really heats me through to the bone.”

It burned in him to correct her, to point out her prejudice, but Draco restrained himself. He had to play nice. She sipped her tea, her rosy lips kissing the edge of the cup. It made his mouth go dry.

“Are you enjoying your eggs benedict?” he asked before taking another bite of porridge. 

“Yes, it’s quite delicious. I assume a house elf made it,” she said, gazing at him accusingly. 

He only let his teacup tremble for a second before bringing it to his lips for a sip. She’d caught him off guard, but Draco should have been prepared for this topic to come up. He’d heard whisperings of her club “S.P.E.W.” at Hogwarts of which she was the leader and only member. 

“Before you start your crusade, these elves have been employed in the Underworld for centuries. They have been offered liberation before I was here and they declined. It’s all they’ve ever known. You’re welcome to ask them yourself,” he stated calmly. Granger looked down at her half-eaten breakfast.

“I understand. Even the Hogwarts elves argued with me… I appreciate you telling me, though.”

He nodded. “Something you may not know about me is that I’m learning to cook with only minor aid from magic.”

She looked up sharply and his pulse jumped at her astonished expression. Granger recovered quickly and said, “Perhaps, you and I could cook together sometime. My parents and I used to cook together often.”

Draco was smiling and said he’d like that before he even remembered that she’d obliviated her parents. Because of his father’s cause, the cause he was forced to fight for. He had to look away from her, the tea starting to taste like ashes in his mouth. 

“We can’t change any of it, Draco. All we can do is move forward," Granger remarked.

His heart squeezed in his chest. Perhaps this could all work out with her; the swot was right as per usual...

***

Hermione wasn’t sure what daily life in the Underworld was like and asked Draco if it were possible to shadow him for the day. He said he had a few meetings, which would be boring for her to attend, but he promised to show her a place that would occupy her time. She smiled, very interested in what this place would be. 

“Oh, and before I forget, are there clothes you would prefer to wear here? Most of what you have in your closet are casual or pajamas,” Malfoy asked before they left his quarters.

She felt comfortable in what she was wearing now, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a few more options. The leggings Hermione was wearing were a bit old and faded. What would she need for the Underworld, though? She didn’t think there were events or anything she’d need other clothes for down here.

“I suppose another pair of leggings and jeans if that’s possible. I know they’re muggle clothes…”

Malfoy nodded. “No problem, Granger. Follow me.”

They seemed to be walking down the endless corridor away from his quarters and her own. She was starting to believe him about the great expanse of his domain. It seemed like they walked for at least a half-hour before reaching large, wooden double doors. The entrance was ornate, carved thousands of years ago to include the many areas and creatures of the Underworld. Hermione wanted to run her hands over the detailed design.

With a flourish of his hand, Hades opened the doors to reveal a circular room completely lined with books. Her jaw dropped. There was a wide spiral staircase that allowed a browser to see books on all sides and walk up and down. She peered down when they reached the landing and saw the books infinitely spiral down hundreds of feet. Then, she looked up and it had the same neverending effect. It was overwhelming and bloody brilliant!

Malfoy was smiling at her. A true, genuine smile. There was a surge of emotion, gratitude, that made her want to hug him, but she resisted. 

“I can trust you to be occupied here while I do some business?” he asked and she nodded vigorously, her eyes wandering the spines surround her.

He chuckled. “Call one of the elves when you’d like to go back to your rooms. It’s a long way back.”

Hermione was more excited than she’d been in a long time as he closed the door to the library.

Chapter Text

Draco sighed as he left Granger in the library. Part of him would love to see her browse the multitude of books, but he had a lot of work to do. Checking his watch, he saw he had exactly twelve minutes to make it to his appointment in his office. He summoned his broom and flew to make it on time.

“Draco, dear. I knew you’d be on time,” his mother said, tea service ready, the fine china poised at her lips.

“I appreciate your faith in my punctuality, Mother,” he drawled absently, adding three lumps of sugar to his milky tea. 

She smiled at him after taking a sip. “More like fate, dear. Speaking of, how is Persephone?”

Draco nearly scalded his mouth by taking a healthy gulp of tea before answering. “I left her in the library, so I assume she is feeling right at home.”

“And you’re getting along alright?” He nodded. 

“You know Daphne stopped by then?” 

“Of course. When do you believe Persephone will start fulfilling her role instead of browsing through books?” 

It took immense effort for him to not roll his eyes at his mother. “She has been Persephone for less than twenty-four hours. You can’t expect her to become Queen of the Underworld that quickly.”

His mother pursed her lips but didn’t argue. “Mother… do you know anything about the Eternal couples? Did they feel a pull towards one another? Is that normal or some kind of ancient magic?”

She looked like that cat who’d gotten the cream. “My dear boy, do I have to explain attraction to you?”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. “That’s not… Nevermind! I called you here to ask for your help again. Granger came without clothing and requested some muggle clothing -- jeans and leggings -- that would make her more comfortable here.”

“I will see what I can do, Draco. Security is getting tighter at the Manor, so don’t expect me to visit any time soon, but I’ll send those muggle items along as soon as I can. And don’t worry so much, son. Everything will work out for the best,” she said, her warm embrace a rarity, but more welcome than ever.

***

Hermione must have fallen asleep reading because someone was stroking her face gently and saying her name. She woke up to the sensation of being carried. Her eyelids were still heavy, but from the feel of the chunky wool sweater, she knew it was Ron holding her close to his broad chest. 

“‘M so happy to see you. It seems like it’s been forever. I didn’t want to leave you…” she mumbled into his jumper. He smelled like earth and musk, but not sweaty teenage boy musty.

He bent down to kiss her forehead and then captured her lips in a gentle kiss. She moaned into his mouth. He’d finally gotten the hint! She didn’t want it to end. 

His tongue licked lightly at the seam of her lips and she let him explore her mouth, her body heating to his ministrations. Hermione had expected his kisses to be clumsy -- it’s not like he’d snogged anyone but Lavender Brown and that was always a messy display. Their mouths lost contact as he set her on her feet.

She clung to his shoulders as their tongues continued to tangle. Her stomach fluttered as he pressed her against a bookshelf, his hard body against her soft one. He bent his head to kiss down her jaw, nipping lightly at her skin. She ran a hand through his hair, expecting it to feel coarse and slightly curly. Instead, it was like silk; it reminded her of… Hermione’s eyes shot open to find platinum blonde in the place of fiery Weasley red!

And yet, she couldn’t deny that she was still aroused by Draco Malfoy’s touch. She allowed him to suck on her pulse point before pushing him away. This ended the dream and she woke to the empty Underworld Library with damp panties. 

Hermione tried to focus on reading again, but a few minutes later the opening doors revealed Hades himself. He seemed worn down, but smiled at seeing her. That was new. She couldn’t reconcile the old Draco Malfoy with Hades, King of the Underworld. 

“Enjoying the library?” he asked casually, browsing a nearby shelf. She couldn’t respond. Her dream vividly replaying in her mind. 

“What is it, Granger?” Now he was concerned at her lack of response.

“I keep having these dreams…” she blurted out. Fear flickered in his statuesque features. 

He asked hesitantly, “What kind of dreams?”

She blushed. There was no way she could tell him that he was pleasuring her in his dreams. He would have a conniption. Hermione buried her face in her hands. 

“Granger, this is important. Are they premonitions?” he demanded. 

“I can’t… I don’t know…” Then, she felt a tug in her mind and she fought it for as long as she could before her mind was bared to him fully. 

She couldn’t hide her thoughts from him. Draco Malfoy was a powerful Legilimens and Occlumens. He pulled away as quickly as he’d entered, but it didn’t make it any less intrusive.

His eyes were burning a hole into her as if he wished to stay and rove around in her mind. “Granger…. We have… to be… honest… if this is… going to work,” he said breathing hard. She could tell he was trying to control himself. 

Tears were in her eyes before she could stop them. “And that includes sifting through my mind, you fucking prat?!” she spat, tears running down her face.

“You weren’t saying anything! I had to know if you were seeing what I have!” Malfoy growled.

“What were you seeing?” 

His mouth clammed up forming a thin red line across his face. She lashed out: “You saw mine, tell me yours.”

“My aunt, Bellatrix, was torturing you. Cruciatus curse and a cursed knife carving ‘mud…’” She saw him swallow thickly. “It was a premonition, Granger.”

Hermione’s mind went blank. And yet, she was finally seeing everything clearly, putting everything together. He’d orchestrated it all except for the Persephone part if his own bewilderment was any indication. She finally saw Draco Malfoy for who he really was: a flawed hero. 

“You did all this… to save me from that? You thought you could protect me here instead of letting me go off with Harry and Ron…” 

He nodded, gazing at his dragon-hide leather shoes. She went over to him and now he was looking down at her. Hormones were still spiking her blood stream and Hermione made a rash, Gryffindor decision.

She pressed her lips to his. He froze, lips unmoving against hers. Hermione pulled away, embarrassed by her irrationality. Maybe she interpreted this situation wrong, but what could have motivated him besides compassion?

When Malfoy grabbed her curls, not roughly but enough to stop her from leaving his personal space, she gasped and he captured her lips like he had in her dreams. And this time she knew it was real and he actually wanted her. 

Chapter Text

Their mouths slanting over one another lit a burning passion in Draco Malfoy, Hades, King of the Underworld. He hadn’t been alive until then; it didn’t even compare to the fastest, most daring of Quidditch moves. He’d been a shade, barely aware of anything outside himself before kissing Hermione Granger, Persephone, his queen. 

Draco sucked gently on her sweet, full bottom lip and her groan jolted his cock even in its upright position. He wanted lay her on the table or press her against a bookshelf. His blood was singing for her, spiked with a lethal dose of adrenaline and oxytocin. Her soft yet firm body made him want to beg at her feet, grovel and promise her anything for more than just a taste of her. 

“Do you feel that?” he asked breathlessly, their foreheads resting against one another. It amazed him that she hadn’t shoved him away like she had in the dream. And yet, she’d had an intense, sensual dream about him, so it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, even in her subconscious that she wanted him too.

“Yes… is that natural?” Granger was also trying to catch her breath. 

He chuckled, couldn’t help himself. “No, Granger. You and I are not natural…” She sharply looked at him, bracing for him to reject her. “We’re pure magic. I’ve never felt that kind of surge, not even when I held my first wand…” 

She was blushing again. “You don’t think this is just the old gods, some ancient magic pulling us together?” It was as if she’d read his mind earlier.

“My mother didn’t seem to think there was such a thing.... If there was, then it could be in a book in this library.” She bit her lip and glanced at the thousands of books surrounding them. The candlelight made it quite romantic, he thought.

“Isn’t this what’s supposed to happen anyway?”

“Is that what you think?” he countered, hopeful that she’d say yes. Draco didn’t care for the reason, only that it was happening and he couldn’t be happier.

“I suppose… I’ll look into it later.” His stomach fluttered.

“Later?” It wasn’t like Hermione Granger, bookworm extraordinaire, to put off research, but maybe he didn’t know her that well.  

Her brown eyes pleaded with him, as if he’d object, but then she whispered into his ear. The slight brush of her lips made him shudder in anticipation. 

“Do what you did in the dream, Malfoy, please.”

He would do as his queen commanded. If Hermione Granger, Persephone, had dominion over anything, it was Draco Malfoy, Hades. Her request made him throb in his pants. 

His hands ran down her waist to the flare of her hips and grabbed her arse and lifted her. She obligingly wrapped her legs around his hips as he spun her toward the bookshelves. Draco kissed her swollen lips once before trailing kisses down her jaw and stopped at her ear.

“As you wish, Persephone.”

She quivered and he nipped his way down to her collarbone. He pressed his eager erection between her legs as she keened lightly as she had in the dream he’d seen. She tasted faintly of vanilla and it made his mind go fuzzy with desire. 

Her hips canted into his as Draco held her up against the bookshelves. “Can I touch your breasts, Hermione?” he asked huskily. 

“Yessss,” she sighed. He ran his thumb over her left breast and he could feel the nipple stiffen through her shirt and bra. She keened at the sensation. So responsive, his little queen. So perfect. 

“Do you want me to make you cum? I could, over your clothes.”

Her eyelids were heavy and pupils dilated. “Please, Malfoy.”

He shifted her so that her pelvis was aligned with his erection and he started rocking into her mons and clitoris. She returned the movements with alacrity, moaning in pleasure that her little nub was being subjected to. He shifted the neck of her jumper to gain access to her bra and teased one of her stiff nipples with his mouth. Her hand scraped across his scalp as he steadily pushed her to the edge of ecstasy. 

“You’re so hard…” she gasped as he pressed into her, the seam of her leggings providing more direct pressure. 

“Malfoy!” Granger cried as her orgasm hit.

She melted into him, boneless after her pleasurable release. He miraculously hadn’t cum in his pants, but he planned to wank to the memory later. Draco hoped there would be a repeat of this, if not a more in-depth encounter. 

Her head lolled against his shoulder as he carried her back to her quarters. He didn’t mind the extensive walk as long as Granger was in his arms. Draco began to feel even more hopeful as he strode. Somehow, all his screw-ups had turned in his favor and he didn’t think he deserved it, but he couldn’t argue too much when it came to his queen. Still, he’d wanted her to call him by his given name when she came, but it was enough for now to touch her, pleasure her. 

Would she regret it in the morning?

Draco tucked her into bed with her clothes still on. He gave her a light kiss, but she grabbed his arm as he pulled away. “Stay,” she sleepily begged.

It pained him to say, “Not this time, Granger. I have some work to attend to. Listen to your body and sleep.” Draco pressed a soft kiss on her forehead and she sighed. 

Unfortunately, being King of the Underworld involved actual work as well as paperwork. He went back to his office to find Thanatos in his chair with his boots resting on his desk. Draco glared at him and sent Theo flying out of his chair with a wave of his hand. 

“Give me your report and get out,” Draco grumbled as he sat down.

Theo gave him a devilish grin. “I thought having little Miss Gryffindor here would lighten your spirits.”

“Her presence here hasn’t made you any less of a pain in mt=y arse, so no, it hasn’t lightened my mood,” Draco drawled.

Thanatos produced a scroll with his report and started to hand it over. He pulled it back as Draco reached for it. “Have you made a move yet?”

“As if I’d tell you!” Theo withheld the scroll. 

The torches flared in his office. He knew Theo wouldn’t leave until he got the dirt. 

“Fine, we kissed, alright?”

“That’s it? A kiss? What are we third years?” Thanatos taunted.

With a growl and clenched teeth, he said, “I got her off. Over her clothes. That’s all, you pervert!”

Theo dropped the scroll on his desk with a gleeful smile and left. For a straight hour, Draco pored over paperwork, including the poorly written report from Thanatos. And then, thoughts of her distracted him. 

Locking his door, he pulled out his neglected prick, which was still weeping for some action. Draco remembered how responsive and pliant she'd been, how she'd wanted him, begged him to stay in bed with her. He spilled himself with a drawn-out groan. Why hadn’t he stayed? He didn’t want to overwhelm her, didn’t want to push things too far too fast. 

Perhaps, this was the natural course of action. They would grow into love over the years… And then what? Would she acknowledge him after their time was up or even in the wizarding world? He shook his head. 

“One thing at a time, Draco,” he said to himself.

Chapter Text

Hermione woke early, her body incredibly relaxed, limbs heavy. She felt foggy but in a got-enough-quality-sleep way. Peeling off her pajamas, she realized her knickers were nearly ruined with drying… cum. Fuck.

That tryst with Malfoy hadn’t been just a dream after all. Or, rather, a dream come true! Her clit throbbed at the memory of how hard he’d been pressing against her. No one but herself had ever made Hermione orgasm. With Viktor, it had been a lot of fumbling about in the nether regions that had her groaning in frustration rather than satisfaction. The Bulgarian was frustrated too, but he gave up and went back to snogging her like a rabid bulldog. 

What she did with Malfoy was the closest she’d gotten to having sex… And he hadn’t even taken her clothes off! The embarrassment inflamed her face and chest as she stepped into the shower. Hermione had been so brazen, so wanton. His confidence and desire had her begging him. She needed him to take control and Hermione Granger had never liked losing control.

Apparently, she’d throw herself at any wizard who wanted to save her from torture and invaded her mind with legilimency. The truth from Draco Malfoy had been unexpected and she wholeheartedly believed him. Hermione knew that while she didn’t like his invasion of her mind it had been necessary in some respects in case she had had some kind of similar premonition. And since it had come true, but only with Malfoy’s inside knowledge of her dream, was it still a premonition?

She wished there was someone to talk to about this quandary, but it was her and Draco and no one could know she was there. Not that she’d want to talk to just anyone about what happened, there was no way she could tell Harry and Ron about it and she wasn’t sure how to reach them without endangering them or herself. It was something to ask Malfoy or find out how to get a meeting with Kingsley if that were possible.

As she was toweling off, she heard the distinct sound of apparition into her bedroom. Hermione wrapped a robe around herself to investigate. A house elf in a pink, frilly tea towel was magically storing clothes in her expansive closet. 

“Hello, there,” she said kindly. The wide, green eyes turned to her, only slightly startled.

“Queen Persephone! The king has gots you more clothes,” the elf squeaked. 

She tried not to chuckle at the elf hanging leggings and folding jeans and managed to stifle it with a smile. “Thank you. What’s your name?”

“Liri, your highness. I must go now. Good day!”

At least Liri was “free” and hopefully a paid elf. Hermione wondered if she belonged to the Malfoy family or the Underworld as she shrugged on a soft sweater in cream and a pair of medium wash jeans. It was a wonderfully cozy outfit to go to the library to have a morning cup of tea and read…

Flashes of her sensual moment with Malfoy made her fuzzy sweater seem too warm as her face and neck flushed. Hermione wasn’t sure if she could go to that magnificent library without thinking about that transgression. Her mind and body had betrayed her perception of him, which had been changing, but years of bullying weren’t erased in a few days, in the span of an orgasm. She clenched her thighs together. 

She couldn’t live without libraries, so Hermione became determined to disassociate them with Malfoy. The long walk down the corridor seemed even longer by herself. And then, she heard noises from one of the doors, which she’d assumed was a broom closet. It was slightly ajar and she peeked through the opening. 

Her jaw dropped at the sight of a small-scale quidditch pitch with only one player, but the pieces of equipment seemed to be simulating a game around none other than Draco Malfoy. It seemed as though he was playing seeker as he chased the golden dot fizzing through the air. It didn’t help Hermione at all that Malfoy was shirtless, his pale torso filled out with bare lean muscle. He had track bottoms on and fingerless gloves as he zoomed about. 

Malfoy was almost as good as Harry on a broom, but he’d grown up with the sport and the art of flying. Hermione could barely control it despite her detailed research on the topic of broom magic. The height scared her, but Malfoy seemed at ease, his shaggy hair blowing about. She realized that he was determinedly flying after the golden snitch and was seconds away from catching it, his arms outstretched, palm and fingers open. And then, she saw the bludger’s trajectory aimed for his broom.

Hermione gasped loudly and he heard her and glanced over his shoulder, barely avoiding the bludger with a deft barrel roll and losing the snitch. She lowered her hands from her mouth, which she hadn’t realized were there, and watched him cancel the spell so the equipment soared towards its storage box. 

She expected anger on his face as he flew down to where she stood in the doorway, but he didn’t say anything. His cheeks were pink with exertion when he started approaching her. Malfoy seemed more surprised than anything to see her. 

“Granger,” he said in a rough exhale. 

“I’m sorry, Malfoy… I saw--”

“Thank you.”

She blinked at him. “What?”

He smirked at her and drawled, “I know you hate quidditch, Granger, and probably me, and it’s just like a Gryffindor to keep me from catching the snitch.”

Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but he held his finger up. “And if you hadn’t done that, I would have been knocked flat on my face in the Underworld.”

“Oh, right… You’re welcome, then.” She felt uncomfortable receiving gratitude from Malfoy. 

He examined her as she tucked a stray behind her ear. “Why do you look so guilty, Granger?” Malfoy purred at her, his eyes still roving.

“I-I thought you’d be upset…” she said meekly. A genuine smile flashed across his face, white teeth and all. His lips closed over them quickly, pursed as if he’d tasted something sour, but she knew he wanted to resist such a blatant display of emotion. 

Why was Malfoy acting shy now? He’d always been closed off, but now he was being coy with her… Hermione bit her lip trying to rectify the Malfoy she knew and the one in front of her. 

Her eyes widened as she felt him lightly grip her chin. She released her lip to gasp at his sudden closeness and touch. The mercury depths swirling in his eyes told of the desire from the previous day. 

“Don’t worry this lip, Granger… It makes me want to worry it for you,” he rasped. 

Her stomach flipped. “I won’t, though, unless you want me to.” And then, he winked and let her go. 

Hermione Granger was stunned at this behavior. She should abhor it. And yet, for some reason, she didn’t. She should slap him or walk away or yell at him. But she stood there staring as he sent his broom to storage. 

“There is something wrong with me…” Hermione muttered as she finally found the will to move her feet back toward the endless corridor. 

***

Had he actually said that? Had the words left his lips? Draco was trying to save face as he watched Granger walk out the door. He found himself following her automatically as she made her way down to the library. Her round arse was displayed in the denim as she walked. His stomach filled with manic pixies at the memory of making her cum against the bookshelves not twelve hours ago. Even after his stress release of quidditch in the morning hadn’t rid him of the compulsion to do whatever he could to make her want him. 

The noises she’d made echoed in his head as he made a sharp turn through a doorway, trying to put her out of sight and out of mind. He’d been unable to avoid his father’s invitation to tea that afternoon at the manor. It made his skin crawl to think of seeing the snake that invaded his home. Unavoidable, unfortunately.

Before he left, after checking in on operations and counts, Draco sent a memo to Granger to invite her to dine with him. At least, assuming she didn’t decline, he’d have something to look forward to after visiting his father. 

Draco was glad he had a light breakfast so as to not have his stomach roiling before being subjected to the Death Eaters in his ancestral home. When he arrived via apparition, Tinky the house elf was waiting to take his cloak and escort him to the drawing room. 

As soon as he entered, the breath was knocked from him and his vision swam. The dream about Granger… it would have happened in this room. Her blood-curdling screams would have echoed and intermingled with his aunt’s cackling. She was safe now, at least. He recovered, his breathing returning to normal when his father strutted through from the powder room. 

Lucius looked exhausted: eyes heavy and red-rimmed, and yet the look in them was menacing. He looked haunted, hunted, and feral. Gone was the regal man who he’d aspired to be growing up. His father examined Draco for any sign of weakness, anything he could pick and prod and admonish. As a trained Occlumens, he set his mask in place and began doctoring his tea: two sugars, splash of cream. 

His father sat in the antique armchair to his left. “How is everything on the homefront, Father?”

“I assume it’s been more fulfilling and entertaining than the Underworld,” Lucius snarled. 

Rather than being on the offensive, Draco was composed. “It is rather boring, but I must do my godly duty,” he drawled before sipping his tea. 

“Speaking of your duty.” Draco miraculously refrained from cringing. “Ms. Greengrass told her father that you sent her packing back to Hogwarts.”

He smirked. “Father, you should know better than anyone that it’s improper courting to be alone with a pureblooded witch.”

His father’s steely eyes flashed. “And as the only heir to the Malfoy and Black families, you should be considering and solidifying your future.”

“She’s barely fifteen, Father! I’m only seventeen. We have our whole lives ahead of ourselves after the Dark Lord triumphs.” 

Lucius sneered regally. “And while you play Hades in that Merlin-forsaken Hell, I’m up here doing His bidding. I’m doing the real work, so show some respect, Draco.”

He bowed his head into his tea. “Apologies. I did not mean--”

“I don’t care what you meant, son!” his father growled dangerously. “Do as you’re told, as you’re expected to do.” 

“Yes, Father.” He’d always looked up to Lucius and had wanted to be his mirror image throughout his entire childhood until now. Now, he saw right through the shell of the man in front of him. 

They sipped their tea in frigid silence. Draco wished his mother was here to stave off the animosity his father incited, but these days he didn’t think anything calmed Lucius Malfoy. And so, it was just father and son…

Alarm bells started ringing in his head as he felt the invasion into his mind. Fortunately, only his family were in the front of his mind, anything secretive locked up tightly. And yet, Lucius’ barrage split straight through a crack in his defense -- probably from the toll this room had taken on him -- as the attack broke the lock and key on his most recent indiscretion. Draco pulled up a shield and a deep, cleansing breath forced his father out of his mind. 

Lucius looked wary as their eyes met to stare angrily at one another. He wasn’t sure his father saw anything, but he waited for any baiting lines or indication that he’d found something. A minute later, his father doubled over, clutching his left forearm before he could say anything else. 

The Malfoy patriarch hissed and stood at the Dark Lord’s summoning. Draco stood as well, knowing he’d be dismissed. He was glad for it; the manor was now tainted with Voldemort’s cursed stench. Lucius summoned his Death Eater mask and stood up straight with his cane braced. 

“Good day, Father,” he bit out as politely as he could.

As Draco turned toward the door to the foyer, Lucius spoke in a clipped tone. “Don’t think that your dalliance with any nymphs or lesser goddesses will prevent you from fulfilling your duty. Tread carefully, Draco.” His stomach sank with every clang of his father’s cane on the wood floor. 

At least he hadn’t seen Granger, Draco thought with rye satisfaction. Some residual emotions associated with his secrets had leaked from the temporarily broken lock, though. Otherwise, his father wouldn’t have picked up anything at all. He’d have to focus on improving his Occlumency further and knew he would have to talk to Severus about it soon.

Either that or he had to resist his temptation for Granger. But how could he when they’d have to be married eventually? A headache formed behind his eyes as he apparated back to the Underworld to prepare for his dinner with Persephone. 

Chapter Text

Why was there a flutter in her core when she accepted Malfoy’s dinner invitation? Oh right, because Hermione Granger was going insane. She’d now been pampered, given unlimited access to the Underworld’s vast library, and dry-humped into a blissful orgasm in said library. What was next? Only marrying the Hades who happened to be her former schoolyard bully!

What was Malfoy to her now? Fiancé? Suitor? Her king? All the labels made her nipples tighten and then the unbidden memory of him dominating her, his hard body and arousal moving against her. Fuck.

The worst part was that she wanted it. Hermione Granger wanted Draco Malfoy pressed up against her, learning how she liked to be touched, exploring her desires, how far she’d be willing to go for him. It was partially humiliating and stimulating. 

With that, she distracted herself by starting to research the relationships between gods and goddesses as well as any connections between the myths and wizardkind. The hours of scouring books like The Multitude of Mythical Marriages and Zeus: the Siring God flew by even though it left her no more knowledgeable about her attraction to Malfoy than when she’d begun. Before she knew it, it was almost time for dinner with Malfoy. 

While she knew she shouldn’t primp herself for him, Hermione knew she should probably wash away the dust and ink from her body and hair after spending so much time in the library. It was her one ritual from Hogwarts that she wanted to continue now that she had regular access to a washroom. A quick soak would do wonders for her whirring mind!

She added vanilla, honey, and lavender bubble bath to the hot water after her extensive walk back to her quarters. In the surreal warmth, Hermione fell asleep with her head resting on the plush bath pillow. She was floating in the dream, an effortless existence. And then, she was falling, falling, falling….

Hermione slammed onto something hard, forcing the breath from her lungs. She opened her eyes once she recovered, feeling the unforgiving, wood floorboards rigid against her back. There was a ceiling above her, somewhere she’d never been, light fixtures of some sort flickering around her. The light was soft, almost ominous and she found that she couldn’t move a muscle. 

She felt petrified like she had been in second year. Trying not to panic, she tried to look around, but there was nothing but the hammering of her heart. And then Hermione heard:

Click.

Clack.

Click.

Clack.

Click. 

Clack.

Like hammering nails into a coffin, the steps vibrated in her ears as they made their way across the floor. They were coming towards her. There was a gleeful cackle and then all she saw was the wild, black, curly hair and deranged face of Bellatrix Lestrange. 

“You are lying, filthy Mudblood, and I know it! You have been inside my vault at Gringotts! Tell the truth, tell the truth!”

“Crucio!” And then simultaneously her body was electrocuted, frozen, and set ablaze. She screamed and bolted up in the bath. 

Disoriented, it took a minute to remember where she was. The bath was now cold. Shivering from shock and the water, Hermione barely made it to the floor before sinking to the tile. She felt like she was going to pass out. What was the elf’s name? Lara? Lira?

“Liri!” she called desperately. 

A few seconds later, a pop announced the house elf’s arrival. “My queen!” Liri screeched as she summoned a towel and wrapped Hermione in it. The warming charm the elf cast on her did wonders, but her nerves were shot. 

“C-calming d-draught, p-please,” Hermione requested through chattering teeth. 

The house elf disappeared momentarily and tipped the potion into her mouth as she sat huddled on the tile floor. A wave of relaxation spread through her veins and she felt almost as wonderful as she had before the nightmare. Hermione forced herself to take deep breaths and shut out how real the dream seemed. Was this the same premonition Malfoy had about her? Did this mean that it could still happen?

“Thank you so much, Liri. I think I’m fine now, I must dress for dinner.”

“Queen wants help?” the elf asked, eyes wide and pleading.

Hermione nodded. It pleased the house elf to help her, so she would grant it that much. The relief spread through her body as she walked to the closet. Her muscles were sore, though. It was as if she’d been frozen with every cell in her body tensed.

Liri took Hermione to where she was meeting Malfoy for dinner. The view took her breath away as he pulled a chair out for her to sit at the small table. His presence calmed her further, more than she’d like to admit. 

“That is Elysium, the place for the distinguished dead, among them heroes, demigods, and the righteous,” Hades explained before taking a sip of sparkling wine.

The small island was just across the river from them, surrounded on the other side by the ocean. Flourishing trees and fauna were visible along with the brighter shades who dwelled there. The sea sparkled in response to the ethereal glow surrounding Elysium.

Hermione had to tear her eyes away from the vista to focus on the light, brothy soup in front of her. It was the perfect start to the meal after what had happened earlier. She tried to stop her hand from shaking as she dipped it in the soup, but couldn’t stop the tremor.

Dark, silver eyes examined her. “Are you alright, Granger?” 

“I-I’m… not,” she forced herself to be honest with him. Setting her spoon down to rest in the steaming bowl, she clasped her hands tightly in her lap and looked at him. 

Concern etched itself into his pale forehead. “I think I had the same premonition you had… with your aunt and it was… the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. I fell asleep in the bath before this... that’s when it happened.” 

The lines of confusion and worry deepened in his face as she tried to breathe, tried not to let the nightmare surface in her mind. “I should teach you some basic Occlumency,” he said, his eyes roving her face. “It’ll help so you can push it to the back of your mind, so you don’t relive it unless…”

“I fall asleep?" she interrupted. "We can’t just ignore this now, Malfoy. What if it could still happen even after all you’ve done? I don’t want to experience it again whether it’s real or in my head!” she yelled at him, tears welling in her eyes. 

Hermione turned to gaze back to Elysium so he wouldn’t see how scared she was. He heard his chair scrape against the stone slab beneath them, but kept her eyes on the island of peace and tried to blink her tears away. Then, her view was obscured by the buttons on his heather gray oxford before he was on his knees in front of her and she couldn’t look away from his angular face and liquid mercury eyes. 

His hands were as cold as hers, but he took them in his larger ones. “Granger, I won’t ever let that happen to you. Never. I don’t know if the possibility is gone, but I will do whatever is in my power to stop that from happening.”

Her chin wobbled. “You really do mean it, don’t you?”

“Yes,” he answered confidently. “And that’s why no one can know you’re here, that you’re my Persephone.”

Her core throbbed at his possessiveness, my Persephone. Malfoy’s eyes searched hers, a mysterious expression, like the combination of worry and desire. If Hermione didn’t know any better she’d say it was love. 

Malfoy stood and seemed conflicted before pressing a kiss to her forehead and sitting back down to his own soup. She felt a little calmer, successfully taking in mouthfuls of soup and warming her body and soul. By the time their main course came, a heavenly plate of Coq au Vin, Hermione felt her strength return in full.

“So you said you had meetings today?” she asked him. His hand froze on its way to bring his fork to his mouth. To anyone else, it would be nearly imperceptible, but she saw the hesitation.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Was it for him ?”

“No, Hermione. It was with my father. He––” Malfoy stopped, knuckles white around his fork. 

She wiped her mouth with the cloth napkin, intrigued. “What happened?”

Hades shook his head as if to clear it. “He broke through my Occlumency, a moment of weakness and he knows… he knows there’s someone in my life in addition to me spurning Astoria.”

“Someone in your life?” 

He fixed her with an intense stare. “He doesn’t know it’s you, Granger. But he felt… how I feel about you.”

Hermione held her breath, but when he wasn’t forthcoming, she prompted, “How do you feel… about me?”

Malfoy drained his glass of wine and flexed his hands. He looked like he wanted to get up and leave. His eyes were focused on his half-eaten chicken. 

“I can’t… I don’t exactly know… But I know I want you every second of the day. I want to care for you and hold you in my arms, I want to kiss you, p-pleasure you, and I want to protect you. And I don’t want to share you with anyone. I want you to be mine… but you can’t.”

Slightly shocked at the confession, Hermione had to ask, “Why not?”

She thought he must have gotten whiplash from the speed that he lifted his head to meet her eyes. His mouth dropped open, eyes wide. Draco Malfoy was speechless.

“I told you, Malfoy. I told you that we needed to bury the past, that we needed to get to know each other. And if we do that, as fully as we can, with time, I think I could want to be yours… I wanted you last night, after all,” she explained, ears and cheeks pink with the admission.

He shut his gaping mouth, teeth clacking together. Malfoy blinked owlishly at her before saying, “Alright.”

She swallowed thickly and nodded in agreement. “What were you researching in the library earlier?” he asked casually.

“I was trying to find something about our roles if they drew us together or not, but I couldn’t. Not yet, anyway.”

Malfoy hummed in response. “Do you think our feelings, or rather mine right now, are real?” 

She felt his eyes boring into her forehead as he waited for her response. “I think so, but is there any way to know what’s real? After all, it boils down to the chemistry in our brains––”

“Chemistry?” He raised a pale eyebrow.

“It’s a muggle science that’s similar to potions. It’s all about how different chemicals or substances interact with one another,” Hermione explained.

She watched him chew thoughtfully. “I’ll have to see if there’s a text on chemistry in the library.”

Hermione smiled, “Yes, I rather think you’d be interested in it. You were always fond of potions, right?”

Malfoy smiled back at her. “Yes, and not just because Snape is my godfather. Potions just always made sense to me, in a way.”

“I understand that completely.” 

***

Draco felt a bit fragile after confessing his feelings for her, but he hadn’t felt this hopeful in a long time after she said she might be able to reciprocate them in the future. They continued to speak about their interests, the classes they’d had together, and other hobbies. With every thought shared, he felt himself falling deeper for her, yearning for her more and more.

He restrained himself, though. Even when she sucked the chocolate from her lips and fingers from the mousse for dessert. His trousers were getting uncomfortably tight. Draco adjusted himself under the table and finished his glass of port. The fortified wine made his head a little fuzzy, but it might keep the thoughts of licking chocolate mousse off his queen’s body at bay. 

“Liri,” Granger called before wiping her mouth. 

The elf popped in, “My queen?”

“Please give my sincerest compliments to the chefs. Everything was perfect!” Liri quivered in excitement and promised to fulfill the request.

Like a perfect gentleman, Draco pulled her chair out as Granger stood and held out his arm to escort her back to her chambers. Apparition allowed him to get her to her door faster and hopefully lead to a kiss of some sort. 

“Here you are, Granger,” he purred.

“You know you could call me by my given name, right?” she teased him.

He smirked and leaned closer to her so her back nearly leaned against the door. 

“Are you going to invite me in for a nightcap, Hermione ?” He could smell the combination of scents lingering on her skin that she must have used in the bath. 

She giggled and it did funny things to his stomach. “I believe you might have had enough to drink already, Draco .” 

He bit his tongue hard to stifle his groan at his name on her lips. “I’ll invite you in, though.”

Draco kept himself from resting his fingers on her lower back as they entered her sitting room. He had to be more careful. He’d already admitted everything to her, but that didn’t mean she wanted him eye-fucking and touching her every time they were in the same room. 

“Tea?” she asked, magically putting the kettle on. He nodded, still immersed in restraining his thoughts. The booze was definitely getting to him. 

He closed his eyes as he unceremoniously slouched onto her settee. His eyes felt heavy, but his body felt like it was floating. Vaguely, Draco recognized Granger asking him about milk and sugar… before he awoke to a dark room.

Groggily, he realized he’d woken up due to the blood-curdling screams coming from Granger’s bedroom. Draco sprang into action, grabbing his wand and lighting his path to where she thrashed against the covers on her bed. She was having a night terror… most likely the same she’d had before their dinner.

“MALFOY! DRACO!” she shrieked. He had to do something!

“Granger… er Hermione! I’m here. Wake up, it’s only a dream,” he cooed uneasily. Her brow furrowed and she stopped trying to fight her duvet. Draco hadn’t wanted to touch her in case she thought someone was actually attacking her and she reacted violently.

“Hermione?” he tried again. She blinked her eyes and looked bewildered at seeing him there. Draco could see the faint sheen of sweat on her forehead. 

Her chest was heaving as she tried to calm down, her brown eyes still wide with terror. “D-Draco? What… Why were you…”

He ran a hand through his hair nervously. “I must have dozed off during our nightcap, I’m sorry.”

She shook her head. “N-no, in the dream… you were just standing there, frozen while she-she…” Her face crumpled as her voice cut off. “You didn’t help me!” she sobbed and he couldn’t help but wrap his arms around her shaking body.

Granger was all but in his lap now as he tried to grasp what she was saying. In the dream, he hadn’t helped her… He remembered that in his own dream he’d watched the torture. Draco couldn’t understand why, though. Why hadn’t he done something?

“I’m so sorry, Hermione. I’m sorry… I don’t know…” he mumbled into her hair, smoothing his hand down the riotous curls. She clung to him like a buoy on the open sea. Draco shed a tear for her as he laid them both down to rest. 

Chapter Text

Hermione woke up in a tangle of limbs in the middle of the night again. One of Malfoy’s legs was under her and one was wedged between her thighs, her head was pillowed on his bicep and the other arm was draped around her waist where his fingers tantalizingly close to her clothed breast. She attempted to move to use the loo and that’s when she felt it: his steel-hard morning wood pressed against her bum. 

He moaned deeply as she tried to wiggle free, nearly grinding herself on him as she had less than forty-eight hours before. Her legs collapsed immediately as she climbed out of bed. Glinting gray eyes greeted her from above. Hermione’s face felt swollen from crying and she was sure her hair was a rat’s nest. 

“You should drink this,” his sleepy voice indicated a vial on the nightstand. “It’s a restorative potion.”

Hermione didn’t feel like arguing and robotically crawled to grab the potion. She downed it and felt the tingling of its effects from her hair to her toenails. Still wobbling, she struggled to her feet. A strong arm shot out to grab her as she almost teetered over. 

“I’m fine!” she lashed out, immediately regretting it when she saw the guilt in his eyes.

“I want to help you, Granger. Can you do something for me?”

Hermione blinked at him as if he’d suddenly turned into a hippogriff. “What?”

“Close your eyes and think about digging a hole, one that’s at least five meters long, three meters wide, and ten meters deep. Breathe steadily while you do it,” Malfoy instructed her gently, his hand still supporting her elbows.

Her eyes fluttered shut and tried to imagine digging the hole. It must have been some kind of Occlumency trick. She knew he was quite accomplished. 

It took her a few minutes to fully dig it as he helped her count her breaths in and out. “Now, shove that dream, that nightmare, into the hole and bury it. Imagine your exhales as the sound of the dirt piling on top of that memory.” 

Hermione felt her mind and muscles start to relax, slowly but surely. Her chocolate eyes met concerned silver ones. She managed a small smile of gratitude and leaned in to kiss Malfoy’s cheek.

She gasped as he misjudged her aim and his lips met hers. His kiss was soft, apologetic. Hermione sighed and returned it. Moments later, she realized that she was now straddling his lap as he sat on her bed. Now she was flushed, her heart racing from the intimacy. 

In that moment, Hermione realized that she wanted this; she wanted to be close to him. Her nightmare didn’t matter as much as the reality of him helping her in the here and now. He grounded her. She started rocking her hips as his hands explored her, never seeming to linger in any one place. Breathless, Hermione let him kiss down her neck, his tongue sweeping her collarbone and the tops of her breasts in the camisole. 

She loved the way his fingers squeezed her waist hard enough to bruise and how his hips stuttered into hers. While he was busy worshiping her neck, she reached between them to feel his sizable cock through his briefs. Malfoy’s teeth clamped down on her shoulder as he let out a strangled moan. The head poked out at her through the flap and she swirled the wetness at the tip around. His hips bucked into her hand. 

“Hermione,” he breathed. His eyes were the color of liquid mercury, his eyes desiring more of her, but he said torturously, “We shouldn’t… not yet.”

She was taken aback. “Why not?” Hermione asked angrily, pulling at her bottom lip with her teeth.

Hermione thought he’d relented when he kissed her and sucked hard on the lip she’d been biting. He pressed her back into the bed, delighting her in giving in to her demand. Malfoy was heavy and powerful on top of her; she felt a rush between her thighs. 

“I can’t give you this, Granger. Not yet,” he explained in a deep voice, stroking himself over his pants. “Because I am the king... and you deserve to be treated like my queen.”

His eyes glinted, a wicked smile tugging at his lips. She was quivering with want, nipples budding against the thin fabric, her knickers soaked. Malfoy knelt on the floor between where her legs hung off the bed, his lips nipping at her thighs closer and closer to her throbbing core. A moan tore from her throat as he sucked a bruise into her inner right thigh, his soft hair teasing her sensitive skin. 

“Malfoy… please!” She finally felt the tip of his nose brush lightly against her swollen bud through her knickers. 

He chuckled as she felt his fingers pull the sides of her underwear down and she helped him by lifting her hips. “It’s Draco, darling,” he drawled, correcting her. “Soaked already for me, eh?” 

Hermione knew she was probably leaking onto the bed. And that was before he even touched her there . Malfoy took a tentative lick and her hips rose as she gasped at the sensation. No one had touched her this way before. It was rapturous.

One of his large hands splayed over her lower abdomen to hold her down. His wide shoulders made sure that she was spread wide open for him. “Gorgeous,” he muttered and she blushed. Hermione hadn’t realized genitalia could be beautiful, but the compliment heightened the experience for her.

Her eyes rolled back when he traced her pussy lips with the tip of his tongue and then started lapping at her in earnest. She struggled in his hold, not sure of what she wanted, but that she wanted him to continue pleasuring her. He was humming against her pussy and she was ready to fall off the edge of oblivion when he sucked hard on her clit. A scream wrenched itself from her throat as her body spasmed with the most intense orgasm in her life. 

Hermione finally opened her eyes to find him leaning over her, chin and lips dripping with her juices. He wordlessly conjured a handkerchief and wiped the excess. Despite her body’s protests, she leaned up to kiss him, tasting herself, curiosity getting the better of her. Malfoy moaned as she sucked at the flavor on his tongue. 

“Do you like the way I taste?” she asked as they came up for air.

He smirked at her, but not in the annoying Malfoy way. “You’re becoming my favorite flavor.” His voice was deep and husky. 

“Can I taste you?” She saw his eyes dilate at that.

He rolled onto his back and pushed his waistband down far enough so that his large cock and heavy balls were on display. She appraised him and wondered how she’d fit that in her mouth let alone her pussy. At that thought, her core clenched around nothing.

“Can you tell me…” she stopped, unsure of how to phrase the question. His eyes lit up in amusement. For a second, Hermione thought he might make fun of her.

“I’ll give you some instructions, Granger.” She subconsciously liked that he had more experience, that he would tell her what to do. Hermione wanted to please him as much as he’d pleased her.

He gave his member a stroke and then grabbed her hand to replace his. Her fingers didn’t meet all the way around his girth. Malfoy’s chest rumbled as she gave him a squeeze. His eyes were dark with desire. “Now, try licking the tip first, see how I taste.”

She explored the red head of him with her tongue and his powerful cock twitched in her hand. That must have been a good sign. And then, she tasted the bead of moisture leaking. It was salty and earthy and it turned her on. 

“You can give it a suck like a lolly, but mind your teeth,” he instructed. She hesitantly wrapped her mouth around the fleshy tip and created suction. Her tongue felt strange just limp, so she traced the opening. Malfoy moaned throatily, his defined abdominal muscles flexing. 

“Good, yes!” he praised. “Now, if you want to do more, slide your head up and down and swirl your tong--” Hermione complied and he slid his hand into her hair. He didn’t push her down, but massaged her scalp as she worked at sucking and moving over him. 

She’d forgotten that she was naked from the waist down and kneeling until he dragged a finger through her sodden folds. Hermione moaned around his cock and had to release him from her mouth. Her jaw hurt a little from sucking and opening so wide, but the look in his eyes made it worth the discomfort.

“Fuck, you really do learn quickly.” She gave him a wicked grin. “Did that turn you on more?” he asked, fingers exploring her nether lips that were begging for attention.

“Yessss!” she hissed as he plunged a long finger into her. 

Hermione watched Malfoy stroke himself as he fingered her. He reached deeper than her own fingers could. She was wet enough to accept another finger as she bucked against them. Malfoy drove them both to their own climaxes. Hermione clenched around his fingers, choking on her own moans. He spilled onto his stomach with a tortured groan.

They lie side by side trying to catch their breath. She shivered as he pulled his fingers out of her pussy. It was foreign for her to have something other than her own fingers inside her, but Malfoy’s fingers and mouth had given her more pleasure than she’d known what to do with. She watched him spell away the spunk from his abdomen, but he conjured a damp, soft cloth for her to clean up with. 

Slightly embarrassed, Hermione scrambled out of the bed on weak legs to the restroom. Before she made it a few feet, though, his hand stopped her. She was frazzled and looked at him in confusion. His eyes were glinting but only half open in the post-coital reverie. 

“Thank you, Granger. For giving me a chance,” he drawled. She bobbed her head in a quick nod and broke out of his light hold. 

Hermione took her time cleaning up, using the toilet, washing her hands, and she fully expected him to be gone when she re-entered the bedroom. She’d donned a robe and she walked in on Malfoy stepping into his trousers. He was about to button them when she spoke.

“Would you stay with me? In case…” she trailed off, swallowing the memory.

“Only if you want me to, Hermione.” He examined her cautiously.

Hermione nodded and he transformed his trousers into sleep bottoms. He left his chest bare and gestured for her to climb under the mussed bed clothes. She lay on her back and he did the same, both staring up at the blank ceiling. Something about the mixture of their breathing lulled her to sleep. Her muscles were sated, heavy as she sank into the depths of her now peaceful mind.

Chapter Text

Draco woke with Hermione in his arms once again. Her head was tucked into his shoulder, which was now numb from the weight of her head, and her arm was wrapped around his waist bisecting the scar Potter had given him six months before. She smelled like the bath still, but also like sex and something else. Something floral and unidentifiable. Did she smell like Persephone, goddess of vegetation and plant fertility? 

With her soft form molded to him, Hades was starting to become aroused, his morning wood becoming unbearable. Couldn’t he just be satisfied for a while with how she’d responded and welcomed him hours ago? His body wasn’t listening, apparently.

He knew he had to burn off some steam and had the itch to run. Running along the bank of the Styx was a relaxing pastime when he was feeling cooped up. Carefully, he removed himself from Granger’s grasp. She only stirred slightly. Draco summoned his running shoes and clothes and quickly dressed in her bathroom. 

As he quietly exited the bathroom, he tried to sneak out of her bedroom. “Draco?”

“It’s alright, love, just go back to sleep,” he whispered gently as he saw her blinking at him. Silently, he celebrated her calling him by his given name. 

“Where are you going?” The witch sat up, eyes still heavy in the darkness.

“For a run, just to clear my head, get the blood pumping.” Or rather, stop it flowing to a particular part of him. 

She stared at him for a second. “Can I come with you?”

He wasn’t expecting that offer. Shrugging, he summoned another pair of running shoes from his closet and magically adjusted the size for her feet. Hermione slowly made her way to her closet. 

Her eyes were lit with curiosity, with the challenge, as they left her quarters. “Sure you can keep up, Granger?” he teased as he started to jog down the long hallway. 

“I may not have your long legs, Malfoy, but I can run fast enough,” she huffed as they jogged. 

He winked, catching her eye before he deftly darted through a door to the left and saw her eyes widen. Draco took off in a full-on sprint for the thirty seconds it took to get through the exit to the riverside. He slowed down, swiveling his head to look for her behind him and, for a second, he thought he’d lost her, which hadn’t been his intention.

As she burst through the doorway, Draco felt giddy and smiled maniacally. Hermione had that determination in her eyes, a fire that lit in her brown eyes so they were closer to amber. She barreled past him, but the sandy river edge made her slow down. 

He caught up easily. “Think you could lose me, Malfoy?”

“Not at all, Granger. Just wanted to test your speed.” She grinned at him for a second and then looked at their surroundings.

The Styx sparkled darkly, its water roiling and foaming as it flowed in impossible directions. It reminded Draco of Hermione’s hair: the untamed curls made his hands itch to bury themselves in the sheer volume of them. He wanted to tug on them as she bounced on his… Draco shook his head and tried to focus on the burn in his lungs and thighs -- wasn’t that why he had wanted to go running in the first place?

She was a distraction. He especially regretted allowing her to join him as he noticed her breasts bouncing along with her curls. Fuck . Draco had to close his eyes for a second to get the image out of his head. 

Next thing he knew, he was on the ground. “Draco? Are you okay?” Part of him was glad he’d landed face first in the sand because then he couldn’t see the concern on her face.

Peeling himself up and dusting himself off, Draco grumbled at her as she fussed. “Just stop it, Granger!” 

“Well excuse me for caring, Malfoy!” she spat back and turned toward the river. The view of her round arse in the leggings made him watch to stuff sand into his eyes. He glared at her backside for a beat before sighing.

“I’m sorry, Granger. I wasn’t prepared… I don’t know how… Argh!” Draco struggled to find the right words, running his hands through his hair as if he could claw them out of his brain. 

“I don’t think either of us really expected this…” Hermione offered, just as puzzled as he was about this situation. 

He smirked at her and her brow furrowed further. “Oh come on, Granger. You could have expected it from me, a teenage boy trapped in the Underworld with the dead, and then a living witch comes along with great… assets along with the fact that she’s alive.”

“Trapped? I think it’s me who’s trapped with you, Malfoy,” she shot back, though it seemed playful to him. Flirtatious, even. 

He tucked a stray curl behind her ear and purred, “Oh but, my dear, you weren’t complaining about that earlier this morning.”

Hermione flushed, but she endeavored to say, “If I remember correctly, you were the one with reservations about said interaction.” 

“Trust me, love, I would like nothing more to be trapped beneath you, but I was raised to be a gentleman.” He curled his lip lasciviously at the thought.

Her lips were parted, but she scoffed instead, baiting him with, “A gentleman? Really? I could stand to see some more of these manners, Malfoy. You surely didn’t showcase them in school.” 

Draco tried not to let that strike a chord with him. From the look of remorse on her face, his guilt had shown. 

“I’m sorry,” they said simultaneously.

He stepped closer to her so she had to tilt her head up to meet his eyes. His thumb and forefinger cradled her jaw. She looked at him through her lashes.

“Last night meant a lot to me and I want you to know that. You let me comfort you even though I was part of your distressing dream. You trusted me more than most in your position would, so thank you.”

She grinned at him. “Thank you for being there--” He cut her off with a kiss, suckling her bottom lip. 

His lips were barely touching hers as he promised, “I will always be there for you, Hermione.”

This time, she initiated the kiss, her tongue tangling with his. He moaned into her mouth as her body pressed flush against his. Draco’s body started to respond to hers as he nipped at her neck. His hands trailed down to her waist and itched to slide down to her bum. Her small hands were tracing his shoulder blades and one slid into his hair, which was damp from perspiration. 

“This is why I need to go for a run this morning… I don’t trust myself not to ravish you,” he growled into her ear. She clung to him even tighter. 

“My, my, what do we have here? A public display of affection between our King and Queen. How positively sinful…” 

Thanatos’ voice sent a bucket of ice down his spine as he let go of Hermione. He was angry, somewhat at himself for being so public, even if it was only in front of the shades. Of course, Thanatos had to find him there, though. It was a cosmic joke. 

As he turned toward his inferior, his stomach lurched. Standing with Theo was Severus Snape, his godfather and the former Hades. He felt Hermione stiffen beside him. 

The potions master was looking down his long nose at them. “I’d asked Thanatos here to show me what you’ve been working on, but it seems we have coincidentally stumbled upon it.” His godfather’s dark eyes examined Hermione with distaste. 

“Hello, professor. How are you?” Hermione found her voice before him, his courageous little Gryffindor.

“Fine, Miss Granger. Nott, escort Miss Granger to wherever she desires to go. Draco, please come with me.” Unexpectedly, Snape walked in the opposite direction of Hades’ office. 

Draco had no choice but to follow and leave Hermione with Theo. He dreaded that interaction as much as he didn’t want to have this conversation with his godfather after what he’d seen. Snape didn’t speak until they stopped in front of a valley.

“This is the Vale of Mourning,” his godfather explained. The plants looked burnt, scorched around them. “I came here while I was Hades to see if Lily would visit me. She never did.”

“Lily?” Draco asked, confused by the lonely, celibate wizard’s speech.

“Lily Evans Potter. The Chosen One’s mother. She was a muggleborn much like Miss Granger: intelligent, powerful, and kind. And I loved her but I couldn’t save her from death.”

Draco gawped at him like a fish out of water. “You wanted to save her… but you’re on the Dark Lord’s side!” Snape gave him a sidelong glance.

“Clearly you aren’t letting that get in the way of your romance either, Draco,” his godfather retorted, but Draco could feel the emotion behind it, his grief. 

“Right, well, this was the best chance of saving her.”

Snape smirked at him. “And when your little secret comes out to the wizarding world, what then? You think the Dark Lord will forgive you? That he’ll let you have the muggleborn all to yourself, happily ever after?” 

Draco grimaced. “Boy, you did the wrong thing. You had the right intentions, but as the muggle proverb says, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ You’re already in Hell, but once the Dark Lord finds out… you won’t be able to save her without sacrificing all you’ve worked for.”

Anger simmered to a boil in him. “And that’s what you did? You let her die so that your precious Dark Lord wouldn’t know you loved someone he thought was lower than dirt? I’m surprised it wasn’t you that betrayed--”

Slap! His cheek stung, cutting off his words. “Don’t you ever say I betrayed her. I did everything I could for her!” 

“What am I supposed to do?” Draco asked, defeated, his face sore.

Snape pursed his lips, eyes coldly appraising him. “Keep her hidden here for as long as you can. Persuade her to hide once she returns to the mortal realm in the spring. I will do what I can to prevent any unannounced visits to the Underworld by our fellow Death Eaters. You better make sure Thanatos keeps his lips locked about Persephone.”

Draco nodded. At least his godfather was on his side more than Dumbledore’s or the Dark Lord’s. He rubbed his aching cheek. 

“I had to alter Astoria’s memory,” he admitted while walking his godfather back to the gates. 

“Was it successful?”

“Yes, of course. I couldn’t have let her leave otherwise.” Snape looked weary of his response. 

“Tread carefully, Draco.” His stomach clenched, remembering when his father had dismissed him with those same words. 

Chapter Text

“Treating our king right, Granger?” Theo smirked as they walked back to the main building or palace as some referred to it.

Hermione rolled her eyes and sent a stinging hex toward his backside. Thanatos yowled, jumping at the unpleasant sensation. She had to fight to keep the smirk from her face.

“As your queen, I’d like to request that your snide comments be absent from my presence.”

She refused to look at him and tried to walk as quickly as possible, her nose in the air. Out of the corner of her eye, though, she could see the shite-eating grin he was sporting. Ignoring him, Hermione figured he’d say something if he really wanted her to hear it.

“I don’t know how I didn’t see it before, but you two are a perfect match,” Theo commented thoughtfully.

Hermione couldn’t help but whip her head toward him. “How?” She was in disbelief, but also sincerely wanted to know in case it revealed anything to support her research.

“You both have always had your noses up in the air, your heads in books, and wands so far up your asses that you can’t see how similar you are.”

She blinked. Her normal reaction would be disdain toward his insult, but she was trying to see if there was truth in his words. Malfoy had always been right behind her in most classes up until last year when he’d walked around school like an inferius. He’d always been spoiled and posh and stuck-up. While she didn’t classify herself as stuck-up, she knew what others whispered behind her back: prissy, prude, swot, etc. 

Perhaps fate or the Fates had found a twisted way for them to realize how equally matched they were. Thanatos was not wrong, Hermione could say that much, but she didn’t want him to go on harping about it.

“We’re still getting to know each other, so that has yet to be determined,” she supplied.

Thanatos snorted, but didn’t argue. Hermione remembered her question for him, something she had forgotten to mention to Malfoy.

“Is it possible to send a message to the wizarding world from here?” 

“Why? Are you trying to send a message to your Gryffindors to rescue you? Fat lot of good it’ll do you when you won’t be able to walk through the gates until spring.”

She shook her head. “No, I just want to let them know that I’m okay and make sure they’re okay. I didn’t really tell them… I didn’t know how to explain it…” 

“You’ll have to take it up with the boss, but your message would be carried by Hermes and more than likely Zeus will intercept it,” he explained casually.

Hermione’s lip curled into a grimace at the thought of interacting with Hermes again so soon. “Is there a way I could communicate with my friends more frequently? Like Malfoy gave me a coin with the protean charm, but maybe it could work with a journal? If I could write them and they could write back in case something happens…” She was more muttering to herself at this point. It was something she could look into at the library. 

“Granger! Are you trying to get you and Malfoy killed? Your friends would be in danger too. Even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, we’re in the middle of a war. A war with a powerful dark wizard facing off with a seventeen-year-old boy!” Theo all but screamed in her face. 

Wide-eyed, Hermione stared at the Slytherin as they stopped before entering the palace. The boy looked angry, his fists clenched. She stopped herself from reaching out to comfort him.

“Whose side are you on, Theo?” 

His eyes narrowed to slits at her. “My father is supporting the Dark Lord,” Thanatos gritted out as he forcefully opened the door for her, the hinges squealing. 

Hermione stepped through and turned when he hadn’t followed her. Still holding the door open, Theo gave her a stiff bow and let the door swing shut. She frowned, brow furrowing as she made her way to the library. 

***

She thought she was going cross-eyed as she finished skimming another book for a communication method that wouldn’t be detectable to anyone but her, Harry and Ron… Perhaps she should research a combination of the Fidelius and Protean charm… Her mind was as frazzled as she could feel her hair becoming. 

Casting a tempus charm, she saw it was half two in the morning. Hermione hadn’t seen Draco since their embarrassing encounter with Snape and Theo. While she knew Snape had been part of the Order, he had murdered Professor Dumbledore and had done it because Draco couldn’t. Hermione didn’t know where any of their loyalties lie, these Slytherins. They seemed to be loyal to their own causes and she couldn’t get a strong read on any of them. 

Harry had always assumed the worst of Slytherins due to Malfoy and his cronies’ behaviors, but she took the logical approach: there was good and bad in each house. It seemed, though, that Slytherin had the worst reputation for dark wizards. While Harry had been right about Draco last year after Dumbledore had been murdered and the Death Eaters had infiltrated Hogwarts, it didn’t mean those responsible were evil to the core. 

Professor Snape had never been kind to her; however, Hermione hadn’t expected him to kill Dumbledore as part of the Order. This war wasn’t as simple as black and white, good and evil. Again, Hermione was having a difficult time reconciling the convictions of the cunning Slytherins around her. She thought about Harry telling her about how the Marauder’s Map had insulted Snape and smiled slightly.

“That’s it!” she cried, her voice echoing throughout the empty library. If Hermione could figure out how to replicate the spells on the Marauder’s Map that entailed a password and repelled anyone who might intercept it -- Kingsley/Zeus or Hermes/Blaise -- then she could send a message to her friends. 

Hermione nearly screamed in surprise when she saw a figure standing in front of her. Her heart was galloping in her chest as she gasped for air, staring at Hades now illuminated by the moonlight. “Why did you sneak up on me like that, you dolt!”

A twinge of a smirk graced his lips. “You were very clearly in your own head and it’s not my fault you weren’t paying attention.”

She shook her head, realizing how sneaky Slytherins could be whether they meant it or not. Still trying to slow her heart, Hermione tried to pat down her riotous curls. 

“I was looking for you, but you didn’t answer your door in your quarters, so I came here.”

She examined him and muttered, “I lost track of time.” Why was he looking for her so late at night?

“You should get some sleep… this can wait,” he said dejectedly, rubbing his neck.

Hermione knew Draco wasn’t telling her everything again. “What did Snape say?”

His silver irises flashed in the moonglow, the rest of his form benighted by shadows. He was imposing, really. It made her thighs quiver and she squeezed them together. 

“He had a similar situation in the first war. He cared for someone he wasn’t supposed to and she died because of it. He’s going to try to help us.”

Hermione released a breath she didn’t realize she was holding and smiled. “That’s good, isn’t it?” 

He stalked silently towards where she stood behind the desk, like a wolf on the prowl. And he looked like a predator. His footsteps barely made a sound on the floor, luminescent eyes devouring her. Leaning over, hands on the desk, his tall form allowed his lips to nearly reach hers. He didn’t go in for the kiss, though.

“Yes, but we have to make sure we don’t put others into more jeopardy than we already are,” he explained in just above a whisper, his eyes wandering down to her slightly parted lips.

And then he must have glanced down far enough to glimpse what she was reading. Hermione’s heart sank into her stomach. She’d meant to ask him about it, but more… pressing things always seemed to come up around him.

“What’s this?” 

“Erm… well I just thought it might be a good idea to find a secretive way to contact the Order so it wouldn’t be intercepted.” 

The intensity of his gaze made her feel like he could see right into her brain. “Going over my head, Granger?” Draco admonished. 

“N-no… Not at all, really. I had mentioned it to Theo--”

“Theo? You went to him and not me about this?” The ferocity in his voice, the hurt, made her heart stutter.

She swallowed thickly. “I didn’t mean to… I just haven’t had the chance to bring it up with you.”

“Do you realize that you gave a Death Eater intel that you’re trying to communicate with the Order?” he snarled.

“Wha--?”

“How can I get it into that stubborn brain of yours that you cannot trust ANYONE?!”

Hermione stood her ground. “But you?” 

He sighed, the anger draining the tenseness from his muscles. His head sagged forward, arms still braced on the desk. “Yes, except for me. I’ve already explained everything. I can’t protect you--”

“What if I can protect myself? What if you simply set everything in motion by kidnapping me? Turning me into Persephone?”

Draco didn’t answer as he drew himself back to standing and walked around the desk to where she stood. Her heart was beating a harsh tattoo against her ribs as he stopped centimeters from her. 

“Please understand that all I’ve done, all I will ever do, will not intentionally put you in harm's way. I’ve done it all for you… You’re our best chance at getting out of this mess.”

His thumb brushed her jaw as if she were made of glass, as if she would shatter into a million pieces at his feet. She felt like she would shatter if he didn’t kiss her. Hermione felt worthy of all that, of protection, of helping the war come to a positive conclusion in his eyes, his arms.

“Draco…” she whispered, licking her lips. “I’ve figured out a way to get something to my friends without--” 

His lips met hers in the most reverent of kisses. Any rational thought disintegrated in her mind and any words were swept away by his tongue. She thought a tear might leak from her eyes as he gently cupped her jaw. Draco fleetingly kissed the tip of her nose, each of her eyelids, the apples of her cheeks, and then her temples before breathing a pledge, “I would die for you.”

She finally came back to her senses and mirrored his hold on her face. “Don’t say that, Draco.”

“I won’t make the same mistake as my godfather, Hermione. I won’t.” 

Chapter Text

Hermione pressed her mouth to his in a more urgent, needy kiss. She swallowed his moan as their tongues slid over one another. Pressing her body into his, she convinced him to pick her up and set her on the desk so he could lean between her thighs. Her hands snuck under the hem of his shirt, gripping his bare back, and brought him as close as they could be. 

Now horizontal on the table with Draco’s bulge pressed into her core, Hermione felt out of control, pleasure and anticipation thrumming through her veins. She bucked under him, his grunts absorbed into her skin as he nipped at her throat and collar bones. 

Bravely, Hermione reached between them and slipped her hands into his shorts. He froze with a strangled groan. Draco pushed himself out of her grasp, eyeing her wearily and panting.

“We can’t keep doing this, Hermione,” he rasped.

Her heart felt heavy, like it was falling through her body, through the table, and it would hit the floor with an obscene slap soon. He didn’t really want her, after all. This was just a duty to him, like an arranged courtship. Tears threatened to fall down her cheeks. 

He heard her sniffle and his eyebrows dropped in concern. Draco reached for her again, pulling her into a sitting position, one hand in her hair and the other arm around her back. “Shh... no, I didn’t mean that… That’s not how I meant it. Bugger…” he muttered into her hair.

“What did you mean, then?” Her voice sounded small and childlike. She hated herself for that, crying all over a boy again as she had with Ron.

She felt the rush of his breath as he exhaled. “I want you so badly… I don’t know if I can control myself if I touch you again. I want to taste you again. I want to be inside you, feel you around me, make you mine.”

His words made her core clench and her body temperature rise. She had to argue, though. “I told you last time that you could have me, but you said we had to wait. What are we waiting for?” 

Hermione knew she sounded desperate, like last time, but there was something so tempting about him. She wanted to break whatever rules he had set in his mind. 

“And I want to give in, I really do… It’s going to sound barmy, but I had this dream where we were being married by Hera in a field of lavender at sunset and all I wanted to do was lay you in the field and make love to you.”

“And you, Draco Malfoy, acclaimed Slytherin Sex God, want us to be married before we have sex?” she said incredulously. 

Draco rested his head on her shoulder, abashed. “I know how it sounds, but I feel like it would be wrong if we did it now. Is that okay with you?”

“I could seduce you into taking my virtue,” she teased him, wrapping her legs around him so their fronts were flush. 

Draco smirked. “And what do you know about seduction?”

She thought for a minute before unwrapping her legs and scooting back from him on the table. And then she turned around and slowly crawled to the other side, swaying her hips side to side. Hermione could almost feel his stare following her arse. 

Once standing on the other side of the table, she turned her head to the side. Sure enough, he was palming himself through his shorts, eyes still fixed on her arse. She rolled her eyes.

“Like you said, teenage boy,” she said pointing at him. “Witch with great assets.” And pointed to herself before apparating to her quarters. 

***

Oh, his little goddess was a minx. Curse the pureblood gentleman in him because he wanted her badly and she was more than willing… Draco shook his head to banish the thought as he followed her in apparition. He knocked on the door to her rooms and it immediately swung open.

She must have charmed it open as Hermione wasn’t in the sitting room. His stomach flipped at the image of her waiting for him in the bedroom. Blood started rushing south as he tried to clear his mind of the desire. 

He still hadn’t told her why he’d visited her so late at night. Draco hadn’t been able to sleep after waking with her in his arms that morning. His bed felt so empty, his arms bereft of her warmth and softness. He’d been hoping she wanted company if only to fall asleep next to her. His own nightmares had been eased by her presence, her magic.

“Hermione?” he called.

“In the bedroom!” she responded immediately. A shiver of anticipation ran through him. As he entered the open double doors, he saw a flash of bare, golden skin with a triangle of white at the apex of her thighs. 

Hermione was wearing a navy oversized sweater that fell to the middle of her thighs, but he knew he’d just seen her knickers. She was teasing him, trying to seduce him. Draco never thought he’d find himself in this position: trying to resist the advances of the witch he wanted.

He desperately wanted to see if there was a wet patch between her thighs. He wanted it to be his shirt that barely hid her body from him after vigorously shagging her. His cock twitched in his pants. The last straw was her biting her lip shyly.

Draco was on her in seconds as she automatically wrapped her arms around his neck. He tugged her lip out from her teeth and sucked on it until she moaned. His kisses trailed over her jaw and to her neck and shoulder, over which Draco glimpsed her knicker-clad bum peeking out tantalizingly where the sweater had ridden up. 

He’d been so distracted that he hadn’t noticed her hand moving until it cupped his erection through his trousers. Draco hissed, his teeth lightly tugging on her trap muscle. A moment of weakness made him buck into her touch. Trying to move away from her altogether, Draco realized that his hands were magically glued to her waist.

His head pulled back to look down at her in amazement. To his utter delight, Hermione giggled at his predicament. She squeezed his hard cock and withdrew a moan from him. 

“You’re not playing fair, love,” he said huskily. 

She gave him a smirk reminiscent of his own and peered up at him through her eyelashes. He’d been wrong when he’d said she couldn’t seduce him. His body preened, but his mind was reeling. 

“I’ll free you if you answer three questions,” she said, her tongue tracing and dipping into the hollow of his throat. 

His body shuddered. “Fine,” Draco gritted out. He wasn’t going to like these questions, he just knew it.

“Were you attracted to me before you kidnapped me?” He swallowed the lump forming in his throat.

Draco waited for a few heartbeats. He had no obligation to tell her the truth, but moving forward he didn’t want to lie to her. Her fingers lightly caressed his bollocks through the material and he had to stifle a moan.

“I didn’t think I was… but at the Yule Ball, you were a vision, so I knew you had some kind of figure.”

Hermione only hummed in response. “Do you want to fuck me?”

A strangled moan left his lips. The word fuck on her proper lips was sinful and made his balls ache. The pressure of her hand lessened to his dismay.

“Yes, you can feel that for yourself,” he snarked.

To his surprise, she laughed. “There’s that Malfoy arrogance.” He wanted to protest, but she was right and he cursed himself for getting annoyed.

“What’s the third question, Granger?” he breathed.

“I’ll get to it... I thought I was ‘Hermione’ now.” She pouted, her bottom lip plump and nearly his for the taking. A finger traced his zipper, feeling his hardness twitch under her touch.

“Hermione, ask me your question,” Draco growled. 

Pursing her lips and then licking them, she leaned in to whisper it to him. “Do you want to marry me?”

Chapter Text

Hermione’s heart was pulsing in her throat as she finished asking the final question. She didn’t know what she wanted the answer to be. What she wanted to know was how serious he was about her. This wasn’t just fooling around, right?

To her surprise, Draco took her hand away from his zipper and knelt down on one knee in front of her. His smirk was nervous, the corner of his mouth twitching. 

“Hermione Granger, Persephone, will you marry me… eventually?”

She laughed. “Eventually?”

He pressed a soft kiss to her knuckles before standing. “We’ve only just started to get to know one another, Hermione. We’re barely on a first name basis.”

“You know me better physically than anyone else,” she argued, crushing his shirt in her fist as he traced a finger up her spine. Tendrils of pleasure seemed to race from his touch across her body, tingling wildly in her breasts and her clit. 

A rumble of agreement in his chest didn’t let her off the hook. “While that may be true and a huge boost for my ego, we can’t rush this, Hermione. No matter how much we both want that.”

Hermione let out a defeated rush of breath “yerrright.”

Draco pulled back. “What did you just say?”

She bit her lip coyly. “Don’t make me say it again.

He smirked at her but surprisingly conceded. “I won’t… yet.” 

She hit him lightly in the chest in retaliation. “Will you stay with me again tonight? I promise to behave.”

“Alright, I’ll have to trust you, my little minx.” Hermione winked at him, leading him by the hand to the bed. 

He stripped down to his pants and joined her in the bed, wrapping his larger frame around hers. She melted into him, shoulders relaxing, the tension in her neck loosening. Hermione didn’t say anything more, not even goodnight before she drifted off to sleep.

***

Weeks later, Draco woke up sweating. His dream had contained a series of flashes like camera bulbs. 

 

His father’s unrelenting grip on his arm as his own voice stammers, "I can't — I can't be sure."

Fenrir Greyback snarling, ‘And lastly, your pretty little friend... I'm not going to bite just yet. We'll see if she's a bit quicker at remembering her name than Barny. Who are you, girly?’

An ugly goblin arguing and fighting his grip on their ascent up the stairs.

The chandelier in the drawing-room of the manor crashing to the floor over two bodies. 

He turned over, trying to snuggle back into Hermione and ignore the strange flashes of the future -- if they even were the future. Her chocolate brown eyes, the ones he’d been now used to waking up to, were full of fear. Before he could say anything, she whispered something so quietly he nearly didn’t hear her at all.

“What if something happens?” 

His arms wrapped around her. “What do you mean?” Draco tried to say nonchalantly.

His little Gryffindor buried her nose into his neck, hiding from the possibilities. It made his stomach clench, the fact that she was hiding. As he began to get to know her beyond her swotty, controlling, slightly impulsive tendencies, Draco knew that Hermione Granger was most likely braver than Harry Potter. 

“What if something happens to us before we can wed?” 

He swallowed thickly. After what he’d just dreamt, he couldn’t very well deny that she could be right. Draco stroked her back as he tried to come up with something comforting to say.

“We can’t think like that, Hermione. We have to be ready.”

She leaned back, her forefinger tracing the outline of his left pectoral muscle. He fought the urge to shiver. “I know why you want to wait. I know this isn’t something we should take lightly, but I can’t help that it’s something you’re not telling me.”

Draco felt like she’d sent a shock to his heart. She was rather intuitive, not just book-smart, he’d discovered. He knew he’d disguise and hide his emotions naturally and it bothered her. He’d tried to open himself up for her, for the little emotions, but it didn’t come easily. Not after seventeen years of concealing his feelings.

“It’s not… it’s not because of my blood, right?”

His mind stopped whirring as she spoke her insecurity. He stared at her, shocked. After all this, her blood status could be his hesitance? 

He saw a tear roll down her cheek as she turned away from him. His heart clenched painfully. Draco caught her hand and pulled her back to cradle her to his chest. 

He knew he had to appeal to her logic for her to understand. “Do you think I would have done any of this at all if I was still a blood-purist? I know what your worth is, Hermione, and it has nothing to do with your blood and everything to do with who you are. Potter isn’t famous because of his blood or his parents; he’s the so-called Chosen One because of what he represents to the Dark Lord: a threat. You represent a threat to the Death Eaters no matter if they know it or not. You’re not some pawn. You will excel and succeed because of your brilliance and determination and I believe in you far more than any other player in this war. 

“And now, you mean more than all that to me. You’re someone I respect, cherish, and care about. It could be something more, but I can’t force that on you. We both need time to explore this. And I can’t help but think--” he pursed his lips together and shook his head.

Her soft hand cradled his jaw as if she was the key to unlocking his truths. He wanted to give in, but he didn’t know if he could tell her. His breath hitched when she pressed her lips to his and he yielded to her. Her kisses were unhurried, soft, and comforting. It made him want to weep.

“When our time is up and we’re married in the Immortal Realm, will you want to be by my side in the Wizarding World?” The words rushed out of his mouth so quickly, he barely knew what he had said.

Hermione’s mouth drew into a thin line. “You think I care what other people who aren’t my friends think? Even my friends’ opinions matter to a certain point, but my choices are my own. I know what it’s like to be under public scrutiny during the Triwizard Tournament, Draco. Do you think I cared about the rubbish that Rita Skeeter was peddling? No. Did I make sure that it wouldn’t happen again? Of course, I did.” 

He didn’t think he could admire Hermione Granger anymore until that rueful smirk came to her lips after her speech. Draco knew he should tell her that he was part of those lies that Rita printed, but he knew it wouldn’t make a difference.

Chapter Text

PREVIOUSLY

Hermione’s mouth drew into a thin line. “You think I care what other people who aren’t my friends think? Even my friends’ opinions matter to a certain point, but my choices are my own. I know what it’s like to be under public scrutiny during the Triwizard Tournament, Draco. Do you think I cared about the rubbish that Rita Skeeter was peddling? No. Did I make sure that it wouldn’t happen again? Of course, I did.” 

He didn’t think he could admire Hermione Granger anymore until that rueful smirk came to her lips after her speech. Draco knew he should tell her that he was part of those lies that Rita printed, but he knew it wouldn’t make a difference.


“How?” he said breathlessly. She had never looked more Slytherinesque than at that moment.

Twirling her wand absently, Hermione explained how she’d discovered that Rita was an unregistered animagus, a beetle. That was how she could overhear so many conversations and report on stories that there were no other witnesses for. Hermione had trapped Rita as a beetle in a jar for a while and threatened her with exposure of her status if she ever reported a false story about Hermione and her friends. 

Draco’s response was automatic: he kissed her hard, thrusting his tongue into her mouth as she moaned into his. He let her gasp for air as he continued down her throat, sucking at her pulse, which he knew by now made her groan and buck her hips. 

“Remind me never to cross you, love,” he said, nuzzling her neck. His heart stuttered at her giggle.

“The sorting hat must have had a helluva time sorting you, Granger,” he murmured into her skin. “Brave like Gryffindor,” kiss “Fair like Hufflepuff,” nip “Intelligent like Ravenclaw,” lick “And cunning like Slytherin.”

She was sitting astride his lap now, her hands in his hair and nails biting into his shoulder. “You’re everything a wizard could want, Hermione Granger. And everything I don’t deserve.”

Hermione stopped writhing on his lap and pulled his head up to look at her. “I never thought a Slytherin, let alone a Malfoy, would stoop to self-deprecation. It’s not a good look on you,” she admonished him. 

She continued with her lecture as he stared at her: “Besides, the house sorting is kind of a laugh, no matter how much I love Hogwarts and its history. Many students possess varying amounts of the qualities each house founder valued.”

“You’re being modest,” he deflected. Hermione rolled her eyes and started to get out of bed. 

He playfully grabbed her ankle before she could leave. “Draco!” 

“Where are you going, Persephone ?” he drawled with a smirk. She scoffed at him.

“To the library. I need to finish up that spell and you could come help me with it,” Hermione supplied as she threw leggings and a jumper on. 

Draco had to admit that he had developed an appreciation for the Muggle outfits she wore daily. The leggings hugged the length of her legs while the baggy jumpers let him see the hints of her breasts and curves of her hips. He was always half-hard when she was in full view. 

“I suppose I could spare some time for my queen’s benefit today,” he sighed dramatically. “Shall we bring our tea there?”

Hermione gave him a blinding smile. She loved her cuppa in the morning. He’d begun to wonder if this was what marriage to her would be like, this routine and domesticity?

The real test of their relationship would be if it could stand the strain of Potter and Weasel knowing about it. On one hand, he wanted to make Hermione happy by re-establishing the connection with her friends; on the other, he wanted to keep her all to himself. What could he say? He was a spoiled, only child and he didn’t like sharing.

Hermione had been diligently working on the combination of spells to enchant a set of journals that would act as two-way communication tools and ward off anyone except the intended readers. Draco had struggled with deciding whether or not he should be included in those who the journals were warded against. He had convincingly insisted that the less he knew, the better lest he be tortured for information in the future. 

In return for his insistence, Hermione had kissed him and promised that she would tell him what she could if it was not important to the war. He shrugged it off but was secretly pleased that she would confide in him. There was a bounce in her step as he watched her bustle around to her spot at the table in the library

The complex spellwork was nearly complete along with the password, which Hermione had recorded in secret. He knew it would be some inside joke between the trio that he couldn’t understand. Part of him was jealous of her friendship because Slytherins treated friendships as means to their own ends, as resources instead of relationships. No wonder he could never find a girlfriend! Not that he’d met anyone before Hermione that he’d wanted as badly. 

“Draco?” Hermione caught his attention. She’d probably said his name several times from her confused expression. “Ready to help me test it?”

He nodded, still a little distracted by his thoughts. He opened one of the plain journals. There wasn’t any writing anywhere, just blank pages. “ Revelio .”

Writing appeared in Hermione’s careful scrawl -- her notes were barely legible when she was writing fast and in her own version of shorthand.

Be warned.

This journal is haunted by the soul of Regulus Black, a Death Eater turned traitor, defender of house-elves. His death at the hand of the inferi was in pursuit of saving the next generation the horrors of war. Only the most powerful magic of all may unlock the contents of this journal. 

No dark magic may reveal its secrets.

“That’s chilling, Hermione,” he said, looking up from the journal. She shrugged with a smile. 

“It works!”

Draco closed the journal and smirked. “You won’t share what this ‘most powerful magic’ is then?” 

“Oh, my dear Draco. It’s the same magic that saved Harry’s life.” 

He was stumped. No one knew how Potter had made it out alive, especially not Voldemort. Everyone thought Potter was powerful, but he received average grades at Hogwarts. His dueling skills were decent, but Potter would barely pass other classes besides DADA without Hermione’s help. 

She rolled her eyes. “It was his mother’s love, Draco.” He raised his eyebrows.

Chapter Text

Previously

“Oh, my dear Draco. It’s the same magic that saved Harry’s life.” 

He was stumped. No one knew how Potter had made it out alive, especially not Voldemort. Everyone thought Potter was powerful, but he received average grades at Hogwarts. His dueling skills were decent, but Potter would barely pass other classes besides DADA without Hermione’s help. 

She rolled her eyes. “It was his mother’s love, Draco.” He raised his eyebrows.


“Love, you say?” Draco questioned her, frowning.

Her expression softened. She never thought she’d have to explain the power of love to someone, but clearly the Malfoys didn’t care too much for outward affection. Their interactions she’d witnessed -- though she’d usually been harrassed by Draco then -- were wooden, compulsory, but there was no deep emotion, at least not to the observer. 

“You love your parents right? What you’re doing for them is protection, sacrifice, love ,” Hermione explained. 

He nodded stiffly. “Does that… does that mean… what I did for you… was out of love?” 

His silver eyes had never looked so innocent. It melted her heart. Did he love her? Draco had denied it before, but it nearly seemed inevitable now.

She smiled encouragingly. “Only you’ll know if you did it for love, Draco. It’s flattering to think of that way, romantic, even.”

“I suppose many interpret the capture of Persephone as a romantic gesture. Really, Hades just wanted her,” he drawled, his eyes lasciviously tracing her curves.

With a blush, Hermione considered this. “Some tellings say Hades fell in love with her, a love at first sight kind of love. I think your intentions were purer than the original myth.”

Draco smirked, but she knew he understood. “Are they ready? The journals?”

She nodded enthusiastically. Hades appeared to be much less enthused. “Are you still worried that we’ll get caught?”

He shrugged, eyes cast downward as if inspecting his pristine shoes. Hermione stepped into his space, arms wrapping around his waist until his tilted head was resting atop hers. His heart beat steadily beneath her cheek as he slowly returned her embrace. Draco sighed heavily.

“This won’t change anything between us, Draco. It’s for our peace of mind if anything.”

***

A few days after they sent one of the journals with an impish-looking Hermes, Draco was bracing for an inevitable visit from some other god who’d intercepted the package. He’d instructed Hermes to bring it directly to Zeus as an offering from the new Persephone. For a Gryffindor, Hermione sure was crafty. She’d told Draco that she etched a message to Kingsley in the leather of the journal, so he would deduce for whom the journal was really intended and get a message through Potterwatch to the Chosen One. 

“I’m sure Ron has been listening to the radio every night hoping to hear some news of me,” she expressed guiltily to him after laying out her plan.

He knew he had to comfort her. “I’m sure they’ll forgive you and probably hate me more.”

Draco didn’t meet her eyes as she scoffed. Picking a piece of invisible lint on his pants, he was suddenly being mounted by a small yet curvaceous witch. He looked up in surprise and was startled by the expression Hermione wore. She was yearning, but for whom? For her friends somewhere in the “real” world or for the wizard she was straddling?

Her lips stole kisses from his -- not that she didn’t have his permission to kiss him -- but they were shy and tantalizing. She nipped his bottom lip and a throaty growl erupted from his chest. Draco dragged her closer, her knees on either side of his hips, breasts squished against his collarbone. Hermione was snogging him breathless when a knock came on her suite’s outer door. 

He tried to protest her kisses that were growing hungrier by the second, but she refused to let him break away from her. Her thighs were digging into his torso and her hands were forcing his face closer to hers. She must not have heard the knock. Draco was panicking. It could be his father or Snape again or the Dark Lord himself at their door. 

Draco took a risk. “ Hermione! Someone’s at the door! ” 

She ended up biting his lip so sharply that blood trickled down his chin as she jumped at his intrusive voice in her mind. Shocked, Hermione’s head whipped around fast enough to see their visitor enter. It was too late for her to scramble off him as a blonde head came into view. Draco’s vision started to swim at the fear mounting in his chest.

***

“Daphne?” Hermione asked breathlessly as Hera floated into the room. She couldn’t even process the fact that she’d bitten Draco after he had to use legilimency to stop her from kissing him

The goddess gave her a serene smile before sitting herself on the settee across from where she was still on Draco’s lap. Hermione moved to climb off him, but Daphne shook her head.

“No need to get up at my interruption, Hermione. I’m so happy you two are getting along,” Daphne remarked pleasantly.

She looked pityingly at Draco who had his monogrammed handkerchief pressed to his mouth. His wide, silver eyes were resolutely on their guest. Hermione decided to sit across his lap in the large armchair, so she could face Hera. 

“I’m sorry,” she whispered to him. “To what do we owe this unexpected pleasure, Hera?” Hermione asked Hera as if the goddess hadn’t just caught them snogging.

Daphne grinned warmly. “I have a message from Zeus. He wanted to send it through Hermes, but I said I wanted to check on you and see how your relationship was progressing.”

Hermione looked at her expectantly and nodded for her to continue. Draco was silent still, but she knew he was listening. 

“He said that your request has been granted, Persephone. It should be fulfilled in the next few days. He also said to compliment you on your spellwork as well as your cunning with riddles and codes.”

Hermione beamed. She didn’t care too much for compliments, but she was pleased that Kingsley had complied. “Would you like to heal Hades’ poor lip?” Hera asked.

Hermione flushed and turned back to Draco. “ Episkey,” she said, waving her hand over his mouth. She knew how she’d make it up to him after Daphne left.

“You’re a very talented witch, Persephone. The Underworld will surely thrive under your rule. However, I should strongly suggest that you put some wards up so that your private life won’t be interrupted like this again, by someone less neutral than I. I’m sure you know the spells,” Hera warned sagely.

“Of course, I will do that. I suppose I didn’t realize how easy it might be for other wizards to sneak in here,” Hermione admitted to her chagrin. She had become lax in her security measures since coming to the Underworld. 

“Be more careful, you two.”

Chapter Text

“She’s right,” Draco said, running a hand through his hair. Hermione bit her lip and nodded, still concentrating on the wards she was putting up.

“I don’t know how either of us hadn’t thought about it before, to be honest.” 

Hades shrugged. The Underworld had always seemed safe from the “outside” world, but if Snape could enter undetected, Draco figured Voldemort could as well. A dangerous shiver traveled down his spine, settling uncomfortably in his stomach.

“You’ll be the Secret Keeper?” Hermione asked as she continued to wave her wand. Draco wasn’t sure how to respond. After he didn’t, she clarified, “For the Fidelius Charm.”

He swallowed the dry lump in his throat as best as he could. “Do you really think that’s a good idea? What if--”

“Voldemort tries to force it out of you? He won’t be able to, Draco…. Besides, you’re the only one I trust right now. We’re in this together.” 

Hermione offered him her hand and he took it softly in his, like a treasure. Her rich, dark eyes flecked with gold took his breath away as she entrusted him, the secret heavy in his heart. His chest tightened with the knowledge that it would be his fault if she were discovered. Everything would be his fault if they failed.

*** November 15th ***

It had nearly been a few weeks since they’d sent the journal. Hermione seemed happier than she had when it was only the two of them. Now that Potter and Weasley were speaking to her, she was constantly smiling at their communications in the journal. Jealousy came easily to Draco Malfoy. 

Even if it was him whom she was kissing, he who slept in her bed, he who apparated her tired body from the library, he who kept her secret location, he who planned to marry her; Draco was still jealous of her so-called best friends. After all, Potter had gotten Hermione wrapped up into this messy war, he was the reason why she was in danger in the first place. He knew Hermione would argue that it was her choice, but what kind of friends endangered each other?

Draco was curious as to what Hermione was researching on behalf of the duncely duo. He’d told her to hide it from him, just in case someone read his mind or interrogated him, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t interested in finding out the trio’s strategy to winning this war. Trying not to look at the spines of the books stacked on what he now regarded as Hermione’s library desk, Draco waited patiently for her to look up from the journal.

A gasping sob grabbed his attention. Hermione’s face was crumpled, fighting tears. “Ron! No, no, no!” she cried.

She collapsed over the journal as if it were Ron’s body and Draco’s instinct was to rush over to her. He gently brushed her wayward curls with his hand trying to console her. Hermione turned to him, sniffled, and buried her face into his chest. 

“What happened, Hermione?”

She’d crawled into his lap on the floor after he’d bent down to figure out what was wrong. It seemed like she couldn’t shed any more tears, so she hiccoughed. Her red-rimmed, puffy eyes gazed at him.

“He-he left… Ron just left Harry! It was because--” she stopped, biting her lip. He knew she’d almost said something he wasn’t supposed to know. “He was angry, irrational… He accused Harry and me of ganging up on him.” Hermione shook her head in disbelief.

Draco wanted to shrug. It sounded like the Weasley he knew, but if he said anything derogatory about the ginger git, it would alienate her. 

All he could think to say was, “I’m sorry he did that, love. He shouldn’t have abandoned Potter like that. Weasley will go back soon enough.” 

“I hope so… What if one of them gets caught by snatchers? What if they get to Harry?” Her breathing became gasping as her anxiety overtook her again.

“Breathe, Hermione. Breathe. That’s it… in and out,” he whispered. Draco wasn’t good at comforting people. He’d only had his parents growing up and no one expected it from him, not even his so-called Slytherin friends.

In an effort to make her more comfortable, he apparated them to her suite. Draco summoned tea service from the elves as she clung to him, calmer, but still upset. He was able to convince her to nibble at a biscuit and take a few sips of tea. 

“Don’t worry, love. Weasley will return to Potter. Those two can’t survive long without each other.” 

***

Anxiety constantly bubbled in Hermione’s stomach like a carbonated drink as a week since Ron left Harry passed. She greatly appreciated Draco’s support -- he even fed her when she simply stared at her food and pushed it around her plate. He’d been comforting as she tried to figure out a way to help her friends from the Underworld.

They had to destroy that damned locket. That’s what had caused Ron to leave, his negativity and impulsivity. If only they had a way to destroy the horcrux.

“Mother used to read this to me. I’m surprised you have a copy,” Draco remarked as he was browsing her bookshelf in her sitting room. They’d just finished breakfast and Hermione was still sipping tea, mulling over her thoughts.

Hermione blinked at him as he held up the book: The Tales of Beedle the Bard .  “I hadn’t heard of it until Dumbledore left it to me in his will.”

Draco arched a pale eyebrow at her. “I’m still not sure why he did. The symbol was familiar, but other than that I’m not sure what help a children’s story will be in defeating Voldemort,” she said shrugging.

“Most wizarding children know the stories. My father always hated my mother reading them to me. He said they were stupid fantasies.”

Her mind was buzzing at the mention of his parents and childhood. “Will you go see them?” she asked suddenly. At his look of alarm, she elaborated, “In a few weeks for Christmas?”

“I hadn’t thought about it much,” he answered with a frown, examining the rug. 

Hermione knew it was a tough subject for him as well as for her. Her own parents didn’t know she existed and he was trying to protect his parents from their misplaced allegiance. She wasn’t sure if his reluctance had anything to do with her.

Taking his hand, she kissed the smooth, pale palm. His silver eyes darkened to flint, sparking to life. His hand buried itself into her curls as he tipped her head back to claim her mouth. She purred at his tongue brushing hers. Her scalp burned pleasantly as he exposed her throat. 

“I don’t want to think,” he said nibbling on her ear lobe. “About them.” Draco sucked a bruise into her pulse point, her knees weakening. “I want to be with you,” he growled.

“I want to consume you.” Hermione gasped as his hand pressed into her lower back so she could feel his burgeoning arousal against her stomach. “And I want you to consume me.”

She felt lightheaded with desire, the blood in her veins alight and simmering. “Please, Draco,” she begged, her voice barely a whisper. Hermione had been pleading with him for more, but his resolve only wavered until he reigned himself in.

There was a possessiveness in his eyes now glinting like obsidian that had only flickered on once or twice. It seemed to stay as he examined her with hunger. His expression made her stomach flip and her clit throb.

Before she could blink, Draco had backed her up to the wall, her wrists in one of his large hands and raised above her head. His other hand skated down her hip and traced the seam on the side of her leggings until it reached her knee. He hitched her leg over his hip and she gasped as his covered erection rubbed roughly against her core. 

“Is this what you want, Her-mi-o-ne?” he drawled, teasing her name out by the syllables. “You want me to fuck you against this wall? You want my cock inside you?” 

Hermione shifted for more friction on that bundle of nerves at her apex. They groaned in unison at her movement, his cock starting to grind against her out of instinct. Her eyes started to droop as she surrendered to the relief.

“Look at me, Persephone,” Draco demanded.

She blinked the haze of building pleasure away. He looked every bit the Hades he was, his coal eyes smoldering. Didn’t he know that he was setting her on fire? 

“Say you want it. Say you want me, all of me, that you’ll do anything.”

Hermione chewed on her lip. She wanted to comply, but she knew he wouldn’t give in yet. “I want all those things, Draco. I would do anything, but we’ve agreed to wait. Right now, I just want you to take my mind off Ron.”

He smirked, “Gladly.”

Chapter Text

Previously...

“Say you want it. Say you want me, all of me, that you’ll do anything.”

Hermione chewed on her lip. She wanted to comply, but she knew he wouldn’t give in yet. “I want all those things, Draco. I would do anything, but we’ve agreed to wait. Right now, I just want you to take my mind off Ron.”

He smirked, “Gladly.”


“To clarify, I meant the fact that he left--” Draco didn’t let her finish her sentence, kissing her soundly.

He swallowed her moan as his thumb brushed the hard peak of her nipple through her jumper. Draco growled when he realized she wasn’t wearing a bra. He’d noticed earlier that her breasts had bounced a little more, but he thought it had been his imagination. 

Rucking the sweater up, Draco filled his hands with her ample bosom. Instead of pleasured sighs, he was alarmed by Hermione’s squealing, unable to get away from him as she was pressed into the wall. 

“C-cold hands,” she stuttered. 

Draco was bewildered by her reaction and was tempted to laugh, but he cast a warming charm on his hands before returning them to her breasts. “Sorry, love,” he muttered against the inside of her breast where he nipped lightly at the sensitive skin.

“S’okay,” she answered through parted lips. She was making those mewling noises that made him harder than steel.  

The faintly floral taste of her made him nearly break his vow not to deflower her before they wed. He wasn’t lying when he said he wanted to consume her and for her to consume him. They were hurtling along that trajectory with every millisecond they spent together. The longer he had her, the more he wanted from her, of her, with her.

Hungrily, he sucked her nipple into his mouth, teeth grazing it. Her chest was heaving, pushing her breasts toward him like a ripe offering to the god of the dead.

Hermione , his soul seemed to call for her, or was it his magical core? The yearning was deeper than he’d ever felt for a person. She’d called it love , but was it? He’d give into it no matter what, but not fully until he could claim her as his. 

His hand slipped between them and into her leggings. Draco’s jaw went slack, losing its grip on her supple flesh when he found no evidence of knickers. His fingers ventured through the patch of hair on her mound to her engorged button begging for attention.

Her thighs trembled around him as she panted his name over and over like an erotic melody. Draco… Draco… Draco… Wetness seeped out of her as his fingers lightly traced her labia, the heel of his palm barely brushing her clit. He had her on the edge.

“Fuck!” she gasped as he simultaneously shoved a finger inside her, ground his hand roughly against her apex, and sucked her nipple hard enough to bruise.

Hermione spasmed around his finger so tightly that he couldn’t even move his hand until her inner muscles released it along with a wave of juices dripping onto his hands and her thighs. Another finger joined the first and pumped her slowly through the aftermath of her orgasm. Her hips moved with his hand, wet squelching was the only sound in the room besides their heavy breathing.

The wall was the only thing holding her up. “Hermione,” he whispered. 

“Hmmm?”

“Push your leggings down for me, love. We wouldn’t want them to get wet.”

She complied with shaking hands, whimpering as he pulled his fingers out to help her step out of her leggings. He positioned her legs wider, her muscles quivering. On his knees, Draco started at her upper calf and trailed kisses up her inner thigh. Once he reached the slippery skin close to her apex, Draco lifted her right leg over his shoulder and continued to tease her, tasting her spend dripping down her thighs.

Hermione was a moaning mess above him as he lightly circled her bud with his tongue. Her hips canted toward his mouth as he shoved his fingers back in. He heard a groan and a thud as her head fell heavily back against the wall. Draco chanced a glance up at his goddess and saw she was playing with her breasts, lightly pulling at her nipples.

“Fuuuck,” he mumbled against her mound as his pants felt tighter and tighter.

He needed to make her cum again, so he slid his fingers out of her squeezing snatch and gripped both of her arse cheeks with his hands. She whimpered at the loss until he slipped his tongue into her pussy after licking up her puffy lips. Draco speared her with his tongue like a little cock, a rush of her juices exploding into his mouth.

Her hand gripped his hair, now sweaty from his efforts. She rode his tongue by instinct and came all over his face until her spend was dripping down his chin. Draco slurped at her labia as he pulled away lest she suffocates and drowns him simultaneously -- not that he really minded.

Before she could slide down the wall as he stiffly stood, Draco scooped her up and carried her boneless body to her ensuite bathroom. He placed her on the small chair next to her vanity while he ran a bath for her. 

***

Draco had made her feel as though she were floating on a heavenly cloud, pleasure radiating through every cell in her body. Hermione felt drowsy and satisfied as she welcomed the warm bathwater’s delicate massage. She couldn’t be too surprised when Draco slipped in behind her to wash her with foam and explore her wet skin. 

His moan rumbled through her spine as her arse slid against his hard shaft. He seemed to read her mind when he assured her, “This is all for you, Persephone. It’s a pleasure to give you pleasure, love.”

Hermione hadn’t realized she’d started to doze off, her head using his chest as a pillow until he gently roused her. He helped her out of the tub and wrapped her in a fluffy towel before carrying her to her bed for some much-needed rest. 

“Thank you, Draco,” she barely remembered to say before she drifted off.

***

A few days later, she suggested they go for a long jog. Hermione had some cabin fever after only visiting the library, Draco’s rooms, and her own for nearly a month. He winced at her announcement. 

“What?” she asked suspiciously.

Draco ruffled his hair. “Outside of the palace, I can’t be sure that we won’t have unwelcome visitors anymore.”

Hermione frowned. He wasn’t wrong, but she felt like a caged bird. Draco was looking at her like she was a bomb ready to explode when she finally came to a solution.

“Got any polyjuice potion?” His brow furrowed. 

“I may have some in my potions cabinet… but we have no one to disguise you as.”

She gave him a malicious grin. “Did you ever clean the guest room linens?”

Draco’s face turned a deathly pale white and his mouth open and shut silently a few times. He shook his head at her.

“Hermione, I know you want to get out for a bit, but we can find another solution. A notice-me-not charm should do well enough!”

She scoffed. “Any wizard powerful enough to be a Death Eater will see right through that!”

He huffed indignantly. “I don’t like this, Hermione. I don’t know if I can see you… look like her.”

“Like Hecate or Astoria?” she teased darkly to his chagrin.

Chapter Text

Previously:

He huffed indignantly. “I don’t like this, Hermione. I don’t know if I can see you… look like her.”

“Like Hecate or Astoria?” she teased darkly to his chagrin.


“How did you talk me into this charade?” Draco whined as he waited for her transformation.

Sitting on her bed with his head in his hands, he couldn’t look up until he felt her standing over him. His stomach lurched at the thought of seeing Astoria again even though it was actually Hermione. Draco felt guilty for using Astoria, for modifying her memory, if it was for a good cause.

The knot of guilt inside him twisting more as he saw Astoria before him dressed in her Slytherin school uniform. The thought of kissing her again sickened him.

“Close your eyes for a second,” Astoria said with Hermione’s voice. Draco complied, but he swallowed bile as hands carded through his hair.

Hermione whispered huskily in his ear, “After the potion wears off, I’ll suck you off while I’m in this Slytherin uniform. You can bind my hands behind my back with the tie if you want.”

Imagining the scenario she described made him instantly hard; it was so fast that he felt lightheaded. She giggled in his ear, breath tickling his neck. He kept his eyes closed for a second longer.

“Hermione, can you do me a favor?” he choked out, trying to calm himself.

“Anything, love.”

“Don’t touch me while you look like her. I don’t think I could stand it.”

“Of course, Draco,” she said sympathetically. “Hands off until I’m back to normal.”

“I dunno if I would call you ‘normal,’” he snarked, opening his eyes. Draco winced when Hermione sent a stinging jinx his way before they left her chambers.

***

Relief similar to the pleasure that Draco had immersed her in the other day coursed through her veins as they walked along the river. She was even more enthusiastic about their adventure back out into the Underworld’s realm when Draco offered to take her to a place that Snape had shown him. 

“How long do you reckon it will last?” Draco asked her, eyeing her new form warily. 

“It’s difficult to say exactly, but if Snape brewed it, then at least an hour.”

They lapsed into a comfortable silence as they walked to their intended destination. Hermione marveled at the scent of the air blowing along the river -- like a stale seaside, but fresher than the palace. It made her want to skip like the schoolgirl she was dressed as. Astoria was a few years younger, so her appearance was definitely more youthful. She knew it bothered Draco, but it was the safest way for them to venture out together.

To take his mind off her bothersome form, she confided in him. “Do you remember in second year when I was absent from class for a week?” 

“Faintly,” he answered, not looking at her. Hermione imagined he was trying to pretend she was still herself.

Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to bring up the year he’d said she wished she and all the other muggleborns were dead -- though he’d used the slur instead. Hermione wanted to make him laugh, though.

“Harry and Ron were convinced you were the heir of Slytherin, but they wanted to see if they could get you to admit it, so I brewed polyjuice potion and tricked Crabbe, Goyle, and Millicent Bulstrode to get some hairs from them.”

Draco stopped to stare at her but immediately turned away at the sight of her darkened hair and green eyes. She smiled triumphantly to herself at both shocking and impressing him.

“It figures you’d have brewed polyjuice potion successfully during second year,” he drawled and kept walking. 

She snorted lightly. “I wouldn’t call it a complete success… You see I had to send Harry and Ron by themselves as Crabbe and Goyle. I didn’t turn into Millicent, you see. The hairs I plucked from her robes were cat hairs…” 

Hermione saw him mulling over the information. “You--you turned into a-a cat?” he stuttered, astonished.

She barked a laugh, wishing she could poke him in the sides. It took him a second to join her laughter until they had to stop because Draco was clutching his stomach, tears of hilarity streaming down his face. He heaved in breaths trying to calm himself and continue walking. 

He shook his head in disbelief. “I bet Madam Pomfrey had a field day with that.”

Hermione grinned. “Quite. She lectured me for nearly an hour, but I could tell she was quite impressed with the skill required to accidentally turn oneself into a feline.”

She could see Draco’s profile smirking. “Just up here, love.”

Hermione’s breath caught at the complete decimation of the burnt earth in the valley below them. It was haunting and somewhat beautiful in its sadness.

“The Vale of Mourning,” Draco said as they surveyed the land. “Snape said you could potentially summon or glimpse the shade of someone you lost here.”

An icy finger seemed to trail down her spine at the thought of seeing the ghost of a familiar redhead descending into the valley. Cold dread and grief gripped her as if a shade had passed through her body again. It was suffocating and intense, nearly bringing her down to the blackened ground. 

“Is this teenage courtship these days, Lucius?” a hissing voice said from behind them. 

Vertigo seemed to sweep across Hermione’s vision as she heard rather than saw Draco whirl around. She thought she was going to faint. 

“I dare say I’d be surprised if it is, my Lord,” another familiar voice drawled. 

Darkness was closing in on her. Hermione struggled to breathe, to speak, as she barely gasped, “Draco!”

***

Inwardly panicking, Draco slipped an arm around her mid-back and drew her protectively into his side. The blank mask of boredom took over his features, but his fingers dug into Astoria’s ribs, knuckles white.

“My Lord... Father,” he acknowledged the two wizards who’d snuck up on them with a humble nod. “It appears Astoria has been taken ill with grief upon seeing a glimpse of her dearly departed mother in the valley.”

The girl in his arms choked on a sob. Either Hermione was playing the part or perhaps she had seen something. Draco tried to push the horror of that thought away as he absently stroked her hair. 

“Last we spoke, you corrected me on courtship rules, did you not, Draco?” his father asked, an eyebrow raised in challenge.

Draco’s only betrayal was the firm line his mouth made before he answered: “As my Lord may know, being King of the Underworld is a solitary role, and so I have no choice but to break the courtship rules.”

Lord Voldemort chuckled darkly. “Ah, young Draco, well spoken. You will make Severus proud.”

“I hope to please your Lordship as well,” Draco groused, his lies making his head throb.

Chapter Text

Previously:

Lord Voldemort chuckled darkly. “Ah, young Draco, well-spoken. You will make Severus proud.”

“I hope to please your Lordship as well,” Draco groused, his lies making his head throb.


The dark wizard’s malicious grin was enough to turn his insides into putty. His father’s eyes were still examining him and the girl in his arms. 

“Will Miss Greengrass be staying the weekend or will she return to Hogwarts?” 

“We must see if she’s well enough to return, but if not, I will be here to check on her and the elves always take attentive care of her.” Draco felt Astoria/Hermione stir out of her stupor.

“Apologies, my Lord and Mr. Malfoy,” the girl said slowly, her voice meek. “If you do not mind, I would like Draco to escort me back to the guest room where I might rest.” 

She kept her head lowered, but peered up at his father and the dark wizard through her eyelashes. Draco solidified his Occlusion walls, his mind blank even as he felt the twin stares of interest from the wizards in front of them. 

“By all means, young Malfoy, please see your lovely, pure witch back to her chambers,” Voldemort sibilated, his red slitted eyes making Draco’s stomach churn involuntarily.

Draco made the executive decision to carry his witch bridal style back to Hades’ palace, passing between his father and the Dark Lord like parted seas. Astoria’s arms were draped around his neck and he desperately tried to pretend they were Hermione’s. He didn’t look at her once as he carried her. 

Once they made it into the palace, Draco apparated them directly into her chambers. He felt the wards allow him through, brushing his magical aura, as they landed on the plush carpeting. His knees collapsed underneath him as he curled protectively over his witch, his goddess. Dry sobs of relief mixed with fear wracked his body as they huddled together on the floor. 

She was stroking his hair, his back, his chest, anywhere she could reach. Draco wanted to recoil, but he knew Hermione had to break her promise not to touch him. After all, he’d made the decision for her when he’d pulled her into him as she panicked in the Vale. He never wanted to see his lioness, his goddess cowering before anyone again. And yet, who was he to think that? He’d been quaking inwardly at the unannounced arrival of his father and the Dark Lord.

“You were right,” he mumbled into her shoulder, the wool of her cardigan itching his face. If she hadn’t been polyjuiced as Astoria, everything would have been over. His life, her life: everything. 

What could have been hours or minutes later brought stiffness to his joints as they remained tangled on the floor. Draco was relieved to see chocolate brown curls and golden skin beneath him. He pulled her into his lap and hugged her, her chin hooked over his shoulder, her legs straddling his thighs. 

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. He pulled away to look at her bronze eyes filled with unshed tears. 

Draco shook his head at her and kissed her gently on the forehead. “Don’t be sorry, Hermione. It was an impossible situation… If anything your reaction made it easier for us to leave them.”

She sniffled and blinked away the tears. “I-I thought for a second I saw Ron… and I j-just crumbled. It wasn’t him, it couldn’t have been.” 

“Come on, love, let’s get you into a bath,” he said, lifting her to stand. 

Draco started walking toward her ensuite bath, but noticed she was standing stock-still where he’d left her. His breath hitched at the full effect of Hermione Granger wearing a Slytherin uniform: the silver and green striped tie, snake seal badge, and charcoal pleated skirt shorter than she’d ever worn in school. What he wouldn’t give to have her on her bare knees in those delectable high stockings, creamy thighs barely teasing him from under the skirt. He’d wrap the tie around her wrists--- 

He quickly swallowed any plans of ravishing her down after the ordeal they just had, saving the image for his wank bank in the sealed Occlumency compartment he’d made exclusively for her. 

“C’mon, Granger,” he drawled teasingly. She quirked a smile and followed him.

“I thought you--”

“Another time, love. I’ll put the uniform in your closet while you’re soaking in the tub,” he interrupted her smoothly and winked.

Hermione seemed relieved as he watched her undress. His resolve weakened with each piece of clothing that dropped to the marble floor. 

She bit her lip, looking over her shoulder at him standing in the doorway. “You’re quite good lying on your feet, Draco.”

For a second, he thought she was referring to his raincheck on her offer to suck him off in the uniform, but then he realized she meant his performance for Voldemort and his father. Draco grimaced and shrugged.

“I haven’t lied to you since--”

“--you first brought me here,” she finished for him as she lowered her naked body into the steaming water. “I know, Draco. You had your chance to betray me more than once, I completely trust you.”

His heart stuttered in his chest. Hermione Granger trusted him completely. He blinked a few times to ensure this wasn’t a dream. 

She giggled at his bewilderment. Draco cleared his throat before saying, “Make sure you scrub all that Astoria off your skin before I return.”

Hermione rolled her eyes at him as he left to confront his father who would undoubtedly be making an appearance at his office, if he wasn’t already waiting there. Draco had years of dealing with Death Eaters and the Dark Lord; no amount of scrubbing could ever rid him of all the grime and blood.

***

Hermione summoned the journal from the other room as she soaked in the tub. She knew it would bring nothing but disappointment, but that small ball of hope was nestled deep inside her heart that Harry and Ron would be okay. To say she felt powerless was an understatement and the fact that her eyes had tricked her into seeing Ron’s shade made it even worse. Falling to pieces in front of Voldemort and Lucius Malfoy was just the icing on the crap cake that her day of freedom had turned out to be. 

She sighed and opened the journal. No update from Harry, but she assumed she’d get one once he moved the camp. He’d been resistant at first, but she warned him that snatchers could happen upon them at any time, so it was best to keep moving despite Ron’s disappearance. 

While she knew it was a childish deadline, she hoped there would be news of Ron before Christmas. Would they ever know what happened to him? What if he became one of those unnamed casualties in this war? Her eyes stung from the tears she was trying to hold back. 

Hermione had thought she’d been in love with Ron, but would he have ever reciprocated? Did she simply fall for the idea of him? The idea that she would finally win over the boy who’d at first shunned her as a friend? Her laugh echoed in the tiled bathroom. Draco Malfoy had been the same, more or less, hadn’t he? And she’d fallen for him… Was it her trying to prove Ron and Draco wrong? That she wasn’t just a bushy-haired know-it-all? 

She’d been trying to prove everyone wrong her entire life. When her magic had manifested as a child, Hermione had tried to show her parents that it wasn’t out of the ordinary and when the psychologists tried to put her into therapy, she tried to convince them that it wasn’t all in her head. Her Hogwarts acceptance letter had been nothing short of proof that she had been right. She’d thought that would be the end of trying to prove herself. And yet, because of her Muggle background, she had been behind in terms of magical development and then she had to prove that her magically stunted childhood couldn’t hold her back. 

It was exhausting! One small victory about becoming Astoria Greengrass for an hour was that she didn’t have to prove herself. Astoria was a normal, pureblooded witch who barely had a care in the world besides that she’d been shunned by Draco Malfoy. This was another win for Hermione, but it also put her in danger. However, she didn’t know if she’d be any better off hiding with Harry in a tent with Ron gone than with Draco in the Underworld. 

She was brought out of her musings by the cooled bathwater. Magically, Hermione warmed it up again to finish rinsing her hair. When she crawled into bed, she instantly felt her body go limp and her mind drift off.

Chapter Text

Draco took a deep breath before entering his office. The stench of dark magic seemed to have abated, which meant that Voldemort had left… hopefully for good. He knew Hermione’s wards were strong, but the Dark Lord was a magical anomaly and had unpredictable mood swings. Voldemort had been Hades at one point and probably knew the Underworld better than Draco, especially since he’d been able to find and open the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts. 

His father was sipping brandy near the beverage cart, leaning on his cane. The dim lighting hid the severe shadows from Lucius Malfoy’s haggard features. He was an excellent actor, just as he’d raised Draco to be; he knew how to play the aristocratic asshole.

“You changed your mind then, Draco?” his father said without preamble.

He grimaced and moved to sit at his desk. “About Astoria?”

Lucius smirked and Draco fought to roll his eyes. “Let’s just say I’m giving her another chance,” he clarified lest his father thought he was bending to his will. 

“Hm,” his father mused, taking a sip of his drink.

“What was the Dark Lord’s interest in visiting?”

Lucius’ lip curled. “He wanted to check in on the operations here, see how you’re faring.”

“He didn’t ask Uncle Severus?” Draco asked impetuously. “He was here weeks ago.”

“We all know reporting isn’t so reliable these days, so he came in person,” his father said haughtily.

Draco glared at the inkwell on his desk. “Does our lord require a full report?”

“I don’t think that will be necessary.”

The question ‘Is the Dark Lord still in the Underworld’ was on the tip of his tongue, but he didn’t want to ask it. He didn’t want to draw any more suspicion. 

“How is Mother?” Draco asked instead.

His father waved his hand in an absent manner. “She’s the same as always, Draco. What I want to know is how your courtship with the Greengrass girl is progressing.”

If Draco had been drinking something, he would have spit it everywhere. His father was the master of nonsequiturs. Catching others off guard was his specialty. He struggled not to glower at the wizard who'd ruled his life since siring him.

"Father, I told you that we are taking this courtship slowly. We are still young, she much younger and more innocent in the ways of the world than I. She's a beautiful, sophisticated, smart, and capable witch, but we still need to get to know one another."

As a Slytherin, Draco knew the most convincing lie contained some truth, which his statement was partially true, except the witch he was referring to with such admirable qualities was Hermione and not Astoria. Despite this, he fortified his mind, keeping Astoria at the forefront in case his father tried to breach his thoughts again. 

“Need I remind you of the terms of claiming your inheritance as soon as you are finished with your role as King of the Underworld?” Lucius drawled, voice dripping with disdain. 

Draco’s stomach twisted. “I must be at least betrothed after proper courtship, if not married, by then,” he recited robotically. 

“Your mother seems to think you’ve already found your bride.” The knife in his gut twisted further. He held his father’s silver gaze that mirrored his own.

Indifferently, Draco answered, “Perhaps.”

"Continue with your work son, but If you step one toe out of line, Draco..." His father arched an eyebrow and swallowed the remaining liquor in his glass.

“Yes, Father.”

He watched the wizard exit with a swish of his robes and heard the clacking of his cane fade away down the hallway, his heartbeat slowing. It relieved him to confirm that his mother was on his side, but he knew his father wouldn’t stray from the Dark Lord unless there was a loophole or an exit plan. Part of him was still worried about Voldemort freely wandering around the Underworld and Hermione’s vulnerability. 

“Nobby!” he called before pouring himself a double of scotch and swallowing it in one gulp. 

The taste was still burning his innards when the elf popped into the center of the room. The house elf blinked at him expectantly. Nobby was Hades’ personal elf. Draco composed himself.

“Nobby, please summon Thanatos to my office. If he argues, drag him here yourself.”

The elf nodded and saluted him military-style and then disappeared with a crack! Draco remained standing behind his desk, the beginnings of a headache starting to pound against his temples. Fear takes a toll on the body, he noted. 

A few minutes later, Nobby reappeared with a disheveled Thanatos swearing up a storm. The elf with a severe expression left Theo spinning in the center of the room as it apparated away. Draco smirked as Theo fell on his arse across the Turkish rug. 

“What the fuck?” Thanatos repeated for the umpteenth time. 

Draco stood, palms braced on his desk, leaning towards his employee. “Where were you? Fucking another nymph?” 

“If I was, it was unsuccessful.”

“Do you know who waltzed into the Underworld today?”

Theo blinked at him. 

“My father and the Dark Lord, you insufferable twat! I told you to keep an eye on the wizarding world to Underworld traffic!” Draco spat at the wizard in front of him. 

Theo’s lip curled into a snarl. “I’m not your fucking guard dog, Draco. That’s what you have that three-headed monstrosity.”

Draco sighed. “Don’t make me throw you into the lake of souls again.” 

Thanatos blanched. “A-are th-they still here?”

Piercing silver eyes trained on his employee, Draco said, “You better discreetly find out.” He looked at his paperwork and not hearing Theo leave, he glared at him. 

“Run along, Theo.” He would have his answer soon, so Draco buckled down and got to sifting through paperwork. 

***

Hermione woke with a start and sensed it was still too early to be awake. Something had startled her. A slight noise outside her bedroom put her on red alert. Wand in hand, her heart was beating a harsh tattoo against her ribs as she made her way to the door, another creak sounding, and peeked through the crack. 

She sighed once she saw what had woken her. A blood-shot-eyed Draco Malfoy blinked manically at her as she leaned over the sofa arm. His hair was a ruffled mess and for some reason, besides the tiredness, he looked absolutely edible. 

“Draco, why are you sleeping here?”

“Didn’t want you to be alone,” he mumbled, his eyes now trained on her erect nipples poking against her pajamas. “Didn’t want to wake you.”

She ran the backs of his fingers over his cheek. “Come to bed, Draco.”

“Sorry,” he said through a long sigh as he sat up and rubbed his eyes. 

Hermione shook her head. “No need, love.”

In his exhausted state, Draco leaned against her, anchoring his arm across her back, hand on her opposite hip, as they walked into her bedroom. His arm slipped down to cup the swell of her arse cheek and he pulled her bodily into bed with him so they were splayed out in a tangle of limbs and sheets. 

“Should I put the uniform on?” she teased.

He groaned, silver eyes flashing like chrome in the darkness. The paleness of his bare skin seemed to glow like moonlight as he stretched out. It made Hermione want to touch him all over, to absorb the glow into her own body.

“It’s late, how ‘bout in the morning?” She smiled into the ethereal skin of his neck.

Chapter Text

Despite the interruption to her sleep, Hermione woke up early. Draco was passed out cold, exhausted by his meeting with his father. She wasn’t sure what had happened, but she knew he was concerned about his father’s and Voldemort’s presence yesterday. 

She slipped into her walk-in closet and put the uniform back on before charming to look like pajamas. Wanting Draco to sleep, she quietly went out to her sitting room to read and have a cup of tea. It was the perfect morning so far. 

An hour and a half later, after a few cups of tea and a scone and a few chapters of her book, Hermione heard some movement in the bedroom. She’d been keyed up ever since seeing how enthusiastic he’d been about this role-playing idea. Squeezing her thighs together, she waited for Draco to join her.

When he stepped out of the bedroom, she hit him with a silent spell that transfigured his sleep pants into wizarding robes. Wide-eyed, he looked down and then back to Hermione. She’d stood and revealed the uniform when he’d looked down at his new robes. Draco’s eyes smoldered, a shit-eating grin replacing the sleepy look on his face.

“Professor Malfoy?” she said, her voice slightly higher and shyer. Fidgeting, she peered up at him through her eyelashes. 

He straightened his posture and combed his hair back with his fingers. “Did you have a question, Ms. Granger?”

His authoritative voice sent shivers down her spine and started fanning the pool of desire in her core. She wiped her hands on the short skirt. Hermione felt like she was really playing the part, her nerves were somewhat real. 

He looked down his nose expectantly at her. “Professor, I know I did not successfully brew Amortentia yesterday and I was wondering if I could do some extra credit so my grade doesn’t suffer.”

The lump his Draco’s throat bobbed, his eyes dark with lust. “Tell me, Ms. Granger. Did you happen to smell a perfected potion yesterday?” 

She nodded. “And what did you smell?”

Her legs quivered and wished she wasn’t standing. “I smelled mint toothpaste, green apples, and woodsmoke, sir.” That’s what he smelled like to her: a little fresh, sweet and earthy. 

Draco walked towards the center of the room, head bowed in thought. He spun on his heel to face her. A thrill shot through her at his perusal from the demure mary janes on her feet, up the knee-high socks where they met her knees and then up her smooth thighs, across the pleated skirt, lingering on the way the sweater hugged her curves and came to the striped tie resting between her breasts. 

She chewed on her lip while he inspected her. “Are you prepared for your extra credit now?” he drawled, his eyes finally meeting hers.

“Yes, sir.” His eyes continued to glow darkly as he casually pushed his robes out of the way to put his hands on his trouser-clad hips. With the draping material out of the way, she traced the outline of his hardening cock pressing against the zipper.

She knew this was turning him on. “Take your tie off, Miss Granger,” he ordered huskily. 

Hermione quickly complied, the silk slipping out of the knot easily and held it in front of her. While she knew what he was going to demand, knowing didn’t make it any less arousing. 

He eyed her wolfishly. “Very good. Now, bring it here and stand right in front of me.”

She forced herself not to rush over to him, but took measured steps toward him until she had to crane her neck to look him in the eye. His height seemed more exaggerated in the authoritative role and it made her knees wobbly. The warmth of his hands surprised her as he gently slid the ribbon from her light grasp, the smooth fabric making her skin buzz with apprehension.

“Make a fist with one hand, Miss Granger.” She complied swiftly. “Now bring both hands behind your back, open hand over your fist… Excellent.”

The praise made her body hum as if she were a struck tuning fork. Receiving praise had always felt good, but she hadn’t thought about being sexually stimulated by it. She didn’t think she’d ever been attracted to a professor…. Except Lockhart before he was exposed as a fraud.

Hermione gasped, brought out of her thoughts by her vision being obscured by the silk tie. She hadn’t expected this use of the tie. Her shoulders quivered from the position as his warm breath skated down her neck.

“Is this okay, Hermione?” he whispered out of character. She didn’t hesitate to respond with a quick nod.

“Answer verbally, Miss Granger,” Draco corrected her loudly enough that she nearly jumped.

“Yes, sir.” She could almost hear his smile as he returned to stand in front of her, his footsteps deliberate so she knew where he was.

Hermione heard him summon something nearby under his breath. “Kneel, Miss Granger.”

She swallowed, her mouth watering at the thought of how his cock would feel on her tongue. Following instructions, she had thought her knees would hit the carpet, but when they rested on a pillow, she knew he’d summoned it moments before. Licking her lips, Hermione waited for instructions. 

Her nerves tingled as she heard his zipper lower slowly and the light sound of his pants hitting the floor. Her palm was sweating around her fist. It was both thrilling and nerve-wracking to not see him. She hoped he was stroking his cock and watching her squirm.

Draco started lecturing. “Miss Granger, mastering potions requires one to be a master of one’s senses. Smell, taste, touch, and sound. You are now deprived of your sight and I already know your sense of smell is apt enough. You will now tell me what you taste.” 

Hermione couldn’t swallow her moan as the burning hot, fleshy head of his cock pressed against her lips, precum allowing it to slide along the top and then bottom lip before her tongue darted out to taste it. Draco grunted and pulled away.

“Well?” he prompted, panting.

She made a show of licking her lips in a way that was hopefully sexy. “It tastes musky and it’s a viscous fluid. May I have a second taste, Professor Malfoy?” 

She definitely heard Draco moan low in his chest from her proximity to him. 

“If you must,” he drawled, trying to sound exasperated but it ended up twinged with desperation.

He placed the head on the pillow of her bottom lip, her tongue darting out to catch any stray liquid oozing out. She moaned in appreciation of the taste. Hermione tried to get him to push fully into her mouth, but he pulled away again. Their heavy breathing filled the room.

“It’s salty… is it some kind of brine solution?” she teased innocently. 

He cleared his throat and admonished her with, “While that answer might be acceptable in a muggle studies class, such solutions have no place in potions, Miss Granger.”

“I’m sorry, Professor. I can’t identify this… ingredient by taste. Can I have more context?”

Hermione heard him smirk above her. “It’s a key ingredient to reproduction.”

She wet her lips and rolled her shoulders that were starting to ache from holding the position. Her hips shifted, hoping to gain so friction on her throbbing core. 

“What if I allow you more of your sense of touch?” Draco asked rhetorically as his hand grabbed onto the curls at the back of her neck and guided his cock to her lips once more.

She knew this was it. He slid the girth along her tongue, her jaw opening all the way and closing to suction around the first few inches of his length. Her mouth started to water as precum oozed onto her tongue. Hermione suckled a little and his hips bucked slightly, his hand tightening in her hair. 

He was so hard on her mouth she thought he would burst at any second, especially with the shallow breathing above her. “Very good, Miss Granger, taking all that into your swotty mouth. Every time you raise your hand and open your mouth in my lectures, I want to stuff it.”

Hermione moaned around his cock. His hips jolted at the sensation and she tried to relax her throat and suppress her gag reflex. In theory, it was easier, but without her hands, she couldn’t stop him from entering her throat. She knew spittle was escaping her lips at his shallow thrusts. 

“Can you take more… extra credit, Miss Granger?” She nodded as well as she could full of his cock and hummed around his girth. Hermione heard him swear under his breath.

Taking a deep breath, she tried to do her best to allow more of his stiff rod into her mouth. She swallowed once the mushroom head of him reached the back of her tongue. Draco released a wanton groan and she was able to swallow some of him down. 

She breathed through her nose and tried not to panic when he thrust a few times. His hand pulled her curls so her head tilted up and more of him breached her esophagus. When Hermione swallowed again, she felt his entire cock pulse, and then he was pulling out until just the head of him rested on her tongue. Draco shot ropes of cum at her sore throat and then removed himself to cover her slightly exposed chest -- where her tie had been -- with semen. 

Hermione was still panting when she felt his lips cover hers and steal her breath. He must be kneeling in front of her now, his tongue tasting his own flavor on hers. Draco kept whispering obscenities like “Salazar’s sack” and “Bloody hell, Hermione, that was so fuckin’ hot.” 

He removed the necktie from her eyes, she kept them closed. She pressed her breasts into him and wound her sore arms around his neck as he continued to snog her. Hermione was so aroused that she was breathless. 

She nearly had a heart attack with the floo in the sitting room lit up and a panicked male voice started calling Draco’s name. Draco tore himself from her, terror in his eyes that had been blown wide in pleasure minutes before. 

“Dammit, Theo! You’re not supposed to have access to this floo,” he growled dangerously.

An angry Thanatos called back, “I’m in your office after searching for you and figured you were there. Am I interrupting something?”

“What is it?” he bit out.

“Your aunt requested permission from the Dark Lord to visit you.”

Draco looked back at Hermione, both speechless until he stuttered out: “I’m assuming you don’t mean Andromeda.”

Chapter Text

“Mother!” he bellowed into the fireplace. Draco was leaning over the hearth on all fours like an animal. His throat felt dry, heart beating as if he’d run a marathon. 

He screamed himself hoarse calling for her. “Draco?” his mother finally answered.

“For Slytherin’s sake, Mother! Why didn’t you answer sooner?” 

“Draco Lucius Malfoy, I do not appreciate your tone.”

He wanted to bang his head against the brick. “Mother, this is an emergency.” 

“What is it?” she asked, her voice high with worry.

Draco sighed and closed his eyes for a second. “Aunt Bella wants to visit me.”

There was silence from the other end of the floo call. For a second, he was concerned she might have left. His heart thumped out the seconds of tension.

“And you want to know if I’ll accompany her?” 

Ever the Slytherin, he thought. “Yes, and we need a plan. For Persephone.”

He glanced back at Hermione. She’d stopped trembling with a blanket swaddled around her, but her bottom lip was raw from her gnawing. 

Draco could almost hear his mother pursing her lips. “What do you suggest, son?”

“Do you have any polyjuice? Or better yet, can you see if Uncle Severus does?” He gave Hermione a reassuring smile to let her know he was okay with this plan as long as it protected her. 

There was a pause on the other end of the call followed by whiny “Cissy?”

Draco blanched. A muffled, “Oh Bella, we were just talking about you!” 

“Is that ickle Drakey?” the mocking baby voice of Bellatrix Lestrange filtered through. 

He swallowed thickly before replying. “Yes, Aunt Bella, I heard you were asking after me.”

“I want to visit you, my darling nephew! You’re King of the Underworld, such a big responsibility for a young boy.”

A sweat broke out at his hairline. He flinched as Hermione put her hand on his shoulder. Even though Bella couldn’t see them, he was apprehensive about her being anywhere near his aunt. 

“When can I expect you, Aunt Bella? Will Uncle Rodolphus be accompanying you?” 

“I’ll come down at the end of the week, Drakey. Your Uncle is away on business.”

Before he could respond, his mother chimed in. “I’ll accompany you, Bella. I haven’t seen my son in at least a month.”

“I’ll expect you both on Friday, then. I’ll give you the grand tour,” Draco said with as much bravado as he could muster. 

“Excellent!” his aunt squealed and his mother bid him goodbye.

***

Hermione’s brain wouldn’t stop whirring and worrying after the Floo call with Draco’s mother and aunt. She went over every possible scenario, every weak point, and didn’t shut up until Draco started to distract her. And how did he do that?

Draco knelt before her as she continued to spout ideas and thoughts, lifted up the pleated uniform skirt, and brought her hips forward to meet his mouth. At first, she protested the sexual intrusion, which ended with her slumped back on the settee with her knees hooked over Draco’s broad shoulders and hands raking through his hair as he devoured her pussy. He didn’t stop licking and nibbling as her second orgasm crested, her back arching off the cushions. She squeezed his long fingers inside of her, shuddering.

He conjured a handkerchief and wiped her excess juices off before cuddling with her on the sofa. Hermione was boneless and floating in his arms, the scent of him welcoming in her nostrils. Her mind quieted as she fell asleep on his shoulder. 

She woke with a start sometime later in a cold sweat and alone. Bellatrix had haunted her dreams again. And this time, the dark witch’s voice had been fresh in her mind. Hermione took deep breaths, trying to bury the nightmares as Draco had taught her with rudimentary Occlumency. 

He must have left tea under a stasis charm for when she woke and then she saw a note under the teaspoon. 

I hope you had a pleasant nap, love. I’m meeting with Snape today at Hogwarts during his planning time. I’ll be back for dinner.

Kisses, 

Draco

P.S. I’ll find you in the library later.

Hermione smiled. He knew her too well. It was nearly December and the mention of Hogwarts made her nostalgic. She missed the Scottish winters at the castle, the windows frosted, the large tree in the Great Hall, and the anticipation of going home. 

None of that would happen this year. Hogwarts was being run by Death Eaters, her parents didn’t know she existed, and she was trapped in the Underworld with the impending arrival of the witch who Draco has been trying to protect her from. The change was enough to make Hermione want to tear her hair out. They had less than 48 hours to prepare. 

She took her time getting ready to head to the library and nibbled at some of the biscuits before taking the long stroll down the hallway. Hermione focused on protection and concealment magic in her research for the day. Once she’d exhausted the material, she tried looking again for locator spells, but it was complex magic that would take a while to learn. Much longer than the toll of Ron’s unknown whereabouts would take on her and Harry.

Later, Liri popped in to check on her and offered her refreshments. Hermione’s stomach was in knots from Bellatrix’s impending visit and Ron’s disappearance, so she didn’t feel hungry. When Liri pushed her, she assented to a light snack of crisps. The elf frowned at her choice, but fetched some crips anyway. 

***

Hermione felt sick to her stomach on the morning of Bellatrix’s visit. She and Draco had rehearsed everything, nearly line by line, though she knew she’d have to improvise. The only saving grace was not having to do anything with her hair before transforming into Astoria.

“Hermione, you have to eat something, love. Keep your strength up,” Draco urged, holding out a decadent pastry. 

She nodded absently and took a few bites. The sugar burst onto her tongue and seemed to jolt her out of the fog. Hermione had never had many sweets as a child, just the occasional indulgence, since her parents were dentists and knew the effect of sugar on the teeth and overall health.

Draco’s appearance was extensively refined today. His black three-piece suit was partially hidden by charcoal, impeccably tailored dress robes. The Malfoy signature blonde locks were coiffed back, but not so severely as he had worn as a snotty child. He’d come a long way since first year, Hermione thought and smiled. 

“What?” he glanced at her before sipping his tea.

She shook her head. “Nothing, just admiring you.” 

Draco scoffed, but couldn’t stop a smile from his lips. “Will you be okay?” she asked.

“I can’t lie, love, I’m at my wit's end, but I’ve got it all locked up in here.” He tapped his finger to his temple. 

They held hands as they made their way to the exit of the palace. Instead of the Slytherin Hogwarts uniform, Hermione wore a demure dress that a perfect pureblooded princess would wear. Mrs. Malfoy -- Narcissa as she’d asked Hermione to call her -- had provided the garments and gave recommendations about mannerisms. Hermione had had to resist rolling her eyes at the etiquette instructions. It’s not as if she’d been raised in a barn! Nevertheless, the preparation would hopefully help.

“Ready?” Draco asked before turning the door handle.

Hermione grimaced at the taste of the potion. She waited to change into Astoria before answering, “I’m ready when you are, dear,” in her simpering pureblood voice.

“You may need to tone it down, darling ,” Draco snarked.