Party Conversation

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Story Notes:
“You look bored, Miss Granger.”

Hermione stops reading the spines of the books on the shelf before her and glances over to see Lucius Malfoy standing there with a cup of cherry punch in his hand. “Do I?” She arches a brow before looking at the children who are playing some wizarding game. “I’m afraid I’m used to conversation that extends beyond that of a three year old. Astoria begged me to attend so she’d have assistance corralling Scorpius and his friends, but she deserted me before they started playing with paints. I don’t see you on the floor playing with your grandson.”

“I’m afraid that funfetti cookies and strawberry cupcakes are not my style,” he drawls. “My daughter-in-law is a Slytherin, dear. She is shrewd enough to escape when the paints come out. I’d propose that you aren’t nearly as clever as people suggest considering you have green paint in your hair.”

“I certainly wasn’t going to leave Draco with a dozen children and paint.” She grimaced. “He might be a prat, but I would feel far too guilty doing such a thing.”

“I wasn’t aware that your truce extended to such drastic actions. I do hope that doesn’t mean he’ll be forced to endure a birthday celebration with one of the Weasley children. They seem to reproduce faster than rabbits. The newspapers can’t even keep up with them all.”

“My truce is due to my working relationship with Astoria and the fact that she’s tolerable, for a Slytherin,” Hermione says, lips quirking slightly as she imagines Astoria’s reaction to hearing Hermione claim she’s tolerable. They’re actually rather good friends, a fact that continues to amaze Hermione’s friends and Astoria’s husband. “It doesn’t include allowing him the pleasure of experiencing a Weasley children’s birthday party.”

“Pleasure, my arse,” he mutters, smirking when she looks at him. “Is something wrong, dear?”

“Just hearing things.” She looks back at Draco and the children, who are playing with toy brooms now. “Where is Narcissa? I can’t imagine she’d want to miss Scorpius’ third birthday party.”

“She is most displeased,” Lucius confides. “She and her new paramour went to America for some foolish reason, and they found themselves unable to make it through security. She should be arriving this evening, but she’s missing the party. Serves her right for running off to see canyons or whatever nonsense that child she’s dating wants to climb.”

“Lee Jordan isn’t a child. He’s actually a couple of years older than I am,” Hermione points out. She doesn’t pretend understand what Lee sees in Narcissa Malfoy, but she does find the union rather unconventional and interesting despite her dislike of gossip.

“He’s a Gryffindor with a radio program on the wireless. She could do much better, though I suppose it is impossible to find someone who compares to me. Maybe she set her sights so low due to the knowledge that she already had the ideal and willingly gave it up.” Lucius sips his punch before glaring at her. “Please refrain from laughing too loudly, Miss Granger. You’ll interrupt the childrens’ playtime.”

Hermione bites her lip and shrugs a shoulder when Draco looks over curiously. “He’s young, virile, and handsome. I think those three characteristics help make up for his former house,” she says politely, turning her attention back to the books.

“Youth has no sole claim on virility, dear.” Lucius leans in closer, and she can smell his cologne mixed with the scent of punch, which really shouldn’t be an alluring combination. “I would begrudgingly offer my services should you wish to test that claim in an experiment.”

“Do you think it’s appropriate to proposition me at your grandson’s birthday party?” she asks, trying not to stare at him in shock. While they do often speak when their paths cross, and there might be a small amount of flirting at times, she didn’t expect him to come right out and offer her sex.

“I’m a Malfoy. Why should I care about society’s idea of appropriateness?” He looks confused in a way that she can’t help but think is rather adorable because it’s sincere. He honestly sees himself above everything, and she has to admire the confidence it takes to feel that way, especially considering his past choices.

“Being a Malfoy doesn’t actually preclude you from being appropriate while in public.” Hermione shakes her head slightly. “For future reference, a child’s birthday party isn’t the best place to attempt to seduce someone.”

Lucius arches his brow and looks down at her. “Noted. I’ll be certain to refrain from behaving in what is obviously an unsuitable manner based on your reaction.” He smirks slightly. “However, I notice that you didn’t outright refuse the offer, which means you’re considering it, whether it was appropriate or not.”

“You should go dote on your grandson instead of pestering me,” she mutters, deliberately looking away from him to focus on the book spines in front of her. “I enjoy making Draco nervous by spending too long dwelling on the titles regarding darker magic. One might think he was scared of me.”

“My grandson has already received enough spoiling from me today,” Lucius says. “My son is clever enough to identify a potential threat, though I refuse to believe he’s scared of you, little lion.”

“He should be.” She shrugs a shoulder. “I can be quite scary when provoked, and I’m sure he remembers that.” She doubts that Draco told his father about being punched in third year or about the events of fifth year, which he must have heard about. “You’re still pestering me.”

“You can’t ignore me and that’s somehow my fault?” He sips his punch. “That sounds as if it’s a personal flaw and not something that I can be blamed for.”

“I’m Hermione Granger. I have no personal flaws,” she says, attempting to sound posh and snooty. He coughs to cover up the startled laugh, and she smirks as she pulls a book off the shelf and flips through it lazily.

“You do realize that this is only a small collection of our library,” Lucius says, watching her with an amused smile. “We keep the remainder in the actual library, which we certainly wouldn’t use for a child’s birthday party. However, the most precious volumes, those extremely rare or perhaps even one of a kind, are kept in my private collection.”

“One of a kind?” She looks at him and puts the book back onto the shelf. “You have my attention.”

“Of course I do, and not just because of the Malfoy library.” Lucius smiles slightly. “The private collection is in my room. Would you like to see it?”

She laughs softly. “Very convenient. Would I be merely browsing through you bookshelves or do you have ulterior motives?”

“What do you think, dear?” He leans into her and gives her a look that makes her pulse race.

“Father, what do you think you’re doing?” Draco interrupts them before Hermione can reply. He looks pained and suspicious as he looks between her and Lucius.

“We were merely discussing books,” Lucius drawls, smirking against the rim of his punch cup as Draco frowns.

“I somehow doubt that,” Draco accuses before looking at her and offering a small smile. “Astoria asked me to fetch you, Hermione. She needs help with the cake, I believe.”

“Of course. I’ll go find her and see how I can assist her.” Hermione smiles before catching Lucius’ gaze. “After the party, I’d like to see the books you were telling me about. Until then, I’m off to help with the cake.” She walked away, her smile growing wider as she heard Draco interrogating Lucius and scolding him for behaving like a horny teenager instead of a Malfoy. She couldn’t wait until this party was finished so she could check out Lucius’ private book collection as well as to find out if he looks as good out of his robes as she’s imagined.