Warnings: Adultery, slight AU, "beast"iality, masturbation, long fic (~13k)
Summary: Lucius Malfoy pissed off a witch in his younger days and is turned into a hideous beast. Luckily, Hermione Weasley could be the right person to break the spell.
A/N: Written for lm_hgficxchange 2012. Special thanks to my super beta tickledsunlight!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K.Rowling. Beauty and the Beast belongs to Disney.
Lucius sat curled in a corner, staring at the cursed rose. He hadn't meant to snarl at the girl, but he panicked. He didn't know what would happen to the rose if she touched it. Would he remain a beast forever? He still had time, just barely enough, to get Hermione to accept him and he probably just ruined it. Would it have been so bad if she touched it?
Lummy came in to tell him of Hermione's disappearance. He tried to kick the elf, but Lummy disappeared before he could. This was all his fault. The curse would never be lifted.
The howl of a werewolf reached his ears. Lucius sat up, a new kind of panic settling in. Hermione was out there; that howl was a hunting tone. He stood up and ran to his balcony, listening.
There it was again, more determined this time.
Prepared the worst and hoping for the best, Lucius jumped from his balcony and let himself slide down from roof-to-roof. It was faster than using the stairs, and soon he was tracking where his hot-headed Muggleborn ran off to.
The smell of blood made him go faster and he soon came across a surrounded, but blessedly alive, Hermione. She held one hand against her chest, blood seeping between her fingers. Furious, not willing to admit to how scared he was, Lucius pounced forward, bodily picking up the Alpha male. The monster had tried to lunge at her, but he managed to stop it just in time.
Animal-like instincts took over. Lucius brought the werewolf to his face and snarled a warning before tossing it aside. He then crouched over Hermione protectively, daring any of them to come closer. One off to his right twitched, lunged, and the battle was on. Lucius would not lose her.
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Hermione could just watch, mostly in horror, as the beast defended her against the werewolves. He didn't even seem to care as he got bitten or scratched, just that he was driving them away from her. He was protecting her, even after she broke his most important rule. She felt something surge in her chest at the thought.
The beast turned and caught one of them on the jaw, tossing it into a tree. At his cry, the others all backed off before turning and running away, leaving them alone. Unsure of what to do next, Hermione sat frozen on the snow, eyes locked with the beasts'. He took a shuddering breath, and then fell face-first into the snow.
She debated leaving, but her heart ached at the thought of possibly leaving him to die. No, she would never be able to live with herself if she left him now. Hermione stepped closer to the beast, looking over his body. How could she move such a thing without her wand?
"Erm… Lummy? Ticky?"
Immediately, two elves appeared beside her. "Ma'am called?"
"Master is hurt!" Lummy rested a hand on the beast's forehead. "Lummy is getting Master inside now!"
"I'm sorry," Hermione said miserably. Tickly simply took her hand and they disappeared.
Warmth instantly spread over her. The elves brought them to a parlor room, a blazing fire already crackling. The beast stirred a bit from the chair they had propped him in, his eyes slowly blinking open.
"I'll need something to clean the wounds," she told the elves. They left almost before she finished. "You're okay, we're safe." She tried to smile reassuringly at the beast.
He jerked fully awake, his face twisted in a snarl. Hermione kept sill, hoping that he would realize where he was and calm down. His eyes focused on hers for a moment before growling and cradling his injured arm. The elves popped back in with a bowl of warm water and a cloth. She smiled her thanks and settled before the beast.
"Don't lick at it," she scolded softly. "Let me see it." When the beast jerked his arm away, Hermione held back a sigh. "This might sting a little." There, got him.
He howled before getting close to her face and yelling, "That hurts!"
She let him yell, but she was not going to stay silent. "If you hold still, it wouldn't hurt as much."
"Well if you hadn't run away, this-" he motioned to the slashes on his arm "-wouldn't have happened."
"Well if you hadn't frightened me, I wouldn't have run away." She knew she had to stop. This was childish, but she couldn't let him get away with it. Besides, he seemed to grab for words at her latest statement and she felt smug at that. It served him right.
"Well, you shouldn't have been in the West Tower," he finally snapped.
"Well you should learn to control your temper."
That seemed to finally shut up him. The beast pouted, resting his chin on his good hand. Hermione took that as a good sign and continued cleaned the wound. She worked in a silence that grew uncomfortable. This was the first time she was able to see the beast like this, and he looked much different from the dungeons. He was lost, and maybe a little thoughtful.
"By the way, thank you," Hermione said after a long moment. "For saving my life, I mean."
The beast turned to look at her, his shoulders relaxing just a bit. "You're welcome."
Hermione looked up, surprised that he would acknowledge her thanks. He was right, though; if she hadn't been in the West Tower, none of this would have happened. She offered him a smile and reached for the bandages.
"Don't forget about your own wound." The beast motioned to her hand. "Infection might set in."
"Oh." Hermione looked at the hand she scraped open. The blood had long since dried, though most of it had come off on the towel she used for the beast. "I'm sure it'll be fine. I'll see to it later to—what?"
The beast had taken hold of her hand and brought it up to his mouth. His breath moved hot against her palm as he sniffed over the wound. Her face turned red as his tongue came out and traced along the skin. A shiver rolled down her spine and she gripped onto his leg, just so she wouldn't fall over into his lap. She had no idea that she ever wanted a man to lick her palm until now, her arousal building inside.
He seemed to smell that as well because the next thing she knew, she had been pulled into his lap. She felt his erection against her thigh, but didn't have the mind to do anything about it. Not when his lips were now attached to her neck. One hand still gripped her wrist, the other dug into her back to keep her on the chair.
"Wait." She hissed as his teeth grazed her neck. "Oh God, wait."
But he didn't, and Hermione wasn't really sure if she wanted him to. His erection rubbed against her legs; it took her a moment to realize that she was the one moving. He simply kept kissing her as she rubbed herself across him, eventually shifting so his trapped cock rubbed against her clothed cunt. She arched her back, crying out as he nipped at her neck.
The next thing she knew, they were on the floor in front of his fireplace, rutting against each other. Hermione's legs wrapped around his waist as he thrust against her. The hand holding her wrist had moved up to lace with hers; his other hand groped along her body until it reached her hips and then held there.
It didn't take much after that before Hermione cried out, her orgasm ripping through her. The beast growled and shifted against her; she could feel how damp his own pants had suddenly become. Guilt didn't have time to come to her before he licked at her neck.
"You will sleep in my bed from now on," he murmured in her ear.
She couldn't find it in her to refuse. She simply held on as he picked her up and carried her into his bedroom, past the forbidden doors of the West Tower.
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Seamus passed Ron a drink and a smile. "Don't worry, mate. I'm sure Harry's fine. Besides, once he left I had an idea."
"What idea would that be?" Ron turned around on the stool, looking over the empty bar.
"Well, we've always known Harry was a little nutters after the war. I think it's time he got professional help." Seamus took a swig of his drink.
"Harry doesn't need that kind of help. Stop thinking that." Ron sighed. "He can just get a little…"
"Ron, I called in a healer from Mungo's." Seamus motioned to the door as it opened. "See, there he is."
An older wizard brushed off his coat before looking up. "Good evening. I don't usually leave the asylum in the middle of the night, but I was told you would make it worth my while."
"It's Harry Potter," Seamus said before Ron could get out a word.
The wizard smirked, settling himself at a close table. "Aah, I'm listening."
Ron groaned. "Harry doesn't—"
"It's like this," Seamus interrupted, leaning forward. "Harry came in here tonight, raving about a beast in a Manor."
"Mister Potter is harmless." He leaned back, drumming his fingers on the table.
"The point is, Hermione would do anything to keep him from being locked up." Seamus motioned to Ron. "Even forgive him."
He shrugged. "It's true, mate. It's always been about Harry."
The old wizard sighed. "So you want me to throw Mister Potter in the asylum until she forgives her husband?" He smirked, holding out his hand for the bag of gold Seamus was holding. "I love it."
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Fresh snow had fallen the night before, making Hermione want to go home. Harry would have been back by now and they could have pulled the town's children into a snow fight. However, she had to make do with the grounds of Malfoy Manor. Now that she slept in the beast's bedroom, she hoped to find out what happened to the family. She knew nothing yet, but the beast himself started to seem oddly familiar.
Speak of the devil. She turned and gave him a smile. "Something wrong?"
"There's something I want to show you."
Curious, Hermione took his offered hand. "Where is it?"
He led her through the Manor, pausing outside of an ornate door. It had always been closed, so she never bothered to open it. She had meant to try and figure out what the symbols meant, but that could wait for another day.
"You have to close your eyes," the beast said softly. "It's a surprise."
Hermione arched an eyebrow before letting out a dramatic sigh and closing her eyes. "If you insist."
She felt his soft furred hands grip her own. His thumbs traced over the back of her hands and she felt her heart flutter. He pulled her gently past the doors and into the room behind it.
"Can I open them?" she asked as his hands let go of hers.
"No, not yet. Wait here."
Hermione frowned, but did as she was told. She heard the sound of fabric and felt the dust begin to settle on her face and her curiosity grew. "Now can I open them?"
"All right. Now."
Hermione opened her eyes and gasped. It was a library, a large one, and she couldn't see where it ended. "I can't believe it." She stepped further in, spinning to see if she could see an end to the room. "I've never seen so many books in all my life!"
"You like it?"
She turned to him, taking his hands into her own. "It's wonderful."
He smiled, pulling her close to kiss the back of her hands. "Then it's yours."
"Really?" She looked around the room, astounded that he would just simply give her an entire library. "Oh, thank you so much." There was something sweet and almost kind about him, nothing like the coarse and unrefined beast that met her in the dungeons.
"Just don't spend all your time in here." He looked around, a clawed-thumb stroking the back of her hand. "I still want to see you."
"If you want to see me, why aren't you looking at me?"
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, looking a little unsure. "If I look at you while you're this excited, I'll just want to take advantage of you."
Hermione felt her heart skip. She stepped closer and stood on her tiptoes to press a kiss to his cheek. "I am your prisoner, aren't I?"
"Are you sure you want to get into this?"
No, she truly wasn't, but there was something in him that she hadn't seen before. She wanted to see more. "I've been expecting it, actually. Unless you prefer your women more beautiful."
"Shh." He leaned in to kiss her quickly. "You are beautiful."
He took her, right there in the middle of the library. The ornate rug rubbed first against her back, and then rougher against her hands and knees. The beast never seemed to be satisfied and, when he let her go bathe hours later, his cock was again stirring for more. Hermione couldn't quite believe it, but she didn't question it either.
Within the next few days, he had pulled her into sex in various parts of the house, including (once) on the main staircase. The fur that covered him from head to toe was silk against her skin. She hadn't expected to like it and part of her wondered if she was a bit crazy for liking it so much. Her favorite time was at night, curled naked in his furry arms. She found herself enjoying everything, loving what he did more than anything Ron ever attempted. Guilt ate at her, but she figured Ron would move on with his life. He had all those Quidditch fans.
Harry, however, was a different story. He wouldn't be happy until she was rescued and safe at home. She needed to get word to him somehow.
She smoothed down the dress the beast wanted her to wear before making her way down the stairs. Lummy told her he was wandering in the ballroom, so that was where she was headed. Sure enough, he was at the base of the stairs.
He turned, smiling. "Hermione. Come join me?"
She laughed as he took her hand and pulled her out onto the floor. "There's no music."
"There doesn't have to be any for us to enjoy a nice dance." He twirled her around a few times before bringing her into a small kiss.
Hermione broke it before it could get too far. "I have a small favor."
"What is it?"
The claws stroking through her hair was distracting. "It's about Harry."
He pulled away, concern covering his face. "Aren't you happy here with me?"
"Well, yes," she said honestly, "but I need to tell him that I'm okay."
"And you think he might come for you if you fail to tell him?"
Hermione didn't even have to think about that. "I'm positive he will."
The beast lifted her hand to kiss it. "There is a way, then. Come with me."
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Lucius led her to the West Tower where he kept the mirror. He had stopped using it years ago when he saw Narcissa bed another man. It was when he lost all hope of ever finding a Muggleborn to love him. The rose had lost its first petal the day Hermione walked in; Lucius hoped that he could admit his love tonight, and she admit hers the next night before the last petal fell. It was his only chance.
He picked up the mirror and handed it to her. "This mirror will show you anything you wish to see."
Hermione, skeptical as always, simply took the mirror and turned it over. "Sounds like powerful magic."
"More than you'll ever know." He pulled her against him, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.
"I'd like to see Harry Potter," she said softly, wincing as the mirror glowed to life.
Lucius looked over her shoulder, frowning when he saw the boy wonder staggering in the forest. Ice and snow coated his head and shoulders and Lucius knew that the boy had been out there a while. He expected him to be at home, preparing for some kind of fight. This was almost too much.
"Harry…" Hermione gripped the mirror tighter, tensing in his arms. "Oh, Harry! Can you hear me?"
The vision of Harry looked up. "Her… mi…" He reached out a hand, and then collapsed on the snow.
Lucius let her go, taking a step back. He felt his heart constrict and knew what she was going to ask.
"Harry, oh no." She looked to him, her eyes wide and scared. "He's sick, he may be dying. I don't know why he's there, but he's all alone."
He closed his eyes, resting his hands on the table with the rose. "Then you must go to him."
"What did you say?"
Lucius took a deep breath and opened his eyes. If this was going to be the last time he saw her, he never wanted to stop looking. "I release you. You are no longer my prisoner."
Hermione stepped forward, resting a hand on his arm. "You mean…"
"Oh, thank you!" Hermione looked back to the mirror. "Hold on, Harry. I'm on my way." She held out the mirror. "Here…"
Lucius shook his head, pushing the mirror against her chest. "Take it with you." He smiled, running a claw through her hair. "So you'll always have a way to look back and remember me."
"Thank you for understanding." Hermione leaned up to give him a kiss before running from the room.
Lucius squeezed his eyes shut, trying to remember how to breathe. He hadn't even felt like this when Narcissa left with Draco; it hadn't hurt this bad.
"Master should know that ma'am is leaving."
He straightened, berating himself for not noticing when Ticky came in. "I know. I let her go."
"Master what?" Ticky's large eyes widened further. "But how?"
"I had to." Lucius stared at the rose, watching as another petal fell. "I love her."
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Hermione wasn't sure how she managed to get Harry back to the house, but she did. The fire was as hot as she could get it and he had at least four layers on top of him. Thankfully, they still had some potions in the cupboard, but this would take them all. Ron was nowhere to be seen and while that annoyed her, Hermione was still glad. She didn't want to explain anything to him at the moment.
Harry stirred in the bed, groaning. "'Mione?"
"It's all right, Harry." She pressed a warm cloth on his forehead. "I'm home."
Harry reached out a hand to her. "I thought I'd never see you again."
"Oh, hush. I missed you so much." Hermione rubbed his hand. "You were still stupid coming out by yourself."
"I was coming to rescue you." Harry smiled softly.
"And you did so well."
Harry struggled to sit up. "But the beast… How did you escape?"
"I didn't escape. He let me go." Hermione pushed him back down on the bed. "Lay still."
"Let you go? But he was so…"
"Shut up, Harry." Hermione reached over to grab some tea. "He's different now. He's changed."
"One person can't change that much in such a short time."
Hermione helped him drink the tea. "You'd be surprised."
She glanced over, eyes widening as she saw Ron in the doorway. "Oh…"
"You're back." Ron moved closer. "Where have you been?"
"Harry didn't tell you?"
"I told him." Harry looked away. "He didn't believe me."
Ron frowned, motioning between them. "Was I supposed to? He was raving like a lunatic!"
"A lunatic, really?" Hermione stood up. "I'm kidnapped by a beast and you think your best friend is a lunatic? Ronald—"
"Oh don't call me that. I hate when you call me that."
"Only because it means you're in trouble," Harry muttered from the bed.
"Boys, please." Hermione rubbed her temples. "Ron, we'll talk about this later, possibly by owl post. I'm here to make sure Harry gets better and then…"
"You're leaving me?" Ron asked, his voice soft. "But Hermione—"
"I have to."
"Well, maybe it's for the best." Ron backed toward the door. "Because if you're not here, then you both won't go to the nutter house."
"What? Ron, what are you talking about?"
Ron motioned outside. "A healer is here to take Harry to get professional help."
Hermione raced to the front door, jerking it open. An older wizard stood there, smiling at her. "Don't worry, my dear. We'll take good care of him."
"Harry's not crazy," Hermione insisted.
"Oh please, we all heard him." Seamus pushed off the side of the house where he had been hiding. "Came running into the pub, hollering about things that don't exist."
"I won't let you take him!" Hermione went to slam the door shut, but Ron stood in her way. "Ron!"
Harry stumbled out of the bedroom. "Hermione? What's going on?"
"Ah, Harry." Seamus grinned and motioned to the people starting to gather. "Tell us again, just how big was the beast?"
Harry glanced around. "He was… he was enormous. Probably eight or ten feet."
Those gathered started to laugh while Seamus twirled a finger around his ear. "You don't get much crazier than that."
"It's true," Harry insisted, clutching the blanket to his shoulders.
The old man motioned toward Harry. "Take him away."
"You can't do this!" Hermione looked to Ron as a few people took hold of Harry. "Ron, make them stop! You know he's not crazy."
Ron held up his hands. "There's nothing I can do. Unless…"
"Spit it out, Ron!"
"Unless you stay with me."
Hermione reared back. "What?"
"One little work, that's all it takes. Come on, we can help him through this together."
"Are you crazy?"
"Have it your way." Ron stepped off the porch to help them bring Harry to a waiting carriage.
Hermione bit her lip, and then remembered the mirror. "Harry's not crazy and I can prove it!" She brought out her wand and quickly summoned the mirror. As soon as it slapped into her hand, he held it up for all to see. "Show me the beast!"
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
The mirror flared to life and, if Ron wasn't already a wizard, he would think that this was impossible. The entire situation seemed a little weird and when an image of a beast did show up in the glass, he wondered how he got himself in this situation. Harry looked terrified, Hermione looked worried, and he knew his mum would have his head if she really knew what was going on. He hoped there wouldn't be any reporters, but Harry Potter was involved – there was probably someone already in the crowd.
"Is it dangerous?" someone asked, clutching her child close.
"Oh, no." Hermione shook her head, holding the mirror close to her chest. "He'd never hurt anyone. Please, I know he looks vicious, but he's really kind and gentle." She looking down at the mirror, looking at it the way she used to look at Ron. "He's my… friend."
He lost her.
"If I didn't know any better," Ron said, stepping up behind her, "I'd think you had feelings for this monster."
Hermione gave him a scathing look. "He's no monster, Ron. You and your friends are."
That hurt and Ron wasn't really sure how things went wrong. "You're as crazy as Harry. Look at him!" In the mirror, the beast growled. Ron couldn't have planned it better. "The beast will make off with their children, come after them in the night!"
"No!" Hermione looked around to the gasping people.
"I say we kill the beast!" Seamus clapped Ron on the back. "We're not safe until he's dead!"
Another villager stepped up. "He'll come stalking us at night!" He took his wife's hand, frowning.
"Come to sacrifice our children, I'm sure," she agreed.
"Yeah!" Another man stepped closer. "He'll wreck havoc on our village if we let him wander free."
"So let's take some action." Seamus pulled out his wand. "That Manor was in the woods, right?" He looked up. "Well, it is night, this'll be exciting."
Ron glanced at Hermione's horrified face one last time before pulling out his wand as well. "Let's go to that Manor, then. Find this beast." He summoned the mirror from Hermione, looking over the miserable face of the beast in it. "Nice fangs. I bet he's got killer claws, too."
"Give that back, Ron!"
Ron shook his head, stepping away. "We won't be home until he's dead, dear, so don't wait up." He put the mirror into his belt.
"I won't let you do this." Hermione pointed her wand at him. "I can't, Ron."
Ron flicked his wand, smirking as hers flew out of her hand. "If you're not with us, you're against us."
Seamus laughed, motioning to Harry. "Bring him. We'll shut them in the basement."
"Exactly, we can't have them running off to warn the creature." Ron turned away as the villagers put them both into the basement. He would talk to Hermione later. She would understand.
"We'll rid the village of this beast." Seamus pulled Ron into the middle of the crowd. "Who's with us?"
The crowd roared and Ron shook his head, forgetting about Hermione for a moment. If she really was kidnapped, she needed to be avenged. They would kill this beast. "Light your wands! We're going to this Manor where something is lurking that we've never encountered before."
"Screw your courage to the sticking place, men." Seamus pointed toward the forest and stared for it. "It's a beast and we won't rest until he's good and dead!"
"We'll lay siege to his Manor and bring back his head!" Ron followed behind Seamus, letting his wand shine brighter to better lead the way. "We'll save our village and our lives! We're fifty strong and fifty wizards can't be wrong!" He looked back at the angry crowd following. "Take whatever you want when we're finished, but remember the beast is mine!"
He would win Hermione back, and killing her captor was just the way to do it. Ron gripped his wand tighter, telling himself that this was the right thing to do.
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
The Manor seemed drearier after Hermione took off to help Harry. The elves left Lucius alone to stare at the lone petal of the rose, all of them knowing what was going to come next. Lucius wasn't even sure if he was quite ready to spend his life as a monster, but he had no choice now. He sighed when the door opened, turning away so he wouldn't have to see that it was just a house elf and not Hermione.
"Pardon Potsy, Master…"
"Leave me in peace." Lucius put a glass cover over the rose. At least then the petals wouldn't float away.
"But Master, the Manor be under attack."
Lucius looked out his balcony window, already knowing what she said was true. Angry wizards were rarely quiet. "I know."
"Lummy and Ticky will be wanting to know what we should do, master."
"It doesn't matter now." Lucius ran a hand over the glass, closing his eyes. "Let them come."
"Let them come," he repeated. "There's no point in any of this. She's gone." He pulled a battered chair closer, sitting. "I lost her."
It was about time wizards came to take care of him anyway. He wouldn't even fight them, not that he could properly do that in the first place. His wand hadn't worked for him since this mess happened. All he had was his claws and bad attitude. He just hoped the wizards coming to kill him would make it quick and as painless as possible. Killing curse would do perfectly.
With his luck, they would use Muggle means, make it more painful and slower.
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Hermione banged on the door of the basement. "I have to warn him." She looked back to Harry, tears running down her face. "This is all my fault. God, Harry, what am I going to do?"
Harry took her arms and pulled her against him. "Shh, we'll think of something. Besides, Ron doesn't know the house as well as we do."
"Harry?" She pulled back to stare at him. "What are you talking about? He locked us in the—oh. Oh! How can I be so stupid!" She shoved away and went to the back corner.
"I tried telling you before, but you kept banging on the door." Harry grabbed a few supplies just in case they met with forest animals again. "I figured it might help you get your frustrations out."
Hermione shot him a look. "Harry Potter. The next time I'm that hysterical, you have my permission to force me to see reason." She pushed a few boxes out of the way of a door. "I don't care how you do it."
"Yes, ma'am." Harry followed her through the door and up the stairs. "You know, I don't think Ron ever realized that this door was here."
"He was never home to see it." Hermione shoved the second door open, making a face as a table scrapped across the floor. "Who the hell moved that there?"
"I don't know." Harry helped her as much as he could with the door. "Come on, I have Malfoy's wand—"
"You never gave that back?"
Harry opened a drawer next to the bookcase. "This is not the time to berate me. Later, okay?"
"Right, sorry." Hermione grabbed a cloak and pulled it about her shoulders. "Let's go."
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Lucius could hear the fight downstairs and had to smile at the screams. His elves knew how to protect him, even when he didn't want them to. This was still the Malfoy Manor, after all, and he only kept the best elves around. He had broken the lines between servant and master years ago, but they seemed to try to keep it up.
The door behind him opened, the creak echoing across the room. Lucius glanced over to see two figures, one a fiery red head and the other a shorter and sandy-haired man. He shifted to better protect the rose, snarling lowly at them.
The shorter one motioned toward him. "Look, there it is. Blimey he's huge!"
"Shut up, Seamus. Let's just take care of this." The man raised his wand. "Come on, beast! We're here to take you down."
"Will you give up or fight?"
Lucius just curled his arms around the glass-encased rose, not saying a word.
"I see how it is." Seamus, the short one, raised his wand. "I guess we'll just have to kill him here and drag the body off." He twitched his wrist and a jet of pale blue came at him.
When the spell did nothing but shock him lightly, Lucius got angry. The least they could do was kill him properly! He growled, standing at his full height in front of the boys.
"I don't think you should have done that…"
"Hit him, Ron! Don't just stand there!"
Lucius dodged as they cast more spells at him. The windows of his balcony doors shattered behind him. Hoping they wouldn't chase him out there, he jumped outside into the light drizzle that just started. It was no use; both stumbled out after him. He swore and slid down to a lower, flatter roof.
"Come out and fight!" The sandy-haired man leaned over, watching him. "Stop hiding like a coward!"
The other slid down the roof after him. Lucius stepped back, narrowing his eyes. "Be gone from my Manor," he snarled. "I don't want to hurt you."
The red-head laughed. "What's the matter, Beast? Too 'kind' and 'gentle' to fight back?" He aimed his wand at Lucius' chest. "Well that's just too bad. Nobody kidnaps my wife and gets away with it."
Lucius closed his eyes, waiting for the end.
~ ~ * * * ~ ~
Hermione and Harry waited for the crowd of wizards to finish running away before they climbed out of the bushes. She had no idea why they were running, but all of them looked terrified. She hoped the beast hadn't done something too harsh to them; the rain washed away any blood if there was any in the first place. The villagers didn't deserve something like that when Seamus and Ron pushed them into it.
"I have to find him." She turned to Harry. "Will you help? If you find him, tell him that I'm here. He won't hurt you."
"I promise, Harry. He means no harm, really."
"Hermione, look." He pointed to the top of the manor.
She turned to where he was pointing and gasped. Ron had the beast cornered on an edge, his wand aimed straight for the beast's heart. "No!"
The beast turned first, getting Ron to look down as well. Hermione saw the surprise in both of them.
"Ron, don't!" Even as she screamed it, Ron's arm was moving. The beast reached out to knock the wand out of the way and that was all it took for Hermione to start running into the Manor.
Her heart pounded in her chest, fear moving through her. She couldn't lose the beast now, not when she just realized just how much the furry bastard meant to her. Something in her couldn't let him go and she knew that, if it came between the beast and Ron, she would choose the beast every time.
Hermione stumbled, turning to look at Lummy. "I have to get up—"
"Lummy knows." He held out his hand. "Lummy will take the ma'am to where she needs to go."
Hermione smiled and quickly took his hand. Not a moment later, she stood next to the rose that entranced her so much. One petal remained and she stared at it, contemplating what that could mean. Ron and Seamus' voice carried out from the balcony, dragging her attention away.
"Were you in love with her, beast?" That was Ron. Hermione carefully stepped over the shattered glass. "Did you honestly think she'd want you when she had someone like me?"
"It's over, beast!" Seamus laughed and something shattered.
Hermione reached the balcony in time to see Ron and Seamus standing over the beast, their wands close to his face.
"Hermione is mine," Ron told him, then stepped back to cast a spell.
"Beast!" Hermione glanced around, trying to see if there was an easy way to get down there.
"Hermione?" Three voices, all of them with various degrees of shock, called her name. She had one foot on the stone wall of the balcony when she heard the scream. Seamus was falling halfway down the next roof while Ron dangled helplessly over the edge. The only thing keeping him from falling was the beast's clawed hand around his neck.
"Put me down, put me down! Please, don't hurt me!" Ron gripped tightly to the beast. His wand lay inches away from the two. "I'll do anything!"
Hermione could only stare and hope the beast chose correctly. Sure enough, the beast slowly brought Ron back onto the roof and got into his face. Hermione couldn't hear what was said, but Ron's eyes widened. The beast turned to look at her and then climbed up the side of the roof. She leaned over, holding out her hand.
The beast took it. He continued until he was level with her. "You came back," he murmured, running his other hand through her hair.
Hermione leaned against the hand. "I always planned to."
The beast laughed and opened his mouth. Before he could say anything, he arched his back and growled. Hermione gripped onto his cloak and looked down; Seamus smirked at her from where he had stopped falling, his wand pointed toward them. When she looked back to the beast, blood already dripped out from a wound in his back. She quickly pulled him onto the balcony, resting him on the ground.
He just smiled, reaching a hand up to cup her face. "You came back…"
"Of course I came back. I couldn't let them kill you." Hermione ran a hand down his furry arm. "Oh, this is all my fault. It only I'd gotten here sooner."
"Maybe it's better this way." The beast coughed, blood coming up as he did so.
Hermione looked up as Harry finally came into the room. "Ron?" he asked, looking around.
She motioned toward the edge of the balcony and looked back to the beast. "Don't talk like that. You'll be all right"
"Always the optimist," he murmured.
Hermione tried a laugh. "We're together now and that's all that matters. Everything's going to be fine, you'll see."
The beast coughed again, his eyes drooping. "At least I got to see you one… one last…"
The hand dropped from her face. Hermione put a hand over her mouth. "No… No!" She took his cloak and shook him lightly. "Please don't leave me!" When he didn't respond, she leaned against his chest and cried, ignoring when Harry's hand came down on her shoulder. "Don't leave me. I love you."
Harry pulled at her shoulder. "Hermione, come on… We should go. He's gone."
He didn't finish his last word before the beast glowed beneath her. Hermione's eyes widened and she inched back, watching as the body lifted into the air. Lummy and Ticky stopped in the doorway of the balcony, looking between the beast and the now barren rose. They began to clap and, confused, Hermione turned her attention back to the suspended beast.
One-by-one, his limbs changed. Light shown bright and she had to cover her eyes from the pure power that radiated from him. When things calmed, she slowly opened her eyes and looked at the man that now lay on the floor. The cloak hugged his body, tangling just slightly with his long, platinum hair. She knew only two people with that kind of hair and she frowned, watching as the man now stood up.
He looked at his hands and feet before turning toward her. "Hermione…"
A very naked Lucius Malfoy was smiling at her. Hermione was sure she died and woke up in some twisted fairy tale.
"Hermione, it's me!" He stepped closer, holding out his hands to her.
The simple gesture reminded her so much of the beast. Hermione stood with a little help from Harry before moving closer to him. She was scared, but the smile was actually calming her. She raised a hand and cautiously slid her fingers across his cheek.
His eyes--there was something about his eyes. Hermione smiled, stepping fully into his arms. "It is you."
Lucius pulled her into a kiss and she ignored the cheering of the elves as magic poured out from both of them. Harry gasped from behind them and she heard him swear softly.
She broke the kiss, but didn't look away from Lucius. "Ron is not going to like this," she murmured.
Lucius laughed, putting a hand on her lower back. "Just let him try to take you away from me."
Hermione laughed and let him twirl her around, glad to have a pair of arms that she truly belonged in.