Playing with Fire

Chapter 11: Blinded

Song: Lay All Your Love On Me (slowed and reverb) - Putin’s Bird

Hermione was sitting on her cot, braiding her hair. She hated braiding her hair. She just ended up with a frizzy tail coming out of her head. But she was that bored.

Her left arm was still sore from the fresh wound on it. She wasn’t sure if it would heal or not - it didn’t appear to be doing so. It hadn’t scabbed over, but it had stopped bleeding.

She pulled her sleeve up to study it. She softly ran her index finger over the dragon that wrapped around her arm. Just like a carving, there were deep indentions from the mark. She had never seen anything like it before, and not knowing anything about it was driving her mad.

“It is being a good evening, prisoner?“, Bopsy asked her, popping in. Hermione was used to it, she didn’t even flinch. She had zero privacy really.

“Evening?“, she laughed out loud. Bopsy wore a confused expression, clearly not getting it. There were no windows in the dungeon. It could be 11pm or 2am at any given point, and Hermione would have no idea.

“I mean”, Hermione cleared her throat, “Good evening Bopsy.” What brings you to my cave?

Bopsy smiled, “Master Malfoy says you is to make yourself useful!”

Hermione scoffed, “Make myself useful?" Git.

“Prisoner is to read the Daily Prophet to Master Malfoy at 6pm everyday now!“, she squeaked happily.

Hermione choked on the water she had just taken a sip of. ”Draco?“, she emphasized the question.

Bopsy shook her head, twiddling her fingers as if she wasn’t allowed to directly answer her question. Oh, right.

“Erm...“, she thought for a moment. No way. No fucking way. “Lucius?“, her voice squeaked, almost as high as Bopsy’s did.

Bopsy nodded. “And...the time now is?“, Hermione hesitated.

“Oh! It is being time now! Mudblood is to go with Bopsy now to make herself useful!“, she said happily, reaching for Hermione’s hand.

Hermione sighed, but took Bopsy’s hand, allowing the elf to guide her up the stairs to another part of the manor she was yet to see. Wait, why did she need to read to Lucius? As far as she knew he wasn’t illiterate. She chuckled at the thought.

Bopsy knocked on the door they came to. This one was in a different part of the house than the room where she received the dragon mark.

The elf slowly opened the door, revealing what appeared to be a study - Lucius’s study.

He sat stiff and straight, as if a rod was run up his spine. He held his usual snake-headed ornamental cane in his right hand, despite being seated. Well that’s odd.

“Thank you Bopsy”, Lucius drawled without looking in their direction. Like father, like son. Bopsy disapparated and her breath hitched when she realized she was standing alone in a room with Lucius Malfoy.

She stood there silently, taking in his appearance. His light blonde locks were thinner on his head since she last saw him, his skin paler, and the bags under his eyes were heavy - almost purple.

She looked at his eyes, staring lifelessly straight ahead of him. His pupils appeared unfocused and oddly empty. The blue of his eyes was paler than she remembered...

Oh my God. Oh my God. She gasped and slapped her hand over her mouth. He chuckled darkly. “Are you waiting on a formal invitation?“, he asked.

“F-for what?“, she stuttered.

“To have a seat and do what you came here to do. My son insisted the ‘prisoner’ we are housing would be ‘updating’ me on events - daily”, he told her. She swore the snake’s head on his cane was staring at her with its deep, slytherin green eyes. She shivered.

She hastily walked over and took the seat in front of his desk, barely perching on the edge, shaking. Her hand went to the “mudblood” written on her arm. Seeing Lucius this close brought the memories back, she could feel the tip of Bellatrix’s blade in her arm...

She unconsciously slid her hand up her arm, away from the scar, and closer to the red dragon. She suddenly felt slightly warmer. More steady, and less dizzy.

Her breathing steadied and she looked up, meeting Lucius’s empty gaze. “A-are”, she hesitated.

“Yes, I am blind. Should I congratulate you on your base-level observation skills?“, he snickered, lifting the corner of his lip ever so slightly. Hauntingly like his son. Or his son was hauntingly like him, she supposed.

Blind, and as infuriating as ever. And she would see him everyday at 6pm for the foreseeable future. Lovely.

“Is there something I can call you other than ‘prisoner’? It feels terribly demeaning, don’t you agree my dear?“, he chuckled darkly.

Hermione clenched her jaw in response. Did he not realize who she was...? Had Malfoy not told him? If he was speaking to her this way, and didn’t know who she was, she didn’t want to see what would happen if he did.

“Er...Monica”, she stated. My Mum. Oh Merlin, I missed my parents. She fought hard not to start crying for what was surely the hundredth time since the Battle of Hogwarts, and now she had to be called Monica everyday. What was wrong with her?

“Well, Monica“, he laughed softly, was that a funny name or something? “As you can see, I cannot,” he chuckled darkly, “so let’s get on with it shall we? I believe there should be a Daily Prophet from today on the desk.”

She reached for the paper, unfolded it, and began reading aloud. She almost scoffed when she saw most of the articles were written by Rita Skeeter. Of course she’s writing propogandistic headlines for the Head Snake himself.

When she finished reading what was, in her opinion, absolutely nothing of interest, Lucius called for Bopsy to retrieve her. She left with the elf, without another word passing between her and Lucius.

“Where are we going?“, Hermione asked Bopsy when she realized they were heading to the west side of the manor, rather than down to the dungeon.

“To see Master Malfoy!“, she squeaked excitedly. She huffed. Godric - what now?

They entered a room that appeared to be a mirror image of Lucius’s study, but this one was Malfoy’s.

He was seated at a desk with the fireplace crackling behind him, his eyes trained on the papers in front of him. The sleeves of his dress shirt were rolled up to his elbows, the top 3 buttons undone revealing his pale chest, and a glass of firewhiskey with half-melted ice sat on his desk.

His hair appeared ruffled, as if he had been running his fingers through it stressfully.

“Thank you Bops”, he greeted the elf. Bopsy smiled and left the room.

He stared at her wordlessly. She started to grow angry. “What, am I supposed to curtsy when I enter a room now?”

He laughed, a genuine, real laugh. The first time she had ever seen one come from him. It was eerily comforting. “Tell me about your time with my father today”, he said, standing and walking around to lean against the fireplace, staring into it. So she did. She told him everything as if they were far closer than they actually were. But what did it matter? He probably had ways of knowing everything that was said and done in the manor anyway.

He nodded slowly when she finished speaking. She waited. “You will report to me here, in my study, after you read to my father, and tell me everything you observed, discussed, etcetera.”

She snorted. “Okay”, her voice was even but she rolled her eyes. The dragon on her arm suddenly felt warm. Speaking of dragons...

“What is this? Is it permanent? What does it do?“, she began spitting out questions at him, yanking her sleeve up to show the dragon. He ignored her and strode back over to his desk, taking his seat and getting back to work as if she wasn’t there.

“You made me drink your blood. I have the right to know what the hell this is for you fucking sadist!“, she demanded, stomping her foot and crossing her arms. “You know if I had my wand I’d curse you without hesitation”, she told him daringly.

“Well unfortunately love, you don’t”, he said, making a fake sad face. She narrowed her eyes at him.

“You really can’t even have the decency to tell me what you’ve branded me with?“, she asked him.

“Don’t waste tears over a tattoo, Granger. You looked dehydrated as it is”, he told her, “Go back to the dungeon.”

She felt her blood boiling, but she suddenly didn’t have the energy to fight with him. What a waste of time. Screw it. She marched away and straight down to the dungeon, opening the door and shutting it behind her.

She froze on the spot. She turned and yanked at the door hard, but it wouldn’t budge.

Why did she do that? Maybe she couldn’t have escaped but she could’ve...snooped around? Something. Anything but going right back into her cage. And yet, that’s what she had willingly done.

She marched down the rest of the stairs angrily and ran a bath. She spent half the time with her head under the water, holding her breath for as long as she could. Wishing she had the willpower to just drown herself.

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