Playing with Fire

Chapter 19: Any other plans

Song: waiting on the weekend - YUNGBLUD

Hermione was about halfway through “Up in Flames” with Lucius - and she liked the book. Really liked the book. She almost couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that Malfoy had been the one to recommend it.

Needless to say, Hermione spent the entire day looking forward to 6pm.

When Bopsy came to let her out of the dungeon, she told Hermione that Lucius was waiting for her in the library this time. She quirked an eyebrow in confusion, but made her way there as she was told.

When she walked in, Lucius was waiting for her at the large, round table in the center of the room, their nightly tea already prepared for them.

She sat down, trying to mask her excitement, but began to read:

“Everything I do, I do for you two, and yet you continue to fault me for it!“, Ezekiel yelled at his parents.

“And you assume our actions aren’t just the same for you?“, his father defended, the scowl on his face deepening.

“There’s a difference between doing things for me and doing things for appearances”, Ezekiel retorted, clenching his fists.

“They are done for you! Some things in life are more complicated than they seem - you do not get to choose what sacrifices are worthy of being meaningful and which aren’t”. His father said, his face turning red now.

Ezekiel considered this, concluding that he was wrong. All his father did was make excuses. Every action, every step taken, every word spoken, was purely in his own interest.

It had been true his entire life, and it always would be.

Lucius stopped her at the end of that chapter, wearing a smirk, although she wasn’t sure why.

“Penny for your thoughts, Miss Granger?“, Lucius asked her.

“Honestly?“, she asked him, unsure if he really wanted to hear it.

He nodded in response so she continued, “I think Ezekiel and his father are terrible with their communication. They both are doing the same thing, yet they hate each other for it, as if one has the right to make sacrifices for the sake of family, but the other isn’t allowed to. It’s entirely hypocritical”.

“I agree, but consider this - each has portions of their life unseen by the other, making it difficult for them to see the clear parallels in their actions”, he responded.

“Well of course, but is it not foolish? They’re family, they love each other, and yet, the hardest thing to them is showing any form of empathy or affection?“, she argued.

He smiled softly, “It is easier said than done”.

She nodded, deep in thought. Deep in the novel. It was so good because it was so real, so accurate to relationships between two people, both trying to save each other, but pushing the other away in the process.

Lucius rose from his seat and began to walk away - backwards from their usual situation where she would leave him. “I’ve enjoyed the discussion, I look forward to more tomorrow”, he said, turning and strolling towards the door.

She sat staring at the book, twiddling her fingers. “Oh, and Miss Granger?“, he called. She paused, waiting for his next words.

His head was halfway turned to glance over his shoulder, which she knew he was only doing for her benefit, considering he couldn’t see her anyway. “I believe the library will remain unoccupied...if you don’t have any other plans for the night.” What?

He was gone before she could ask what he meant. I can stay here a while? I don’t have to go back to the dungeon? She practically leapt out of her seat.

She wanted to sprint up and down the rows of books, running her fingers along their spines, smelling the ink and parchment.

She didn’t know how much time she had, but she didn’t care either. She was sure someone would come and make her go back to her cage, so she would enjoy it while it lasted.

She spent the next few hours roaming around the different sections, struggling to pick one book to focus on.

She eventually started a book on the history of witches and their impact - it was wonderful. She read until her eyelids grew heavy and she was blessed with deep, dreamless sleep for the first time in over 3 months.

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