Playing with Fire

Chapter 20: Hunt you down

Song: Holding on for Life - Broken Bells

The Dark Lord was, once again, incredibly angry. What a surprise.

It had become so common for the Dark Lord to have his outbursts, Draco wasn’t even phased or affected by them anymore.

All of the Death Eaters were seated at their usual table at noon when the news came. One of the lower-ranking Death Eaters ran in, out of breath, looking horrified that he would be the one to break the news.

Amycus Carrow was found dead this morning in France. He had been undercover, and still managed to get himself killed. Bloody prat.

“M-my L-lord, I have, um, I-“, the young Death Eater stuttered, he couldn’t have been older than 15.

Nagini lurched at the boy and he cowered in fear, “Out with it”, the Dark Lord commanded.

“Amycus Carrow was found dead this m-morning, My Lord”, he said, literally shaking in his boots.

A loud crack echoed in the room as the table they all sat at cracked straight down the middle from the Dark Lord’s anger.

“How? Where?“, the Dark Lord demanded answers.

The horrified boy couldn’t even look up at him, “still in France, it was an entrail-expelling curse my Lord. There was a letter in his hand...addressed to you, my Lord.”

“Where is this letter now?“, the Dark Lord was pacing now, waiting to strike.

The boy held a piece of folded parchment in his hand out to the Dark Lord and he snatched it from his hands. It was tied with a red ribbon and closed with a red wax seal portraying a cursive “I”.

“Read it”, the Dark Lord said, tossing the parchment in front of Draco, “out loud”.

Draco broke the seal, untied the ribbon, and began to read aloud to the table:

To the Head Snake,

While we loathe everything you do, we appreciate the time taken to give us a name. We quite like it actually. If you’re reading this then you’ve found Amycus Carrow. Unfortunately for you, he barely put up a fight. Simply squirmed and begged for his life, swearing to denounce you if we let him go. Isn’t it odd how quickly people are willing to change their allegiance when their lives depend on it? Next time, send someone with an ounce of courage will you?

Sincerely,

The Incendiaries

The room was so quiet that the wind whipping around outside, the first signs of a coming storm, could be heard even through the thick, stone walls of the Dark Lord’s home.

A dreadful banging sound filled the air, causing all of them to cover their ears and scrunch up their faces.

The boy who was unfortunate enough to bring the news was being levitated by the Dark Lord, who began to slam him into the wall, floor, wall again, on and on until the boy stopped screaming.

He dropped the boy’s body, which made a disgusting sound - the thudding combined with cracking bones. His blood pooled around the floor. He was dead. Talk about shooting the messenger.

“Everyone out. If Arcturus Nott isn’t standing in front of me in the next 5 minutes then I’ll kill every last one of you”, he told them. They all practically tripped over each other to get out of the room.

~~~

Song: Sex and Candy - Unions

It was 1am when Draco realized Granger hadn’t reported to him. That’s odd...

He had been reading in his study, sipping his firewhiskey. He was tired, but couldn’t sleep. Nothing new.

He knew his father would be asleep by now, and it wouldn’t make sense for her to be in his study. She definitely wouldn’t have gone back to the dungeon sooner than she had to. He set out to check the library first, deciding that option made the most sense.

He opened the doors quietly to a very dim, candlelit library. He scanned the room for her, knowing she was there. The library dimmed after 11pm, but a few candles would remain on if someone was in there after that time.

He walked slowly around the library, not finding her on the lower level, so he decided to go upstairs.

By default, he took the left set of stairs and headed for his mother’s alcove. Bingo.

There she was, head leaned against the window, legs up on the seat, her arms wrapped around them. A book lay open in front of her, mostly finished. She clearly fell asleep reading.

He took in her appearance for a moment, seeing her peaceful for the first time in his life. The way her curls fell over her face, her fingers curled slightly, her lips almost pouting.

Suddenly Draco heard a mumbling. He took a few steps closer to hear her, “have to...have to report to him...have to report...have to”, her eyes shot open and she jumped a bit.

He stood there, waiting for her to notice him. She hadn’t yet.

She rubbed her eyes groggily, “Shit”, she whispered, “what time is-“, she froze, likely sensing his presence.

Granger slowly turned her head towards him and inhaled sharply when she met his eyes. “Malfoy”, she huffed in relief, “would it kill you to not sneak up on people?”

She ran her fingers through her hair and he couldn’t help but watch her in...admiration? Fascination?

“Well, I normally don’t wake people up, nor do I find people asleep in my library”, he stated.

“I’m sorry, Lucius told me I could stay here a while, I really didn’t mean to fall asleep here”, she told him honestly.

He waved his hand dismissively, “Not like anyone has used it lately anyway.” He walked to the adjacent window seat and sat there, looking out the window at the dark yard.

“Are you...are you really the Minister of Magic now?“, she asked him.

“Is that such a shock?“, he asked her, and she grinned slightly. “Ah, you wound me Granger”, he said, feigning distress.

She chuckled lightly and Draco felt a stirring in his stomach. Quickly putting on his poker-face, he tried to push it away. “Yes, Minister Malfoy at your service”, he did a small bow.

“And what does Minister Malfoy spend his days doing?“, she turned her body to angle towards him.

“Whatever the Dark Lord deems necessary”, he responded with a sigh. “I usually spend half my time with him, the other half at the ministry.”

“Malfoy”, she started hesitantly, “why is Voldemort keeping me here? Please tell me, I’d do almost anything, I’m completely in the dark here.”

He smirked at the thought, anything? Now that was tempting.

He cleared his throat, hoping to clear his thoughts in the process. “He wants to use you to draw out the Incendiaries. He believes they’re the remaining members of the resistance.” He didn’t know if this was the case, but it’s what he was guessing.

Her jaw dropped. “But...Harry is dead, Ginny is dead, I saw them with my own eyes...do you think there are surviving members out there?” Her eyes were in a full burn again, full of hope and light this time.

“Gryffindors can’t ever seem to stay down can they?“, he smirked devilishly. Granger didn’t laugh that time though. She looked annoyed, but seemed to be holding her tongue. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I believe I’ve answered enough questions in one night.”

She sighed loudly, looking away from Draco as he stood. “You know, I never said you had to stay in the dungeon all day, Merlin knows my father won’t be reading the books in here”, he chuckled darkly at his own joke.

“You should go back and get some sleep now, though. And from now on, report to me right after you finish up with my father. I can’t come hunt you down every time”, he smirked. Not that he’d be opposed to it.

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