Playing with Fire

Chapter 22: Rising from the Ashes

Song: Afraid - The Neighborhood

Draco had just entered the Ministry of Magic via floo at 7:23 on Friday, August 14th. He made his way towards the elevators when something caught his eye - a flash of red hair, on a face he couldn’t get a good look at, but appeared familiar nonetheless.

He stopped walking, and grew more suspicious when he noticed the redhead walking rather quickly. He turned on the spot and began to follow the man without hesitation. Something’s off.

The redhead seemed to notice Draco and started to move more quickly - so Draco did the same. Before long, the unidentified man was sprinting down the main hall of the Ministry, knocking random ministry workers out of the way in his wake.

Draco shot a stunning spell at the man right as he rounded the corner - missed. Fuck. He sped up, his own heavy breathing was loud in his ears.

He chased the redhead at full speed now, following him straight out the Ministry doors just in time to see the man stop and face him. Fucking. Weaselbee.

Ron stared at him with the most evil look he had ever seen on the face of a Gryffindor. “Such a shame you’ll miss it, Malfoy”, he said to Draco.

Draco tilted his head in question, miss what?

Ron bared his teeth and mouthed “BOOM” with a chuckle before disapparating.

No. No no no no no.

The earth beneath Draco’s feet shook aggressively as he leapt out of the way just in time.

A sound so loud it seemed to crack through the atmosphere came from behind Draco and his ears rung painfully. He cowered in an alleyway near the ministry, hands over his ears.

Smoke began to fill the air as he rounded the corner to see the ministry in flames. Not much left standing. Holy shit.

Draco’s blood ran cold, bumps rising all over his skin. Holy shit holy shit holy shit. He coughed aggressively, his lungs struggling to find oxygen in the polluted air and burning from the soot he inhaled.

He looked up to see a symbol rising in the air from the smoke and ashes, much like the Dark Mark would. A phoenix. Rising from the ashes. The Incendiaries.

Draco pulled his wand out and touched his Dark Mark to summon the Dark Lord. He wouldn’t like this, but there wasn’t another option.

The earth shook again, not as much as the bomb caused it to only minutes before, but enough to compete with its force.

Suddenly the Dark Lord was before him, Nagini trailing behind his ruffling robes. He stared at Draco expectantly, and without a word, Draco pointed to the sky.

The Dark Lord followed his direction, looking to the symbol that floated in red above the ministry ruins. And so it begins again.

~~~

There were no survivors of the attack on the ministry. If Draco hadn’t seen Ron fleeing the scene, he would have been one of them. He alluded fate by mere chance.

His face and hair were still coated in black soot when he finally got back to the manor that night, a severe contrast with his pale skin and white hair.

The Dark Lord was insatiably furious. No one had seen this coming, and his worst fear had come true - showing weakness in the eyes of the public.

After hours of torturing people, invading their minds and slithering through every last memory, he had found nothing. Draco was included in this, the Dark Lord trusted no one after today’s events.

If he didn’t have the thick residue on every inch of him, his body would likely be covered in obsidian and scarlet colored injuries. Draco was sure his body would collapse any minute now, he struggled to even make it up the stairs to his room.

He didn’t even bother standing in the shower - he couldn’t. He watched the grit and ash melt off of his body and swim down the drain, swirling and spinning sedately.

I should be dead.

He didn’t even notice when silent tears began to stream down his face, mixing with the water that flowed out of the shower head. Everyone in that building died today.

He bit his cheek hard enough that it bled, creating a rough patch on the inside of his mouth. I would’ve been one of them. Should’ve been one of them.

Draco sat there under the water until it ran cold - it felt like he sat there for hours. Letting his skin turn slightly blue before he finally turned the knob to cut off the water and dried off.

He collapsed on his bed with towel-dried hair that still dripped onto his pillow. He didn’t even bother getting dressed. His entire body ached with exhaustion. His mind was flooded but his body was burning. He stared at the ceiling until he couldn’t hold his eyelids open any longer.

I’m going to die at the end of this. I just know it. I’m playing with fire and I’m in too deep. I’m going to die. I almost died today...what if I die?

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