Playing with Fire

Chapter 28: Arcturus's Failure

Song: hoax - Taylor Swift

Surely Granger didn’t expect to repeat her actions from the previous day.

It was clear - she was trying to annoy him. And she had. But there was no way in hell Draco would ever admit that. He was too prideful for it.

She wanted to play games? Fine, Draco was a pro. She had no clue what she was in for.

Draco took a shower, dressed for the day, and went to his study to resume his work. She wasn’t there. He exhaled in relief, but a part of him couldn’t help but be disappointed.

Her visit had spiced up his day, undoubtedly. But again, he was far too prideful to ever admit that, not even to himself.

Only half an hour had passed when his Dark Mark burned and he was summoned to the Dark Lord’s side. Whatever he thought it may be about, Theo’s death was the last thing on his list.

~~~

Draco sat in his Minister seat. His vision had gone blurry, his ears ringing. Nothing but jumbled chaos.

Curses shot out of the Dark Lord’s wand in anger. Jets of light flying every which way. Shouting, screaming, and crying filled the room.

Arcturus Nott had returned. And the Dark Lord wasn’t pleased with what he brought with him. Or rather, failed to bring back - living Death Eaters.

They had levitated the bodies in one by one, until finally Theo’s body was brought forward. He had already started decaying - they could see it, smell it even.

Draco faintly remembered seeing Pansy vomit, Daphne cry, and Blaise yell out in anger, before everything went fuzzy for him.

“What did I tell you Nott? I said figure out what’s going on across Europe, and what do you do? You dare return to this place with dead Death Eaters and no answers?“, the Dark Lord shot curse after curse at Arcturus.

He would surely kill him, but he wasn’t going to make it easy. That wasn’t his style. It was too merciful.

Draco didn’t remember anything after that. Didn’t remember how he got home either. It wasn’t until he sulked into his study that he felt like a bucket of cold water had dropped on his head when he found it unoccupied.

Granger.

She was in her regular, fitted, all black uniform which he had chosen for her. She was looking at the shelves of books in his study when she turned to see him, holding a half-empty glass of firewhiskey.

All he felt was anger. “Are you mad?“, Draco yelled at her, “What the hell are you doing in here?”

Her eyes were hooded and the fireplace danced in her glossy eyes. She slowly walked towards him, put a finger to his chest, and took a long sip of her drink before saying “Calm down, Malfoy, my library is closed so I didn’t have anywhere else to be.”

"Your library?“, he asked hysterically.

“Well it’s like you said, no one else seems to use it...so it kind of is mine”, she giggled at that and took another sip. Her words were slurred, her cheeks rosy.

“Are you drunk, Granger?“, he asked before redirecting his focus to the glass in her hand. He grabbed it from her, “Well this is my firewhiskey, which I remember being full before I left.” He downed the rest of it.

“Well my apologies Master Malfoy“, she said in an exaggerated voice, “I didn’t want it to go to waste.” She walked over and sat in the chair across the desk that directly faced his usual seat. Well, make yourself comfortable then.

Draco scoffed before making his way behind the desk to pull out a new bottle of firewhiskey and popping it open. He grabbed a second glass and proceeded to pour drinks for the both of them, sliding hers across the desk.

He downed his glass, refilled it, and downed it once again.

She slowly took a sip of hers before speaking, “Is something wrong, or do you always drink this aggressively?”

“You’re one to talk”, he responded bluntly, pointing a finger at her with the hand that wrapped around his glass. He kicked his feet up on the desk and proceeded to down the drink and refill yet again.

“Well I’m a prisoner, I’ll take what I can get”, she downed hers and offered her glass for him to refill it, he did. “What’s your excuse?”

“My friend is dead”, he stated plainly. It was a fact. No point pretending it hadn’t happened.

She laughed loudly at this and he stared at her blankly. The fuck?

After she calmed down and caught her breath, crows feet from her smile still lingering on her face, she said, “I truly don’t mean to be insensitive, but welcome to the club. All of my friends are dead.”

She sipped her drink quickly to avoid saying more, but her body was already well past buzzing. She felt much more comfortable than she would have sober, and never imagined she’d be comfortable having a drink with Draco Malfoy.

When it was clear Draco wasn’t going to say anything else, she blurted out the question, “Who?“, straight to the point.

“Theodore Nott”, he responded. Theo. “Another Slytherin from Hogwarts - our year.”

“Were you close?“, she sipped again.

Draco looked at her thoughtfully before deciding it wouldn’t hurt him to talk to her. Wouldn’t do him any good not to either. “Close enough. Not like there are many young Death Eaters to befriend right?“, he laughed darkly.

“No”, she said quietly, “I suppose not”, her eyes going to the floor.

“I shouldn’t even be telling you this”, he said, swirling his drink and chuckling at the situation, “it’s classified information”.

“Ah yes, because you know I’ll be rushing straight to inform Rita Skeeter the second you tell me anything”, she said sarcastically. She went to refill her drink but he did it for her without thinking. He nodded in response, chuckling lightly.

They sat in silence both finishing another drink before Draco couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Your scar..from my Aunt Bellatrix. It’s still there after all these months?”

Draco remembered seeing it when he performed the Sanguis Stigma, but it could have faded or even disappeared by now, he didn’t know the exact nature of what Bellatrix had done. Granger tilted her head in curiosity - surely wondering why he was asking, but then nodded.

“Show me”, he said automatically.

She wordlessly stood from her chair and walked around the desk until she stood between Draco’s knees. His heartbeat quickened at the close proximity. She slid her sleeve up to her elbow to reveal the “mudblood” carved into her arm.

Before Draco could realize what he was doing, he reached out towards it. His left hand steadied her slightly shaking arm, and he ran his right index finger across the scar lightly.

She shivered lightly, he knew his fingers were cold, but was that why?

He found himself staring at her longingly, her skin burning intensely into his. She slowly looked up to meet his eyes and he darted his tongue out to wet his lips.

He was running on autopilot at this point.

Draco loosened his grip on her arm, sliding his hand down until it circled her wrist, dragging his fingers across the palm of her hand.

His breath hitched when she reached out to touch his hair softly, running her fingers through it.

Electricity shot through his body and his eyes shut as he breathed out heavily at the sensation.

Her other hand reached up, her thumb gliding across his bottom lip. He shivered in response and gently bit her thumb between his teeth, his eyes still closed. As if he could pretend it was a dream. It felt like one.

He released her thumb before “Granger”escaped from his lips.

“Do I smell like firewhiskey”, she asked quietly, as if she hadn’t meant to. Her voice was barely audible.

Her thumb still rested against his lips temptingly, so he sucked it into his mouth softly, causing her to gasp. He released it, allowing her to pull her hand back.

“I’d have to taste it to know”, Draco whispered, eyes opening to focus on her. She reciprocated.

He slowly rose from his chair to stand over her, bodies dangerously close but not quite touching...

Suddenly there was a knock at the door causing them both to startle. “Come in”, Draco called out, his eyes not leaving hers.

The door opened and Granger quickly broke their eye contact. They both turned to see Lucius walking in, his snake cane always in hand.

“Do you need something, father?“, he asked in a bored tone. The energy in the room had shifted severely in a matter of seconds.

“Yes”, he paused and slowly faced Granger’s direction, “but she doesn’t need to hear it.”

She gasped before quickly darting around the eldest Malfoy and departed without so much as a glance towards either of them.

“Draco, I heard about Theo”, he told him.

“Ah yes, come to play the role of father now have we? To comfort your son as he mourns one of his best friends? How considerate of you”, Draco scoffed and plopped into his chair once again.

“Minister of Magic and still acting like a student at Hogwarts. When will you ever learn?“, Lucius asked sarcastically.

Draco simply poured another drink and downed it without responding. He didn’t want to talk.

So instead, they sat and drank together in silence for the next two hours. Malfoy men bonding at its finest.

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