Playing with Fire

Chapter 31: Landslide

Song: Streets - Doja Cat

Hermione slammed the door of the dungeon shut and slid down it, still breathing heavily from having practically ran away from Malfoy’s study.

She touched her thumb to her lips, imaging they were his. Wishing they were his. What he had done

He had barely done anything, and yet, it did everything to her. And she wanted more. Craved it.

She pressed her thighs together trying to ease the ache that had survived even the embarrassment of Lucius walking in, whether he could see what was happening or not.

This is what I wanted. He told me to show him my scar, and I got too close. I did that.

But he touched me.

Those cold rings against her skin, his calloused fingertips sliding down her arm, against her scar, against her hand. She shivered at the memory.

The way his hold on her was tight, but she hadn’t felt scared or in danger. She almost felt...possessed? Owned? Protected? She couldn’t find the right word for it, but it was comforting for some reason.

As if there was something behind his actions. Her skin had buzzed from the contact, growing until her entire body was surging with energy and alertness, had become over-sensitive in the best way.

She could smell him. Feel him. She wanted to taste him. And he wanted to taste her. He said as much, didn’t he? No, he said ‘I’d have to taste it to know’, not ‘I want to taste it’. What if I’m romanticizing this entire thing? Am I that lonely?

What was wrong with her? Was she truly that weak and starved for attention? For human interaction and skin on skin? How humiliating. But he looked wasn’t just me. I know it wasn’t.

The way his breathing pattern changed when she touched his hair, the way his eyes glazed over, he felt it too. But felt what? Attraction? No, it wasn’t that simple. It was more...electric

Hermione felt a string between the two of them, one that tugged when she was too far. It tugged when he was in the West Wing and her in the East Wing. When they were apart. She felt so drawn to him, but she had to fight it.

But this is it, this is his weakness. This is how I’ll win the game. Win my life, my freedom.

She couldn’t allow herself to fantasize that it was something more. Something real. It wasn’t anything more than human nature that they were of the opposite sex and living in the same place, both clearly quite lonely.

No, he has Pansy. Although his reaction to me calling her his girlfriend was odd. He probably is against the idea of real relationships. Asshole.

Not that she cared...

But she still felt that string, like a tug behind her navel when the words came from his lips, “show me”. When he grazed her scar, when he tugged her thumb between his lips. What was that?

It certainly wasn’t anything she had experienced before. Not with Viktor Krum, not with Cormac, not with Ron. Play the game. Play to win. Get out. Focus, Hermione.

She was sure hours had gone by before her mind finally raised its white flag in surrender and allowed her to rest.


Song: cardigan - Taylor Swift

Hermione awoke the next morning to Bopsy’s gentle hands nudging her.

“Mudblood!“, she whispered eagerly. Hermione squinted her eyes in confusion at the elf. She rose up in bed, rubbing her eyes and pushing her hair back out of her face. Bopsy stared at her patiently.

“Good morning, Bopsy”, she said, her voice still groggy from sleep.

“Good morning, mudblood! You is having to leave!“, the elf told her.

“W-what??“, she asked, suddenly very afraid of what she meant.

“There is being a party tonight and prisoner cannot being in the dungeon for it! Master Malfoy isn’t wanting guests finding mudblood while wandering the manor!“, she clarified.

“Well...where are we going then?“, she asked. Am I to stay in the stables now?

“Prisoner will see! Prisoner will like this better!“, she said, tugging at Hermione’s hand. The only thing I’ll like better is leaving this dreaded place.

Bopsy guided her out of the dungeon but her feet slowed when she realized the direction they were going - the West Wing of the manor. Towards Malfoy’s study.

She led her to the door of a room adjacent to Malfoy’s study and across the hall from what Hermione knew to be Malfoy’s bedroom. Of all the places in this house, why here?

She staggered back when she entered the room. It didn’t look anything like the rest of the manor.

It was filled with white wood furniture, a light blue bedspread with gold detailing, and a large closet which she was surprised to see was full of clothes.

Cornflower and gold curtains framed the windows which faced the back of the manor, giving her a view of the colossal backyard that she had never really noticed before. It was covered in various flowers, trees, marble fountains - it was stunning.

It had its own personal bathroom adjoined - a waterfall shower and in-ground tub with more than enough room for one person.

Bopsy briefly informed her that there were towels under the sink and clean clothes in the dresser for her. She wasn’t to leave the room, at all.

After she bid Bopsy goodbye, Hermione began to further inspect the room.

There was a small bookcase with a few works that she perused - muggle authors. She was floored. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1984 by George Orwell, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, and many more famous works.

Who the hell in the Malfoy household was reading muggle literature? Whoever it was, they had great taste.

She eventually settled on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Hermione took a seat at the small tea table by the large windows and began to lose herself in the writing. Although she had read the novel before, there was something comforting about already knowing how the story would end.


Song: Landslide - Fleetwood Mac

The sun had already gone down, the only light was a lamp in the room, when Hermione heard voices slowly growing louder from downstairs. It was right as she finished Pride and Prejudice.

She couldn’t imagine what the party was for, and she really didn’t care that much. She was just glad she would be sleeping in an actual bed for the first time in about four months. She could even take a proper shower or bath if she wanted to.

I’m on vacation staying in a resort - she joked with herself.

The only thing that rubbed her the wrong way was the fact that there was likely a mass amount of Death Eaters downstairs, potentially even Voldemort himself. The thought made her shiver, and the growing volume of the voices echoing around the manor’s halls made her extremely anxious.

Deciding she needed to distract herself, she ran a proper bath for the first time in months, turning the water as hot as it would possibly go. Thank Merlin. She was so sick of lukewarm water being the usual temperature.

She slowly eased into the water, allowing her skin to adjust. It burned intensely, turning her skin red, but she endured it anyway. She reveled in the sting of it. It distracted her just as she intended it to. It soothed her muscles and calmed her anxiety.

The water was so hot that the steam caused sweat to form along her hairline, it was so nice to sweat. To burn. To hurt externally instead of internally. She knew that it was wrong, but it eased her nonetheless.

She adored the scent of the shampoo, conditioner, and soap provided - the scent of vanilla and coffee beans filling her nose. He drank coffee instead of tea - she remembered. It was wonderful. Especially in comparison to the dungeon that reeked of rotting flesh, blood, decay, and mold.

Hermione gave her long brunette curls a wash that was well overdue, towel drying her hair softly when she was done.

She even found moisturizer under the sink for her body, and she used it greedily. She used the spare comb on her curls and took a moment to stare at her naked body in the mirror. She had never been petite, but she looked it. Not as bad as she had when she was barely eating, she assumed. It helped that she had been eating pancakes for breakfast, along with meat and potatoes for lunch or dinner, rather than rice and bread once a day like more.

Her eyes were slightly sunken in, dark circles formed under her eyes. Like a walking corpse. That was how she looked. That was how she felt.

She walked to the dresser in the room and began looking through the drawers for pajamas. There were numerous sets of matching satin pajamas, all spaghetti-strap tops and shorts that felt like cool butter against her fingertips.

She selected a light pink pair and slipped them on, loving the feel of it against her body. She felt thoroughly clean for the first time. She even got to shave her legs in the bathtub and she couldn’t stop feeling her bare legs. How pitiful this entire situation was.

It was then that Hermione noticed a muggle record player on the bedside table, multiple records below it. She began flipping through them browsing the selection, but her heart stopped when she saw it. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.

Tears pricked at her eyes as she remembered the hot summer nights she spent as a child, dancing in the kitchen with her father to this song. Her mother would sing along in a tone-deaf voice, the three of them just enjoying each other’s company.

She would stand on her father’s shoes, allowing him to guide her as they laughed. She sniffled and wiped at her eyes. Please be okay. Please be happy. She didn’t know if they were still in Australia. The horrifying thought of Voldemort finding and torturing her muggle parents almost caused her an anxiety attack, her breath increasing rapidly.

She focused on calming herself, making her breathing deliberate, before reaching for the record and placing it in the player.

The music filled the room wonderfully and she felt peaceful. She laid back on the bed, the room still dimly lit by a few candles she found in the bathroom.

Hermione closed her eyes, humming to the song, and drifted off - her dreams were of a young girl with curly brown hair, dancing and singing in a small kitchen with her parents. A small smile found its way to her lips.

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