Playing with Fire

Chapter 43: Here Comes the Sun

Song: Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles

The next week went by painfully slow for Hermione. She was quite proud of her exit from Malfoy’s study if she did say so herself, but she hadn’t seen him since that day.

She spent everyday that week in the library, reading more books from section N. She never thought she’d say it, but she was actually getting a little bit tired of reading considering there was literally nothing else to do.

It was bad enough that Hermione felt sure she was already spiraling out with thoughts of Malfoy, dreams of Malfoy. Everything led her back to him. She was living in his home for Merlin’s sake.

Every time she closed her eyes, she saw him leaning in to kiss her neck, her forehead, her cheeks, her lips. And that was before her thoughts became darker.

As much as she hated Malfoy being right about her and Ron - loathed him for even bringing him up - he was. Nothing had ever truly been sexual with Ron. Even when he tried to take it there, Hermione wouldn’t let it go very far.

Malfoy wasn’t the first boy she had ever kissed either, but the first that made her feel this way. It had never felt so natural before, so tempting. But surely it wasn’t because of Malfoy. It was as Hermione told him - loneliness.

Even now, halfway through a book, her mind wandered. Visions of moonlight reflecting off of his pale chest, him pinning her against the wall. Him speaking of her “inextinguishable glow” made her shiver.

That morning when Hermione woke up, she walked over to the table in her room to eat breakfast, but stopped when she noticed something was different.

The same pancakes, same chocolate chips, but a different word. Instead of the smiley face having “mudblood” for the mouth, it now read “Granger”. Hermione dropped her fork which made contact with the plate, causing a loud clang to echo in her ears. What? Why would Bopsy...?

Of course, Hermione was happy to no longer see slurs on her breakfast food, but it was still very confusing. What would cause Bopsy to refer to her as “Granger” instead of “mudblood” as she used to? Especially when this had gone on for months without change.

Hermione slowly ate her pancakes, picking at them really, and thought about her words from last Sunday. “I suppose I was lonely”. Was she? Of course. But she hadn’t considered it much until the words left her mouth. This was more apparent as well once she no longer had regular visits with Lucius.

How bizarre - wishing she was reading to Lucius everyday and spending time with him. Hermione laughed at the thought. It was nice to have someone to talk to, even if they didn’t talk back much. Lucius was a surprisingly good listener.

Hermione missed her friends who she was certain were all dead. She missed her parents, who she hoped and prayed were living happily and safely in Australia still. She missed Crookshanks as well, and hated the thought that he was probably long gone. That thought alone prevented her from finishing her breakfast.

It would have been nice to at least have a furry companion with her through all of this, but she couldn’t do a thing about it, so she tried her best not to fixate on it.

October was quickly approaching. Hermione knew this because the leaves on the trees outside were changing, which she could see from her bedroom window, and it was her favorite time of year. This alone brought her some much needed comfort. Come to think of it, she hadn’t even been outside since May...

“Bopsy!“, she called out, hoping that she could call for the elf like the other people living in the house despite being a prisoner.

A loud POP came from behind Hermione and she turned to find the small elf standing there. “Granger!“, Bopsy greeted Hermione with a smile. She tried to fight the look of curiosity that threatened to cross her face.

“Hello Bopsy, am I allowed to go outside?“, Hermione asked the house elf nervously. Please tell me Malfoy isn’t so much of a control freak that I can’t even do that.

“Granger cannot be leaving the estate but Granger can be walking outside if Bopsy is to go with her!“, she responded.

“Could you accompany me outside then, please?“, Hermione asked her, “I’d love to walk around the property.” And feel the cold air whipping against my face. Touch a tree, hug it even. See the light of day without it being through a window.

“Yes but Granger should wear warm clothes! It is being cold! Bopsy’s nose turns pink everytime Bopsy goes outside!“, Bopsy told her. It suddenly dawned on Hermione that Bopsy would be freezing outside, and she couldn’t give her clothes.

Hermione went into the closet to change out of her pajamas and into a light blue sweater, jeans, and short boots. A thick, fuzzy, grey blanket caught her eye on one of the higher shelves so she grabbed it and brought it with her back into the room.

Hermione reached out to hand Bopsy the blanket, but the elf went into a panic almost immediately, “Bopsy cannot wear clothes!“, she responded while backing away.

“It isn’t clothes, you can wrap it around yourself so you won’t be so cold”, Hermione insisted, trying once again to hand the blanket to the elf. When Bopsy still looked concerned, Hermione continued, “Master Malfoy will be angry if you freeze outside”. She felt bad for scaring Bopsy this way, but she knew she wouldn’t accept the blanket otherwise.

Bopsy’s eyes blew wide and she quickly took the blanket from Hermione’s hands. She thanked her, reached up with one small hand to take Hermione’s, and proceeded to lead her into the hallway, down the stairs, and out the back doors of the manor.

Cold wind hit Hermione in the face, almost instantly turning her cheeks and nose pink, but she loved it. She could smell the soil from the garden and hear the leaves crunching under her boots as she walked across the grounds.

Bopsy led her up to a marble fountain in the middle of the courtyard which Hermione stared at in awe. It was beautiful, shimmering in the sunlight like it was encrusted in diamonds. She slowly reached out to touch one of the streams of water coming out of it, but quickly retracted her hand from the freezing cold water.

Bopsy, who was still holding Hermione’s other hand, hopped up on the side of the fountain and began to walk Hermione in circles around it, humming as she did so. The action seemed almost automatic.

“Bopsy loves Mrs. Malfoy’s fountain! Mrs. Malfoy would walk Bopsy around like this and sing! Can Granger sing to Bopsy?“, the elf asked Hermione, stopping on the spot and turning to look at her with hopeful eyes.

Hermione’s heart ached at the thought of Narcissa Malfoy walking Bopsy around the fountain and singing to her often enough that Bopsy would remember it - miss it. She never knew Narcissa, but she also never could’ve imagined her treating house elves so well.

“I don’t...“, Hermione trailed off. She met the elf’s eyes, feeling pity for her. She didn’t want to hurt Bopsy’s feelings, especially not after she came outside with her when she really didn’t have to. If she had such a good relationship with Narcissa, she must miss her terribly...just like the rest of the Malfoy family.

Hermione sighed before nodding her head yes. “What would you like me to sing? I only know muggle songs...“, Hermione told the elf, unsure of how she would react to this.

Bopsy practically jumped up and down, “Mrs. Malfoy loves muggle songs! Mrs. Malfoy told Bopsy not to tell Master Malfoy that, but Granger is not Master Malfoy so Bospy can tell her!“, the elf said with an excited smile, giggling at the loophole in her instructions.

“Oh, okay perfect!“, Hermione said to Bospy after picking her jaw up off the ground. Naricssa Malfoy liked muggle music? Well that explains the records in my room I suppose....

“What would you like me to sing then?“, Hermione asked the elf.

“Bopsy is not knowing the name! It goes “Little darlin’ it is being a cold winter! Little darlin’ it is being long time since! Sun, sun, here it comes!“, the elf sang in the most tone-deaf yet adorable voice Hermione had ever heard. She laughed in response.

She thought for a moment when realization struck her. “Here comes the sun?“, she asked Bopsy.

Bopsy clapped her hands in excitement, “Yes! That is being Mrs. Malfoy and Bopsy’s song! Will Granger sing it for Bopsy?”

Hermione chuckled softly. She was more than happy to show the elf kindness, and she hoped she wasn’t the only one giving it to her. Clearly Narcissa was good to her, but she couldn’t know for sure about Malfoy and Lucius.

She softly began to sing “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles while walking around the fountain with Bopsy. Every time she would finish, Bopsy would ask her to sing it again, so she did.

They walked and sang until the sun went down and they were both shivering in the cold, Hermione’s throat becoming raw from the constant singing.

Despite the cold growing outside, a small seed of happiness planted itself inside her, and along with it, a new sense of urgency to win the game and escape. Hermione Granger was not a sitting duck. If the sun wasn’t coming, she’d create her own. And she’d do whatever it took to do so.

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