Playing with Fire

Chapter 44: Say It

Song: Time of the Season - The Ben Taylor Band

The Daily Prophet - October 13th, 1998

The Fall of Hogwarts - The Incendiaries Strike Again

By: Rita Skeeter

Earlier this morning, the infamous Incendiaries decided that they had not inflicted enough death on our society, and bombed the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Why may you ask? That’s the question of the year my dear readers.

Despite the numerous attacks on Death Eaters across the Dark Territories over recent months, the Incendiaries most violent attack to date was their bombing of the Ministry of Magic, which is still currently under re-construction with bomb-resistant charms.

Early this morning - approximately 3:19am - the Incendiaries struck, leaving zero survivors and therefore mass murdering teachers and students alike who were soundly sleeping without fear. As with their bombing of the Ministry, the group proudly took responsibility by leaving their signature over the burning Hogwarts as pictured above, a phoenix of smoke.

Many have noted that this phoenix holds striking resemblance to the Dark Mark being left above houses of those resisting the Dark Lord before the war. Some believe it is an insult for them to mimic the greatness of the Dark Lord, others feel it is downright unoriginal.

What is the most insulting part of it all is that they would kill so many innocent pureblood witches and wizards, and proudly claim it.

~~~

Hermione spit her tea everywhere when she saw the Daily Prophet’s frontpage that morning. Above the article was a photo - Hogwarts burning still and a smoke phoenix rising above it.

Hermione ran to the bathroom and began throwing up into the toilet. Oh my God. These aren’t former resistance members, can’t be! They would never kill innocents like this!

She flushed the toilet and slowly climbed to her feet, making her way back to the table and forcing herself to read the article. She checked the time and saw it was about 10am, and quickly rushed to Malfoy’s study without thinking.

Malfoy was seated at his desk in his work clothes, looking completely unphased by the news that shook Hermione, a glass of firewhiskey already in his hand this early. It clearly wasn’t his first drink of the morning either.

He slowly turned her direction and glanced up at her casually, swirling his drink in the glass.

“You’re here”, she remarked, feeling extremely relieved though she tried to hide it.

“Yes, well, this is my house”, he said arrogantly before downing the alcohol.

Hermione sighed, not even feeling the energy to address his sarcastic comment. “What happened?“, she asked him, hugging herself with her arms in the doorway.

“I know you’ve been here quite a while Granger, but I’m fairly certain you’re still literate if you could be bothered to pick up a newspaper”, he responded to her. That’s it.

Angrily, Hermione marched towards Malfoy, grabbing the glass from his hand. “Stop being such an arse. You and I both know you aren’t good at feigning ignorance.”

“Touche”, he responded while looking at her. He glanced at the bottle on the desk and took a swig directly from it.

“Cut the shit and just tell me what’s wrong”, Hermione said, leaning against the desk, her silk pajama shorts rising up further.

She noticed his eyes dart to her thighs and then back to the bottle before taking another swig. Hermione fought the urge to adjust her shorts - she was playing the game, the fire in her growing anew.

Malfoy cleared his throat before responding, “The Dark Lord wasn’t to happy about this morning’s events.” He sounded exhausted, and Hermione was just then noticing the bags under his eyes.

“It’s not like anyone could have predicted that Hogwarts of all places would be bombed...it’s...“, her voice faded away. She wanted to defend the Incendiaries so badly for their resistance against Voldemort, but she knew she couldn’t reasonably do so.

“Well, the Dark Lord disagrees”, Malfoy told her. “As the Minister of Magic and...“, he paused for a moment, clearing his throat before continuing, “the responsibility falls on me. As do the repercussions.”

She fully took in his appearance then, noticing the unbuttoned dress shirt revealing several deep, fresh cuts all over his chest. “Oh my God, you’re hurt!“, she exclaimed, one hand going to his chest to touch and inspect one of his many injuries.

He winced and she quickly withdrew her hand, apologizing for her rashness. Her fingers prickled with electricity from touching him for the first time in over a week...

She leaned forward to look closer at his injuries, unsure if they were magical or not, and lightly placed her hand on his chest again. This time she was careful to avoid directly touching any of the wounds.

“This looks like...“, she began but trailed off.

“Sectumsempra”, Malfoy finished for her, grimacing against her light touch on the sensitive injuries. “Not like it’s my first time”, he responded with a dark chuckle.

She hesitated, feeling guilty that Harry had done that to Malfoy once, but feeling less guilty when she remembered that he was dead and Malfoy wasn’t. “Who did this?“, she asked him.

“I’ll give you one guess”, Malfoy responded shortly.

She nodded in understanding. “Right well...I’m going to help clean these up.”

He met her eyes with an unreadable expression. “Please”, Hermione begged.

Without breaking their eye contact, he called for Bopsy. “We need medical supplies”, he informed her simply when she appeared.

The elf quickly conjured tools and supplies for his wounds on the desk and she disappeared with a POP.

“Is it...just on your abdomen?“, Hermione asked him hesitantly.

Malfoy began to remove his shirt in response, revealing similar deep cuts all across his upper body, arms, and back. She gaped at the sight, but her focus was especially drawn to seeing the Dark Mark on his arm. This was the first time she had truly looked at it.

It was a deep contrast with the black design against his fair skin. It actually reminded her of the red dragon that resided on her own arm. She couldn’t help but notice that similarity.

Hermione was horrified by all the blood covering him and she had to stop herself from gasping. She slowly began reaching for supplies to clean the wounds before telling Malfoy, “This is going to sting a bit.”

He nodded in response, wincing as she began to clean the first wound. After an hour had passed, no words spoken between them the entire time, Hermione finally finished cleaning and dressing the last wound.

“I can take this back downstairs to Bopsy”, Hermione said as she started to gather up the supplies, but she stopped when long fingers wrapped around her wrist. She slowly turned to face him, her still standing and him looking up at her from the chair.

“Why?“, he asked her calmly.

“Well, so Bopsy doesn’t have to-“, she began before Malfoy cut her off.

“No. Granger, why did you clean my injuries?“, he asked genuinely.

“I...I guess I just...didn’t want them to get infected”, Hermione responded, now unsure herself why she did it. She started to turn back towards the desk when he grabbed her other wrist as well, pulling her softly to stand between his knees.

The room was palpably tense, him still shirtless and holding her so close this way.

“Look at me”, he said to her, “Is that really why?”

She met his gaze, hesitating at first, “I suppose it bothered me that you were hurt. I just wanted to help. Is that what you wanted to hear?“, she asked, feeling frustrated.

“Is it the truth?“, he asked her.

“Yes”, she stated plainly, almost insulted that he thought she would lie about this.

He chuckled, causing Hermione to give him a puzzled expression. Is this funny? He’s really making fun of me for helping?

Malfoy slowly stood from the chair, backing her against the desk until she couldn’t go any further. He leaned down, placing a hand on either side of her, “Granger, were you worried about me?“, he asked her in a husky tone.

Her breath caught. “Yes”, she whispered truthfully, and his lips came crashing down onto hers, much more forcefully than the last time. He tasted of firewhiskey, and she could still smell the dried blood from his healing wounds, but she didn’t care. A fire was rising deep inside of her that she wasn’t sure she could put out even if she wanted to. Game or not.

She wrapped her arms around his neck as his hands came to her hips, lifting her on top of the desk. He parted her legs and stepped between them.

“Please say it”, Malfoy told her between heated kisses.

“What?“, she could barely get out, struggling to breathe from the force of his mouth on hers.

“That you were worried about me”, he clarified, moving to kiss her neck now. Her head went back and she gasped audibly.

“Malfoy”, she breathed heavily, “I-“, but he cut her off.

“Say it”, he commanded.

“I was worried about you”, she said instantly, and her face filled with heat at this truth.

Their lips met again, his tongue pushing in to find hers. A few moments passed before he pulled away and took a few steps back. “Fuck”, he muttered.

“What?“, Hermione struggled to catch her breath still.

“I need to get back to work”, Malfoy stated plainly, pulling his shirt back on.

“But...I-“, Hermione started again.

“Granger, don’t make me force you. This is not the time for discussion”, he growled at her.

Hermione felt tears of confusion and hurt prickling her eyes, she was absolutely mortified at this. How could he do these things to her and then force her away every time? No. She would win the game, feelings or not.

“It’s hilarious that you always think you’re in charge, insist on it even”, she said, walking closer to him this time. She raised both hands to his abdominal muscles, stroking them softly. His eyes closed in response.

“Force me then. If you’re such a big bad Death Eater then prove it“, she pushed.

His silvery eyes shot open and he swivelled them until she was against the wall. He pressed his bare abdomen up against her, her breasts touching him through the silk pajamas, her nipples betraying her arousal.

“You underestimate what I’m capable of”, he said, running his hands up her bare thighs.

“It doesn’t matter what you’re capable of”, Hermione said, leaning in to grab his ear between her teeth and tug on it, “if you’re too much of a pussy to do anything at all.”

He swiftly grabbed her ass, lifting her against the wall to wrap her legs around his waist, causing her to gasp. She could feel he was hard against her core and it filled her with an insatiable need she had never known before.

Malfoy nipped at her neck, sucking and biting aggressively. “And what is it you think I’m too much of a pussy to do, love?”

Hermione hesitated. She felt utterly weak from his touch, wanting nothing more than to feel every part of him, and she couldn’t even think twice about it.

“Granger”, he said, grinding his pelvis against hers as they both groaned with want. But Hermione refused to respond. She couldn’t. Because she would expose herself for something she had wanted for a while now, but was too mortified to admit.

“Tell me what you want”, he finally commanded her, pulling back to look into her eyes.

Hermione bit her lip, “Fuck me”, and it was like she saw the flames ignite in his eyes.

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