Playing with Fire

Chapter 4: Sanguis Stigma

Song: Devil in Paradise - Cruel Youth

Draco sat stone faced at the table of Death Eaters, only a few seats away from the Dark Lord himself. He was discussing the next steps to be taken in disposal of mudbloods, enslaving of half-bloods, and reforming Hogwarts.

Draco couldn’t focus on his words. He tried to, pretended to, but all he could see was his mother’s dead body laying in the Hogwarts courtyard.

Despite the table being full, he was undoubtedly alone in this meeting.

After killing his mother, the Dark Lord had blinded his father with a curse. Apparently Narcissa’s death wasn’t enough retribution.

The Dark Lord said he wanted to “teach” Draco how to climb the ranks, and not become an “utter disappointment” like his parents. Narcissa had lied to him. She said Potter was dead when he wasn’t. And she paid for it. So did Lucius, and by default, Draco.

While Draco didn’t watch his father lose his sight, the deed had been done by the time he saw him again.

According to the Dark Lord, Lucius needed to be punished for his weak wife’s behavior. He shouldn’t want to ever even see her face again, not even in portraits. He should be ashamed of his wife. And so he made Narcissa’s death as permanent in Lucius’s eyes as he possibly could.

“While most of the resistance were disposed of, there were a few that escaped. They will inevitably attempt to take down my regime”, the Dark Lord’s voice faded back into Draco’s attention. “Lucius will not be back until November. He needs time to truly see his wife’s error in judgement”, he chuckled darkly at his joke and several other Death Eaters did the same. Draco tensed in his seat, but tried not to show it.

“When he returns, he will be in charge of all military matters. In the meantime, Theodore, I expect you to temporarily take over that position”, the Dark Lord said and faced Theo.

Draco glanced directly across the table at where Theo sat. If he was nervous, he certainly didn’t show it. “Yes my Lord, I’m honored you would give me the responsibility”, Theo told the Dark Lord.

“Excellent”, the Dark Lord hissed.

Draco wanted to leave. To go home. To just die. Anything but this misery.

He hated that the terrible world the Dark Lord had spent years envisioning was now becoming a reality. He didn’t want to be a part of it. The only reason he took the dark mark was in an effort to protect his mother and father, but he never expected this. And it was all for nothing.

“Draco, I assume you have no problem with that?“, the Dark Lord asked him, every set of eyes at the table turning to him as well.

“Of course my Lord, no problem at all”, he responded confidently, having absolutely no clue what this was about.

The Dark Lord hummed in approval. “The mudblood will be delivered to your home early tomorrow morning. Not to worry - Yaxley has concocted a spell for you to easily control her. We need her relatively unscathed so that I can use her when the time comes. After that, she can be disposed of”.

Draco nodded in response, still completely lost on what the conversation was about, but he agreed all the same. It wasn’t like it mattered what this was about. He wouldn’t have a choice regardless now, he never did.

The next morning, Yaxley arrived at the front door of Malfoy Manor. Draco opened the door and was shocked to see Hermione Granger standing there, expressionless, almost inhuman. Yaxley didn’t seem to notice his reaction.

“The mudblood is imperio’d to do as I say, but that’s just for the time being. We can undo it later so you can perform the Sanguis Stigma“, he said proudly.

Draco raised an eyebrow and looked at him condescending.

“The spell I came up with you git. It’s called Sanguis Stigma“, he elaborated.

Draco stared at him wordlessly. He must really think himself something, making up ridiculous spells to please the Dark Lord. He probably found it in an ancient textbook and was simply passing it off as his own creation.

Yaxley handed him a small notebook scribbled with notes that appeared to be Yaxley’s. “We plan to use this on all those half-blood servants, but I thought she’d be a good test subject, eh?“, he smirked and looked over Hermione with a predatory expression. Draco cringed. “If only”, Yaxley said, stroking her arm. “You better appreciate what the Dark Lord has given you here, especially after-“, Draco cut him off.

“Don’t even think about it. Say those words and they’ll be your last”, he said, pressing the tip of his wand deep into Yaxley’s throat. Yaxley gulped and gave a short nod in response. He had never liked Yaxley, and he definitely didn’t now. Fucking pervert.

Yaxley made Granger follow them as Draco led the two down to the dungeon. He had her sit on the hard floor before undoing the Imperio curse. He quickly knocked her out cold as soon as the curse was undone to avoid any resistance or trouble. “I highly suggest you perform the spell as soon as possible”, he told Draco, “It’ll make things a lot easier for you kid”. He patted Draco on the back and Draco scowled in response, signaling that it was time for Yaxley to leave.

Draco stared at Granger’s body, laid on the ground of the dungeon and looking dreadfully uncomfortable, for long after Yaxley had gone. He didn’t even want to look at the notebook he had given him. He wanted to burn it in the fireplace and just let Granger do whatever the hell she wanted. It didn’t matter to him. He didn’t ask for a human being to be responsible for, yet it was thrusted upon him all the same.

He had never cared for the Granger girl, but he didn’t have a problem with her either. She never appeared to be anything special, apart from being the biggest know-it-all Draco had ever met. She simply had the misfortune of being friends with two gits that Draco couldn’t stand.

Despite his upbringing in the Malfoy house, he never truly followed along with his family’s ideologies. He just pretended to. It was easier that way. Blood was blood. Magic was magic. What difference did it make? None, as far as Draco was concerned.

Regardless, Draco had no desire to harm Granger, which clearly the Death Eaters were blatantly unaware of. Staring at the girl on the floor reminded him so much of his mother lying dead in the courtyard. But this girl was alive, just unconscious.

He felt his eyes begin to tear up at the thought but he quickly sucked it up and wiped them away. He didn’t want to be there when Granger woke up, he didn’t want any part of it. He swiftly left the room and tried, despite all the previous failed attempts, to stop thinking about the fact that he would never get to see his mother again.

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