Playing with Fire

Chapter 58: Mutual

A/N: There are some translations in this chapter - if any are wrong I sincerely apologize. I only speak English unfortunately, so there’s a strong chance there are mistakes there, please don’t hate me for that. Blame Google Translate :)

Song: Atlantis - Seafret

“This seems serious”, Draco commented after placing a kiss on Hermione’s cheek affectionately.

“Well yes, but, I mean, I don’t think you should really be worried about it. Realistically I just think that there are some things that we should maybe, well, we need to discuss in further detail before things-”, he cut her off with another kiss, realizing how nervous she seemed.

Without another word, he smoothed her dress back down for her, took her hand in his, and led her upstairs to his room. They sat together on his perfectly made bed - she assumed this was the handiwork of Bopsy or another elf in the manor. Draco didn’t seem the type to make his own bed. She chuckled silently at the mental image of him doing so.

Draco laid back against the headboard, spreading his legs so he could pull her back to his front between them, and wrapped his arms around her waist. His fingers soothingly stroked up and down her arms, circling her wrists and the palms of her hands.

“Draco...I don’t even know where to start”, she hesitated, chills prickling all over her skin from his feather-light touch.

He tucked his chin into the crook of her neck, placing another light kiss on her cheek, making her eyelids flutter. Hermione felt so incredibly in tune with her heart beat and his as she felt it at her back. They were completely synchronized. Like one person. One soul. One being.

“You have questions”, he said, an observation, not a question. It wasn’t hard to guess, but it still had electricity shooting from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Because right before he said it, she had been thinking simply I have questions.

A coincidence, surely. But the timing and accuracy of his words in tandem with her thoughts was still unsettling and oddly calming.

“Hermione”, Draco pulled her from her trance-like state, “ask me anything”

Hermione hesitated, feeling her heart-rate flicker with nervousness. How do I know you’ll tell the truth?

“Of course I’ll tell the truth”, he defended aloud.

Hermione froze like a statue against his chest, “w-what?”

“Why would, I mean I understand your doubts after all that’s happened, but still, why would I lie? After everything I’ve-”, the words spilled from Draco’s mouth like honey but Hermione cut him off.

“No, why did you say that?”, she asked, slowly turning to look back over her shoulder at him when his fingers halted their pathway on her palms.

“Well...you....you said…”, he appeared confused and doubtful of his own perception now.

“I didn’t say that...I thought it...how did you..?”, Hermione’s ears felt hot and her left bicep tingled near her mark.

Draco could feel his pulse beating under his skin tightly, his heart rate increasing. I could’ve sworn she...I can’t...I didn’t hear anything per se but…

“But you knew”, Hermione finished. Both of their eyes landed on each other, locking in place, pupils blown wide and in synch. A chill crept its way up her spine.

“I think we should start with the-”, Hermione began.

“Sanguis Stigma”, Draco finished her statement, filling it with words he was sure she didn’t recognize. “Hermione”, he added as an afterthought when the dragon on her arm began to glow red.

It was like she was in his head, or he was in hers. Neither were sure, but recognition crossed their faces at the same time.

What just happened? Sangwee Stig-g what did you call it?

Your mark. The spell...ritual...whatever. Sanguis Stigma - that’s what it’s called.

Neither had opened their mouth in this exchange. Not once. No noise made externally. To an outsider, it would appear that they were staring into one another’s eyes for an uncomfortable extent of time.

“Sanguis Stigma”, Hermione whispered aloud, and the glow died out.

“What was-”, Hermione stopped.

“I don’t know…”, Draco responded, his fingers absentmindedly running over the dragon.

Draco grabbed her hand instinctively, forcing her to follow him to his study. He began to dig aggressively through his desk drawers, tossing things aside quickly. Hermione took a few steps back to get out of his line of fire. Finally, he seemed less frantic when he pulled a small notebook from the middle drawer - it had been locked when Hermione searched his study. He didn’t know this, and she certainly wasn’t about to tell him.

She circled the desk to stand at his side, investigating the sloppy handwriting.

“...didn’t say anything about...fucking Yaxley…”, he mumbled under his breath.

“Draco”, Hermione tried, placing a hand on his arm and feeling that same electricity she always did when her skin touched his. “How much does...how much do you…”

“Apparently not shit”, Draco spat, running his fingers through his hair in frustration. He began to pace the room and Hermione took advantage of the moment to search the journal, her eyes frantically searching the sloppy scribbles and sketches.

Sanguis Stigma

Preparations :

The receiver of the Sanguis Stigma should bathe before the spell is performed.

The receiver must wear all black for the spell.

The receiver must drink a vial of the performer’s blood**

**the performer must bloodlet 3 days before, allowing the blood to sit in the vial for no less than 72 hours; add 2 drops of amortentia, 3 ½ drops veritaserum, 1 ¾ drops of calming draught, 1 ⅔ drops of weakness potion

Hermione did her best to ignore the way her stomach drop when she read the ingredients, specifically the amortentia and the weakness potion. The “performer’s blood” part was unsettling, but she knew this already. She continued reading.

After collecting the receiver’s blood and mixing it with that of the performer’s, both must drink the potion to seal the bond.

Bond? He drank it too... Hermione’s eyes were drawn to notes that were scribbled in various places to the point of becoming illegible. She could barely make anything out except for a few words like mutual and compatibility. Her breathing was shortening quickly and she tried to calm herself.

“Draco...I think that…”, she was incredibly nervous now. Her skin was already itching to search every nook and cranny of the library for information.

“That Yaxley clearly left some things out about this? Yes, thanks for pointing that out.”, he said sarcastically, his eyes growing dark. Hermione twisted her face in frustration. “I’m sorry I…”, Draco apologized, quickly regretting the way he snapped at her.

Hermione waved her hand in dismissal. Whatever, this isn’t the most important thing right now.

“No, it isn’t”, he whispered in response to her thoughts. Hermione’s hands shook slightly at this, growing more and more uneasy. What else do we not know?

Mutual and compatibility ran through her mind over and over until the curiosity got the better of her. She searched the room quickly for something, Draco’s face portraying obvious confusion.

“Get on your knees”, Hermione said plainly to Draco, and he did.

He narrowed his eyes at her, but Hermione’s eyes did the opposite. “Tell me what song you were humming in the shower.”

“Landslide”, he responded instantly, still kneeling on the floor. Hermione gasped, but Draco was still lost, not processing what she had. His answer confused and delighted her all at once. Were the records in my room his? She quickly shook this thought away - a discussion for another time.

“Tell me if you enjoy executing those people”, she said instinctively, instantly regretting it.

“I do, it excites me and shows how powerful I can be. The best part is spilling their blood all over my hands and seeing life leave their eyes. It reminds me of watching my Mother die and it brings me peace. Not sure why.”, he responded plainly, truthfully. His jaw dropped slightly, his mouth hanging open. “Why did…Hermione I... ”

“Well”, Hermione cleared her throat uncomfortably, “now I know. Yaxley failed to tell you that the bond is mutual to both parties. I can command you in the same way you can command me.” She tried her hardest to change the subject, feeling entirely unsettled by his answer. Almost sick. “Get up”, she commanded, not feeling sorry for it in the slightest. He did.

The wheels turned in Draco’s head and it all made sense. Entirely.

He slowly met her gaze, thankful that she ignored his painfully truthful and disturbing response. It surprised even him, but he was partly thankful he hadn’t had the opportunity to lie. He could sense that would’ve been worse.

As if sharing the same thought, they both raced towards the door. Draco threw it open and they made their way to the library, feet pounding against the hard floors of the manor. They both searched the library up and down. Nothing.

Hours passed to no avail. Not a thing about “Sanguis Stigma”. Stigma. Bond. Mark. Draco suddenly remembered the latin he hadn’t studied or spoken since he was 13. Sanguis Stigma. Blood Mark. Blood Brand.

He summoned a book from one of the shelves - a translation dictionary. He quickly began to jot down “Blood Mark/Brand” in various languages and made his way to the section of the library that contained texts from all different languages. Hermione followed eagerly.

Hermione took the paper from his hand and looked at the list:

Marchio de Sangue - Italian

Vermarka - Hungarian

Marka Krovi - Russian

Marca de Sangre - Spanish

Marque de Sang - French

Marka Krwi - Polish

The list went on this way - translations of Blood Mark in every language Hermione could imagine - some she didn’t even recognize. It was a long list.

Draco levitated at least a hundred books to the table and they set to work. He even summoned Bopsy for tea. It was going to be a long night.

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