Playing with Fire

Chapter 63: Easier if she died

Song: Falling Down - Lil Peep, XXXTENTACION

“Absolutely fucking not, Hermione! Have you lost your bloody mind?”, Draco shouted at Hermione as he chucked firewhiskey glasses, vases, books - anything he could get his hands on really - against the walls of his study. The room filled with the sound of shattering every which way.

“Just hear me out okay? Listen, I know that-”, she began before he cut her off angrily by slamming his fists down on the table.

“No, clearly you don’t know anything - you aren’t even thinking! How can you ask me to let you - no - take you to the den of the head fucking snake? Do you truly think you’ll make it out alive?”, he was tugging at his hair now, having run out of things to break.

Hermione grabbed his hands, stilling him as best she could. “I have a plan. Please, Draco”, she practically begged. She knew this wouldn’t go down smoothly, but she also hadn’t expected such an outburst, and at least hoped for a chance to explain.

“Oh, do tell”, he said with a huff.

Hermione squeezed her eyes together, trying to find the most convincing way to put it. “I trust you, do you trust me?” He nodded once in response, gritting his teeth so hard his jaw popped against the skin. “We know what he wants with me, so why not give it to him? Or at least, make him think we’re giving it to him?”

“You may be smart but no one can fool him, Hermione. Listen to yourself!”, he said, clenching his fists around her hands.

“No you listen!”, Hermione said louder this time, losing her patience and tired of having no control. “I am perfectly capable of fending for myself. I know more about that monster than you do Draco!”, she sneered at him.

He twisted his face up in confusion before laughing off her comment. “I know how to kill him”, she said in a serious tone, knowing exactly how valuable that information was. She never thought it would be useful with everyone gone, but everyone wasn’t gone. Not only that, but Voldemort knew that she was just as much a threat as the Incendiaries because they all knew how to end him. And she knew that he knew this.

So long as anyone alive knew his secret, his existence was threatened. And what’s the easiest way to get rid of a threat? Get them all in the same place and dispose of them simultaneously. Hence Hermione’s presence. She was certain that was his plan. He was too arrogant to be any more creative than that.

If poor Neville wouldn’t have missed Nagini’s throat, Harry might’ve succeeded. Regardless though, she refused to blame this on him. Poor Neville who, like many others, lost his life that day. So long as Hermione had any chance whatsoever to end Voldemort, she was doing a disservice to everyone who lost something in the war if she didn’t take advantage of it.

“How?”, Draco whispered, eyes intent on hers now.

“The snake”, she responded as she watched recognition flood into his stare. “The snake is a Horcrux. We kill the snake, we kill Voldemort.”

“So what? You think you’ll march in there and off him and the snake yourself?”, he asked incredulously.

“No! That would be like marching into my own funeral. Smartest witch of our age remember? Now shut up and listen to me”, she commanded without realizing. His mouth shut with a pop. She smirked. Maybe she didn’t want to be rid of that mark...

“I’m a mudblood, so I can only go so far with this plan. But, I’m confident this plan will get us further in a position where we can act upon what we know. You said you trust me, tell me if that’s the truth”, she demanded.

“It is”, he responded briefly before shutting his mouth once again.

“Then show me”, she insisted.

~~~

Song: Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

They were biding their time. This wasn’t a plan that could be rushed.

Hermione was just thanking Merlin that Draco was okay with her using Narcissa’s wand. He seemed more angry that he hadn’t considered it himself. In fact, he insisted she start practicing with it immediately. It had been a long time since she cast so much as a glamour charm.

He left the next day for more work. He didn’t specify what for, but Hermione was content with the fact that it was probably better if she didn’t know. Anytime the Daily Prophet appeared with her breakfast and she saw even a glimpse of Draco’s face or name, she immediately got rid of it.

Today was not one of those days.

On November 14th, 1998, Ginevra Weasley was officially pronounced dead at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Hermione was mid-chew with Amity curled up in her lap when she read the headline:

Potter’s Blood-Traitor Lover, Ginevra Weasley, Officially Dead

By: Rita Skeeter

Blood-traitor Ginny Weasley, ex-lover to the deceased Harry Potter, was officially pronounced dead late last night. Her death certificate was signed by Poppy Pomfrey, former nurse at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and current caretaker employed at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

“Miss Weasley had been severely injured at the Battle of Hogwarts back in May while fighting for the resistance and was subsequently brought to St. Mungo’s for treatment”, Pomfrey states. “She was in terrible condition to begin with and had been weakening from the day she arrived, despite our best efforts. She was doomed from the moment she was struck by the Dark Lord that day. She’s lucky to have lasted this long.”

Inside sources tell us that Pomfrey was Weasley’s sole caretaker over the past months - other St. Mungo’s workers refused to treat her because of her past with the resistance against the Dark Lord. “I truly felt bad for the girl”, Pomfrey told the Daily Prophet, “it would’ve been easier if she died that day”.

Hermione raced to the bathroom, emptying her stomach painfully while she sobbed. She didn’t even make it to the toilet. She couldn’t breath. Couldn’t find air. She thought Ron was alive, then he was killed, but he was never dead. She had no idea what happened to the Weasleys, then found out George and Charlie had survived. Thought Ginny died at the Battle of Hogwarts. In fact, she could’ve sworn she saw the life leave her eyes - but she had been alive the whole time. Until last night. One step forward, two steps back. More like ten steps back.

Her stomach churned until she was dry heaving over the toilet. She gasped for air when it finally stopped. Amity circled her ankles comfortingly, clearly sensing her distress. She pulled the cat into her chest. “Oh God...Ginny...she...she...”, her voice wavered. Amity mewed in response. “Ginny”, she repeated in a whisper with a harsh sob.

She curled up in a ball, sobbing even harder with the cat against her chest, rubbing its face against hers. “I...I saw her get hit that day...I thought she...oh God. She w-wasn’t d-dead but now s-she-”, Hermione pulled at her hair stressfully, shaking the entire time. Her hands quivered and her face was swollen. Her head throbbed painfully.

An hour passed. Maybe two. Maybe twelve. She couldn’t be sure. By the time her head cleared, Amity hadn’t left her side. She sat up suddenly with a sharp inhale. Hermione felt motivation anew for what she needed to do. For the mission she was setting out on in regards to Voldemort. This was for everyone who was dead or alive - because at this point it seemed nothing was certain.

Easier if she died - the newspaper quote lingered in her brain. “It won’t be easier for you, Voldemort. It would’ve been easier if you died. And when I’m done, you’ll wish you had”, she whispered to herself.

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