Playing with Fire

Chapter 68: Names

Song: House of the Rising Sun - Joni Mitchell

Yaxley was knocked out cold as Draco apparated him to the manor before anyone could see. It wasn’t hard to do. Despite his blatant ignorance, Yaxley had never been a very skilled wizard.

His mouth hung open, drool falling out of it. Draco scowled at him. “Bloody oaf”, he muttered to himself as he pushed the door to Lucius’s study open. Hermione immediately rose from her chair, turning to face him with Amity held tightly in her arms. Lucius didn’t flinch.

He dropped Yaxley’s body to the floor with a flick of his wand, effectively waking the man. Yaxley recoiled in shock, searching his pockets for a wand he wouldn’t find. “Ah ah ah”, Draco said with an evil smirk. “Let’s not make this difficult. We have questions, and you’re going to answer them.”

“What the bloody hell is going on?”, Yaxley shouted, looking around frantically for an escape.

“First of all, what the fuck is this?”, Draco said, ripping his shirt open to reveal the dragon on his chest and effectively popping multiple buttons off of it in the process. They fell to the ground, rolling in various directions as Amity chased them playfully.

Yaxley’s eyes went wide with fear and he gulped heavily, gritting his teeth.

Draco shoved the tip of his wand tightly against the man’s throat, “I said, what the fuck is this? Don’t make me repeat myself again”, his voice was like steel, smooth and even, but unyielding.

Yaxley tilted his head slowly towards the blonde, a scowl on his face. “Sod off”, he spat. In no time, Draco’s fist made contact with Yaxley’s face, emitting a loud CRACK so loud that Hermione cringed at the noise.

That was when Hermione stepped in. Blood poured from the man’s mouth and she waved a hand to bind him. No more wasting time.

“Stand up”, Hermione commanded with malice in her voice. He didn’t move.

She flicked her wand towards him and his humerus snapped, causing him to let out a thunderous roar in pain. Draco’s eyes went wide at her but she didn’t care. “Do it, before I take away your ability to do so”, she stated calmly.

Yaxley stood shakily, blood running down his shirt now, his upper left arm jutting out in an unnatural angle. He winced heavily and looked lightheaded, wavering on his feet.

Lucius rose from his chair and slowly made his way over to the man as Hermione and Draco stepped out of his way. He rolled his sleeves up ever so precisely, creasing them to stay out of his way.

Staff still in his hand, he placed the index and middle fingers of each hand on either side of Yaxley’s temples. “Legilimens”, he whispered eerily, leaving Draco and Hermione to simply watch and wait.

Yaxley screamed in pain as Lucius spared no corner of his mind unsearched, making the process as ruthless as possible. It filled the room but Amity continued to play with Draco’s discarded shirt buttons as if this was all normal.

After what felt like hours, Lucius pulled back and Yaxley collapsed on the floor.

Lucius readjusted his sleeves calmly before turning to face Hermione and Draco.

“Well? Get on with it!”, Draco was losing his patience, though Hermione wasn’t sure he had any to start with. But she felt exactly the same, she just wasn’t going to speak to Lucius that way.

Lucius cleared his throat, taking his time to walk back to his seat and make himself comfortable before beginning with a smirk. “This...Sanguis Stigma...he combined them from various other versions, all originating in different languages, countries, time periods, etcetera”

“And? We know this already!”, Draco shouted again but Hermione laced her fingers through his, stroking the top of his hand with her thumb soothingly. Calm down she urged in her head, and he somehow received her unspoken message, letting his shoulders relax.

As I was saying”, Lucius jumped back in, sipping his firewhiskey. Like father, like son, Hermione thought to herself.

“It cannot be undone. Not without death. His version was created to avoid slaves breaking the bond. Quite humorous considering it didn’t work with anyone else”, the man chuckled.

Hermione and Draco looked at each other in surprise. “What do you mean...‘it didn’t work’?”, Hermione questioned.

“What he failed to realize is that his hodgepodge of a spell requires those being bound to be magically harmonious”, the man clarified. “You two apparently were the only ones it worked on...clearly the Dark Lord doesn’t know that”, he snickered viciously.

Hermione’s mind was doing cartwheels at that point. Magically harmonious? She looked at Draco, trying to decipher if he knew what that meant. He turned to her, answering her unspoken question. “It’s...it means…”, he hesitated.

“It means my son should listen to what I tell him in the future”, Lucius laughed heartily. What? Am I missing something?

The marriage comment - from Halloween. Draco clenched his fist, holding Hermione’s hand still with his other. He used his free hand to chuck a book off the shelf at his father, only for the man to catch it. Hermione gasped. What the??? Is he even blind???

“Narcissa and I were magically harmonious”, he smirked, placing the book down on his desk. Hermione’s cheeks heated at his comment. She was no longer sure she wanted to know. “It means your magic is in tune with one another. It’s an ancient wizarding phenomenon - very rare these days. Your magic feeds off of one another. It’s stronger when you’re together. It often feels like electricity filling your veins, at least in my experience” It all made sense, yet it was still so strange to Hermione. This is what it was like being muggle-born, not knowing things like this.

“What else did you find out?”, she asked, trying her best to change the subject. Draco clearly didn’t want to discuss it and Lucius was happy to egg him on. They would get nowhere this way.

“Clearly his research wasn’t thorough enough. However, the mark that appeared on Draco, that was…”, he hesitated. He appeared to be holding back yet another laugh. Is everything funny to him?

“It’s because you completed the bond with a...pairing ritual”, he said, tilting his head slightly, suggestively.

Hermione thought she was going to die of embarrassment. Oh my God.

Draco tensed to her left. “It’s that simple? I mean that wasn’t…” he trailed off. “Wasn’t the first time…”, Draco muttered with his eyes down, flickering to Hermione briefly.

“Yes, I’m sure”, Lucius responded. Hermione’s face heated even more, she was sure she was going to combust at any moment. “That’s because it was simply intercourse before that. Let’s just say...I hope you have some names picked out that sound good with ‘Malfoy’”, he stated, sipping his drink casually as if he hadn’t said what he just said.

Hermione’s jaw dropped and she squeezed Draco’s hand in hopes he could prevent her from collapsing on the floor. Surely he didn’t mean…

Draco swallowed heavily, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. He was practically shaking. He swore he could hear his own heartbeat in his ears.

They both jerked out of the way when Yaxley was suddenly off the floor and lunging, pulling them away from the trance they had been in. But that wasn’t all.

Amity sprung from the floor towards him, twirling in the air until a fiery head of red hair emerged, not stopping until there was a girl about Hermione’s age there. “Avada Kedavra!”, the girl shouted, green light shooting out of her wand and connecting with Yaxley’s back. He hit the floor with a loud thud.

Everything was blurry and Hermione’s breath struggled in her lungs. Her heart was racing from Yaxley’s attack, but that wasn’t what she was concerned about.

Ginny. Ginny was the cat, and now she was Ginny. Amity was Ginny, and vise versa.

Hermione launched herself into the girls arms, moving her hands rapidly along her shoulders and hair as if trying to convince herself she was real. Both girls weeped heavily into each other.

“Oh God...Ginny...are you really here?”, Hermione asked with a shaky voice, not much more than a whisper.

Ginny nodded eagerly into Hermione’s shoulder, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Hermione, I wanted to tell you but it was too dangerous. But I’ve been here the whole time, I promise”

“You were...you were Amity...you were a cat?”, Hermione said between sobs.

“McGonagall taught me a few tricks”, Ginny replied, both chuckling. “Now...I know I’ve been a cat for a while, so maybe my hearing has gone screwy, but please tell me I heard him incorrectly when he said you’re pregnant”

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