Playing with Fire

Chapter 7: Master Malfoy

Song: Man’s World - MARINA

Hermione was picking at a piece of stale bread before getting fed up and throwing it across the room.

The next time Bopsy visited her, she disappeared the plate that Hermione previously tossed across the room and brought her a new plate of food. The same food she had been given for, apparently, weeks now.

A slice of bread, rice, and a glass of water. Tasty.

She knew she had lost a good bit of weight since she got here. Considering all they gave her was a plate full of carbs once a day - that wasn’t even edible at that. This didn’t surprise her. She could wrap her fingers around her wrists easily and still have space, yet she still refused to eat. She couldn’t help but think maybe if I’m lucky I’ll just starve to death. It would be easier than being here, likely waiting on a death sentence.

She suddenly heard a heavy metal door creak open at the top of the stairs and she froze. She could hear the heels of boots clicking against the stone steps as someone made their way down.

She pressed herself as far back into the corner of the room as she could, wishing she could just disappear into the shadows. But she had nowhere to go.

She knew it wasn’t Bopsy because the house elf would simply apparate into the room at any given time.

A pair of long legs walked in and she saw a flash of white-blonde hair in the flickering candlelight. Her breath caught.

The man who entered the room looked shockingly like Lucius. His hair was shorter, slightly ruffled as if it had been slept on. His jaw was sharper, his build slightly leaner, and his eyes were piercing. She couldn’t decide if they were blue or silver.

“Hello, Granger”, he smirked familiarly. The same smirk she had seen teasing her and her friends since they were 11 years old. The same smirk that she always imagined he had while his wand pointed at Dumbledore with the promise of death. The same smirk that made her skin crawl and her anger boil over.

She grabbed the half empty glass of water and chucked it at him as hard as she could. He dodged it with ease and the glass shattered loudly, its contents pooling on the floor. “Get the hell away from me!“, she shouted at Malfoy.

“Take it easy, I believe you were the one who requested to speak with me“, he responded, chuckling at her anger.

“I requested to speak with Lucius“, she said, crossing her arms and leaning back into the corner once again.

“You requested to speak with Master Malfoy, actually”, he smirked darkly at her.

She stared at him in shock. Was he? Draco Malfoy was the “master” of the manor now?

He saw the puzzled look on her face and the wheels turning rapidly in her brain before clarifying, “unlike my Mother, Father is still alive. I’ve taken over as head of the household.” His tone betrayed zero emotion.

“Head of the household”, she repeated in barely a whisper. What was wrong with Lucius that he could no longer be in charge?

He stared at her, waiting for Hermione to get over her shock. He had no patience for it. He had no patience for anything these days. He cleared his throat, interrupting her thoughts, “So are you done wasting my time or is there something you wanted?“, he asked, appearing uninterested.

“I...have questions”, she stated hesitantly.

Malfoy scoffed, “well I don’t have answers so I believe we’re done here”.

“Wait!“, she shouted, almost desperately. He had turned towards the door, but stopped and didn’t move when she spoke. “You can’t tell me anything?“, she asked, genuinely afraid now. They weren’t at Hogwarts anymore. He could be planning to kill her for all she knew.

“I’m”, she paused and gulped, trying to find whatever dignity she still had, “my back is...“, she stopped. It’s not like he would care.

Malfoy turned back to her completely and focused his eyes on her. “Nevermind”, she said, putting her head in her hands, trying not to cry.

She heard his footsteps clicking across the floor until they stopped right in front of her. She didn’t dare move.

“Tell me”, he said in a commanding voice. She didn’t move.

Suddenly he jerked her upwards by grabbing underneath her arms until she was on her feet. She winced in pain and gave a cry.

“Shit Granger”, he said, just now noticing the bruises on her arms and how skinny she was. He hadn’t seen them when she was in the shadows. He turned her around and she didn’t even fight it. “I’m not going to hurt you, just calm down”, he told her and began to lift the back of her shirt, exposing splotches of black and blue all over it.

She laughed through the forming tears in her eyes as if that was the most ridiculous thing she’d heard in her entire life. She felt cold fingertips on her back and she flinched.

“Have you been sleeping on the floor?“, he asked without any emotion.

“Yes, because the four poster bed here wasn’t to my liking”, she retorted.

“I’ll have Bopsy bring you clean clothes and give you instructions for tomorrow”, Malfoy told her.

“Tomorrow? W-what’s tomorrow?“, she said, still trying to hold back tears.

Without another word, he pulled her shirt back down. Hermione didn’t turn or move until she heard the sound of his shoes disappearing and the heavy door at the top of the stairs opening, shutting, and locking again.

She cried herself to sleep. When she awoke, there was a small cot next to her with two pillows and a thick quilt. There was also a small bathtub now in the room with a rugged towel. The water was lukewarm at best, but it was the first courtesy she had seen in weeks. She quickly slipped off her clothes and carefully lowered herself into the tub.

What has my life become?

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