Neville helped Harry to stand up. It was both unnerving and relieving for Harry to see Neville alive again. The boy grinned to Harry and said cheerfully: "We have been sending owls to the Daily Prophet here. There should be interesting headlines tomorrow, 'The Dark Lord Potter is rising!'"
Harry punched Neville lightly on the shoulder and turned to look at other 'dead' people in the common room. "You should write them quickly and update on the situation."
"Yeah. Let them change the headlines to 'The Rise and Fall of The Dark Lord Potter'", Neville grinned.
Hermione was sitting beside the table and only threw a quick smile to Harry before turning back to observe the game. There was a rulebook in her hands which looked like a real life version of the Conduct and some parchments beside the game which seemed to have notes written by her.
Dean and Gregory were sitting on the other couch beside the table, unwrapping chocolate frogs. Dean waved at Harry and then turned back to Greg to continue his story, while the bigger boy listened and ate.
Lavender was sitting alone by the fireplace, huffing and puffing and glaring at the others while petting her new pet rabbit Chilla. It looked to Harry like others were pointedly ignoring her glares and he could only guess what kind of rant there had been after the girl had been lynched.
Millicent was the only 'dead person' not in sight. Harry guessed that she had been bored by watching and had left to her own room.
Harry walked over to Hermione and sat beside her. The top of the game box was transparent and the view looked down on the town and apparently the last moments of the fourth day. Harry could hear shrill little voices coming out of it, but couldn't make out what they were saying - or arguing about. He suddenly understood why Hermione, who was trying to still follow the game, was sitting so close to the box and almost leaning over it.
"I think the town won", said Harry. "I don't think our Framer can pull themself out of this."
Hermione glanced at him and then looked around. She seemed amused. "Oh Harry, these all know already who was our Framer. No need to hide names anymore."
Before Harry could say anything back, he was interrupted. "Hello my ghostly friends!" said a cheerful voice of Seamus, coming from the game box. Harry turned to look at the box and saw how the view had changed - no longer showing the little town square, but instead Seamus' face. The fourth night had begun, and Seamus, the real medium, was talking to them. "And hey Harry! I think I'm going to join you guys soon!"
"Hey Seamus", said Hermione. "I think everyone is going to join us soon, actually. There is no way Malfoy is going to stay alive through the night."
"Yeah", said Seamus and laughed. "I would pay to see Ron's face now. Bet he has wanted to jail and execute that snake from the beginning."
"What was the arguing about in the end?" Hermione continued, frowning. "We'll need to fix spectating for the next game. It's really hard to make out what players are discussing. It's like trying to follow a video on fast forward."
"Oh, they argued how to solve the 'two medium' problem. Ron and Greengrass girl both wanted to shoot Malfoy, but Nott and Parkinson demanded that one of them should kill me. And then the game would be over tomorrow morning, because no matter which one of us was the medium, the Framer would be dead too."
Dean had leaned closer too and spoke now: "The town doesn't have anything to worry about though, right? The Framer can't kill, so..."
"No. Once the Godfather and Mafioso were both dead, Malfoy was turned from Framer into a new Mafioso. There must always be at least one person in the Mafia who can do the killing", said Hermione, like she was reciting from the book. Which she likely was doing, Harry thought and glanced at the thick tome in her hands.
Dean shook his head. "Nobody can be expected to remember every rule of this game!"
"Nope!" said Seamus and grinned. "It's chaotic fun."
"It is not chaotic", claimed Hermione. "Once you read through every role, it becomes simple. But I have to say, this game is heavily favouring the town. Unless the mafia has really good luck and the town plays really badly, there is no way the town would lose. So as fun concept as it is, I don't think it's balanced enough to be interesting for long."
"Oh Hermione", said Seamus. "Not all of us have your brains or analyze this like you. Also, you need to check out the Ranked rolelist. We played with Classic rolelist, because it's easier for beginners like us. But with Ranked, it gets more balanced, and with All Any list, it gets to proper chaos."
Hermione frowned and started to shuffle through the rulebook.
"I think the night is soon over", said Seamus. "I should be soon there-"
A gunshot and a flash of red light from the game box startled the people in the common room. Seamus' face had disappeared from the game box, and in the next second, both he and Draco appeared in the common room. Neither of them fell over though, Harry noticed, and he wanted to sigh at his own lack of elegance with magical transportations.
"What did I say!" said Seamus. He went to join Dean and Gregory on their couch and grabbed few frogs for himself too.
"Weasley should never, ever become an Auror", said Draco grimly. "Completely unprofessional piece of shit."
"Hey, it's just a game", said Harry, frowning.
"He was beaming while he executed me", said Draco. "Unhinged sadist."
"Don't tell me you wouldn't have behaved the same", said Harry. "If you had been the Godfather, you would have instantly ordered me or Hermione to kill him."
"It was stupid not to kill him the first night. He had practically announced that he had a powerful role! We could have won this if he hadn't had a chance to jail you. He prevented you from killing and got you to claim to him that you were a sheriff!"
Harry decided to ignore that, because he didn't have a good answer for it. He knew that he and Hermione - Draco had been in the jail then and unable to join their discussion - had never even considered killing off Ron the first night. And he didn't feel apologetic for it - Ron was their friend, and some things were more important than playing to win. Like not having their best friend sulk at them for a week. Instead, he turned to Hermione: "When will the rest come out of the game?"
"I think any minute now-"
And then there they were - the remaining six players who had still been inside the box. Pansy, Theodore, Parvati, Blaise, Ron and Daphne appeared all at the same time, around the table and couches.
"Yeah! We won!" Ron yelled and pointed at Draco. "I knew they all were trusting you way too easily!"
"No, you didn't know that", Draco sneered. "If you had known, you would have executed me ages ago. I played you all."
"Poor little 'framed' Draco", said Pansy and seemed amused as she looked at Draco.
"Roleblocked, jailed and investigated the first night. It was highly plausible that I could have been framed too", Draco said and smirked.
"I'll never, ever trust you again, darling", said Pansy.
"Why did you trust me in the first place?", said Draco, smirking.
"Hey, at least you weren't lynched at all", said Harry.
Pansy laughed and said: "Actually, I realised something funny during the night. More Gryffindors were lynched and killed than Slytherins. And there were more of you in the game from the beginning!"
"There was only one more Gryffindor than there was Slytherins", said Hermione. "Eight and seven."
"Which means that I shouldn't have ever been lynched!" yelled Lavender suddenly. "You had no proof against me and Parvati, and instead of trusting us you listened to Malfoy of all people!"
Some of the Gryffindors were looking uneasily at each other. Hermione started: "Lavender, it was just a game-"
"Well, I won't join it again!" she said and got up to her feet. She looked at them all, clearly pissed off, and marched to her room with her big white rabbit.
Parvati looked at them apologetically. "She'll change her mind after she calms down." Then she rushed after her friend.
After an awkward pause, Neville said: "I wouldn't mind another game of this. What do think, guys?"
"Well, not this evening", said Pansy, "but maybe tomorrow?"
"Quidditch match!" half of the students said and Pansy rolled her eyes.
"None of you are even allowed to play in the teams anymore-", Pansy started, but then sighed. "Fine."
"Maybe next weekend?" asked Seamus.
"Good idea! That way everyone has had a chance to read through the Conduct before the next game!" said Hermione cheerfully. At the collective groan, she laughed. "I was joking. Although I do think it would make the game much more interesting if everyone knew all the rules and-"
"Just accept that that is not going to happen, Hermione", said Ron. "And I think we did pretty well anyway!"
For a while the rest of the players stayed behind, bantering and bickering over the game, but Harry sat and watched them, not joining in.
Before the game, the common room had been a quiet place where people had done their best to give each other room. There hadn't been any fights, surprisingly, between Slytherins and Gryffindors, which Harry assumed was because everyone had been tired of the fights and battles - but there hadn't been any nights either where most of them had been sitting together, talking excitedly and animatedly with each other.
Harry noticed how Draco was watching the gathering too, with bemusement and amusement.
As people were starting to leave, to get ready for their beds, Harry walked over to Draco, who had stolen one of Dean's frogs and was unwrapping it.
"Good game", said Harry.
Draco looked up and his lips twitched. "How was it good? We lost, Potter."
"Er, true. But you heard what Hermione said - it was balanced against us from the start."
"That's what losers say when they lose", said Draco, and now Harry was certain he was almost smiling.
"Well. Sometimes it's not the most important thing to win", said Harry awkwardly and glanced around pointedly in the common room, where some of the last players were still laughing together.
"Hmm." Draco looked around the room. "If you believe that, I must make sure that we won't be on the same team next time, then."
"You can't trick the random luck. Or faith", said Harry jokingly.
Draco looked at Harry and smirked. "Watch me. I can trick everything." He looked at the game box, with a thoughtful expression on his face that Harry was not sure he liked or not. It was attractive, but also a little bit worrisome.
"Planning to tamper with the next game?" asked Harry.
Draco looked at Harry with feigned innocence. "Of course not."
"Good. Because it'd be a pity if they banned you."
Draco snorted and, after shooting Harry a curious glance, stretched and turned towards his own room. "Such a pity. Night, Potter. It was a good game."
Harry looked after him, with a small smile on his face.
It had been an interesting evening, and Harry started to think that maybe it would only be a start of an interesting year.
And it's finished! Or, almost - I will still post later one more chapter, which will show all the night time happenings, "night chat talks" and a list of all actions the players took in the game, in case anyone is interested in those. However, story itself is now finished, so I am putting this already down as "Completed".
Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed! Thank you for everyone who has left kudos and/or comments and/or has subscribed and/or followed/reviewed on AO3 or , you kept me motivated in finishing this!
And for the last time:
[Dead players and the time of their death as well as the cause of the death in brackets]
1. [Millicent Bullstrode - Executioner, Night 3, executed by the Jailor]
2. [Hermione Granger - Mafioso, Night 1, killed by Serial Killer and Veteran]
3. [Seamus Finnigan - Medium, Night 4, shot by Vigilante]
4. [Harry Potter - Godfather, Day 4, lynched]
5. Theodore Nott - Veteran
6. Blaise Zabini - Escort
7. [Dean Thomas - Jester, Night 3, shot by Vigilante]
8. Pansy Parkinson - Investigator
9. [Draco Malfoy - Framer, Night 4, executed by the Jailor]
10. [Lavender Brown - Sheriff, Day 3, lynched]
11. [Gregory Goyle - Serial Killer, Day 2, lynched]
12. Ron Weasley - Jailor
13. Daphne Greengrass - Vigilante
14. [Neville Longbottom - Lookout, Night 3, killed by Mafia]
15. Parvati Patil - Doctor
[Dead in brackets]
[Sheriff - Lavender Brown]
Doctor - Parvati Patil
Investigator - Pansy Parkinson
Jailor - Ron Weasley
[Medium - Seamus Finnigan]
Escort - Blaise Zabini
[Lookout - Neville Longbottom]
Town Killing - Theodore Nott
Random Town - Daphne Greengrass
[Godfather - Harry Potter]
[Framer - Draco Malfoy]
[Mafioso - Hermione Granger]
[Executioner - Millicent Bullstrode]
[Serial Killer - Gregory Goyle]
[Jester - Dean Thomas]