Written for QLFC Season 5, Round 9 - Quidditch Gear! I'm chaser 2 for Ballycastle Bats (Go Bats!). I had to write about a witch or wizard being torn between two different people or groups.
My lovely betas were: brownlark42 and queen-sheep. All other mistakes are mine!
Optional prompts were: [setting] Diagon Alley; [quote] Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile (Anne Shirley) - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables; [emotion] disappointment
Word Count: 2,089
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Draco sighed as he shuffled through the empty husk that was Diagon Alley. He was the only one in their small group who could safely go shopping. Not that there was much shopping to do. Most of the stores were closed, and the ones that were open were only open a few hours in the middle of the day. He closed his eyes and wished for brighter days. As his mother had told him as a child, 'Imagine the biggest and the best. Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.'
Draco imagined walking through Diagon Alley. He was holding Hermione's hand while their children rushed and ran about them as they shopped for Hogwarts supplies. Draco and Hermione chatting casually with his parents as they explored all of the offerings of the shopping district as a family. It was a nice dream, a blissful dream. One he hoped he could live someday. Maybe even some day soon.
When Draco opened his eyes again and looked around the nearly deserted alley, he felt disappointed that he couldn't live that dream now. He felt anger at all the work left to do to make their world whole again. Their broken world had been ruled by a crazy megalomaniac and his lunatic following that Draco had been a part of. The disappointment and guilt he felt in his family, his father, in particular, swept over Draco like a wave. He gasped for air at the feeling of it. His father. He'd always wanted to be his pride and joy. He still wanted to be his father's best friend. To be the man his father was.
But he could not be the man that Hermione needed him to be without letting go of who his father was. He was torn between two worlds. The world he was raised in, which was turning to dust in front of his eyes, and the world that Hermione and the Order of the Phoenix represented. A world without blood violence and a world without the Dark Lord. Any world the Dark Lord wasn't in was a good world.
He popped into the apothecary and purchased the all of the potions supplies he could. The apothecary's stocks were low and the prices exorbitant. If there was one good thing about his desertion from the Death Eaters, it was that his father hadn't been able to go to Gringotts and cut off his access from his vault. His father was currently a wandless shell of his former self, bound to his home and unable to leave by any means, as per the Dark Lord. Draco hurried out of the apothecary and back down the alley to the apparition point.
His skill with potions was one of the few reasons he had been accepted into the Order as quickly as he had. He lightened Hermione's load and brewed most of the potions the Order needed. He had even begun brewing some of the rare healing and curse reversal potions, just in case.
Someone had gotten hold of the antivenin his godfather had created for Nagini, and Draco was brewing that as well. All members of the Order were slowly dosing themselves as protection for the final battle. They didn't know when or where it would be, but they could all feel the low simmer of anticipation. There was a lull at the moment. There were no new attacks by Death Eaters, and the Order was taking the time to regroup and rest. The Ministry was practically defunct by this point. Most people weren't even going to work, which helped the Order keep some of its members around to train and mentor those who needed help.
Upon returning to headquarters, he found Hermione waiting for him. Her eyes were bright and she looked almost feverish.
"We think it's going to be soon, Draco," she breathed out as she bounded to him and placed a soft kiss on his cheek.
"How soon?" Draco asked as he made his way to the basement of 12 Grimmauld Place, where they had set up a potions lab.
"Like, tomorrow, soon," Hermione replied as she began sorting his supplies. Draco grimaced. As much as he wanted this war to be over, the thought of seeing his parents on the other side of the final stand-down made his stomach churn. He felt both nauseous and like he had to use the bathroom at the same time.
"It'll be all right, Draco," Hermione said when she saw the look on his face.
"And if I have to stare down my father or mother across the battlefield?" Draco asked quietly. It was his biggest fear, one of the few things he had nightmares about. The other was seeing Hermione dead, her broken body flung at his feet.
"I'll be right by your side," Hermione said. "If you have to fight either of them, you'll do it with me at your back. We're a team. One team, one dream, remember?"
She pushed him so he looked at her and then looped her arms around his neck. He pulled her close and nestled his face in her hair breathing deeply of her scent. They would have to be fine. There weren't any other options.
Hermione was proven correct when Draco's Dark Mark began to burn with increasing intensity late the following evening. They had spent the day sequestered in the potions lab making as many healing draughts as they could. They planned for several healers to be with them in the battle. If the battle ended at Hogwarts like Potter feared, they would leave the boxes with Madam Pomfrey.
"Hermione! Malfoy! It's Hogwarts!" Ron pounded down the stairs and shouted at them before turning away and stomping heavily back up.
Hermione grabbed Draco's hand and gave it a squeeze, "It'll be fine. We'll make it through."
They each grabbed a box of healing potions and left headquarters to apparate to Hogsmeade. The plan was to take the tunnel from the Shrieking Shack to Hogwarts, but when they arrived in Hogsmeade, there were Death Eaters everywhere. They ducked into Honeydukes and took that tunnel instead. Draco was surprised when they had first been discussing the plan should Hogwarts be attacked. It appeared Hermione and her friends knew a lot more secrets about the castle than Draco had ever even heard whispers of.
Once the boxes were safely in Madam Pomfrey's hands, Draco and Hermione headed down to the courtyard outside the main doors. They could already hear fighting.
The fighting was fierce. Draco was on alert for white-blond hair similar to his own, but he didn't see either of his parents. It appeared the Dark Lord began with lower-level Death Eaters and creatures first. He didn't see a single member of the inner circle in the courtyard.
Soon, the Dark Lord was speaking, and he projected his voice over all of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade - taunting Potter to come and find him. Hermione grabbed Draco's hand and squeezed. They both knew that Potter was a Horcrux. Even Potter knew. Hermione had figured it out and they had to plan around it. It was a good thing too because Draco couldn't imagine what would happen if Potter died and nobody was prepared for it. They knew that no matter what happened to Potter, they had to keep fighting until the battle was won. There would only be one winner this day and it had to be the Order. Draco could not accept the possibility that it could be otherwise.
He helped Hermione gather the injured and bring them to the Great Hall where Madam Pomfrey and the rest of the Order's healers were working. There were so many of them. And so many dead. Draco was stricken to see so many students injured and dead. He never wanted anything like this to happen. Even when he took the Dark Mark he knew he didn't have a taste for this. He felt like retching at the carnage in front of him.
Suddenly, the silence around them was broken by cheers coming from the courtyard. Everyone who was able-bodied rushed out to see what the commotion was. Even though he knew it would happen, Draco wasn't fully prepared to see Potter's dead body. Hermione's knees almost gave out and Draco slung an arm around her waist to hold her up.
"Your precious savior is dead!" the Dark Lord shouted at the Order as they piled out of the castle.
"Give up now and you all will live," he continued.
"Never!" Hermione shouted and Draco had to hold her back. He would fight - and die - right alongside her, but he wouldn't allow her to throw herself at the Dark Lord.
"Dear Draco, it appears your girlfriend has a problem with the new rule of law," the Dark Lord hissed his laughter as he stepped forward. The crowd parted around him and soon the Dark Lord was standing directly in front of Draco and Hermione. Draco fought to keep his hands steady as he felt a drop of sweat roll down his back.
"My - My Lord," a voice that Draco knew all too well piped up from behind the Dark Lord.
"Yes, Lucius?" the Dark Lord asked without turning around and Draco felt weak in the knees. Not only was he about to face down the Dark Lord, he would be forced to confront his father as well.
"My Lord, I can bring the boy around," Draco's father pleaded. "I can make him loyal to your cause once more!"
Draco so desperately wanted to close his eyes and hold onto his head at the sound of his father's pleas, but he didn't dare move his gaze from the Dark Lord. He felt Hermione grow taut beside him. She wrapped her fingers around his and raised her wand.
"And what do you think you're going to do with that, little girl?" the Dark Lord asked Hermione. She glared at him and swished her wand. The Dark Lord blocked whatever spell she sent his way, so she sent another, and another after that. The Dark Lord blocked each of them. He had been laughing at first, but now his eyes narrowed.
"Enough!" he shouted and cast the cruciatus at Hermione. She wasn't able to block it and she went down screaming.
"No!" Potter shouted from behind the Dark Lord and for the second time that day Draco felt his knees go weak. The Dark Lord lifted the curse from Hermione just as Harry cast his infamous Expelliarmus at the Dark Lord. Stupid, Potter! Draco's mind screamed. But then Potter was casting the Killing Curse and before Draco could register what was happening, the Dark Lord was dead.
Draco fell to his knees beside Hermione and scooped her up into his arms.
"Oh, Merlin, please be alright, please be alright," Draco chanted over and over.
"I'm here, I'm okay," Hermione said and placed a hand on Draco's cheek. He couldn't believe that it was all over. It was unreal to be sitting here with his love was still safe in his arms.
Draco closed his eyes - it was his mother. When he opened them, she was kneeling in front of him her face full of concern. His father stood directly behind her, his hand on her shoulder. His father's face was a mask of grief and concern that Draco didn't understand. He was sure his father would be disappointed in him and his choices.
"Oh thank Merlin!" she cried when he looked up at her. She leaned forward and wrapped him and Hermione in a hug.
"I thought you were dead! The Dark Lord told us you were dead! Oh thank the gods," she murmured and Draco could feel her tears hit his neck as she rocked all three of them.
"Umm, mum? I think you're crushing Hermione," Draco mumbled and his mother pulled back.
"Oh! So sorry, Miss Granger. I got carried away. I thought he was dead you see," his mother rambled. Hermione smiled at her. Draco hugged her closer. He only saw love and happiness on both of his parents' faces. Even his father looked happy at the outcome of the war. He was done being torn between his family and Hermione. Maybe now they could all be on the same side.
He hoped so; he wanted his dream in Diagon Alley to become reality. He wasn't going to just imagine something worthwhile. He was going to live it.