Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters associated with the series; they all belong to J.K. Rowling, as usual.

Author's Note: Enjoy! (If anybody's even still out there that cares about this lol)

Chapter Twenty-Two – Unravel

Insistent knocking on the Gryffindor common room portrait woke Harry from the fitful sleep he had managed to fall into. He looked over at Ron and Hermione, curled together on one of the couches and sighed.

"Hold on," he replied irritably as he got up and the banging continued. "We should really hex the first-years when they forget the password." Ron grunted in response, slowly being roused from sleep by the noise. "Make it stop," he moaned while trying to pull a pillow over his exposed ear.

Harry rolled his eyes and pulled open the portrait, expecting to open his mouth and snap at whatever younger housemate was there, but his jaw clicked shut when he came face to face with a barely composed Draco. They were silent for moments, assessing each other, before Harry stepped back from the door and coolly said, "Why are you here?"

Draco was momentarily taken aback; this dispassion from Harry was entirely unprecedented. Even at his most distressed, Harry was volatile. He blinked before remembering that he was there for a reason.

"We have twelve days."

"…Twelve days until what?"

"Until the Death Eaters are here."

Harry's eyes widened. "That's impossible."

Draco ignored the wishful statement. "Dumbledore requested that I direct the three of you to his office."

"What does he want me to do?"

"Save the world with one hand tied behind your back."

There was silence.

Draco sighed. "Don't give me that look, Potter. How am I supposed to know what Dumbledore's plan is? It wouldn't shock me if he didn't even have one."

Ron and Hermione unsuccessfully covered their laughs with coughs and Harry turned to give them an unamused look. They quickly got up and went to join Harry by the door. "So let's go to Dumbledore's office, then," said Hermione, in a falsely cheerful voice. She and Ron began heading through the portrait hole, but Harry didn't follow them. "Harry?" Hermione said questioningly as she motioned for him to join them.

"I'm not going anywhere with him," Harry said, looking sullen.

Draco smirked. "Seriously?"

Harry continued to glower. "Wouldn't you rather take Nott with you?" he asked pointedly. Hermione sighed in the background.

All amusement left Draco's face and his eyes narrowed. "Potter, we don't have time for this. I have no idea how you found out about that, but I can't believe you'd actually think I was with him because I wanted to be. Did you even wonder how I knew how much time we have left? It's not all about you. Merlin, for someone so noble, you're incredibly self-centered."

Harry's eyes were wide and shocked. He stared at Draco in silence, green orbs a maelstrom of emotion and confusion. Draco could feel the tidal wave pushing against his mental barriers and every part of him craved letting Harry in, helping him; but he fought his heart and remained impassive.

Hermione touched Harry's arm, breaking him from his trance. "We should go," she said softly, gesturing for Ron to take Harry's other arm and guide him through the portrait. She gave Draco a half-sympathetic, half-admonishing look before asking him if he was coming.

"Dumbledore also requested Blaise's presence. I'll get him and meet you there," he responded in a quiet voice, not taking his gaze off of Harry, and he watched them leave without saying anything further. When the three were out of sight, Draco let his head fall against the wall of the now empty common room.

The sound of Draco's head hitting the other side of the door jolted Harry from the stupor he had fallen into when it slid shut. His eyes focused once more and he saw Ron and Hermione looking at him questioningly, wondering why he had stopped. He said nothing and walked past them, ignoring the glance he knew they shared. Hermione and Ron walked quickly to catch up, and they let Harry have his silence as his angry strides led their way.

"Harry," Hermione finally began as Dumbledore's office came into view. "Maybe you should consider Draco's point of view."

"I'm not doing anything for Malfoy," he responded flatly.

"It's just...he wants the same things we do." Harry shot her an incredulous look. "In the war," she continued hurriedly. "He wants the same outcome and we need him."

"I don't need him."

"Weneed him," she repeated, and frowned when Harry ignored her. Reaching out, she grabbed his arm and forced him to stop.

"We need him. Not just you." Her voice was hard. "He's smart, powerful, and one of the best chances we've got at getting close to Voldemort. I know this isn't easy but life goes on and this war is happening, and we both know that circumstance alone has dictated Draco's decision. Don't doubt that he loves you because of it. Fight for that love, for what you know is real, not for anger and hate and loss. Who knows what will happen after the war, but you'll never know if one of you, or both of you, isn't alive to find out. "

Harry stared at her, the fire in his eyes dimming as he seemed to consider her words. Love had saved his life as a child, protected him from a creature who had never known it, scoffed at its significance. He didn't believe Draco had stopped loving him; if he had, Draco's actions would be much less frustrating.

"He just wants you both to survive," Hermione said, her voice softening.

Harry hadn't considered this. He had, of course, believed that Draco believed he was protecting him, but he hadn't understood the long-term view that Draco had probably considered. Wanting to hold onto the sense of complete belonging Draco gave him had caused him to forget that Draco's upbringing and mindset would believe they were safer separately; he couldn't accept that anything was worth giving each other up.

But the greater good was calling, and Harry's relationship with Draco took a backseat to the matters at hand, and Harry finally saw that perhaps Draco was focusing his attentions for that greater good, not saying goodbye.

He nodded wordlessly at her, not sure how to express everything that had just gone through his head. Ron looked between the both of them with a slightly bewildered expression. "Do we hate Malfoy or not?"

"Oh, of course we don't," Hermione replied with a dismissive wave of her hand.

"I can hate him a little, can't I?" Harry asked in a hopeful voice.

Hermione gave him an exasperated look and he smiled.

"I say go with that, Harry! Don't let someone like Malfoy treat you like that." Ron said encouragingly.

"Ron!" Hermione exclaimed in a voice to match her expression. "I just got him to listen to me, honestly."

Harry and Ron laughed, enjoying pushing their friend's buttons. Ron took his girlfriend's hand and squeezed it, smiling at her, and after a moment she gave in and smiled back. The three resumed their steps as they savored a light moment before what was bound to be quite a somber evening.

The following days passed in a flurry of preparation. As usually happens, just when you want everything to slow down, to allow you the opportunity to fully prepare yourself for whatever will happen, it seemed to speed up, as if time itself were excited about the events to come, the show of dark against light.

Draco and Harry trained every night, physical and magical defense, joint spells, and anything else Snape and Lupin thought could help. Hermione, Ron, Blaise, Seamus, Neville, Ginny, Pansy, and Dean, whom Pansy had started seeing, also trained, point blank refusing to stay out of it when told to. Harry's chest had swelled with pride at this, and he realized how right Hermione had been about fighting for happiness and those he cared about, not for anger.

Her words stayed with him and he acted accordingly; he was civil to Draco and never lashed out, even though Draco continued to act cold. He gave Draco the space he had requested. The night they had learned of the Death Eaters' plans, he had fallen asleep thinking about Draco, realizing that his respect for the other boy dictated him accepting the situation. He wasn't a child anymore; he couldn't lash out in anger and bitterness just because he couldn't have what he wanted. Simply, it wasn't about either of them; there were more important things at stake than either of their hearts.

Draco noticed this change and was grateful for the reprieve; he was still using Occlumency and every bit of power he had to keep Harry at a distance, but this resistance grew more tenuous every day he held out. He knew that if Harry actually tried to reach him, he would feel Draco's pain and unhappiness at being unable to reach out for Harry simply because he was there. However, Harry's quiet acquiescence to his decision led him to believe he understood what Draco was feeling anyway.

It was the training sessions that really tested both Draco's resistance and Harry's respect for it. Their connection hummed between them, silent for their lack of conversation but ever present, and growing with every spell they performed together. Their joint magic surrounded them when they cast spells, brought them together under its glow, almost like a blessing. It urged them to join in every way, and dimmed each time they broke eye contact from a gaze Draco was unable to keep cool when they performed magic together. The magic of their bond wouldn't allow them to hide their feelings for one another; the strength of the magic they created together demonstrated a connection deeper than the one they acknowledged. Even though they weren't together, the bond seemed sure of a fate that they were not.

While this was almost tragic to watch, it did provide a vital piece of information; the power of the bond was equally strong despite Harry and Draco not being a couple. The significance of this fact was lost on no one, but everyone chose to look past the emotional aspect and focus on the practical significance and how it could help them. They learned that any spell they did was as powerful as the Stunning curse that knocked Bellatrix down in Hogsmeade, and that aimed at the ground, any such defensive spell could hit multiple wizards at once in quite a timely fashion. They also learned that even when stationed in two different places, even at two ends of the castle, or from very to top to very bottom, the enhanced magic still worked the same way because distance didn't weaken the connection of their souls. This was useful and a relief, knowing they would still be protected by the bond and could still use its power if they were separated.

Despite the circumstances, this new magic was thrilling, both in theory and in practice, and not a night went by when everyone wasn't in awe of what Harry and Draco managed to do as a pair. It was beautiful to watch, and even the seriousness of what they were learning to fight against didn't stop their audience from looking in admiration and joy. Squeals of glee from the girls and exclamation of "Wicked!," from the guys were never absent from training, and even Professor Snape couldn't help but congratulate the two on their progress. Lupin looked at them with constant pride. The two adults alternated between teaching the group of friends and Harry and Draco; that way, each set would learn the best both men had to offer. Inspired by Harry and Draco's magic, their friends worked harder than they ever had in an attempt to keep up, and every night left them all feeling as though they had never done better magic.

The night before the Death Eaters' anticipated arrival surprised them, despite everyone's constant training. They were all in the living room of the rooms Draco now occupied alone, after spending two hours attempting to perfect any offensive or defensive spells they thought could use any improvement at all. People had coupled off, entwined on either the furniture or the plush carpeting, excluding Harry and Draco who were sitting in separate chairs quietly. There were too many people in the room, but no one wanted to be anywhere but where they were, so the room remained crowded.

Remus and Severus had remained with them after training, their parental roles in Harry and Draco's lives making them want to stay close to the two for a while as well. All of the students had become close with the two, the training prompting a relationship between them all less like one of teachers and students, but more as equals.

Snape had surprised them, and most of all himself, by actually liking them. He found himself admiring them; his own life, his own choices, and the life he had been forced into, had embittered him, and these children who had too grow up too quickly, they still knew how to laugh in spite of the world they knew crashing down around them. He watched them in that living room, comfortably lying with their respective partners, and felt a surge of protectiveness surge through him. This war would be different, he vowed. He wasn't only in it for himself this time. He looked at Remus, who was watching him with the same soft gaze that was present on most of the faces in the room as partners held each other, and kissed him.

"I thought you hated kissing in front of students," Lupin said teasingly after the soft kiss was over.

"I..." He looked down, not quite knowing what to say. Remus gave him the time he needed to collect his thoughts, and after a moment he said, "I thank you for giving me something to fight for." His voice was stiff, unused to saying such things. Remus' playful gaze softened. "And I you," he returned, letting his hand come up to brush a strand of hair from his lover's face and linger there.

Severus needn't have worried about privacy; nobody was paying attention them. Instead, scenes similar to their own were taking place around the room. Harry watched them with a mixture of contentment and annoyance, Draco with his usual cool expression. The two were the only ones alone in the room, and the tension between them was apparent. But still they didn't speak, and those around them allowed this, not wanting to disturb the atmosphere.

The murmurs of the couples and the vibrations of the stormy sky above them lulled most to sleep, an air of peace settling over the room. Only Draco remained awake, not comforted by the embraces and the magic that surrounded him. His eyes roamed the room restlessly, constantly greeted by the sight of what he no longer had. Even Snape, who in Draco's experience was extremely difficult to get close to, was vulnerably resting in a room full of students, something the blonde never would have predicted before this year began. Bitterness rose in him as images of the entwined couples seemed to close in on him, and his gaze instinctively snapped to Harry.

He growled in frustration at this, hating that he still couldn't completely control what his emotions, what his soul, wanted him to see. A wave of everything he wanted to ignore rushed against the mental wall he had created and cracked it, seeping through and seeking his connection with Harry. He tried to pull back, to pull it all back in, but it was too late.

Harry's green eyes shot open.

The suddenness of this action allowed Draco the spark he needed to slam the wall back together, once again barricading everything behind it. But Harry held his gaze anyway, not letting him slip back into their act as he slowly rose.

Maybe it was the dramatic lighting that the stormy ceiling gave the scene, putting fire into Harry's eyes and illuminating the gaze Draco was once again trying to keep cool. Maybe it was the pressure of the day that lie ahead of them, the day they had been preparing for. Draco didn't know. But he didn't move as Harry inched closer.

He angled his head back to keep their stare as Harry stopped above him. A strong hand reached out to him, threading through his fine hair and resting against the side of his face. He watched himself reach up to the other and do the same, and both sighed as their bond hummed with a fulfillment neither had felt for too long. For the first time since their split, Draco allowed himself to feel their magic, not just use it.

Pulling Harry down to him just as Harry pulled him up, their mouths met in the middle. They both moaned as the feeling of their bond seared through them in joy, racing through their veins and singing. It was too addictive and they both knew it, but neither could let go. They kissed fiercely, wanting to drown in what felt like a life force to them, not coming up for air, not needing to.

Finally, Harry pulled away, almost whimpering as Draco's mouth followed his. He managed to back away, but still held Draco's face as he had before the kiss. "Draco," he breathed. Lightning lit Draco's eyes once again, and Harry saw that they were wide and startled, lacking whatever control Draco had managed to cling to recently. Harry knew that he had a choice here; Draco would give in at this moment, Harry knew this, and most of Harry wanted nothing more than to take advantage of it. And he wasn't able to stop himself from diving down again as this thought occurred to him, wanting to feel that addictive completion once more before letting good sense take over.

He didn't know where he found the strength to pull away again, but he let Draco go completely this time, backing off and heading to his bedroom without looking back. Being around Draco wasn't an option if he was going to respect the other's decision; every part of him was screaming to be in contact with Draco, and the ache he felt at not being able to was physical. Still, he shut the door behind him and flung himself down onto his bed, lying there and letting his breathing return to normal.

Just as his composure began to return, he heard his door open. He didn't turn, afraid of what he'd see, knowing he wouldn't turn Draco away again. He held his breath as he heard the door close once more and footsteps approached him. A hand rested on his back and that feeling rushed through him once again as the bed shifted beneath him as weight was added to it. He shut his eyes tightly, willing himself not to grab Draco. He felt the blonde shift closer, and growled in frustration when Draco pressed a kiss to the back of his neck. He turned around and took Draco's arm harshly, eyes ablaze as he looked into the still wide silver eyes of his lover. "Draco," he said in a low voice. "I can't...You can't make me turn away again. I can't-" His voice broke and Draco put a finger to his lips. "I know," he said, voice equally shaky and closed the distance between them.

Harry gave in. He wrapped himself around Draco and let himself go, knowing how bad an idea it was but savoring every moment anyway. This is what he was fighting for, this feeling, these moments, the knowledge that despite everything in the world, there was still one thing he knew was right. And for now, he allowed himself to cling to that, to get lost in it. His last coherent thought flashed across his mind defiantly; I deserve at least that much.

Harry wasn't surprised to find Draco gone from his bedroom when he woke in the morning. In all honesty, he was grateful the blonde had behaved so predictably; he wasn't sure what impulses he'd act on if Draco was in front of him. The addictive feelings them being together triggered still lingered and Harry's body still hummed because of their bond, and he felt that the same feelings were running through Draco as well. Their connection was very much open right now and Harry knew that control would have been an issue for both of them if they had woken up together. He couldn't stop the part of him that pointed out how much he wouldn't have minded.

Shaking his head, he walked out into the living room just in time to hear a soft noise of surprise and his eyes searched for its source, finding a narrow-eyed Snape staring at the room full of sleeping students, having realized that he had slept in a chair, with another man, in that very room.

Harry stifled his laughter as the man shook his partner awake, getting up as he did so. Severus gave Remus a very stern 'We have to get out of here' look, and Remus grinned but rose to leave. He looked questioningly at Harry, who hadn't been able to completely silence his amusement. Harry momentarily considered torturing the Potions professor, but his newfound respect for the man and the sympathetic nature he had shown since Draco chose to leave him overruled that, and in a low voice, he said "I'll tell them you left when they fell asleep." He caught a flash of gratefulness in black eyes before Snape was out of the room in that ever impressive billow of robes. Remus gave him an actual smile and followed his partner.

The two teachers gone, Harry was now free to wake his friends in any way he wanted. Smirking to himself, he pointed his wand at the sky and whispered "Ennervate." As he had hoped, the sky produced a great boom of thunder and a bolt of lightning at being disturbed. There were several shrieks as people were jolted awake, and the shrieks turned into exclamations of "Harry!" as his friends became aware of his presence in the back of the room, laughing.

"Harry, I thought we were in actual danger!" Hermione said sternly, maintaining this indignation for a few seconds before giving in to the burgeoning laughter around her. A quick glance at her watch told them that they had slept into the beginnings of lunchtime, and after taking turns freshening up and exclaiming their jealousy in the amazingly beautiful bathroom (some taking longer than others, of course - "Oi, no one wants to see that!" exclaimed Ron, after walking in on Blaise and Seamus when they failed to emerge for 10 minutes. "Says you," Ginny muttered, Hermione and Pansy muttering their agreement) they headed down to the Great Hall to enjoy what Harry assumed would probably be their last peaceful meal for some time.

They settled in at the Gryffindor table, ignoring the looks they were now used to getting for ignoring the usual House seating. Taking her first real look around, Hermione noticed that the Great Hall seemed rather full for a Saturday lunch and said so. Parvati, down the table a bit, heard her observation and leaned over, saying "Heads of Houses came to the dorms and told us it would 'be greatly appreciated if we could all attend this meal.'"

The people who knew the significance of the day exchanged wide glances.

"Did Professor McGonagall say why?" Hermione managed to ask in a level voice.

Parvati shrugged. "Not really, no. She seemed kind of serious, but she always does, doesn't she?" She turned back to her previous conversation, unconcerned.

They all looked at one another. Hermione was, as usual, the first to come to a conclusion. "Dumbledore's going to tell the students about tonight."

As if on cue, the Headmaster swept into the room, effectively silencing the students' conversations. They were used to seeing the ambling, laid back Dumbledore, the good-natured, eccentric man whose calm comforted them without them realizing it until that calm was gone. This Dumbledore that walked with a purpose, that radiated the power he was known to have, startled them, and he immediately had their attention. By the time he got to the Head Table, every eye in the room was on him, and he didn't even bother sitting down.

"This school has been home to young witches and wizards for centuries." He looked at the students kindly. "And as long as it is within my power, it will remain such a home. However, not only in these times, but on this very day, we are faced with the world outside of these walls. We must choose our places within it."

He paused.

"The castle will be attacked tonight by Lord Voldemort's forces." Dumbledore silenced the murmurs and sounds of disbelief that immediately broke out by holding up his hand. "Whether or not you believe this to be true, the fact remains that the castle is not safe for any of us beyond this meal. I have notified the parents of the younger students and they will be leaving in an hour. Those over the age of sixteen who wish to stay" - and here the twinkle returned to his eye - "I encourage it."

He sat and his spell was broken; the noise that broke out seemed to shake the Hall. Most of the food was forgotten, except for by the ten friends, who ate in silence because they could not talk about everything they knew in the Great Hall. Harry scanned the room for Draco but didn't find him anywhere. He sighed, hoping that the other boy was with Severus, at least, and not alone in his room, wallowing in the last relatively tranquil hours they had left. Before he could stop himself, his mind had reached out.


Draco's response was startled and immediate. Potter?

Draco, he repeated gently. Come sit with us, be with us. I know you don't particularly want to be around me, but the other people here are your friends too. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, imagining Draco could see the gesture. We all care about you, you should let us. He could feel Draco's hesitation and he backed off, knowing he was pressing his luck. Just think about it.

He withdrew and tried to pull back his emotion, not wanting to pressure Draco. Their connection still hummed between them and he tried to ignore him, putting himself back in the present moment. Everyone was still quiet until Ginny said softly, "I'm not leaving."

They all looked at her. "I'm not sixteen but I'm not leaving."

"Oh, of course not." Hermione said matter-of-factually. "I'm sure your mother understands. She'll scream but you're a part of this now."

"You certainly got the yelling part right," said a familiar voice ruefully.

"Fred!" Ginny squealed and flung herself at her brother.

"What are you talking about?" he responded with a grin. "I'm George."

She hit him fondly, addressing both Fred and the actual George who had walked up next to them. "That joke was old years ago, guys."

"Our jokes are never old!"

"How insulting, Gin!"

They couldn't help but laugh; the twins always managed to make the air seem infinitely lighter just by being around.

"What are you doing here?" Ron asked.

George sighed. "The message Dumbledore sent Mum. She went crazy, calling us-"

"And Bill and Charlie and everybody in the Order and everyone else she could think of-" Fred rolled his eyes.

"-And she sent us here to get you."

"I'm not going anywhere," Ginny immediately responded in a steely voice.

"Well, of course you're not." Fred said, smiling. "We could try to force you to come home, but we thought that energy of yours be focused on taking down the other side, not your own brothers. Mum will have to understand. She's coming here herself later."

"And we're staying," George finished.

"More Weasleys? Do we think the Death Eaters are going to run away from brightly colored hair and bad jokes?"

"Draco!" Fred and George exclaimed gleefully, and the blonde stiffened at their use of his first name.

"We've heard about your-"

"Change of perspective-"

"And all the things you've been up to-"

"The many, many things."

Ginny blushed as Draco shot her a look, correctly identifying her as the only one who would have told the twins anything, and probably everything, about him and Harry.

Draco sighed and turned toward the table, ignoring the twins. He directed his gaze at Harry, saying coolly, "I thought we should all go to the training room and use whatever remaining time we have in a productive manner."

Harry nodded and Draco left quietly, not acknowledging anyone else. He turned back to a table of stares and told them that they should all go to the rooms he had briefly shared with Draco; even if they didn't even up training more, it was the best place to be.

"We'll meet you there, Harry," Ron said, as Fred and George sat down to eat before they moved again. "Yeah, of course," Harry replied, hearing one of the twins say "Training room?" questioningly and hearing the excited responses of the rest sitting there as they were filled in on training and Harry and Draco's magic.

He left the Great Hall and headed in the direction of the rooms, but a burst of energy not his own, yet inside his body, made him pause. Feeling the energy, he realized it was anger and confrontation, and he felt a unsettling sense of foreboding rush through him. He let the connection lead him to where the feeling was coming from, to lead him to Draco, and every step he took increased the sense of apprehension he felt.

He broke into a run and suddenly halted when Draco and Theodore Nott came into view, his internal alarm practically screaming. Something told him to stay quiet and he ducked behind the corner of the connecting hall, watching the two.

"What did you think you were doing?" Draco was asking, not cold as Draco normally was in confrontation, but fiery and angry.

"I...I thought I was helping," Nott said uncertainly, looking between the wand pointed at his chest and Draco's furious face.

"You were not helping!" Draco snarled, pushing the tip of his wand further into the other boy's clothing. "My mother has nothing to do with this war, and it is not your place to touch, or go anywhere near Harry Potter!"

Nott's eyes narrowed even though he was still backed against a wall and shaking. "What do you care about Harry Potter?"

"I don't!" Draco practically shouted. He paused, taking a moment to reign in his anger. He stepped back and kept his wand raised, his gaze cooling into the icy, unfeeling one that Harry, and most of Hogwarts, was most familiar with.

"Crucio," he said calmly and watched with disinterest as Nott began to thrash, silencing the other boy before his screams could be heard.

"Draco!" Harry shouted out in alarm, running up to him. He stood in front of the blonde, looking into the silver eyes that were miles away. "Draco," he said more firmly. "Put down your wand."

"He deserves this," Draco said flatly.

"You could kill him! You don't know the power we have with Unforgivables."

Draco's wand remained raised, but he was trembling now.

"Draco, I love you, too. Let him go, I'm right here, I'm fine." Draco's gaze finally met his and Harry pushed the arm down. Nott fell to the ground, gasping.

"Just wait until I tell the Dark Lord of this," the young Death Eater sneered. "Reunited, isn't that sweet?"

Harry Stunned him before his finger could reach his left forearm, and the Slytherin's head cracked against the wall in way that made Harry think he wouldn't be waking up any time soon.

They were silent for a moment before Harry hesitantly said, "Draco-"

"That wasn't about you, Potter. It wasn't about revenge."

Harry sighed. "Right, yeah, whatever you say." He levitated Nott's body inside of their rooms and let him fall gracelessly to the floor, alerting their presence to Remus and Severus, who had been in the training room connected to the living room.

"What is this?" Snape asked incredulously, seeing a body. "You can't just go around Stunning people-"

"It's Nott," Draco said calmly, and Snape's expression settled.

"Well, that's alright, then," he said indifferently, and Remus laughed. Draco flung himself down on one of the comfortable chairs without saying anything else, leaving Harry to tell the two adults that the rest would be on their way shortly to practice more. He headed into the training room, leaving Draco to sulk; he couldn't deal with the blonde's mixed signals right now, and he knew that the sooner they both got over their dramatics, the more ready they'd be for the more pressing issues they'd have to deal with soon. Remus followed him into the room and they were just about to start dueling when there were numerous loud bangs on their portrait before Blaise broke in, panting, the front of their whole group of eleven, now including Fred and George.

"Dumbledore heard something. He got up and started rounding up the younger students and told the ones who wanted to stay to remain in the Great Hall. He had the teachers follow him to help send students home and told us to come here and tell you-"

"Blaise." Draco said quietly. "Breathe," he reminded his friend. As Blaise took his advice, he entered the room fully and everybody else followed. They all looked to Harry, who had come back into the living room from the training room.

Their hero took a deep breath and said "Alright, guys, I think we're ready. Let's go to the entrance hall and head them off, Nott told Draco they'd be popping up in random locations and we can decide what to do from there." He gave them a smile and a look that he hoped were both strong and encouraging.

Then, walking over to Draco, he kissed him swiftly and deeply, pulling back before the other knew what happening to whistles and laughs, and even getting a smile out of Snape. "I love you," he said to the blonde, who was blushing, taken too off guard to hide it. He faced the group again.

"Let's all be alive at the end of this, shall we?" he said cheekily, getting small laughs once again, and marched to the door to lead everyone out. Severus gave his dazed godson a poke in the back to get him moving, as well as a smirk and a raised eyebrow, and Draco merely glared at him before moving.

Their faces became solemn as they walked and the weight of the situation settled down on them more heavily. They all took in the structure and the people around them, letting themselves be reminded of everything they were fighting for and hoping that everything they had and all they knew was enough to survive.