Title: A Reason
Summary: Draco's thoughts as he stands in the Great Hall for the last time and catches site of her.
Disclaimer: Sooooo not mine! J.K.'s!
He stared up at the massive crowd of happy people before him. He was standing alone in a sea of happiness and triumph. Hell, even his fellow Slytherins had smiles on their faces. But he cared about none of them. His eyes rested on one person and one person only. She was laughing and hugging her parents and talking excitedly with her two best friends. He envied Harry and Ron, he truly did. They got to spend each day with her and be the cause of those beautiful smiles.
He looked down at the piece of parchment in his hand with sadness. His stay at Hogwarts was now ended and he had this small piece of paper to prove it. "Head boy too. Father would have been proud," he whispered harshly to no one in particular. He glanced up at the crowd again. Everyone here had someone, everyone had people that loved and cared about them, but not him. Not Draco Malfoy, and well, that had been his choice. He looked up and saw her walking towards a table with the Golden Boy, and the Weasel. He laughed slightly as he thought this. He hadn't called them that in ages. It felt good.
He couldn't stand it any more; all the happiness here would suffocate him if he couldn't get out. He was about to turn, when a hand on his shoulder stopped him. He looked up into old, sparkling eyes. "Hello, Draco," Dumbledore's soft voice greeted him.
"Professor," he replied.
"Congratulations on the completion of your studies. I am very proud of all that you have accomplished while here at this school, Mr. Malfoy," he said quietly for Draco's ears alone.
Malfoy glanced sharply up at him, wondering if his words had double meanings here. The things he had done, the things he still had yet to do, Dumbledore knew about, and he had sworn never to tell. "Thank you, Professor, but it isn't over yet."
Dumbledore smiled sadly and looked out into the crowd of people, "No, Mr. Malfoy, I am afraid it is just beginning." He paused and Draco could see him looking at The Golden Trio. "Do you think, Mr. Malfoy, do you think it will all come out right in the end?"
He paused before answering and looked at her once more. She was throwing her head back with laughter and relief. Her hair, he noticed, was still as bushy as the first day he had met her. He grimaced slightly as he remembered that day. He had been so young, and so naive, but what was done was done. "I think for some, Professor, it will come right. For some."
"And for her?" Dumbledore asked knowingly.
"If I have anything to do with it, yes!" Draco answered vehemently.
"I notice, young Mr. Malfoy, that you are alone on this wonderful day. In fact you are always alone these days. What you have done for me, and for them, though they may not know it, has been extraordinary. Do not let the past force you into seclusion. Do not let your fear cause you pain. You deserve to be happy, at least for today. You have done more than should be required for one your age. Do not weep over the past. Do not let it haunt you." And with that he turned and disappeared into the crowd, leaving Draco alone again staring at her and remembering.
"Thank Merlin, no more Snape," Ron sighed with relief as he sat surrounded by his family and friends.
"I know. If I had to take...damnit, he is staring at us again," Harry said through clenched teeth. Hermione turned to see that he was right; Draco Malfoy was staring at their little group again, as he had been for months now.
"Well, at least after today, he won't be able to anymore," she said matter of factly. She glanced over her shoulder and caught his eyes. "He has been so quiet lately, so different. I don't think he has said a word to any of us since his father died," she whispered to Harry and Ron while still staring into his sad grey eyes. Draco continued staring back lost in his memories.
"Oh come on, Hermione, who could be sad that that git is dead?" Ron said harshly.
"I don't know, Ron, I think she is right," Harry said. "He hasn't been- well, Malfoy." Harry looked across the happy Hogwarts students and saw Malfoy returning Hermione's gaze, seemingly lost in his own mind. "I wonder what happened anyway?"
He saw her looking at him and matching his gaze, her brown orbs never wavering from his. Before he could help it, the memories flooded back…
"She must be killed, she is too dangerous."
"The Dark Lord wants her dead. He is leaving this up to me."
"Father, you can't kill her. Dumbledore would retaliate."
"She is a mudblood, she deserves nothing but death. She is dangerous to His plans."
"I need to speak to you, Professor Dumbledore. I know what they are going to do next. I know who they are after."
"If he finds out I betrayed him I am dead."
"I will offer you my protection."
Draco awoke from his daydream at the memory of his father's screams. He had been found out, and they had come for her, but Draco had fought back, and not alone. He had killed his father. Because of her, he had killed his blood. He saw her still staring at him. He could see in her eyes questions, questions he would never answer. After today, he doubted he would ever see her again. His cold heart ached at that thought, but it is what had to be done.
He could recall when he had started to change, and when he had started to view her in a different light. But it had taken years until he had killed for her. He had saved her very existence while condemning his and she would never know. At that moment Draco found his feet carrying them over towards her, against his will. He saw the surprise and slight fear in her eyes, but he had to say good-bye.
He continued walking till he was looking down at her. All conversation at the table ceased. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Weasley and Potter glaring daggers at him, but he didn't care, he only had eyes for her. He saw her glance uncertainly around her, and then look to her left as someone from the table got up.
Draco turned to see who was approaching him.
Remus Lupin had stood up and walked slowly towards Malfoy. He stopped in front of him and took in his appearance. No longer a boy, but a man, a man with secrets and a lot of pain. Remus recalled what had happened, the owl from Dumbledore, the fight to save the girls life, the man before him killing his own blood to save the life of one he was destined to hate. Remus had been there and not told a soul. Draco's life would be forfeit if the world knew.
Draco watched Lupin studying him, wondering if he was going to address him. Slowly, Remus stuck his hand out, his eyes never leaving Draco's. Draco reached for his hand and shook it firmly. He would never have thought he would be shown decency and respect by this werew- no this man. "Take care, Mr. Malfoy." And with that Remus released his hand and walked back to his seat beside Potter who was looking incredulous at the scene before him.
He looked back to see her looking up at him curiously, wondering if he would bite. Draco slowly put his hand out before him. She stared at it as though wondering if it was poisonous then looked back up into his eyes. Whatever she found there, she slowly stood up and gently took his hand in hers.
"What the f-?" Ron had started only to be shushed by a growl from Remus.
"Uh, congratulations, Malfoy. Must be glad school is over?" She said nervously, her soft, warm hand still in his. He stared into her eyes and opened his mouth to speak, but nothing would come out. He could think of nothing. He looked down at their hands and slowly released hers from his. She stood before him now more confused then ever.
But then the words came to him and he looked into her eyes. "I'm not perfect, Granger. Hell, I know I hurt you and that is something I have to live with. I never meant to do those things to you and I am sorry. But before I go, before I leave here and never look back, I need you to know, that I found a reason to change. A reason to start over." He paused. "You." She gasped slightly at his words and the look in his eyes, but it had to be said. He could go now. He could rest now, knowing she wassafe. Nothing mattered anymore, not the pain, not the scars; she was safe.
"Good-bye Hermione," Draco said softly and smiled a real smile for the first time. He turned away from her beautiful face, and walked across the Great Hall through the throng of happy students and parents. Whatever happened to him now, it didn't matter. And without a backward glance, Draco Malfoy left Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Well? Any thoughts? First Harry Potter fic so a little nervous with it. What Draco said to Hermione is from Hoobastank's song, "The Reason". I absolutely love it! I know it is a tad corny but if you have never heard the song download it, find it somewhere as it is amazing and I pretty much based this fic off the song. Well all, hope you have a good day!
"In the end Captain, we all stand alone."