Disclaimer: I don't own it. . . well, I do sorta own the plot but nothing else. Swear. (Oh and the Joker is the inspiration for the devil is an angel too line)

"Blood Exodus"

I.

The dagger. Draco had been carrying the dagger since his sixth year, but he had yet to use it. So many times in the past, he had held the hilt too tightly and the imprint of a snake with wings would be left on his palm for all to see. Time after time, he promised himself that he would one day use it. But time after time, he had proved himself a liar.

"No more," Draco said, his voice hoarse. "No more."

He would show them tonight. He'd show them all what he was made of.

Draco ran two fingers along the blade, safely concealed in the sleeve of his robes. It was beautiful really. It was an instrument of evil forged by an angel—or so it seemed. Funny how such beauty could turn the mind away from logic. For a moment, Draco had been silly enough to forget that the Devil was an angel, too.

But the Devil couldn't be his angel. His angel wasn't evil. No, not entirely. Evil was everywhere, inside everyone and everything—especially this wonderful dagger. His angel only meant to fight evil with evil. Right?

Draco's hands began to shake. Unshed tears filled his eyes. Would his mother want him to do this? Would she really? Three hours earlier Narcissa Malfoy had given up. Poison had been her way out, but Draco's escape would not be quite that easy. He had a job to do, after all. It doesn't matter what she'd think, Draco thought. She shouldn't have left me if she cared so bloody much.

Then Draco laughed.

It was a strange sound, like silver bells on All Hallows Eve, and it bounced off the walls like a scream. Draco was amused with his own pain, the pain of his salty tears in his icy eyes and the burning pain from the fresh welts on his back. Oh, yes, that caning had forced him to decide on the dagger, but the anger that had come with his punishment was dwindling. Even with insane laughter and a motive that a saint would understand, Draco did not feel as if he could actually use the dagger.

"It's time, Draco."

Draco glanced up. His angel was somewhere in the room, but he didn't have to know where. He had faith, after all.

"I know," said the young man. Draco's voice was frighteningly cold. Just like a Malfoy—hard as stone and cold as ice.

"There is no turning back," his angel replied, a final warning.

"I know," Draco repeated. And he did know. He knew exactly what was going to happen tonight.

"Thank you, Draco," his angel said.

Draco didn't reply. He raised the hood of his robes so that his face was a mask of shadows, and he raised his dagger. He was Death. And he feared himself.

II.

Draco slouched down in the large, leather-bound chair. It faced the fire instead of the perfectly organized desk that was the center piece of the room. He watched the flames dance and kiss with an almost primitive lust. How he wished he could be in those flames right now! He wanted to burn so badly that he could taste the ash on his tongue.

I'll burn soon enough, he thought.

His eyes were drawn down to the body of his father, Lucius Malfoy. The man had died on his stomach, a pool of congealing blood beneath him. Lucius had died in ignorance. He didn't know that it was his son that had plunged the blade into his chest. Lucius had fought the paralyzing potion that the blade had been dipped into, but it had been useless. Draco's angel hadn't wanted the man to cast a final spell as he fell to his death. After all, that was the entire purpose of the dagger. In a duel, Draco may have lost, but the simplicity of an unexpected blade could not fail him.

Draco hadn't expected it to take more than a minute for Lucius to die, but it had. Draco, of course, had kept his identity hidden until he was sure his old man was gone, but that didn't stop the young wizard from seeing the pain in his father's eyes. Lucius's pain had not made Draco want to laugh.

Draco sat the bloody dagger on his lap.

It was still dangerous.

It was still evil.

And Draco still needed it.

He touched the blood on the blade. It had been pure enough, but it looked the same as anyone else's. But it had been different, damn it! It had been his father's blood!

"I killed him," Draco whispered. The statement was for his own benefit, a last confession.

The whole time he was approaching his father, he had expected his angel to appear and order him to stop—to tell him that he had already proved his faith, that he was worthy of their time, that he didn't have to become a murderer. But his angel had not even entered the study. His angel had stayed safely hidden in the other room, away from the scene of the crime.

She, his dear angel, would understand what he did next. Hell, she would probably expect it. It may have been her plan all along. Was this what she really wanted from him?

Draco picked up the dagger again and held its tip to his wrist. He drove it deep, forming a crimson line. Beautiful, he thought, tears now rolling down his face. He quickly sliced the other wrist and dropped the dagger to the floor. The poison was already taking effect. He could no longer move, and the pain was gone. Nevertheless, he knew his life source was spilling to the floor in red drops. Soon he'd be able to confess his sins to his father in the netherworld. Maybe Mother would even make an appearance.

"Draco."

There she was, before him, his angel. His angel was almost glowing with the fire behind her. She stepped forward. She was much more beautiful than his blood, than his dagger, than his life. But her face was twisted in sorrow. She held up a small vial and placed it against his lips. She poured the potion down his throat.

The feeling came back to Draco. He could move his fingers again. The pain of living was back. Exodus was lost.

"Why?" he asked. "Why did you save me?"

She didn't speak, but she put a wand against his cut wrists and tight bandages covered them in an instant.

"Angel, why did you help me? I deserve Hell. I killed my father," Draco hissed.

"You did what had to be done. You did what we've been asking you to do for a year," she whispered. Tears rolled down her eyes. "The blame is ours. I'm no angel, Draco. I'm no angel, by far."

"I know it, Granger," he said.

Hermione leaned forward and kissed his forehead.

"The Order is in your debt, Draco. I'm sorry, love. You're the only one who could get this close to Lucius. After he was released from Azkaban, we knew the Ministry would never be able to take him down. You were our only choice."

Draco looked up at her and smiled. "I know."

Hermione smiled back. "You're free now. You don't have to face the battle to come."

Draco held her hand. "Yes. I know."

III.

"Out of evil proceeded good—

My soul acquired tone,

I went abroad,

I took vigorous exercise,

I breathed the free air of Heaven,

I thought upon other subjects than Death,

And I read no bugaboo tales—such as this.

In short I became a new man,

And lived life."

--from "The Premature Burial" by Edgar Allan Poe