Loss

by Breninblack

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, settings or names. They are merely my playthings. Please don't sue.

Author's Note: Heads up to anyone reading this story: there will be eventual Harry/Draco slash. Some people have an aversion to this particular pairing, so I'm warning you now. Also, this story takes place in Harry's sixth year. While I realize that the sixth book is already out, you must bear in mind that I wrote the bulk of the beginning of this story before it's release.

This story was inspired by Xylodemon's Harry/Draco fic entitled Phoenix Song. It is one of my favorite Draco/Harry fics of all time and I encourge those of the appropriate age to go check it out after they've finished reading and reviewing my story.

Please review! I love to get comments about how you think I could improve the story or just simply stating that you enjoy the story. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

.:one:.

The wind roared and howled. There was something about this spot that made it much louder than any other place on the Hogwarts grounds. Maybe it was because it was surrounded by cliffs or maybe it was because of the sheer vertical drop onto the rocky shore of the lake. In any case, it was so loud you couldn't even hear yourself think. But that's what Harry liked about this place. You could come here and get lost in the slow rippling of the lake or the soft, unheard rustling of the trees. You could forget that the darkest, most evil wizard of all time was back and you could forget that in the end, it was either his life or yours. You could forget how that evil wizard was able to plant a dream in your head because you neglected to learn how to block it and you could forget how you took 5 of your closest friends into near-certain death because of it. And most of all, you could forget how your reluctance to learn from a disliked teacher ultimately led to death of the closest thing you had left to family.

He checked his watch and saw that breakfast was already half over. People would be wondering where he was soon and then they'd come looking for him. If they found him -- out where he was -- they'd never let him be alone again. He pulled his feet back up over the edge of the cliff from where they had been dangling, slowly stood up, brushed the dirt off himself and headed back to the castle. But now as he walked away from the noise and across the grounds, everything he had managed to forget back there came flooding back to him.

Sirius. It was all his fault. He had not been focused on Occlumency and, just as everyone had feared, Voldemort used the connection they shared to plant ideas in Harry's head. Harry had stupidly believed that Sirius was actually in the Ministry of Magic and he had gone off to rescue him, taking Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville with him. Once they got there, he'd realized it had all been a trap and that he had played his friends right into the hands of death. Dumbledore and the Order had to come and rescued them and that bitch Bellatrix had pushed Sirius into the veil. He had watched it all. It was burned into his memory for eternity. Every time it replayed -- usually in his dreams -- it got slower and slower and every time he cursed himself for not jumping out and catching his godfather. Even if he hadn't caught him, he would have at least fallen through with him.

He sighed as he reached the front steps of the castle and pulled open the front doors. He walked into the bustling Great Hall and found his seat at the Gryffindor table. Hermione smiled at him as he sat down and Ron patted him on the back.

It was only 3 weeks into the new term; 3 weeks into his sixth year at the only place he had ever really wanted to call home. But he was already tired of being here. Every where he looked he was reminded of Sirius and his mistakes in the Department of Mysteries. Right in front of him were the most obvious— Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Neville. He couldn't even go to the other houses for comfort, not that he would find much there anyway. Hufflepuff had the other obvious reminder, Luna, and there wasn't a day that went by that the Slytherin's didn't remind him of what he'd done. Especially Malfoy. He had gotten the first hand story from his father somehow and he rubbed it in Harry's face every chance he got. The staff wasn't much better. Those who weren't reassuring him that it wasn't his fault were tiptoeing around him like he was a bomb waiting to explode. But he knew better. It was his fault that the whole fiasco had happened, no matter what Dumbledore tried to tell him.

His thoughts were abruptly interrupted by Ron tugging at his shoulder.

'Harry? Harry...HARRY!' Ron shouted into his ear.

Harry angrily shoved him off. 'What!' he barked. He saw the hurt look on Ron's face and immediately felthorrible for yelling at him. 'Sorry, I didn't mean to shout.'

'It's okay, mate. Hermione and I were just trying to tell you that breakfast's over and you haven't even touched any food.'

'Why don't you grab some toast and you can eat it on the way to the match,' Hermione suggested.

'Oh my god! I'm not playing today, am I?' Harry asked. He hadn't thought there was a Gryffindor match today, but so many things had been slipping past him lately that he wouldn't have been terribly surprised if he had completely forgotten.

'Of course not! It's only Slytherin and Ravenclaw. I would be force feeding you the entire batch of eggs if you were playing. A seeker needs all the energy he can get,' Ron quipped. After the whole Umbridge thing had been settled and Harry had been allowed to play again, Ron had resigned as keeper and taken the position of official team strategist. He also liked to think of himself as Harry's personal trainer, managing what he ate on game days and scheduling practices at regular intervals so Harry wouldn't have the chance to get out of shape. Harry didn't mind it in the slightest — quidditch proved to be an excellent distraction from his own thoughts.

The three made their way out on to the grounds. As they passed the entrance to the changing rooms, the drawling blonde that was Malfoy appeared in front of them.

'We're playing Ravenclaw today, Potter, not you bloody Gryffindorks. Just thought you ought to know, in case you dreamed otherwise. Shame we aren't though, I do feel like kicking some arse today, and I'm sorry it won't be yours,' Malfoy said with a sneer.

Ron opened his mouth to speak, but Malfoy got there before him.

'Don't, Weasel. Just listening to you makes people dumber. I'd like to keep my intelligence, thanks.' And with that Malfoy stalked off onto the field.

'Someday, I'm going to pound his face in. Someday,' Ron said, shaking his fist in the air.

'Just ignore him,' Hermione said. 'Come on, let's go. We're going to miss half the game if we don't hurry up.'

They walked up into the stands and found three seats behind Seamus and Lavender. The game had indeed already started by the time they had gotten seated, but they hadn't missed much. An hour later, the only score was still the same and people were starting to get a little bored.

'Slytherin has strong offense, but certainly lacks in the defense department,' said Dean Thomas over the loud speaker. 'Luckily for them, Ravenclaw is exactly opposite: good defense, bad offense. Perhaps this is the reason for the stand still score of the last hour.'

'If someone doesn't score soon, I'm leaving,' Ron announced, as one of the Slytherin beaters chucked a bludger towards the nearest Ravenclaw.

'And Messer takes one in the arm for the team. Hope it doesn't damage his ability to keep chucking those bludgers,' Dean announced. 'Folks, the score is STILL 60 to 50, Slytherin's lead.'

Just then Ravenclaw's star beater Andrew Messer proved he certainly could still use his arm. From his position just above the Ravenclaw goal posts, he sent a perfectly aimed ball straight for Malfoy, who was hovering right in front of the Gryffindor stands. Messer's counterpart, a young lad by the name of Richards, sent the other bludger towards Malfoy from straight across the pitch. Malfoy had his back to the Ravenclaw goals, so he didn't see the two black balls speeding toward him and the wind this high up was too loud for him to hear the frantic screams of the Gryffindors trying to warn him.

It would have been quite a spectacular thing if it hadn't been so horrific. The two balls hit Malfoy at the exact same time, one coming from his right and the other coming up from behind. It sent Malfoy and a shower of blood into the Gryffindor stands, right on top of Harry and Seamus. Nearly everyone in the area backed away as Malfoy came hurtling toward them but Hermione, Harry and Seamus didn't move— they stayed to break his fall. Within seconds half of the faculty was in the Gryffindor stands, including Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape and Madame Pomfery.

Harry took a look down at the limp body that was in his arms and immediately wished he hadn't. The normally silvery blonde hair was now a deep crimson color, stained by the blood. There was a long crack on in the boys skull, running along the back of his head and up to his cheekbone on one side. Blood was gushing out of the wound like Harry had never seen.

'Holy mother...' Seamus whispered as he looked down too.

Hermione looked down and just started to cry. 'Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,' she whispered.

Then, thankfully, the boy was taken out of their arms and magicked onto a stretcher. Dumbledore looked grave, McGongall looked on the verge of tears and Madame Pomfery was shaking her head and muttering something about how quidditch was going to kill someone one of these days. Even Snape looked vaguely horrified. As soon as Madame Pomfery was moving away with the body, McGonagall was ushering her blood soaked students to follow her to the Infirmary.

By the time they got there, Hermione was shaking so bad that you might have thought there was a small earthquake happening had you sat down next to her on the hospital bed. Madame Pomfery had moved Draco to a bed at the end and was currently performing so many spells it was making Harry even more dizzy than he already was. McGonagall gave them some hospital pajamas to change into and led them to the bathroom where they could clean the blood off themselves. When Harry returned from the bathroom, he noticed that the smell of blood had become much more putrid. He sat down on a bed, trying to steady his head. But everything seemed to swirl and mix around him. His hearing was still intact, but his vision was beginning to fail him. The last thing he heard before he passed out was Madame Pomfery talking to Dumbledore.

'Albus, I don't think he's going to make it.'