For You, Always For You

by: atruwriter


I blame him. He looked at me the same every day; as if I was just another thing on his list to check off. Heir is obedient and holding up the family name? Check. There was no love lost between myself and my father; there was no love at all. To love is to possess weakness, and certainly an heir to a pureblood family like myself cannot have any weakness whatsoever. I have been bred for one thing and one thing only. To be a soldier. For the Dark Lord, for the side of evil. To walk among the innocent and know that one day I will hold their blood on my hands. And as such I will feel no remorse. A soldier does not feel at all. There is no pain, no sadness, no guilt, or remorse. There is a goal that I must reach and I am to do all that it takes to get it done.

My father has always known that this is what I was supposed to be for, he relished in the idea. It's not as if he raised me to be a good person and later thought that perhaps I should be used for something more illustrious for him. No. He had me for the simple purpose of turning me into a killer. Just like my best friend's parents did for him. Just like all Slytherins do. That's right; Slytherins. Courage or no courage, a Gryffindor would never be raised for what Slytherins are. Ravenclaws have the mind, the intelligence for planning incredible feats, they possess the smarts to pull it off, but not the lack of heart. And a Hufflepuff, well that's just laughable.

When I was four, my father began teaching me how to defend myself. No, that's not right, not to defend myself really, but how to take down the opponent. Since really, they were the victim and I was the attacker. Or I should be. That's how father saw it; how he'll always see it. Purebloods, they're all one sided, one minded. There is no right and wrong, just what gives them precedent over others. If it pushes them ahead, it's done. If it gives them more money, it's done. A family has to die? Innocence will be ruined? Who cares. As long as I get what I want. It's wrong, to anybody who feels. But most purebloods don't feel. That's the problem. They deal in getting higher, being more, gaining perfection, overruling everything. History has made it clear that selfish views, conceited ways, thinking only of oneself, that is what a pureblood must do. Whether it is out of survival of the fittest or simply because all humans are competitive and each wants to be better than the last, nobody knows.

After awhile, I just accepted it, as I'm sure everybody does. It can't just be me, right? It's not only me who thinks innocence shouldn't be killed or bloodied, ruined or taken, sullied or trampled over? Maybe those are the idealistics of a child; one that saw the good in people and wanted to believe that his father didn't want to ruin it. Even if I have these thoughts, these hopes that I am not the son of a murderer, they must be hidden. I cannot show weakness, I cannot show feelings or emotions. That is the way of a pureblood and I most certainly am a pureblood. I have been raised as one; the notions have been beaten into me. Every fibre of me holds a lasting message; a lash here for the hate I must feel, a punch there to remind me of the scum mudbloods are, a kick in the head to get across just how powerful I am. I, a pureblood, better than all, lay in my own perfect blood to remind myself of this. Somehow, that proves my worth over others. Somehow being beaten until I'm begging for it to stop, for death to whisk me away, for the pain to simply make me black out, reminds me that I am better than those other wizards and witches. Does it make sense? No. But do I say that? No. Why? It is the way of a pureblood.

When you are raised to think something, you shouldn't question it. There is no reason to believe that anything is different from what they tell you. You are introduced to the world as better, always told you are, and you meet others who feel the same. All of my friends were purebloods, I was not to associate with anything less. The people my parents had over for our rich dinner parties, they were all high society purebloods. It was almost as if half-bloods and mudbloods didn't exist, as they were never seen or heard of. Not until I attended school. For the first eleven years of my life I was home-schooled by my parents, mostly in the ways of a pureblood heir, which obviously had to be above everyone in everything.

When I stepped into Hogwarts, I already had the perfect marks; they were earned in my mind, as I could do any and all assignment handed out. Perhaps that was one thing I was happy to be given; intelligence. I had earned it, worked hard for it, and was undeniably proud of it. I looked around at the students before me and thought, 'You don't know half of what I do.' Because I am a pureblood and it was a required thought. I proved that my heritage and teachings were right when I walked out of classes with an almost perfect score every time. I had no reason to doubt what my father said now, and those previous questions of "Why?" all seemed to dissipate. It was as if now it all made sense. School had proved to me once and for all that purebloods were better; that my schooling had been worth it. Until she ruined it all. Oh how I loathed her. It was as if the world had tipped on its axis to prove me wrong, to laugh at me for finally accepting my place as a pureblood.

She was a mudblood; a filthy, ugly, buck toothed, bushy haired, mudblood. And by Merlin she was intelligent. I don't just mean that she was smart and did her homework. I mean she had the answer to every question, she knew what the professor was going to ask before he or she asked it, and she had finished her homework beforehand, with more than the required amount. She trampled over every belief my father had ruthlessly beaten into me. "Mudbloods are dirty and stupid, son. They are worthless and have no place in our society. They are nothing." But she wasn't nothing. She was everything and more. She was brave, a Gryffindor through and through, and intelligent beyond even me. She was a know-it-all and rather annoying with her haughty attitude, but she had reason to be. After all, I had walked into the school thinking everyone was below me for being intellectually beneath me. Why shouldn't she act the same?

As the pureblood I am, I had no choice but to remind her of her place in the Wizarding world. She already despised me, mostly because her best friends and I were mortal enemies. She, the best friend of none other than the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, and his poor sidekick, Ron Weasley, while I was the heir to the family who loathed them to the core. My father, a "former" Death Eater, loyal to He Who-Must-Not-Me-Named, or otherwise known as the murderer of Potter's parents, had taught me that Potter was powerful. It seemed to contradict the ways of a pureblood since Potter is a half-blood, but I didn't question it. All I knew was that if Potter chose to be on the side of his parents, against Voldemort, then he was my enemy. I held my hand out, telling him that if he were smart he would choose to be on my side, but he had already picked his side and it was with the blood traitor Weasley. A boy belonging to one of the less illustrious pureblood families, whose beliefs on muggles, mudbloods, and half-bloods, were that they were as important as any pureblood.

In any case, because of the mudbloods loyal attitude to Potter and Weasley, and her ever blooming grades in classes, I was forced to tell her that she was nothing. The term 'mudblood' is widely known as being crude, hurtful, and hardly heard any longer. But I had grown up hearing my parents and other pureblooded adults refer to muggleborn witches and wizards as such. She was vermin, just like all the rest of her kind. It was what I was taught, all that I knew. I didn't actually call her the rude name until second year, as I hoped that perhaps over the summer she either wouldn't return or she'd at least realize her standing in the world. However, though she came back less snooty, she was still just as intelligent as ever. She still had her hand in the air with an answer before the professor finished asking the question, she still had a memorized answer from the many textbooks she logged around sitting at the end of her tongue. And so I spurred a hate between us that was sure to tell her how I thought of her.

For six long years I watched as she kept her head high, her mind full, and trampled over everything I had ever been taught. It ate away at me; I fought with myself every day, trying to understand how everything could be wrong. All those beatings, all those years of being taught something so firm, it had all been utter shit. Still though, my father said that purebloods were above all else. He began to catch on that I was behind her in my classes. She always one upped me with every test, always had the answer before I could consider thinking. My father was beyond angry that I could let that happen. Of course, I didn't consider it "letting" her; I was behind her because I simply wasn't as smart. I tried though, I really did. I spent hours studying, cramming all of the information I possibly could into my head. And all I got for it was second place as the smartest student in our grade. Still, with all of my hard work, I was second. I was the smartest boy sure, but she still outdid me.

For once, I didn't need to tell myself that it was because I was a pureblood that I should hate her. No, it was simply because she was smarter than me that caused me to despise her. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn't do any better than her. And it hurt; it pulled at me constantly that I couldn't reach her potential. I was below her. She was a mudbloods, and I was below her. It wasn't right. It went against everything. But it was true. Along with her I had to hate Potter and Weasley, because the Boy-Who-Lived was just that. He was the boy who was destined to destroy the Dark Lord, who my father and the majority of purebloods followed. And Weasley was not only a blood traitor, but he fully supported Potter in his crusade against Voldemort. For that I had to hate them; had to put a cramp in anything they did. Because I obviously couldn't be around during their every adventure, I simply made their lives a living hell. I'd spout off things I had been taught, or that I'd heard my parents discussing, and this would in turn anger the Golden Trio. They hated me, absolutely loathed me, and for good reason too. I was a complete and utter prat; a git to all and a bastard to anyone I was supposed to consider less.

It was sixth year when everything started going haywire for me. I was ordered to redeem my family by killing Dumbledore. I had to help Death Eaters into the school and I had to kill the old coot of a Headmaster. I thought it would be easy enough. He had shown me no mercy over the years, always standing on the side of Potter and his duo of courageous lions. I was a pureblood and being given an order from Voldemort was like being told I was worthy. I could one day stand beside him and call myself a Death Eater. I had been told this was an incredible career, that I would one day be like my father and all those who were better than the rest. Who doesn't want to know they're better?

Certainly the mudblood Granger would never be able to become a Death Eater. She would never outshine me in this area. She would never hold a wand to Dumbledore's partly limp body as he wheezed out reasons he knew I wouldn't kill him. She would never be proud of having the blood of an innocent on her hands. She would never lower herself to kill as she would think it barbaric and horrid. Self defense possibly, for the good of mankind maybe, but cold heartedly, without remorse? Never. And in all honestly, she was the reason that the two worded Killing curse never left my lips.

I tried to act strong, I tried to pretend that I really could kill Dumbledore. But he was sitting there, with his body half limp and pale, hardly able to lift a wand let alone defend himself. "Draco, Draco, you are not a killer." His mind was as sharp as ever and he uttered those words as if he really, truly believed them. And I questioned him, Merlin how I wondered how he knew. I tried to seem more sure of myself, tried to tell myself that he was just scared, just trying to persuade me into thinking he could save me from the mess I've made, that I really could kill him and never think of what I'd done without feeling as if I were lower than dirt. But I couldn't convince myself. It was the truth. I'm not a killer. I'm not a Death Eater. I'm a boy. A seventeen year old boy who had been fed wrong information for all of his life.

Yes, that is where I think I changed. I had questions in the pasts, I wasn't sure about many things, but it wasn't until I was standing there and holding a wand out to kill an old man who had done nothing to me that I realized I was wrong. I was confused about what I was doing; I didn't understand why Dumbledore had to die. After Snape helped me escape the school, I was left as the boy who had disobeyed Voldemort. What do you do with that title? How do you live knowing that the Dark Lord wants your head, your blood? My father was rotting in a cell in Azkaban. Where was his Dark Lord to help him? My mother was alone in the Manor, hoping that I would redeem her and my father. Where was I though? I was on the street, alone and scared, with nobody to tell me I did the right thing. Was it a mistake? Should I have killed him? It certainly would have saved me. But I didn't. I can't change that now and I know that I wouldn't.

After that day I was all on my own. Everybody wanted me dead; the Ministry, Voldemort, probably my own parents. I did the only thing I could think of at the time, the only thing that made sense. I went to the smartest girl I'd ever known. I remember the look on her face when she opened the door to her modest house to find me standing there. She had her wand in her hand before I could utter a word, which I had been expecting and so I had my hands up in defense. It was an interesting moment, one where I almost wished she would have cursed me rather than asked why I was there. It was the day that my life took a turn. Was it for the better? In some ways.

I had mulled it over for days, pacing the dank room of a cheap muggle Motel, my clothes smelled like sweat and were covered in dirt but I just couldn't figure out how to use the machines I had seen muggles putting their dirty clothes in. I had showered thankfully, but it seemed useless when I put my soiled clothes back on. Often, I'd just walk around in a towel, but when that started to feel dirty too, I decided nobody could see me walking around naked so what was the problem? Finally, on the ninth day, I took action. I knew where Granger lived because my father, as a Death Eater, had to know her whereabouts in case they wanted to raid and kill her in the near future. At least, I knew which city she lived in. From there I used the large book I had found that held page after page of muggle names, addresses and numbers that I didn't understand the point of. It was lucky for me that there were only three Granger families and so I scoped them out to find the right one. It was a long walk from the Motel I was staying in, but I pushed my complaints to the back of my mind. I was nervous, scared even. I could step onto her lawn and be attacked by aurors within seconds. I was half hoping they'd be so stunned to see me simply strolling up that they wouldn't attack.

When I finally found her, she just had to be the third family I checked, I was so nervous I simply stood on the corner of her street for three hours. Gathering up the courage I had left in me, I walked down the sidewalk and up her lawn. With each step, I wondered when the hexes and curses would start whizzing by my ears, but they never came. I was at the door, knocking with a shaky hand, and hoping that she would answer and not an auror or Order member. Finally, she was standing in front of me, with a look of shock and a wand pointed at my throat.

"You!" she exclaimed, her surprised face slowly morphing into one of hatred.

"My wand is in my belt," I replied, nodding my head down to my black trousers with an unfazed expression.

She eyed me suspiciously before reaching out to take the wand that sit harmlessly in my pants. She stuck it in her own belt and then motioned for me to back up, closing the door behind her. I assumed it was because she worried about the safety of her family and didn't want me near them, I could understand that. She stared at me for a long moment, her brow furrowed as she worried her lip with questions. I could see the confusion in her eyes, along with the suspicion. I wasn't surprised to see her look around often, as if waiting for the series of pops that would accompany my backup of Death Eaters, but after a few minutes without any sound from Voldemort's army, she gave up waiting and asked me why I was there.

I had no idea how to answer. What was I supposed to say? That I had an epiphany? That I had reformed? That I wasn't a dark bastard anymore? Was any of it really true? "I--" Shaking my head, I hated that there were actual tears building in my eyes. It reminded me sourly of when I fought with myself in the bathroom over my mission to kill Dumbledore. With Moaning Myrtle flying around, telling me that it was all going to be all right while I pathetically sobbed over my mission. Why was I there? Certainly not to cry in front of her. I wanted to say something smart, to explain how hard it had been for me to make the decision to come to her, but all that came out were quivering syllables. Finally, inhaling deeply, I closed my eyes and clenched my jaw until my mouth stopped shaking. When I thought it was safe enough to talk without sounding like a complete baby, I told her, "You are the smartest witch I know."

She stared at me for a moment, shocked and confused at my words. Her wand had lowered just a smidge, but her grip was warning and it held a reminder that she wasn't going to go soft over a simple compliment, one she had likely heard a million times before.

"I tried," I whispered. "I tried to beat you. To make you feel less than what you are." Swallowing, I shook my head. "And every day you proved me wrong. You proved centuries of pureblooded ways wrong." A tear had fallen from my eyes but I pressed on as if it hadn't happened. "My father," I said, a self deprecating laugh escaping me, "he would kill me for this. Merlin, he's going to kill me anyway."

My legs were shaky beneath me. I hadn't slept in days, I hadn't eaten anything but a few scraps of food here or there. All I did was shower and pace. I showered because I felt dirty, dark and evil with the things I had done. I paced because I believed it would bring me answers, but in the end all I knew was that I couldn't figure anything out. So I went to the person who had all the answers. I went to the girl who knew everything. If there was a way out of this, if there was an answer to any of my questions, she would have it.

I felt pretending her wand wasn't pointed at me, ready to kill, helped quell the fear in me though. I pretended that we were having a discussion under normal circumstances, that I wasn't admitting my faults and apologizing for trying to kill her spirit. Her expression was one of bewildered shock, still not comprehending why I was standing in front of her.

"He's escaped you know," I told her, nodding. "I knew he would. The minute he found out that I hadn't gone through with my mission, I bet he realized he would be killed if he didn't get out. Doesn't want to be murdered by his inmates, so he takes to being on the run. And you know what he's going to do first? He'll come looking for me. It could just be my fear speaking, but I know he wants me to know that I wasn't good enough for him. He'll come... soon. And when he does, he's going to beat it into me that I was stupid." I stared straight into her eyes, never wincing, never showing any kind of plea for pity. "He'll take that fancy cane of his and he'll smash it into me until I lay bloodied and broken at his feet," I told her honestly. "Because a pureblood shows no fear, no remorse, no feeling. You do what you're told; end of story."

"That's preposterous," she exclaimed, apparently unable to accept such beliefs. "Everybody has fears, everyone feels!"

"That's true," I told her, nodding. "But we're not supposed to allow anyone to think we do. I'm supposed to pretend that I felt nothing when I was about to kill him. I'm supposed to act as if it doesn't scare the hell out of me that my death is at the top of most people's lists. I had a mission, one that I was supposed to fulfill for the redemption of my father. But I didn't accomplish murder and for that my father will be killed. My mother is likely already dead. And you will one day read an article in the Daily Prophet about my gruesome demise."

Sighing, I glanced away from her, looking out at the collection of houses on the street, each with a manicured green lawn, and similar muggle cars in the driveway. I decided her neighbors lived a sheltered existence. The muggles would know nothing of Voldemort and his rise to power. They worried about their image to one another, while I worried about everybody who wanted to kill me. I suddenly wished I was a muggle. Did they have worries like me? Did their fathers hit them for not believing in what he did? Did their mothers act obedient at every turn, never speaking out of line and holding their noses high in the air? Did they fear that a man would murder their families because they hadn't killed somebody for him?

She couldn't argue with me, she likely knew I was right. For all I knew, my father's escape, my mother's death, it may have already been put in the Daily Prophet she likely read that morning. I didn't know and I didn't ask.

"Since I was a little boy, I wanted to be a Death Eater," I told her, snorting at her gasp of revulsion. "What did you expect? That I wanted to be a professor? A healer? Perhaps even an Auror?" I partly mocked, but more of tried to make a point. "I've been bred for this. Raised to murder and hate." Shaking my head, I bit back the feeling of raw emotion in my throat. "My father never asked me what I wanted, what I believed in. I was taught what to think, what to say, what to do. I was taught to fight, to kill, to mentally break people." Clenching my jaw, I shook my head. "I was a kid. A child who knew nothing of the world except what his parents told him. And all they taught me was destruction and hate!" I shouted at her, becoming angry with my family and taking it out on her.

I began pacing, forgetting that she was holding her wand at me and taking my frustrations out on the lawn with my stomping feet. "I asked my father once, what made us better? How blood mattered if muggleborns could do magic? I got a beating that left me so bruised I couldn't walk for a week. He kept yelling at me as he kicked me, hit me, that blood purity was everything. That muggleborns were nothing and anybody who thought them important were traitors. I never questioned him again."

Running a hand through my hair, I tugged at it, knowing my voice was hoarse. "I hated you because he beat me," I said with a self loathing laugh. "I hated you because you were smart, pretty, and strong. Everything he said you would never be," I breathed, the tears clouding my vision again. "I hated you because when I stepped into that classroom, I knew that you were going to outshine me again. That my answers would never be as good, my thoughts were never as broad, my intelligence was just that much less than yours." Stopping, I stared at the ground in front of her, licking my lips and wishing that I could hate her now, instead of myself. "I hated you because when I looked at you, I saw everything I wanted to be but couldn't," I admitted.

She had always been that hero that I knew I shouldn't worship. There were people that hated me and loved me at the same time. They looked up to me for my confidence, my sharp wit, my intelligence, but then hated me when it was directed at them. They wished they could be as sure as me, wished they knew as much as I did, but when I reminded them of the fact that they weren't me, they loathed me. I'm sure Longbottom hates me and wishes he was me at the same time. Not in the Death Eater I-want-to-kill-Potter way, but in the suave, confident, smart way. It had taken me years to admit it to myself, but Hermione Granger had been the person I had looked up to all along. I had strived to be as good as her, worked to outdo her just so I could know that I was at least equal. When I was supposed to kill Dumbledore, it was her who had stopped me. I couldn't bare the thought of knowing not only would she not do it, but she would be hurt by it.

"I was born a mistake," I declared. "I was born to wreak havoc on you and all that you stand for. I was born to be a Death Eater who killed the innocent and stepped on the good. I was born to hate all that isn't pureblooded, and raised as a soldier for the Dark Lord's army of minions. I was told never to feel, never to question, and always to believe I was better." Lifting my eyes, I stared at her, tears slipping down my cheeks. "And in seventeen years, I don't think I've ever been more disgusted at what I was made for than now." Shaking my head, I sniffled, trying to cover it with a smile but failing.

"I'm going to die," I declared, nodding. "I'll die in a pool of my pure blood," I said, self mockingly. "But I'll die knowing that I never killed anyone. That when it came down to whose life was more important, I chose Dumbledore's. I just want you to know that when I was standing there, with my wand pointed at him, all I could think was that you wouldn't do it," I managed to choke out, turning my eyes up for a moment as the tears fell. "And that you're the reason I'm not a killer." Stepping toward her, I brushed away the tears that had slipped out of her red rimmed eyes. Her mouth was quivering, and she stared up at me without the smallest bit of fear. "Thank you," I whispered.

Before she could say anything, before I could change my mind, I leaned down and kissed her gently. Her lips were as soft as silk, gliding across mine with a smooth perfection that had me wishing I had been a better person from the start. She was stiff at first, her eyes open and her mouth unmoving. But as my hands slipped onto her small hips, she loosened up. She kissed me back with hesitancy, but she melted against me soon enough and when her hands slipped into my hair, I was sure that an Auror had killed me and I was currently in heaven. I lifted one hand, tangling it in her thick, brown curls, somewhat surprised at how soft they were. My palm clasped the back of her neck, angling her head up so I had better access to her sweet mouth. Finally, when air seemed a necessity, I broke away from her, smiling at her flushed complexion. With my wand now in my hand, having slipped it from her pants while she had been preoccupied, I stepped back feeling a little less heavy with mistakes.

Her chest was moving quickly and her hair looked a little more tangled than usual. She lifted one hand, pressing it against her mouth as she stared at my chest with unseeing eyes. After a moment, she composed herself, gathering her thoughts and looking up at me with an expression I couldn't read. "What will you do now?" she asked, quirking her brow inquisitively.

Sighing, I nodded, knowing that I had come for an answer to the same question but instead wound up apologizing and thanking her. "I'm going to find my father," I said, realizing that I had decided long before I had come to see her. I had read his escape in the paper on my third day, and knew what I would do then. "It won't be hard," I told her, shaking my head and shrugging. "I'll send word to my mother that I'm returning to the Manor. She'll tell my father, or he'll intercept it in the event of her death. I'll give it a week, my mother will mull it over as to whether she should tell him. She'll finally decide to, but just to be safe, I'll give it seven days. At six o'clock Saturday night, I'll be face to face with him and he'll boast about how stupid I was to think I could avoid him. We'll draw our wands, he'll win. But if I'm lucky..." Nodding, I looked off to the sky, "If I'm lucky the Order will arrive, capturing or killing him before he can flee. The last thing the Wizarding world needs is my father on the loose. After he kills me, Voldemort might just take him back. One less Death Eater walking around," I murmured, "My last attempt at redeeming myself."

I knew what she would do with the information. I knew she would tell the Order and they would be on the Manor property at six sharp, if not earlier. They would capture him unless he resisted arrest, then they'd be forced to kill him. It was odd that I felt no remorse for him when it was all I could feel in Dumbledore's presence. The man who raised me would be dead in one week and I felt nothing but emptiness. In reality, I too would be dead then. Just seven days left. It was strange how many regrets I had and yet no dreams for the future. My life had been a lead up to becoming a Death Eater, so really, I didn't know what living really held for me anymore.

"You..." she trailed off, unsure of what she was saying. She looked sad in some ways, but almost accepting too. As if she knew that I was going to die and that upset her, but it was for the greater good. One Death Eater dead or captured, and a would-be killer laid to rest. There were doubts still, as if she thought maybe there was another way, but she couldn't think of one on spot.

My mind was made up and I couldn't stay around long. It was likely that I had put her in danger just by showing up. Who knows who could've seen me there? It rather worried me that no Auror came out, she wasn't as protected as I thought. She should have guards, there could be Death Eaters spying on her right that minute. It suddenly occurred to me that I was worrying more about her safety than my own, and I was the one who was sure to die soon. There was a good chance she was going to live; through the war, the aftereffects of it, and live a peaceful existence. Perhaps she'd become a healer, or the first muggleborn, female Minister of Magic. She'd get married, raise her family, and fight for the rights of everything and everyone. Knowing that she really would have that, upset me to know that I never would. There was no point in wishing to be that good guy, that Harry Potter in the making. I wasn't a saint, I'm not even a good person. She deserved the good life, while I deserved what I would get in seven days.

"You don't have to say anything," I told her, my voice coming out airy and understanding. "You can't make my mistakes go away any more than I can. I attempted to murder a good man, I deserve this." Sighing, I shook my head. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, I've hurt a lot of people and said some stupid things. We all have a destiny and some of us run off the good course before we've even had a chance to see it. You, Potter, Weasley, you were meant to do great things. I was meant to mess up, to get in the way, and finally in the end, I'm supposed to do something to make up for that."

Nodding, I stepped back a little, knowing that I had to leave or I would want to stay there spilling my guts forever. "Do me a favor and send me an owl to the Sunstrip Motel, room 207," I told her, sighing. "Maybe I'll see you Saturday, Granger," I said, a smile shifting my features to that of a boy who had accepted his fate. "But if I don't, make sure to check my left pocket, will you?" I asked, backing up and stuffing my hands in my pockets.

I stared at her a moment, taking in how sweet she looked in the summer sun, the light hitting her hair to make it shimmer. Her lips were still pink and puffy from the warm kiss I had been allowed. Her wand hung limply in her hand, as if a second thought as she stared at me departing from her front lawn. She was perhaps the most beautiful girl I'd ever known; for her intelligence, her courage, her heart, and that sweet face framed by a thick mane of bushy brown hair. She smiled, something I didn't believe she'd ever direct toward me. I smiled back, leaving my smirk and sneer with the days of the past. I turned, knowing it was most likely the last time I'd see her and wanting to remember her just like that. With the sun kissing her skin, a smile on her warm lips, and a better understanding of me in her expression. I wouldn't say goodbye, perhaps I had hopes that it wasn't one.

I walked down the street, turning at the corner I had stood unsure at for three hours and heading on back to the stale Motel room I had occupied for the last nine days. It was a long walk, one that had me sweating from the heat of the sun. I ended up pulling my shirt off, knowing it was really quite useless to have it on. It took me a long while to get back, but I felt more at ease when I entered the Motel room than when I had left it. I felt no need to pace and question my future. I did, however, feel the need to shower, so I stripped off what was left of my clothes and stepped into the bathroom, testing the temperature before I climbed under the heavy assault of water. It was hot, but soothing in its cleansing of my deeds and washing away of my doubts. I had made the right choice, for once. Granger would tell the Order, I knew she would. She's too good not to and my father doesn't deserve to walk the streets.

After climbing out of the shower, I laid down on the large bed in the center of the room, feeling a nice breeze come through the half open window, pushing up the curtain and running across my nude, dripping form. It felt good, almost calming as I let the sleep deprivation of the past nine days take me. I had only napped off and on, enough to keep me from dying of exhaustion. Now though, I didn't just need sleep, I wanted it. I could finally embrace it with a clear conscience and by Merlin it felt good. My dreams weren't dark like they had been before my visit to Granger's, but now they were filled with a pretty brunette with soft pink lips and an understanding nature. With a smart Gryffindor girl who trusted me to deliver a Death Eater to her, my own father no less. Most of them weren't exactly G rated, but that was to be expected from a seventeen year old boy who had finally admitted his long time feelings for a girl he was supposed to hate.

When I woke up, it was late the next day, and a small brown owl was sitting perched in the open window. I was surprised to find a letter connected to it, I figured she'd simply send the owl and wait until Saturday, perhaps hoping that I live through it. The note was short, to the point, but nice to read all the same. I didn't expect her to offer herself up as a friend, confidant, or even pen pal. But there it was in her neat cursive, asking me if I wanted to talk. I questioned myself; did I really want to get close to her, only to have to leave her? Did I want to put her through getting to know me, even though I'd be gone in a week? It was selfish, but I did.

I sent off the letter to my mother first, making it sound frantic and scared. I told her I made a stupid mistake, that I hadn't been able to kill Dumbledore and disgraced the family. I pleaded with her to understand, knowing she really didn't care. I told her I would come to the Manor at 5:30 Saturday, where I would then talk to her about what happened. I deliberately wanted her to think I was desperate, confused, and scared. I couldn't let on that I was composed, staying in a Motel, and had just made a deal with a muggleborn witch to bring wizards to kill her husband. She would sell me out, I knew. She would write to my father wherever he may be, tell him when I was coming, and I would show up to find her hiding in a room while he greeted me with a customary sneer and a sharp swing of his cane to my head. I would be beaten until I begged for him to kill me or he simply got fed up, and then the cavalry would arrive. He would not only be taken in for his previous actions, but charged with murder too. He would either never get out of Azkaban, if not given the Dementor's kiss, or killed on sight.

When the brown owl returned near midnight, I decided to write Granger a simple yes. She could take it from there, I'm sure. I was right of course. She was up when it arrived apparently, because while I was fiddling with the box the Motel room had come with, something a flyer called a television, the owl returned with a load of questions. I smirked at her enthusiasm, she always had to know everything. She wondered about my life when I was a child, how I had grown up, what all I had been taught about muggleborns. I told her everything, which took up a lot of parchment, but she had sent extra sheets, ever the resourceful one. In turn, I asked her questions, wanting to know more about that which I had been given false beliefs to. We wrote until late into the morning, when she finally told me she was going to get a few hours of sleep. We had talked about our families in length, and I now knew her parents names, occupations, hobbies, and favorite sports teams. I had no idea what football was, but it sounded fast, which I like in a sport.

I decided to take a rest myself, and woke once again to find her owl nearby, parchment hanging from its leg. We continued on our conversation from earlier. Getting into schooling, friendship, and what we thought about things ranging from Voldemort to the Weird Sisters. It was interesting, reading her views on things and finding that I hadn't even questioned a lot of things. Sometimes our thoughts clashed, and other times they were right on. There were even moments where she managed to change my mind, though I had much more trouble doing the same to her. I enjoyed laughs, tears, and even a few moments where I was angry at the world for being the way it was. For making me grow up a certain way, only to stop me from ever having the opportunity to know her like this in the past. After six years of hate, I found in my enemy a whole new world; one filled with a happiness I had never known, a bond I could never imagine, and a trust I had only dreamed of.

As we wrote, pouring out our thoughts, dreams, personalities, and feelings, I found that crush I had on her, that idolism I possessed for her turned into something more. It's interesting knowing a person completely; to know their every fear, their every worry and delight. I had never been so honest with anyone in my life, and I could tell from the way she wrote that she hadn't either. It became obvious that she really was the only person who knew me. The friends I had grown up with, they had no idea that I had doubts about my life. The family that raised me, they had only seen me as their obedient soldier. But she knew me, and what surprised me most was that she seemed to like me. She never stopped writing, she never paused in suspicion or questioned whether I was feeding her lies. She accepted what I said, understood my pain and anger, and offered consolation.

I remember when she asked me what I was doing right that moment, and I had replied, "Laying nude on my bed, chewing on a quill as I ponder whether or not I should get dressed to go buy some cheap, greasy food." I could practically see her laughing in her bed, first shocked to read that I was naked, then simply guffawing at the absurd honesty. Her reply came with a wrapped plate of food, charmed not to spill, to stay warm, and to be weightless for the small owl that had to carry it. Pleasantly surprised and happy I didn't have to put my clothes on, I laid back to eat a hot, tasty meal; it felt good to have real food in my stomach. It was warming to know that someone was out there who cared enough to write me, let alone to send me food. She was all that kept me from thinking too much about my impending suicide mission, which we didn't speak of until the night before I was due to leave. I could feel the dark sadness in her every word, as the subject slowly turned to the next night.

"I'm ready you know. I'm not scared. I can do this. You shouldn't worry," I had written to her.

"How can I not worry? That's like telling me to pretend all of this meant nothing. You don't deserve this. Nobody does. If you won't be scared, I'll be scared for you," she replied.

I stared at her letter for a long moment, knowing that she was likely pacing her bedroom floor, wringing her hands, maybe even crying. She had a good heart; she would be hurt when it was all over. "When I'm gone, you'll always have this. It's not much. Only seven days of a reformed prat. But it's meant the world to me. We can't change this, Hermione. Some things are just meant to be; you can't change them, you just have to accept them."

I waited patiently for her reply, using the shampoo she had sent me to wash my clothes in the bathtub. After ringing them out, I hung my shirt over a chair and the pants across the empty towel rack. I didn't want to use magic in case they tracked me somehow, so I simply let them air-dry. I found her owl sitting comfortably on the ledge of the window, it hooted when it noticed me, its leg jutting out with its roll of parchment.

"NO! I don't have to accept this. There's a difference between accepting death and knowing someone is basically committing suicide. You know he'll kill you and still you walk into it. Knowing you can't win, that as hard as we try, the Order will undoubtedly be too late. You want redemption, I know. You want to die knowing that you weren't a killer, but did something for the greater good. But sacrificing yourself doesn't help the cause. What about when you're gone? What if he gets away by some chance? Then you've died for nothing." I could hear her voice in my head, as if she were half-shouting it at me to get the message through. With her hands on her hips and her chest heaving as she forgot to breathe during her rant. I wished she were here in front of me, that I was hearing her rather than reading her thoughts.

Crawling off my bed, I paced the Motel floor for awhile, trying to get my thoughts together and hoping she'd understand in the end. "I won't die for nothing, I'll die for something I believe in. I'm walking in there knowing that while I have a small chance, it's not enough. I'm not going to lay down for him, Hermione. I'll fight back; I'll do my best. And if by some chance, I live, then you can be assured I won't be doing anything like this again... But we both know that I likely won't walk away from this. It's a reality. One we both have to face."

I wanted her to tell me that she understood, that she believed I was doing the right thing. I needed her reassurance, or at least her acceptance. Her friendship was all that I had now, and it scared me to think that I depended on her so much. She would never me tell that walking to my death was a good thing, it'd be like telling Harry Potter to just throw his wand down and say, "Hey Voldemort, you win, I don't feel like fighting." Which of course she would never say, and he would never do. But I had to, I couldn't explain it. There are just things that need to be said, that have to be done. And as much as I wanted to believe that what I was doing would end with my plucking the long stick for once, I knew it wouldn't.

Her owl arrived a long while later, as she must've gone over her reply a million times. I was sure that there was a stack of used parchment lying in her room, waiting to be recycled, while she worried over how to phrase things. I felt bad for the owl, who looked a tad peeved. It'd been flying almost non stop for six days now. After I untied the parchment from its leg, it simply sat waiting against the window, flapping its wings every once in a while and hooting randomly.

Unrolling her reply, I found it had tear stains around it, some of them blurring a few letters, but it was still readable. "I don't want you to die... Everything has changed... Why can't it stay like this? Why can't we have this, whatever this is? Is it so horrible to want that? Is it so wrong for me to want you to walk out unscathed? Everything isn't how it was; I don't hate you anymore. I don't want this. This isn't how it's supposed to end. You're supposed to become a good guy and walk away from the Dark side. You're supposed to fight the good fight and walk into the arms of a loved one. You're supposed to grow old, with a family and friends. To have a career, a wife, children. But you won't, will you? After tonight, it will all end. You'll die and I'll be left with a box of parchment. Of dreams and wishes. Of a boy who wanted to be better but lost his chance to the hate of his father. He killed your life before it began and now he's doing it just as you've found the right path. I want you to live. I... I want you."

I stared at the writing, tears cascading down my cheeks and blurring my silver eyes as I read it again. I wanted her too. I wanted a future, with love and friendship, friends and family. And I hated that she was right, I was going to be walking away from her, leaving her with my legacy of regrets and passions. When all was said and done, when people found out I was gone, few tears would be shed, but she would be left with a box full of a seven day memory. She had valid questions too, ones I couldn't answer in a way that would make her feel any better. It was just how it had to be. I had to die and she had to keep going.

"It's not wrong. Not to those who matter. I want you too. I've always wanted you. But life doesn't always gives us what we want. We picked the short stick, love. Or I should say, I did. You'll go on with Potter and Weasley. You'll be victorious and you will have that future you want for me. And one day when you're old and grey, you'll fall asleep and when you wake, I'll be holding a hand out to you. Because when heaven finally opens its gates to greet you, I'll gladly spend eternity with you. Sod whatever husband you have, really... I know I can't have you now, but I look forward to the day that you join me. You live out your life though, Hermione. Live it to the fullest. Love, live, cherish, and enjoy. Go on adventures that will take you to a whole other world, fall madly for a man who treats you with all the care you deserve, and raise a bunch of intelligent, good kids that will possess the greatness you have always held. Do something great for the world and know that you always make a difference. When it's all over, when your life has fully and truly been lived, then you can join me... And that want will become our reality."

I sat on the edge of my bed, the cold air hitting my bare chest and sending a cool chill through me. I waited a long while for her reply and it felt like it would never come. The owl landed on the window sill, hooting excitedly and kicking its leg out for me to take the scrap of parchment hanging from its foot. I read the writing, slightly confused for a moment. "Waiting a lifetime is too long. I'm impatient." I smiled, and wondered how to respond.

There was a dip in the bed behind me, causing my back to stiffen. However, as two feminine arms looped over my shoulders and a mane of curls lightly grazed my back, I relaxed. Hermione rested her chin on my shoulder, staring down at the parchment in my hand with a faint smile. "I have to say," she murmured, "for someone who should be on guard, I managed to slip through the door, cross the room and climb up behind you without so much as a flicker of notice on your part."

I grinned, turning my head to look at her. "I was distracted," I said, noticing that her lips were even more beautiful than when I dreamed of them.

She looked down before glancing back at my face quickly, a blush blooming on her cheeks. "I wondered if you were telling the truth about the nudity, now I guess I have my answer," she told me.

Laughing, I shrugged slightly. "I only recently figured out a way to clean my clothes and I hate how they feel after so long," I explained. "Plus," I sighed, looking around, "I wasn't expecting a pretty girl to drop by while I strolled around in all my glory."

Snorting, she rolled her eyes, her fingers lightly grazing the sides of my arms. "You should know that it took a great deal of stealth on my part to get here," she said, nodding. "I first climbed out my window, careful to avoid Tonks who was hiding in the bushes near the front of my house. From there I hopped the fence into my neighbors yard, where I encountered their dog. I outran that little bugger, and then jogged down the back alley to the corner where I told the cab to pick me up. In case my parents drop in my room, which they always do at exactly 1 am, I stuck a bunch of pillows under the blanket and transfigured a teddy bear into a wig of messy brown curls. They never come into the room because I'm a light sleeper, they just watch from the door for a moment, making sure I'm there." Nodding, she smiled at me. "So you see, I had to be very tricky to come visit you."

I admired her and how hard she worked just to come see me. I could tell from her writing that she was beginning to get very upset and it bothered me that I couldn't do anything to make her feel better. Words are nice but actions are always better. She was pressed up against my back, her arms cradling me as if they always had. It was new and yet familiar, as if I was settling into somewhere I was always supposed to be. Perhaps not in a Motel on a bed that made a squeaking noise when I moved, but still. It felt good to have her near me, to spell the flowery scent of her shampoo, and feel the light curls of her hair against my back. I lifted my hands, wrapping them around her forearms and rested my head against hers as she stared out the open window. The night sky was a dark blue shade, littered with stars and calming over the bright lights of the city beneath it. The white curtain moved in the night breeze, twirling and dancing as if on show for us. We were swaying very lightly, side to side, as she closed her eyes and held on with a warming adoration.

After awhile, I felt her cold tears slip onto my chest, rolling off her chin. She was silent though, making no whimpering noises or sobbing for me to change my mind. She simply cried against me, wishing it could be different and knowing it wouldn't. Sniffling, she turned her red rimmed brown eyes up to me, staring at me searchingly. "Do you think love is a weakness?" she asked.

"I used to," I replied, nodding.

"And now?" she wondered, her voice breathy and quiet.

"Now I think it's a gift," I told her, my hands lightly squeezing her forearms, thumbs brushing her soft skin.

"Me too," she whispered, turning her face down for a moment before she kissed the side of my neck.

Her warm lips left a sensation against my skin, tingly and feather soft. She moved her mouth across my throat, sucking lightly at the skin and nipping occasionally when I made a noise of enjoyment. Her arms unlocked from around my shoulders, palms running down my chest, holding my back against her front. My arms lifted, reaching back to tangle my hands in her hair as she brushed her lips over the length of my neck. Her legs wrapped around my waist from behind, sitting across each other in my lap. She leaned us back slightly, kissing up my neck and across my ear. One of her hands ran through my hair, her fingertips running a trail that left me shivering against her. She moved her mouth to the other side, kissing from the end of my shoulder up the side of my neck and over my cheek to the corner of my mouth. Her other hand trailed from the center of my stomach up the middle of my torso, my stomach tightened as her smooth palm moved, settling over my clavicles.

Her hand slipped from my hair, wrapping around my chin to turn my face to her. Her eyes locked on mine as she slowly moved herself around so she was sitting in my lap, curling her legs on either side of me. Her chocolate eyes held a spark of fear, but the confidence of her actions was apparent in the set of her mouth. Her mouth pressed against mine, warm lips that I had dreamed of for days now, hoping I would feel them again, just once. She tasted like the sweet nectar of a fresh strawberry, warm to the senses. Her fingers tangled in my hair, while her body pressed into mine softly. I hadn't realized we were moving backwards, too enthralled by her lips. It wasn't until I heard the rustle of clothing and felt the abandonment of her fingers against my hair that I opened my eyes. She was still kissing me with most of her attention, but she was trying to pull her thin blue sweater off her arms. My hands slipped over her shoulders and into the top of the sleeves, slowly pushing the fabric down until it fell from her. She made a happy sigh against my mouth as my hands skimmed her creamy arms.

When she started pulling her top up her torso though, I reached out, stilling her hands. Her eyes opened rather quickly, staring at me somewhat confused. She broke away, panting lightly with the intensity of our kiss. "What's wrong?" she asked, her brow furrowed.

My rough hands cradled her tender hips, thumbs rubbing against her skin. "I don't want you to do anything you'll regret," I told her, staring up into her eyes seriously.

She smiled down at me, her eyes lighting with a warm emotion. Leaning in, she pressed her lips against mine for the briefest moment. "Anything I've done with you in this week, I could never regret," she told me. "I want this. I want you."

"I could be gone by this time tomorrow," I warned, shaking my head. "This could hurt you more... I don't want you to hurt."

Tears built up in her eyes, rolling down her cheeks while she attempted to smile. "I'm going to be hurt whether or not we do this and you die..." she whispered. "You'll never be a regret. Only a dream I wait to have again."

My hand cupped her damp cheek, slowly pulling her down to kiss languidly. I watched her, her eyes closing and the tear ridden eyelashes brushing her skin, her warm tears still slipping down her face. She cradled my top lip between hers, tracing it just barely with the tip of her tongue. Her hands ran over the side of my face, down my neck and across my chest. Her fingers skimmed against my skin, sending shivers through my body. When her hands clasped her shirt again, I helped her remove it, slowly, delicately, giving her room to change her mind. She simply smiled, finding it sweet that I kept everything at a moderate speed. She stood up to slip out of her jeans, blushing sweetly in the moonlight as she kicked them away.

"You're sure about this?" I asked as she lowered her nearly naked body against mine. Her arms held her up, her mouth mere centimeters from mine while her stomach was pressed tightly against my lower abdomen. "Because we could just talk, or sleep. I'll hold you 'till morning if you'd prefer," I told her, honestly. I knew what my fate held and I didn't want to think of her crying her eyes out, remembering this night with a pain in her heart that I simply couldn't quell. "Really. We don't have to--"

Her lips pressed against mine almost roughly, her answer to my question was obvious. She was scared, I could feel it in the way she shook against me. But she was persistent and sure that she wanted to. Every kiss possessed more confidence than the last, more emotion. Her body was smooth against mine, the creamy skin soft beneath my palms, my lips. The last of her clothes were discarded and she took a moment to get used to the feel of it, having never been naked with a man before. I turned us over, covering her body with my own, layering her neck with soft brushes of my lips. She seemed to melt at that moment, relaxing into the mattress as I lapped at her throat, her shoulders, down the center of her body. I lavished her belly button with short kisses, small nips, and she chuckled, her small belly moving against my mouth with the tinkling of her laughter. Her fingers ran through my hair, her sign of content as I pressed my lips against the curve of her hips, slowly descending to kiss the smooth plain of her thigh, running my hand up the inside of it. She shivered, her eyes fluttering and her teeth biting into her lip.

She beckoned me up toward her, hands wrapping around my biceps and tugging as she smiled down at me. I met her with a warm kiss, my eyes falling closed as she sighed against me. One of her legs lifted, her thigh pressing against my side before the limb wrapped around and pressed into my back. I buried my head against her shoulder, lips pressing into skin as I took my cue and slowly slipped inside of her. She let out a thick gasp, her arms tightened around my shoulders and back as she simply held me in place for awhile, her mouth pressed against my neck. When her arms loosened and her hand began stroking the nape of my neck, I lifted my head to look down into her eyes. Setting a slow, adoring pace, using my actions to get across the feelings I possessed for her. It felt as if it were all in slow motion; my hands brushing her shoulders, my mouth against hers as I kissed her deeply. The pleasure filled noises she made would reach my ears as if a faint echo, her hands would press into my back, my shoulders with a pressure that seemed drawn out and perfect. I took one of her hands in mine, our fingers twining as I held it above our heads, against the pillows.

The moonbeams fell upon us with a cold glow but a warm beauty. The sheets tangled beneath us, caught in our legs as we laughingly rolled across the mattress, the bedsprings squeaking mercilessly. She seemed carefree in that long moment, as if the world was a good place and we had nothing to fear. I forgot to think of what was to come the next night. I forgot all about how this was the one and only time I'd have her. But I remembered to save her smile for later thought, perhaps as I lay dying I would think of it and feel warmth. I remembered to memorize every angelic curve she possessed. I told my hands never to forget the feel of her skin pressed against them, so soft and velvety. My ears were awash with the ring of her sweet laughter, a warmth that came with it almost surreal in its perfection. I didn't have to tell my lips to remember the feel of hers, as I was sure they would always feel hers against them. It was as if I no longer knew how it felt not to be kissed by her.

She whispered my name against my ear, a breathy tone that held emotion I had always hoped she'd have for me but never believed I'd hear. It was warm, carefree, and complete bliss in its entirety. There was no wrong move, no worries, no fears. There was just an accumulation of comfort, of feelings never spoken, of two young lovers experiencing euphoria together. I could cradle her every curve, caress every inch, lavish her wholly. There was no War, no Boy-Who-Lived or Voldemort. There was just me and her, and it felt as if it that was how it was supposed to be. I wanted to hold onto that moment and relive it for all eternity, I wanted to hold on to her forever.

When the end washed through us, I was almost sure that even death couldn't take away that sense of content. In that moment it was all enough. I didn't think about turning my father in, or walking to my death. I didn't think of leaving Hermione behind, or having no future to dream of. I only thought of her. Of her luscious pink lips curved in a smile, her brown eyes sparkling up at me in ecstacy and adoration. Running my palm down the side of her panting face, I kissed her shortly before rolling to my side, careful not to crush her. She turned with me, pressing herself against my chest and wrapping an arm over my hip and against my back. I ran my fingers through her hair, half-smiling as the smooth tendrils slipped through my grasp. It was a mess of curls, now made much more tangled from the sensational activity we'd just enjoyed.

Her eyes were heavy but she was trying to keep them open as long as possible. I rolled over onto my back, pulling her half on top of me as I went. Her head settled against my chest, curls splaying out everywhere. She wrapped her smooth leg around mine, while her fingers languidly danced up and down my side. It was interesting how one week with her had been the best I'd ever experienced. I think I knew all along that we were supposed to end up together. Perhaps that's why I fought to hate her so vehemently. I didn't want to look like a failure to my father, didn't want to appear as a bad pureblood. I was brought up to hate her kind and yet I was lying with her thinking of how she was the epitome of all that I wanted.

"Couldn't you just not show up?" she asked, her voice low with her tired demeanor. "Let the Auror's take him and never set eyes on him again?"

"No," I replied, shaking my head. "I have to face him. I have to tell him my decision, my changed thoughts. I have to say goodbye."

"But I don't want this to be the end," she whispered, the broken sound of her words reverberating in my mind.

"It's not the end," I told her, firmly. "It's just a pause until you return to me."

"But that pause could last a long time," she reminded, lifting her head to look at me with worried brown eyes. "If I live through the war, then it'll be decades until I see you again. I don't want to wait that long. I don't want to wait at all," she admitted, chewing her lip.

"It'll feel like a long time at first, but you'll start enjoying life again," I assured. "And then one day it'll be our day," I replied, cupping her face with my large hands. My thumbs brushed her cheeks, pushing away the small beads of sadness that spilled from her eyes. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?"

"Not this much absence, it just makes it break," she whispered, her eyes closing tightly as she tried to stop her tears.

Tugging her up closer, I hugged her against me, one hand pressed into her back while the other buried itself in her hair. "This isn't goodbye," I told her firmly. "I'll see you again, I promise."

She shook her head, burying her teary face against my chest. She cried for a long while, her arms wrapped around my sides, but she never left. She simply fell asleep, hoping I'm sure that the day would pass us by. That I'd wake up and forget about my mission of death. But I didn't. Come five o'clock I had her sitting in front of me on the end of the bed. My arms were wrapped loosely around her waist while her hands held onto my forearms rather tightly. Her head leaned back against my shoulder, eyes closed and lips quivering. We swayed, side to side, holding each other tightly and wishing time would just stop. That everything but us would stop.

We never got our wish. She turned her head, kissing me desperately, crying the whole way through. And with one last press of my lips against her forehead, I apparated to the outside perimeter of the Manor. I walked to my destiny, head held high, wand in hand, and a heart laden with a brown eyed girl with sweet pink lips. Upon entering my former home, I could hear the hollow echo of my shoes on the floor. I called for mother, keeping the guise of broken, apologetic, fearful son. I found him in his office, reclining in his leather chair as if it were any other day. I clenched my jaw and attempted to look shocked at his being there. He seemed to buy it as he tsked at my lack of reading the Daily Prophet. Tossing it out on top of the desk, he sat up more prominently and glared at me through dark, silver eyes.

As I had expected, when I stood close enough to reach the paper as he had basically summoned me over to read it, he reached out with his cane, slamming it against my head with such force I literally saw spots. And so began the beating of my life, far worse than any I had ever been through with him before. I could hear him faintly, screaming about loyalty and service to the Dark Lord. I tuned him out, groaning as his foot once again collided with my stomach. I focused on Hermione, thinking of her mouth, her small hands, her smooth hips. I thought of the way she meticulously answers questions, and how eager she looks when her professors bring up a new subject. I remembered the way she bit her lip while we made love, her eyes half closed and her teeth digging in to the plump bottom lip with pleasure. I focused on anything but the pain that ripped through my limbs.

I could see blood, could feel it over my body. It soaked through my robes and dripped from my hair. He had thrown me at numerous objects before finding throwing things at me was much more interesting. One of my mother's favorite vases shattered, sending jagged pieces of glass against my face, slicing open my head, just above my eyebrow deeply. He was much more angry than any time before; he felt he had a mission now, a real reason to hit me. When he finally stopped beating me into oblivion, I was still breathing with relative ease. He paced the room, his hands on his hips and his head held high with false pride. I shook my head at him, hating that I had ever wanted to be anything like him.

I could hear the dark curse leave his lips, "Crucio!" He wanted me to feel as much pain as I possibly could. It wasn't about learning now; it wasn't about reforming my ways. It was about vengeance and death. There would be no telling me that next time I should try harder, think less, kill quickly. He was going to prove to me that he had it in him; whatever I lacked, he had. He would kill me, but not until I was left as harmless as Dumbledore when I had my wand trained on him. He would prove that whether we're strong or weak, death is death, and he could hand it out like a forgettable gift to a distant relative.

An Unforgivable curse will always feel worse depending on the hate and fury the wizard or witch feels, and at that moment my father was in such a state that I had never felt such pain. My entire body seemed to clench simultaneously, every fibre, every muscle came together to tighten into a painful reminder that death would be a blessing. With that added injuries I'd already suffered, it was as if he had rolled over me with a huge boulder, over and over until I was flat and bodyless. Just a pile of agony, no arms or legs, no torso or head. All there was was pain, no thoughts in my mind, no hopes that the cavalry would arrive. It was flat out excruciating and there was nothing I could do or think to make it end. When he finally lifted it from me, I could feel my skin buzzing, my body trembling and twitching of its own accord. My breathing was sporadic, my eyes flew open and closed randomly.

"This is what you get," he told me, nodding. A sneer formed on his face, as if I were the vermin he had so often told me to hate. "This is what you get for disobeying orders and leaving me to die. You did this." Shaking his head, he glared down at me with his icy eyes. "After all I've done for you, all I've given you. Our Dark Lord gives you a chance and you let it all slip away. We were going to be with him in the end. We were going to stand tall over the filth that has infiltrated our world. But now, now you've failed us all," he yelled, accusingly.

"You're no better than me," I wheezed, my chest moving rather quickly as I lay painfully on my back, glass pieces over the floor digging into me. "You're no better than anyone. Not half-bloods, muggleborns, or muggles," I spat, knowing it would rile him up even more. "You're nothing but a mindless puppet for a Dark Lord who doesn't care about you at all." Shaking my head, I inhaled deeply, letting it out in a sigh. "You traded your soul for a man who could care less if you rot away in a jail cell."

My little dig got me a world of pain, he loved his cane with a barbaric passion. To see the rage in his eyes, the set of his face was nothing new. I had been aware of my father's temper since I was a child, but it was pouring off of him now. His anger was swimming through his veins with such fury that it seemed he would never stop hitting me. The hard end of his cane smashed into my legs, beating them down until it felt as if they were shattered pieces of the floor. He hit my stomach with such vigorous swings that I swear I felt my organs rise up into my throat, but I swallowed them back down. I heard the crack of a rib, echoing in my ears and filling me with a sharp agony that made me cry out, though I'd been trying so hard not to. Then another rib, and then a third before he finally moved away from there. He began kicking at my arms as he hit me, while flailing his cane down at my head. I tried covering it, but he stepped down on my wrists, holding them away from my bloodied, broken face. I turned it though, so he could only hit the back and the side. It would do me no good to try and speak with a broken jaw or blood pouring from every crevice so bad I simply choked on the liquid whenever I tried to voice my thoughts.

He was yelling again, his voice hoarse from being so loud, "Why? Why didn't you just kill the old codger? He was right there. Half dead already, I heard. And you still couldn't do it... After all of our hard work. You throw it all away." Letting out a loud yell of frustration, he turned away from me, shaking his head with his hands on his hips. When he looked back, his face was pale and drawn with the knowledge of days to come. "Do you know what will happen to me because of you? Do you know what you've done to your mother and I?"

"I've given you... what you deserve," I told him, my breath coming in pained spurts that made me feel as if I needed to cough. "You're a ruthless killer... a child beating bastard... and a lowly servant to a pathetic man... who was killed by a one year old baby," I called to his rigid form. "If Voldemort doesn't get you first... I hope they give you the Dementor's kiss."

He strolled towards me, his shoulders stiff and his face emotionless. Leaning down, he wrapped his long white hand around my throat, dragging me from the floor and holding me against the glass doors to the back property. I could see the blood stain trail on the floor from his moving of my body. "You were always a pathetic child," he told me, his eyes were so dark, they verged on black. "You never took to your heritage like you should have, but always had a question. You couldn't just accept the way of things, you had to understand why. And when I told you, it was never enough!"

The Imperio curse can be broken if a person asks why they're doing what they're being told, and for some reason I felt this related. After all, most pureblood parents teach their children and heirs to become just like them, to do exactly as they were told, without wonder. We simply didn't have the curse put on us, but instead the fear of a beating. To question it is to break the chain, and I had done so all my life. I just hadn't put my queries out there until it was too late.

"I couldn't accept your lies," I told him, shaking my hurt head, my neck strained with the motion. "You went and on about the idiocy and mediocracy of mudbloods and muggles, but you were wrong." Inhaling, I swallowed the dry burn in my throat. "It isn't them who are less, it's you. You and everybody who thinks like you. Their blood has nothing to do with it. Where they grew up, it doesn't matter. She proved you wrong. All I had to do was go to school with her and everything you taught me was proved to be incorrect. Because you said they were filthy, they were ugly and stupid, and that they had no real grasp or understanding of the full power of magic."

"They are and they don't!" he bellowed, his eyes widening with fury.

"She's not and she does!" I yelled back, panting to get my breath back. "She's not filthy. She's not's ugly. And she's nowhere near stupid. She's intelligent beyond even me! And I'm a pureblood, so what does that prove? And magic! Hah! She grasps it just fine. Better than many of the witches and wizards I know!" I told him, my chest lifting and falling quickly and my stomach burning with the pain of broken ribs hitting things they shouldn't. I felt heavy, as if everything was weighing me down so much that I couldn't move, couldn't breath, couldn't speak.

"Who are you talking about?" my father asked, shaking me. I laughed at him, my eyes half closed. He lifted me toward him and then smashed me back into the door, causing it to snap open. He stumbled, but let go of me, letting me fall as he regained his step. It just reminded me of his selfish ways; never thinking of anyone but himself.

My father hates summer, hates it with such a passion that he places charms around the property to make it snow. The ground was cold, covered in a thick layer of the white powder. My clothes were thin, far too much for a winter wind. I had been used to the hot sun beating down around me, the warmth of the summer breeze coming through my window. Now I was shocked at the feel of the white ice beneath my body. I started doing a crab walk with a lack of elegance that was sure to annoy him more. I wanted space between us, so I could speak without having him kill me too quickly. He had his wand in his robes now, but I was sure that he would take it out in seconds just to stop my talking. He could care less for my life, it was just another notch on the list of many. Son or not, I was a life that held no purpose to him. I couldn't better him in this world anymore, meaning I was useless.

Gathering my breath, I was finally able to speak without my chest heaving. "D'you know what I did last night father?" I asked, glaring up at him from the blood coated snow. "I made love to Granger," I told him, grinning. "I kissed her heavenly lips and they tasted more sweet than any pureblood ever could." My hands pressed into the snow, the cold ice stinging my wounded palms. "And when we woke up, we made love again. And then in the shower, and one last time just before I left," I continued, eyes stinging with the pain I was being consumed with.

"You should know that in my entire life, she was the only one to ever make me happy. Galas, parties, pureblood soirees, they were all for nothing. Parkinson, Greengrass, Davis, all nothing. I didn't want a trophy girlfriend, and I certainly didn't want an obedient, mindless wife of your choosing," I half-shouted, though it came out very hoarse. From the corner of my eyes I could see the white around me turn into a halo of red; I wouldn't last long now.

"It was the mudblood Granger who made me laugh, smile, and enjoy the good things this horrible life had to offer. And when it all ends, when you point your wand at me, I want you to know that I'm not going to feel a thing. I'm not going to beg or cry or even wince. I'm going to think of her and pretend I was never your son. And later, I'm going to sit in heaven knowing that I was never a murderer and wait for the day that she meets me there. So you can kill me now, father, and I'm sure you'll feel no remorse. But remember when I'm gone that your only son chose his side, and her name was Hermione," I spoke in a thick, unwavering voice. I didn't for one second stumble, I never wondered about my words. They were clear, precise, and exact.

He stared down at me with a bewildered terror on his face, as if he truly couldn't believe what I had done. His hand disappeared into his robes, coming back with a furiously shaking wand. His eyes were large and void of any feeling but hate, while his body was tall, regal in its proud stance. His face was pale, pointed, and free of any attachments to the boy who lay dying beneath him. He who had raised me, cared nothing for my life. I never had days in the park with my father. I never had Sunday cartoons like Hermione had with her dad. I never ate meals with my father where he asked how I was doing. My past with him had been beatings and lessons on what I had to think. Yes, there was no love lost between myself and my father; there was no love at all. I had accepted that long ago and he further proved it as he stared down at me.

His face curled into one of disgust, losing its shocked expression. "How could you?" he asked, his voice throaty and stressed.

"It was the smartest move of my life," I replied. "The easiest thing I think I've ever done."

It was. It truly was. Loving her had been easier than I thought. All I had to do was accept my own questions, forget the accusations of my father, and really look at her. It had nothing to do with blood, and everything to do with purity. She was pure in the sense that she was innocent, that she lived by doing good for the world. While I had been the dirty one for living a life of hate, for growing up thinking I was better than everyone, for at one time thinking killing was all right. The roles my father said we played were reversed, at least until I made the right choice. Was I pure? No. But I would've got there, had I been given the chance to live.

I could question why I came back. Hermione was right when she said I could just let the Order take him, or Auror's swarm the house when he arrived. But I think I needed this. One last beating for the right cause. Cleanse myself of my misdeeds while I admit my new thought process, where I tell him that all of his fears of mudbloods being better are true. I had accepted my death yesterday, and it wasn't until Hermione was sitting behind me that I realized I didn't want to go. But I made my choice and we all must live with the consequences of our actions. Part of me deserves this anyway, as I've said before, I'm no saint. I've been a cruel person, said some downright retched things, and lived the life of a ruthless person of hate.

"We must all pay for our sins, son," he told me, his wand raising to point darkly at my chest.

"Yes we do, father," I replied.

I closed my eyes, drinking in the vision of Hermione. Her angelic face was before me, smiling, laughing. She was calling my name, telling me it would all be okay. So distant, so close. I could feel her hands on my face, her breath against my mouth. It was then I realized that it wasn't my mind that she was in, but my reality. I opened my eyes to see her kneeling beside me, her face streaming with tears as she clutched at me. Behind her, I could see members of the Order holding my father back, his wand confiscated as he fought against them to hurl himself at me and Hermione I'm sure.

My eyes were heavy but they stayed open to see her, she was beautiful even with a runny nose and red rimmed eyes. Her hair was flying all over, messy and thick, brittle with the cold. She shivered, wearing nothing but a pair of cut off pants and a flimsy t-shirt. I could hear my father yelling, nonsense and angry promises, but the sound of his captors shouting about his future in Azkaban was enough to drown him out. To the side, I was rather surprised to see Potter and Weasley. They looked uncomfortable, as if they didn't know what to think, what to do. They kept their distance, unsure frowns on their faces as they watched Hermione fawn above me. I wondered how much they knew.

"You're going to be fine," she assured, nodding her head, causing more tears to cascade down. "Just a few bruises here or there, a couple scratches and maybe a broken limb or two," she mumbled, trying to smile but failing. Her hands had moved around me, lifting with the dripping remains of life's elixir.

"Three cracked ribs and I'm pretty sure they've hit something vital," I told her, my hand lifted to touch her hair. I paused when I realized how much blood caked it, but she moved her head towards it, silently telling me she really didn't care about the liquid that marred my skin, as long as she had me with her. "I told you I'd die in a puddle of my own blood," I reminded, nodding, my breathing shallow. "I'm a regular Trelawney," I tried to joke, knowing that our Divination teacher didn't have the best record for being right.

She whimpered, the noise tore savagely at my heart. Her hands wrapped around the front of my damp, red shirt, balling it in her fists. "No," she told me, trying to sound strong. "We'll take you to St. Mungo's, they'll fix you up," she told me, nodding.

"Even magic doesn't fix death, Hermione," I replied, shaking my head. "Sometimes, we just have to accept things."

"No," she screamed, hoarse and desperate, her head turning back and forth vehemently.

The noise in the background quieted down, and I was almost sure that the majority of people were watching us now. Perhaps it just became apparent that I was laying near death, in a pile of blood soaked snow. It didn't matter, they couldn't do anything. I'm sure half of them still believe me to be a heartless bastard, while the others are questioning about whether to trust me. I could care less, I'll be gone soon enough. I wonder who'll show for the funeral.

Wrapping my palm around her soft, wet cheek, I pulled her closer, staring straight into her brown eyes. "I'll be waiting for you," I told her, my voice quiet.

"I don't want to wait," she responded, sounding throaty and hurt. Her eyes darted over my face, while she swallowed fear and sadness. "You should've wait for us. You shouldn't have gone in there. We could've... I could've... You wouldn't be dying," she managed, her throat closing off as she began to heave, sobbing.

"I'm free now," I replied, smiling gently.

"Free of what?" she asked, her brow furrowing as she inhaled shakily above me.

"Of everything," I told her. "My father, being a pureblood, Voldemort, and my crimes against Dumbledore." Shaking my head, I ran my damp thumb over her cheek, leaving a red streak behind. "You're the only one I don't regret. In this last week, you gave me something I desperately needed." Inhaling sharply, I winced as my stomach clenched. I grit my teeth before I coughed, sending blood up and out, spattering over my chin. I laughed self deprecatingly. "To be free, I'll be drained of every last drop of pure blood in me," I said, the mild irony getting to me.

Her hand ran over my chin, pushing it away as if she didn't want to think of its meaning. It probably didn't do much as I'm sure the rest of my face is marred with my blood, there's likely no inch of my face uncovered. "You should focus on something good," she told me, her voice shaking and her mouth quivering. "Until someone helps us to St. Mungo's, focus on something that will make it hurt less."

"It doesn't hurt anymore," I told her, shaking my head. "Not with you here. With you, everything is right."

One of her hands slipped into my hair, her fingertips running over my head with such a soft touch that I shivered beneath her. I wasn't even cold any longer. I was numb. No more pain, no more fear, just acceptance. Her tears slipped from her chin, spattering on my face and rolling down the sides. It was warm, calming even. She simply stared at me for a moment, before wrapping her arms around my shoulders and lifting me up carefully. My arms wrapped around her small waist as she kneeled in the freezing snow, and my head lolled onto her shoulder. Her arms were loose around my shoulders, holding my back, she was scared to hurt me I knew.

"You can't break something that's already broken, love," I whispered.

She let out a noise but her grip increased, telling of how scared she was to let me go. One of her hands stroked the nape of my neck, fingers gliding through my hair. She cried, her tears pressed against my neck as we rocked, side to side. My hands slipped through her thick hair, running down her back. I felt her lips against the side of my neck, and it felt as if slow motion had taken us again. She moved back until she was staring into my eyes, smiling sadly before she pressed her mouth against mine. Soft, warm, long; a kiss of eternal goodbye.

When she pulled back, she stared at the tears that had escaped my eyes for a moment, reaching out to brush them away. My hands wrapped around her wrists, holding her palms to my face. "I love you," I told her, smiling at how sweet it sounded even coming from my throaty voice. "You don't have to say it back, you can save it for when I see you again," I said, nodding. "But I wanted you to know, because when I'm gone and this is over, it was never for nothing. It was for you, always for you."

She hugged me to her, crying on my shoulder as she rocked us, my arms felt heavy around her now. And they slipped from her to fall to the snow beneath. My head lay limp on her shoulder while my eyes stared at the red marred skin of her throat, drying now from where my face had pressed. My chest was hardly moving any longer and though I thought a lack of breathing would hurt, it was rather painless. "Remember my left pocket," I whispered.

She shook her head, holding me tighter. "I love you, Draco," she whispered, and I smiled into her flower scented hair before I felt my chest stop moving completely. My body stopped then, and my mind was slowly fuzzing away. I could hear her very faintly, calling out my name and whispering, "No, no, no." She continued to rock us, though she knew I was gone.

It hurt to know that she was in such pain, but I couldn't do anything. There was a light I'm sure, or perhaps it was the sun when they pulled me back from Hermione, I don't know. All I know is that I don't walk amongst the living any longer. I don't hear her voice or attend school with her. I can't kiss her lips or hold her tightly in my arms. Death has a way of taking it all away, but it replaces it with a calm nothingness. No strings, no rules, no expectations from dark parents who don't care. There is no pureblood, half-blood, or mudbloods in heaven. There is no better or worse person. We are all equal, and it's euphoric.

And now I have eternity. Forever to wait until she lives out her life, joining me in an existence of peace. I will wait for her, gladly I will. Because she gave me the ending I wanted. I was no killer, no murdering pureblood out for acceptance. I was a boy who loved a girl. A boy who made mistakes but made up for as many as he could. I was a boy who died for a cause. And if nobody knew that but her, I was fine with that. What glory did I need in heaven? I was no longer the broken, battered son of a Malfoy. But a soul amongst the good, waiting for his other half.