Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

A/N: This was originally intended to be a multi-chapter story, but that never really happened. To be honest, I'm not completely sure what I want to happen next anyway. However, I do think that this stands alone pretty well. So for now, and for the foreseeable future, this is a one-shot.

His Hour of Need

No one had told Pansy Parkinson anything. Of course, she'd heard all about the Death Eater attack and Dumbledore's death, but no one had told her about Draco. He had been missing ever since that night. She asked around, but she never got anywhere. Crabbe and Goyle told her that Draco had had a plan. She'd known that much, she huffed, and she told them that it was stupid to be accomplices without knowing what the plan was. Besides, Draco had somehow let in the Death Eaters; everyone knew that. It was what happened next that worried her. Potter knew something. She had overheard him whispering about Draco to those so-called friends of his, but she could never make out much more than the name. On several occasions, she considered asking him what he knew, or at least cornering the mudblood and asking her, but things had escalated and she thought that would be unwise.

At one point, she had been so worried and scared that she had started to cry. Horrified at the thought of someone seeing her, she rushed to Moaning Myrtle's abandoned bathroom. Myrtle had heard the sobbing and glided through the stall wall. "Oh, you're not Draco," Myrtle had said, disappointed.

"What do you know about Draco?" Pansy asked through her hiccups.

"I know lots of things about him. He and I are very close," she replied.

Pansy wiped away the teardrops from her cheeks. "You and… Draco? Draco Malfoy?"

"Do you know any other Draco?"

Pansy was forced to admit that she did not, but Myrtle's self-satisfied attitude was starting to work on her nerves. "Do you know what happened to him?"

"I know that Harry Potter attacked him right here a couple weeks ago."

Pansy had known about that, too. She had visited him in the hospital wing. "Okay, what else do you know?"

"I don't think that Draco would want me talking to someone else about the things that he told me."

"I'm his girlfriend, for Merlin's sake!" While that wasn't strictly, officially true, it was accurate enough for Myrtle's information.

The ghost sniffed and crossed her arms. "Funny, he never mentioned you."

Instead of being annoyed, as she would have been had Myrtle been corporal, Pansy was amused. Oh, she was still upset at the possibility that Draco had confided in the school's most irritating ghost, but when Myrtle said what she did, it struck Pansy that there was no reason to be jealous. "So basically, you have no information that you're going to share with me?"

Myrtle shook her head. Pansy rose to her feet and left. The crying had stopped anyway.

It was only a few days later that school ended and Pansy, who was legally an adult, found herself restricted to the house by overprotective parents. Of course, she understood their cause for concern. There was a war going on and, after losing a couple family members in the last war, the Parkinsons were staying annoyingly neutral this time around. Pansy had been a Death Eater sympathizer before Draco went missing, but now she wasn't so sure. If anything had happened to Draco, she would do everything in her power to take down the Dark Lord. Well, probably not actually, but she'd… do something.

She had been home for two weeks when she was awakened by a loud hissing outside her window. It could have been the wind, but Pansy thought she could almost make out words. She walked to the window cautiously and opened the curtains. The tree outside her window stood unwavering, dispelling the wind theory, but she saw no one and nothing that could be causing the hissing. She closed her curtains and sat on the bed.

She listened intently and swore that she heard her name. She rose from her bed again, but hesitated before going to the window again. Now she was sure there was someone outside calling her name and that was a rather creepy thought. She grabbed her wand off the nightstand and approached the window slowly. She whispered, "Who's there?" and mentally cursed herself for her cowardice.

She was met with a soft, "Pansy. Pansy, I need you."

She pulled back the curtain again, but still she saw no one. Then she looked down. Lying in the grass, twisted in what must have been a painful position, was Draco. She opened the window. "Draco, what are you doing here?"

He panted breathlessly. "I need… Please… Pansy. Please, let me… come in."

"Okay." She took a step back to allow him entrance, but he continued to lie there. "Do you need help?"

Draco was eerily silent, and Pansy leaned over the windowsill to get a better look at him. It appeared he had lost consciousness. She tried to climb out the window, but there was an invisible barrier that prevented her from doing so. She should have known that her parents would have pulled something like that to make sure she didn't leave the house.

Pansy hurried to the front door and ran around the side of the house. Draco was still there with his eyes closed. Pansy knelt by his side and watched his chest fall and rise. He looked paler than usual, but he was still alive and she was determined to make sure he stayed that way.

"Wingardium Leviosa," she whispered in a shaky voice as she swished and flicked her wand with an equally shaky hand. Nothing happened and Pansy took a few deep breaths to steady her nerves before trying the spell again. This time Draco's lifeless body rose two feet in the air. She guided him into her house through the door she had left open in her haste.

Once she had him in her bedroom, she paused, unsure where to put him. It would make sense to put him on the bed, but, she reflected, she hadn't cleaned her sheets since she got home and the last thing she wanted was for Draco to wake up to her musty sheets. Finally she lowered him onto the bed, hoping he wouldn't notice that her sheets weren't very fresh.

She leaned over Draco and whispered, "I'll be right back." She felt silly for doing that since she was sure he couldn't hear her, but on some less rational level, she'd wanted him to know that she wasn't abandoning him in his hour of need.

She tiptoed to her father's study, closing the front door as she passed it. She looked through the shelves for a book that would help her. Frustrated and impatient to get back to Draco, she tried a different tactic. "Accio healing book."

Three books flew off the shelves. Pansy had to duck to prevent one from hitting her in the head. She scrambled to gather the books.

"Pansy, dear, what are you doing?" She whirled around to see her father standing in the doorway.

"I… couldn't sleep."

He walked over to her and took a book from her hands. "So you decided to pick up 'The A to Z's of Healing Charms' for some light reading?"

Pansy had never been a very good liar, but somehow she knew exactly what to say. "It was just a thought that came to me. Maybe I could become a healer. I wanted to read up on it a bit."

Mr. Parkinson put his arm around her shoulder and led her back to her room. "Now that sounds like a fine idea. I have to say, Pansy, you've never shown much interest in a career before."

They stopped at her door, which was fortunately closed, and Pansy slipped out from under her father's arm. She kissed him on the cheek and said, "Goodnight, Daddy."

Pansy breathed a sigh of relief when he said, "Goodnight" and started back to his bedroom. She slipped carefully into her room and performed a quick silencing charm. She reflected that being a legal adult had one advantage; no one was monitoring her use of magic. Draco was still unconscious, so she sat on the side of the bed and flipped through the top book for a way to wake him up.

"If the patient is unconscious due to a curse, try 'Ennervate.' To execute this spell properly…"

Pansy set the book down. How could she have forgotten that simple spell? She lifted her wand and tried to wake him that way but was unsuccessful. She picked up the book and looked for something else. As she rifled through the pages, she thought about the situation she was getting herself into. She knew it was foolish to take in Draco and she had no idea how she would hide him from her parents, but Draco had come to her for help and she would have done anything for him. The other girls in her dorm had criticized her for her devotion to Draco, but Pansy didn't care. Millicent would be lucky if she ever found a man and Daphne's one foray into romance had ended disastrously. Pansy was smug with the knowledge that she had the most successful relationship and thus, must be doing something right. After all, Draco was here, wasn't he?

After trying two more spells with no result, Pansy decided to examine his body to see what was actually wrong with him. And in order to do that, she would have to take off his robe. She told herself that her motives for undressing him were purely medical.

She supposed there was a spell that would accomplish her goal, but they sure hadn't learned it in school. She pulled Draco into a sitting position and saw over his shoulder that there was a large, dark red stain on her sheet. In her shock, Pansy lost her grip on his arm and Draco fell back on the bed.

Pansy had a better idea. She levitated Draco again and, using one hand, pulled his robe over his head. Under his robe he was wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of cotton boxers. She craned her head to look at his back and saw a similar red stain on his shirt. She tried to take off his shirt, but the blood had dried and it was stuck to his skin. Keeping her wand on him so that he wouldn't fall, she slipped her other hand under his shirt and tried to separate it from his skin. He groaned and Pansy pulled her hand away. She stood up straight to look at his face and dropped both hands to her side, forgetting that she had to keep her wand trained on him. Once more Draco fell onto the bed.

Pansy leaned over him. "Are you awake?" There was no answer. She sat on the bed and picked up another book. Armed with her new knowledge of his injuries, she flipped through the pages for a spell to counteract blood loss. She passed by the Blood-Replenishing Potion hoping there would be something else. There was no way she'd be able to explain if her father caught her making a potion at two am.

"The Blood-Replenishing Charm, although not as effective as its potion counterpart, can be used in an emergency when the potion is not readily available." Pansy studied the instructions carefully before lifting her wand and saying the incantation.

There was a shot of blue light and Draco groaned again. Pansy shook his arm and his eyes fluttered open. "Oh, thank goodness," she murmured.

Draco's eyes narrowed and she could see him taking in his surroundings. She realized it might seem odd to him to wake up half-dressed in an unfamiliar bedroom. His gaze drifted to her pajamas and then to the hand that was resting on his arm. He recoiled from her touch and it was only then she noticed her hand was covered in blood.

"What the hell happened here?" he asked in a scratchy voice.

Pansy wiped off her hand on the sheet. "I don't really know. You just showed up at my window and passed out."

Draco sat up and winced. His hand went to his back and he cried out in pain when it came into contact with the wound. Then he closed his eyes in understanding. "The Dark Lord is angry with me. I was supposed to do it. He was right to punish me."

Pansy took a deep breath. "Let me see your back. I might be able to heal it." She reached for the book on healing charms, and he pulled off his shirt. Draco cried out again as the wound was ripped open where it had dried to his shirt.

The gash was jagged and cut from almost one shoulder blade to the other. She grabbed his shirt in one hand and used it to soak up the blood that was running down his back. "How did this happen?"

"I fell against something while under the Cruciatus."

Pansy found the page she wanted. "I don't have a potion or salve to disinfect the wound, and the book says that results may vary if you skip that step. So… I'm sorry if this doesn't work." She performed the spell exactly as it appeared in the book, and, after the smoke had cleared, instead of a gaping cut there was a thick red scar. Pansy stared at his back. It shouldn't have looked like that. She was certain a trained healer wouldn't have left a scar at all. "Er,… there was some scarring, but it's not bleeding anymore," she said slowly. "I'm sure that once you go to St. Mungo's—"

Draco reached for his shirt. "I'm not going to St. Mungo's."

"Why not?"

He held up his left arm so that Pansy could see the Dark Mark branded there. "They have a tendency to turn in people like me."

Pansy nodded. "Then I'm sure your mother will be able to hire a private healer who will—"

He pulled his shirt over his head. "I can't go back to the Manor either. There are Death Eaters there." Pansy decided not to ask what he meant by that. "Where is my robe?"

She retrieved his robe from the ground but didn't hand it to him. "First of all, I'm not giving this to you until it's been mended and cleaned. I'm going to need that shirt back too. Second of all, I'm not giving this back to you until you thank me for my help. And third of all, I'm not giving this back until I know where you're going to stay."

He made a grab for the robe, but Pansy stood and crossed the room, robe in hand. "If I knew where I was going, I'd tell you. Can I at least have my wand?"

"No, I'm not stupid."

Draco tried to stand but his legs wouldn't support him and he fell flat on his face. He rolled over and held his hand to his nose. Pansy noticed spots of blood on the carpet and knelt by his side. She tried to pull his hand away from his face, but he wouldn't let her.

She sighed and sat back on her heels. "Let me see your nose. You fell hard, you might have broken it."

"And if I did, do you really think you could fix it?" he asked acerbically.

"Dammit, Draco, just let me see it. I fixed your cut and helped you regain consciousness; maybe I could fix your nose."

Draco felt his nose gingerly. "How can you tell if it's broken?"

Pansy realized she didn't know the answer to that. "I think you can tell by feeling it. Does it feel broken?"

He paused. "Yes." He sat up and tipped his head back. Pansy notice that his nose was starting to turn purple and she quickly picked up the first medical book she saw.

"This time, use the index."

"I was going to," Pansy huffed. "Oh, it says not to tip your head back. Here, let me see it."

Draco pulled his hand away and straightened his head. As Pansy poked, prodded, and consulted the book, Draco said, "That was really embarrassing. Just so you know, I don't normally fall over like that."

"Was it more embarrassing than whatever secrets you told to Moaning Myrtle?"

"I don't know—Ow!—what you're talking about."

"Myrtle said that—Stop squirming—that you and she are really close. And when I was crying she thought I was you." Pansy gasped with delight. "Did you cry in front of Moaning Myrtle?"

"No, I most certainly—Hey, my nose feels better."

Pansy smirked. "I told you I could fix it. Now give me your shirt so I can fix that too and clean up all this blood all at once."

Draco scooted back so that he was leaning against the bed. "Pansy, I'm sure you realize this, but if I took off my shirt, I wouldn't really be wearing any clothes. And there is no need for you to mend my shirt. I can do it later; just give me my robes and I'll be on my way."

"On your way to where? You just said that you couldn't go home."

"I'll figure something out."

"How are you going to get there? You can't even walk."

"I tripped."

Pansy shook her head. "You were too weak to support yourself. No, you will stay here until you're better. Surely, this is the safest place for you."

"It's only safe until your parents find me. They'll have me thrown in prison."

"Better prison than where you were," she said under her breath.

Draco gave her a searching look. "Would you allow that to happen, Pansy? Do you really think I'm better off in prison? Maybe I shouldn't have come here after all."

"I just meant that they don't beat you in prison. They don't torture you. They don't leave you bloody and broken to die outside my window."

"They do torture you in Azkaban, Pansy. And if I went there, it wouldn't be long before I was in his hands again. I can't stay here and you can't make me."

Pansy closed her eyes for a moment. "I wouldn't let them take you. I would protect—I will protect you. You can't tell me there's a better place for you to hide out. I can deal with my parents; they never need to know that you were here. At least stay until you've fully healed. You can't even walk." Draco opened his mouth and Pansy knew what he was going to say. "Fine, you tripped. But there are other things wrong with you. That scar might be infected."

"Now you're just making stuff up."

"No." Pansy grabbed a hand mirror off her dresser and handed it to him. "Go look at it in the mirror, and tell me that doesn't look infected."

Draco tried to move then sat back. "Actually, I'm good here."

"Okay, well, I rest my case. You lost a lot of blood—" she glanced at her bed then the carpet—"all over my room. You were under the Cruciatus for a while. You need to rest."

Draco sighed. "Just for tonight."

Pansy nodded. "We'll see. So why are you on the run from the Death Eaters?"

"We had a falling out."

Pansy sat on the bed. "What was it you didn't do that made You-Know-Who so angry?"

"That really doesn't concern you."

"It always concerns me when I have to clean up your wounds. Oh speaking of clean-up…" She performed a few quick cleaning spells and the bloodstains were gone from her room.

As she was doing this, Draco said, "This is really the first time you had to do that."

She got up on her knees on the bed behind him. "All right. We'll talk about the whys later." She placed her hands under his arms and tried to hoist him up onto the bed.

"Hey! What are you doing?"

Pansy sighed and let go. "I'm trying to—"

"Get me in bed. I know. You just shouldn't be so aggressive about it."

"Fine! I am so sick of your attitude. I was trying to help you, but you know what, you can sleep on the floor for all I care!"

He turned his head to look at her. "Pansy, calm down."

"No, not until you tell me that you're sorry for putting me in this position, and that you're grateful for all my help, and that you appreciate the way I'm going out on a limb to protect you."

"Pansy, sit down here next to me." She did, but she made it clear that she wasn't too happy about it. "I was supposed to kill Dumbledore."

Pansy gasped and her anger melted away. "Wh—"

"Shh. I'll explain everything. After my father was arrested, a nameless, faceless, inconsequential Death Eater came to me and told me that the Dark Lord requested my visit. My mother begged me not to go. She understood what was happening better than I did at the time. She said our family had given enough, but Aunt Bellatrix told her that if I refused to go our only option would be to run and try to hide. And that would be foolish, she said. I wanted to go anyway. So I went.

"The Dark Lord told me that I had to make up for my father's mistake. He branded me and gave me a task." Droco laughed bitterly. "I had spent so long waiting to be old enough to carry this mark, but the second I saw it on my skin, I was terrified." He ran his hand gingerly over his arm.

Pansy put her hand on his shoulder. "Draco,…" She meant to tell him that he didn't have to go on and that she was sorry for dragging it out of him, but instead she said, "So that's what you talked to Myrtle about."

"I never talked to—Yeah, I was scared. I knew that he would kill me if I failed. I was a school bully, but this was something completely different. I've never killed anyone. I didn't know who I could talk to. And Moaning Myrtle was just there."

"You could have talked to me. I would have—"

"I did everything I was supposed to. I figured out a way to let in the Death Eaters and I cornered Dumbledore. And for some reason he was weak and I could have killed him. But I just couldn't. After all this time, it turns out I'm not that kind of person. Either I'm not strong enough or I'm not dedicated enough. But I can't kill someone in cold blood. Then Snape swooped in and did it. He was trying to protect me. He promised my mother he would.

"Later, back at headquarters, I found out what I had always suspected. The Dark Lord wanted me to fail so that he could kill me and punish my father. Since I hadn't failed entirely, since Dumbledore was dead, he said he would spare my life. He tortured me for a while. And after I'd passed out a few times, been thrown all over the room, received a cut that was bleeding profusely, he handed me my wand and cast me out, fully expecting that I would die anyway. I Apparated here. It was my first successful long distance Apparation, which is pretty remarkable considering. And I'm thinking right now, maybe it's better if they think I've died."

Pansy kept quiet, afraid to break the somber mood. They sat in silence for several minutes before Draco said, "So thank you, Pansy. And I am sorry for putting you in this position. I'm even more sorry that you're so determined to stay in this position."

"If I let you wander off in this condition, you could die. Speaking of which, how long do you want to pretend to be dead? And what are we going to do now?"

Draco dragged himself onto the bed. "We are going to go to sleep, and then tomorrow I am going to leave and find my own way." He closed his eyes.

Pansy stood and watched Draco as his breathing slowed. He was going to leave her. Whether it was tomorrow or a month from then, when he was stronger, he would leave and probably never look back. And yet he came to her. When he was hurt and in need of someone, he thought of her.

"Why did you come here?"

Draco opened one eye. "Pansy, I was asleep."

"Did you come here because you thought I could help you or did you… come here to die?"

"Why does that matter? I'm not going to die now, thanks to you."

Pansy shook her head. "It matters."

Draco rolled over on his side to face her. "I didn't think about any of that. I came here because you were the one person I thought would be more loyal to me than to the Death Eaters or the Aurors. Now, go to sleep, Pansy."

She was satisfied by his answer. He had chosen her specifically. "Where?"

"Well, there's plenty of room on the bed if that wouldn't make you feel too uncomfortable."

"No. It's not like we're going to… do anything."

Pansy climbed into the bed as Draco scooted closer to the wall. She lied on her side facing away from Draco but didn't close her eyes. She didn't feel at all tired, and she doubted that she was going to fall asleep any time soon.

Later that night, long after Draco had fallen asleep for the second time, his arm came up and wrapped around Pansy's torso. She stiffened but didn't move. She liked the feel of his arm around her, and she told herself to enjoy this moment and to worry about what would happen in the morning when it came.