In school, I insulted her. I called her every disparaging name under the sun, including the sordid "Mudblood." I often tortured her unmercifully with a barrage of verbal abuse. She always stood up to it...never faltered once. I often wondered whether or not her toughness was all show. I wondered if she broke down or not when she was alone. Her stubbornness made me want to continue the attacks, to make her suffer. I felt an uncontrollable need to put everyone down, even my alleged friends. Why should they be happy when I'm not? I'd reason with myself. After all, they all had something I didn't. Why did they need more?

The thing was, Potter and his friends were inseparable. Never once did they betray each other. Oh, sure, there were bumps and even cracks in that blasted friendship of theirs, but they never stopped being there for each other long enough to end it completely, and it's still like that today.

Maybe it was the Gryffindor grandeur. One thing was for certain: Slytherins always put themselves first. I'd never felt any sort of loyalty towards Crabbe and Goyle--at least, not enough to risk my life for them. And I'd only help them if there were something in it for me. Potter, Weasley, and Granger never questioned themselves in the face of adversity, even if the adversity was I.

Calamity. Bodies are flying in every direction, littering the floor with a combination of blood and skin. Curses are worse, though. They are smaller and seem to multiply after ricocheting off the castle walls. Glancing over my shoulder, I see that it's a mammoth Death Eater whose name I don't know, launching hexes and spells at anything that moves. It seems only sheer luck that the spells don't always hit anyone. I dodge person after person, some dead, some alive. I have already failed at murdering the Headmaster; I'm not about to succeed at getting my own hide killed.

"COME BACK, YOU BLOODY COWARD!" I wince as Potter's roar rises above the rest. He's after Snape, who is running behind me. Snape grabs the scruff of my cloak and thrusts me forward through a doorway, then sprints onward, "Circle around the other way! He's after me…just get to the gate!"

I pause and gulp the air, my life depending on every ounce. I calculate where and how far I have to go before reaching the sanctuary of the front gates; Snape will take a while, this route is the quickest way. I continue forward, winding my way down the spiral staircase in the small hallway. I hear more shouting in the area ahead, but it doesn't seem as thick as the horror I have just left behind.

I trip on the last stair and slam into the cold stone floor, which is sticky with spatters of blood. Cuts and bruises reveal themselves instantly as I lay there, temporarily paralyzed, regaining my breath. I stagger to my feet and pull myself around a corner just in time to see a Death Eater advancing on Granger. She's fallen and is bleeding profusely from her arm, which dangles futilely at her side. She's crying silently, watching the Death Eater draw closer, and wordlessly accepting death, not even trying to fight.

At this point, I am blind to friend and foe in my haste to save myself. Perhaps, I think while rounding the remainder of the corner, my wand held at the ready, I am doing this because I recognize her. This Death Eater isn't killing someone I don't know; he's killing someone I've known for a good part of my life. Just knowing the girl who sits whimpering at my feet pushes me into a pool of fury--fury at the Death Eater firing deadly, ill-aimed curses in the floor above me, fury at myself for even being in this situation, and fury especially toward the bastard about to murder Granger.

"Stupefy!" I put all of the rage my father would say I should have had while attempting to kill Dumbledore into stunning the man as he raises his wand. Granger screams and collapses onto the floor. After seeing that the Death Eater, who turns out to be Goyle Senior, is appropriately incapacitated, I drop to my knees by Granger. I check her pulse, and gasp when I can barely feel it.

"Granger?" I poke and prod her until she wakes. She sits up and regards me with wide, terrorized eyes. "Are you okay?"

I don't even know why I am wasting my time…but then again, I do know.

"I'm all right," she says painfully through gritted teeth. "Why did you help me?" She looks suspicious, ready to flee.

I stare back at her, searching for an answer. She looks right into my eyes, apparently looking for the same. I find the only one that's the truth and say, "Because it's you."

Her eyes soften, and she tries to stand. I help her do so even though she flinches fearfully at my touch. "I don't know if I can trust you, Malfoy. I mean, it is you we're talking about here." She glares at me; wand pointed in my face now, all previous softness gone. "Why are you running?"

"Please, Granger," I snap disdainfully, "I just saved your Mudblood arse. I don't think you have the right to question me."

Hurt flares in her eyes. "You need some serious help, Malfoy. You're a tormented mess. So, Ferret, explain or get stunned. Your choice." The venom in her voice convinces me.

"I'm sorry. I just-,"

"Whoa, are you apolo-,"

The words aren't even free of her mouth when Goyle Senior leaps to his feet, shouting, "Avada Kedavra!" I grab her and we spin out of the way. It's so close, I hear death whisper my name as Granger jumps in front of me, screeching, "Stupefy!" Goyle drops yet again.

"Why did you jump in front of me like that?" I manage to inquire, panting hard.

She stares at me for a fraction of a second before answering, "Because it's you."

I stare at her blankly, not sure if I heard her right, but hoping I did. She looks away, blushing a little. When she looks back, she's glaring, no doubt wondering why I'm such an idiot.

The screaming brings me back to reality. I want to stay and protect her, but being a Malfoy, I tell myself I want to save my own life first. I manage my trademark sneer before I turn my back on her and the rest of the school, run outside, and Disapparate from Hogwarts…probably forever. As I whirl through the limbo between the school and my destination, I hear the quietly spoken words, "Because it's you," forevermore etched in my mind.

Those words are why I look at her differently now. I feel something when I think of her, something I've never felt for anyone else. She always thinks of her friends before herself. I admire that. I used to think my father was the bravest wizard in the world to do what he does. Now I know that his so-called bravery is really cowardice. His uncanny ability to slip out of tight knots isn't cunning. It's fear. He'd leave my mother and me in a second. Granger always slips out of tight knots, but only because other lives are at stake, not just hers. She is amazing, brave, intelligent...all the things I thought I knew...all the things I wanted to be...only now, now I can't.

Summer has come and passed,

The innocent can never last,

Wake me up when September ends.

Like my fathers come to pass,

Seven years has gone so fast

This summer has been nothing but plans. Plans that involve me in the biggest war known to wizards. When the summer is over, innocent people will die. Only they aren't really innocent, according to my father. According to him, and to many others, there are people guilty by blood.

People like her.

Seven years of torturing her verbally. Seven years I want to take away, seven years of hurt I wish I never inflicted. She abhors me. And now she will die, like the rest of her kind...

Wake me up when September ends…

They want it over. They were more than willing to drag out the deaths of thousands, maybe millions, but now they want it over fast. They are starting with him, with Potter. She is with him. They'll find him and therefore discover her.

She'll never know. I tell myself she is better off not knowing, better off with Weasley. She doesn't deserve more pain. That is all she'll get in the end, though. I want to end this nightmare.

There is an unidentifiable feeling bubbling in my stomach. It's not unpleasant, but it makes me uneasy. I only feel it when I think of Granger though. She loathes you, I tell myself, but it doesn't deter me. If only I'd been kinder...

Here comes the rain again,

Falling from the stars.

Drenched in my pain again,

Becoming who we are.

As my memory rests,

But never forgets what I lost,

She had said I was a tortured soul. I agree. Only she can free me. I'm someone new when my thoughts turn to her. She makes me forget everything. The physical and emotional pain my father causes me, the deaths of those I've grown up with...

Too bad she doesn't know. She doesn't know I have to become something horrific. She'd scream at me, and perhaps slap me in the face as she did once before. She'd help, though.

At night, when I dream, when I can forget, I dream I'm with her. But I'll lose her with everything else I've lost. I'll never be able to tell her how I feel, even if she makes October. I can't help it. Granger keeps me going, but she probably won't make it.

Wake me up when September ends...

I don't want to see her die. I've made up my mind--she will survive.

But what if she doesn't? That thought crosses my mind, torturing me into a newfound madness. If she dies, the rest of my ripped-up soul will die with her. I have a constant, nagging sickness in my stomach. Something bad is going to happen to her. I can feel it. She may be with Potter and Weasley, but I wish she were here with me.

Be careful what you wish for...

The old saying dances fleetingly in front of my eyes, but I ignore it. I want her here; want proof that she's alive. Yet if she were here, she'd be in front of the rest of my family, and then there would no longer be any hope left for her. The feeling is growing stronger. Could it possibly be?

Summer has come and passed,

The innocent can never last,

Wake me up when September ends.

Ring out the bells again,

Like we did when spring began,

Nausea. Relief. Happiness. Grief. I feel sick from what I have just witnessed, yet I cannot help but be calmed to some degree.

Snatchers. Greedy fools who hunt Mudbloods and other witches and wizards for pay. Mudbloods. Disgusting. I will never use that term again. I never should have in the first place.

I'd never spared much thought about the Snatchers--until they found her. They've brought her here. ...It might come true. The rest of that bloody saying comes to me as soon as I see her, Potter, and Weasley. She is terrified, and all I want to do is take her in my arms and never let go.

My father wants me to identify them. I should refuse and die for her. My family knows, of course, even without my help. When my Aunt Bellatrix sees the sword, she's convinced they've stolen it from Gringotts. I almost laugh at this. I wouldn't put it past Granger. She's intelligent enough to steal all the wealth in Gringotts.

Next I hear Weasley pleading, asking to be tortured in her place. My aunt slaps him and orders him to the prison with Potter. As she begins to question Granger, all I can do is beg silently, please, please don't hurt her. My heart starts pounding audibly, but they don't hear it above the screams, screams so terrible they seem to split the sky. They pierce me with agony so horrible that I want to die with her. Between each curse, my aunt questions and insults her again. Granger lies whimpering near my feet, reminding me sickeningly of the year before. Then her eyes catch mine, and all I can do is glare and avert my gaze in false yet convincing disgust, hating my family and myself more and more. When I look back, she's still staring; when I glance back, she looks away in disappointment and sorrow.

As I retrieve the goblin, I don't see anything. I'm drifting in and out, catching only pieces of what's going on around me. The goblin declares the sword a fake, and Granger is unconscious. For a long time I know nothing until I feel a sharp pain against my face. At first I think she's screaming again, but it's actually shards from the chandelier. There's chaos for a few moments, but when everything dies down Granger has escaped. Weasley has gotten to her and Disapparated.

I now feel relief, a lot of it. She's made it past September, and I am done with this war.

Wake me up when September ends...

The war is over, and Harry Potter has vanquished the Dark Lord. Granger has survived, and when Voldemort died, she was the first person I looked for. For a horrible moment, I'd thought I'd lost her. Crabbe had used Avada Kedavra, and it took all my strength to keep from killing him after that. When Voldemort died, all the pain and fear in Granger's eyes gave way to endless happiness, and her happiness made me forget everything.

It's been seven years. She gets married in September, and I now recognize that mystery feeling I have whenever I think of her…

Here comes the rain again,

falling from the stars.

Drenched in my pain again,

becoming who we are.

As my memory rests,

but never forgets what I lost,

She's gone...I never tried...

Wake me up when September ends...


Summer has come and passed,

the innocent can never last,

wake me up when September ends.

Like my fathers come to pass,

twenty years has gone so fast,

Tomorrow is her birthday, September 19th. I wish I could be there for her.

Wake me up when September ends…

"You're amazing," I whisper through the windows of her house. She doesn't know...

Wake me up when September ends...

"I love you...Hermione."

Wake me up when September ends…