I

It had started after Slughorn's Christmas party. She left McLaggen after he tried one too many times for a snog and sought a quiet place to think. There were holiday gatherings all over the castle and she continued going up, hoping the sounds of merriment would soon fade. She reached the Astronomy Tower and hesitated before climbing up and out.

The air was cold and crisp, and smelled of freshly fallen snow. The moon was big and bright and she wrapped her arms tightly around her, smiling at the way her breath came out in puffs. After a few minutes, she cast a warming charm and moved to rest on the low part in the crenellation.

The night was calm and still and she could almost believe they weren't in a war.

A noise startled her from her reverie and she glanced over her shoulder to see someone push open the hatch and step onto the parapet. The newcomer didn't look at her, but she thought it was a boy, an older one judging by his height and the breadth of his shoulders. He wore a dark, hooded cloak and staggered to the edge of the tower. She watched as his shoulders slumped and his head bowed. Then he pulled the hood down, revealing a head of shocking white-blond hair.

She gasped.

He heard it and spun around, a snarl appearing on his face when he saw it was her. They stared at each other for what felt like hours, then his face lost all emotion and he turned around again.

Not knowing what to do, she remained where she was, watching the clouds make the shadows dance on the snow, having lost the ability to concentrate on her thoughts. All she could think about was him, and everything Harry suspected about him. Every now and then she glanced over her shoulder to see if he was still there. One time, he was gripping the cold stone so tightly his knuckles were bright white and the thought occurred to her that he might throw himself over. She didn't know why she thought it, but she did.

"Would you stop?" he said, meeting her eyes, catching her.

She reddened and spun around, deciding it would be a good time to return to her room. She made to go, and as she neared the center of the turret where the trap door was, he looked at her again. From the closer vantage, she could see that his eyes were blood-shot and he looked awful. He held something out to her and she backed away. That made him cackle, a sound which sent a chill through her spine.

"It's not poison. See?" He demonstrated by tossing back a bottle containing an amber-colored liquid. "Have some. You look like you could use it." He was drunk, his words slurring badly, and she wondered if he knew who she was. Perhaps he had snarled at her simply because she was there. Though the proffered bottle was only half-full, she suspected it wasn't his first.

When she still said nothing, he lunged for her arm, pulled her closer, and shoved the bottle into her hand. "Take it!" he commanded, then pulled a full bottle from inside his robes, opened it, and started drinking.

She stared at the vessel in her hands, not sure what to do. She didn't want to anger him, or drink it. He watched her struggle with indecision and then laughed, slumping down the wall to sit on the ground. He took another long drink.

"It's just whisky, Granger," he said. "Won't kill you. It'll only numb the pain but you still feel it. It's so sharp, so toxic, that you can't think of anything but the pain." He closed his eyes and rested his head again the wall.

Finally, she found her voice. "What do you want to numb, Malfoy?"

He hiccupped, and then smirked lazily. "You would ask that, wouldn't you? You're so … you." His tone held the same inflection and disgust that it always did when he called her names or made fun of her.

She didn't know why, but she didn't want to leave him there alone. He might get too close to the edge and tumble over. He looked truly lost, and she knew what that felt like. She sat down a few feet away from him and took one small swallow of the fiery beverage. She coughed, surprised at the burn.

He chuckled, and then held his bottle out to her. She clinked hers against his and they sat together in silence until Draco passed out. Hermione cast a warming charm around him, made sure he was reasonably comfortable, and then returned to Gryffindor Tower.

oOo

II

Frigid weather and endless snow after the holiday led to full corridors and rooms, the library included. She needed a place to get away from all the noise. Without really thinking about where she was going, she ended up on the Astronomy Tower again, and cast a warming charm over the entire space. Then she Transfigured paper into a table and set about her homework.

Hours passed before she was disturbed. It was him again, and this time he was sober. He glared at her, and then seemed to notice that the air around him was warm. Without a word he went to the tower's edge, just as he had that night weeks before.

She tried to ignore him, but every now and then he'd shift, rustling his robes just enough to break her concentration. When she glanced at him, her thoughts torn between doing nothing and asking him to be still, she saw that he was watching her. Their eyes remained locked for a few seconds, and then she turned away. She could still feel his intense gaze burning her skin. Finally she sensed him look away and she resisted the urge to glance at him once more.

Try as she might, however, she couldn't return to her homework, and was just about to pack it in when he spoke. At first, she wasn't sure he was even talking to her. He was mumbling and she couldn't hear everything he said. She stared at him though, almost holding her breath. Then he stopped talking and turned around, looking at her expectantly. Her eyes widened, and then he started pacing the tower, launching into a tirade about Potions. Slughorn this, Slughorn that, the ridiculous text book, Potter's sudden abilities. He went on and on without pause for what felt like hours. She sat there, watching him, her quill still touching the parchment.

He asked for her opinion on something and she gave it. He seemed satisfied with her response and they ended up talking for hours about nothing but school and classes.

We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute,
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;

oOo

III

It started out as punishment.

He felt awful every moment he was awake, and when he slept, he had nightmares. He spent his days grasping at straws and trying to fix something he didn't know how to fix, and his nights trying not to fall asleep and getting his homework done. He'd resorted to potions for dreamless sleep, despite the negative consequences of excessive use. Greying skin and bloodshot eyes were a small price to pay for undisturbed sleep.

He didn't know why he started talking to her, but it had been a kind of cathartic release. He'd always hated her before, but since the beginning of their sixth year, he'd fallen into apathetic disregard when it came to her. That day on the tower, she had listened to him, really listened, which was more than most people had ever done for him. Granted, he had suspected that she did it more from shock or fear than concern, but he pretended otherwise.

After he had left the tower that evening, he'd felt terrible. He had just voluntarily spoken with a Mudblood for hours. They had exchanged ideas, shared things with each other. It had felt so right and so wrong at the same time, and he hated himself for it. But he deserved to feel that way. It was his punishment for consorting with her. Since being given his task, Draco had hated many people. The Dark Lord, his father, his aunt and uncles, even his mother, just a little bit. He hated the people around him, his teachers, especially the ones who seemed to care about his dropping grades. He hated everything around him but after that day on the tower, he focused that hatred inward, where it belonged.

Every day since, he went up to the tower and she was usually there, studying in her warm cocoon. She would set her quill down, cross her ankles, and wait for him to speak. Sometimes he didn't open his mouth for a long while, but she still just waited. He hated it, hated himself for needing to be go there. Eventually, he would talk, and she would too.

It was never about anything important. Always school, teachers, grades, and people. Bloody Quidditch. He hated learning that they had things in common, that they had similar interests, and, in some cases, parallel standards, which had appalled both of them.

Talking to her, letting out every frustration except those that mattered most, was a kind of invigorating liberation, which he chased with a dose of extreme guilt and self-loathing. But it was like a drug; he needed it, needed the release just as much as he needed the pain that followed. A herd of angry hippogriffs couldn't have kept him away.

oOo

IV

After a month or so, it turned into something else. Meeting with her became about confession. He would never declare his greatest secret, but everything else he gladly emptied onto her. From his first memories to what had occurred the day before. Every Galleon he had nicked from his mum, every time he pushed some kid around, all the way up to cheating on his girlfriend that past summer. He confessed that he had never truly cared for the girl, but he knew that didn't absolve him.

She seemed at first stunned by what he told her, but after a few weeks, nothing fazed her anymore. So he kept pushing, revealing more and more about himself, hoping that she would turn on him, scream and shout at him, judge and condemn him. She never did.

Then one day, he found her on the tower crying. Anger swelled inside him and he wanted to find the person responsible for her tears and beat the life out of him. But she had made him swear not to lift a finger if she told him what had happened, and he agreed, grudgingly.

Then it was her turn. She confessed to him her feelings for Ron, that stretched back a few years. He was still with his girlfriend and it hurt every time she saw them together. That day had been too much. She went on and on, alternating between his good qualities and his terrible ones, all the while seeming on the brink of some kind of decision. He waited, just as she had done for him so many times, and listened.

He had never been a great listener, had always been too concerned about himself, but after everything she had done for him, he felt he owed her something. As she talked, tears running down her face, he realized he cared about her. Deeply. She had become significant to him in ways he hadn't expected or even wanted.

The look on her face became too much and he awkwardly pulled her onto his lap and hugged her. She sobbed into his arms for a good ten minutes, clinging to him as though if she let go, she'd be lost. He said nothing, just rubbed her back, wondering why it didn't bother him that he was touching her.

After he'd got her to laugh, she told him she was letting go. What would come would come, and she would deal with it. He wanted to tell her he would be there for her, and he could see her waiting for those words to dance in the space between them. He couldn't because he refused to lie to her.

Later, when he lay in bed, it finally struck him that he didn't hate himself for what had happened. It had only felt all kinds of right.

oOo

V

Confession moved to need.

He needed her more with each passing day, needed her sweet smile and the feeling it gave him. On days when they didn't meet, he was grumpy and foul to anyone who crossed him, intentionally or not.

The end of the school year was approaching and with every passing day it brought him closer to the end of his time. More than once it occurred to him to tell her the truth, tell her everything, but he couldn't get the words out. It would mean the end of them, and he wasn't prepared for that. It would come, he knew, with his success or failure, but it wasn't that time yet.

More than anything, he needed her to know him. When his planning came to fruition, people would wonder about him, call him names, label him. He needed her to know who he truly was, not just the way he presented himself. So he talked about his hopes and dreams, his favorite foods and desserts, the things that made him happy.

He loved the feel of the biting cold wind rushing around him as he flew in search of the ever-elusive Snitch. He loved walking through the edge of the forest in the fall, feeling the twigs snap beneath his boots and hearing the crunch of leaves with every step he took. He loved the smell of chocolate pudding fresh from the oven, of the light from a full moon shining on the lake near his home. These things brought him comfort, grounded him when his task threated to overwhelm him.

She returned his investment in kind, opening up to him in ways he never could have imagined. She never mentioned Weasley again, at least in the way that had made her cry weeks before, and whenever the thought occurred to him, it made him happy. She talked about the war far more than he did, telling him how scared she was that she would lose someone close to her. He didn't miss the way her eyes darted quickly to him and then away. She worried about Harry, the stress he was under, the impossible mission in front of him.

It was all he could do not to blurt out that he was already under an impossible mission, one that guaranteed death for someone close to him. That was the one thing that still stood between them, and he suspected she knew he was hiding something important from her.

Still, she never pressed him.

They sat as always, their backs to the stone wall, a few feet between them. Except for the singular occasion where he had held her, they didn't touch. He was both grateful for this and frustrated by it. With each passing day, he found himself wanting to touch her more and more. Her hair, her hand, her face. Could her skin possibly be as soft as it looked? He didn't know what would happen if he found out. He might never want to stop touching her, and that would be crossing a line he wasn't sure he should cross. After all, every day brought their separation closer.

oOo

VI

The weather was turning warmer, making it harder to meet in secret. Neither was interested in ending their association, so their meetings were pushed into the night. She would set her wand to wake her, gather her robe, and sneak out of Gryffindor tower. Sneaking out of the dungeons was not a problem, but making his way through the school to the Astronomy Tower wasn't as easy of a task. She learned to Disillusion herself, and taught him.

The air around them was always warm, thanks to her spellwork. It was reminiscent of the first time they had met inadvertently under the full moon on that tower. The stars were brilliant, and she commented on his love of moonlight.

He knew she hadn't meant to stir the growing desire in his chest, that her comment had been completely innocent. As he stared at her face, sweet, pure, innocent, lit by the moon behind her, he was overcome.

Need turned to want.

oOo

VII

He couldn't look at her the same after that night. She knew him better than any person alive, had heard from his own mouth the terrible things he had done, and yet still spent time with him. It was unfathomable.

Now his feelings toward her had changed drastically. His heart burned whenever he saw her smile or heard her laugh, and he longed for their time together on the tower.

When it came two nights later, however, he was stiff and awkward around her. He tried to be normal, but suddenly he was questioning everything he did or said, and his words felt like cotton in his mouth.

She asked him what was wrong and he stared at his hands, unable to speak. The warm air in their protective bubble smelled of freshly cut grass and he breathed deeply, enjoying the fresh scent. He sensed movement and when he lifted his head, she was sitting very close to him, her eyes bright and intense.

They stared at each other until he realized he was barely breathing. He swallowed hard and then she hesitantly reached a hand up to touch his face. Fire and ice shot through him as she trailed her finger from his temple to his chin. Then she rested her palm against his cheek and he closed his eyes and leaned into her touch. He'd never felt so much for a person as he did her, never felt so close, like their souls were overlapped. Beyond filling holes inside him, her presence in his life created new spaces where only she belonged.

Then her lips brushed his and his eyes flew open. She was a hairsbreadth away, watching him, fear and concern and hope mingled in her eyes. He brought his hand up to cover hers, still resting on his cheek, and then he wrapped a finger in a lock of her hair. Their eyes met again briefly, and he slid his hand around her neck and pulled her to him, closing the miniscule yet potentially insurmountable distance between them. That conquered, he buried his hand in her hair and kissed her.

He'd kissed girls before, and plenty, but this was unlike anything he'd experienced or dreamed about. It went beyond a melding of lips and tongues, it felt as though their spirits had fused. She was a part of him, just as he was of her. He realized he loved her, and his ministrations intensified. Though she showed no signs of wanting to end the kiss, he held on to her desperately, not wanting to end the connection between them for anything in the world.

When she absolutely required air, he moved to kiss her cheeks, her nose, her neck. She sighed, a mixture of contentment and desire and he returned to ravish her mouth. She kissed him back with fierce abandon and was soon pulling him down onto the stone floor. He'd barely noticed the change in position until he put his hands out to keep from crushing her.

He broke the kiss then and opened his eyes. She was flushed, her eyes swirling, her hair fanned around her head.

"You're beautiful," he said, then met her waiting lips.

oOo

VIII

She had been called many things in her life, but beautiful had never been one of them. Desire flooded through her and she forced herself to stop thinking and simply feel. She loved him then, and nothing in her life had ever felt so right.

Soon their robes and shirts had been removed and Transfigured into large, flat pillows. He paused in his attention and searched her face, wordlessly asking her what she wanted.

"You," she answered into the night, pulling his face to hers once more and silencing all of his doubts.

Her name had never sounded so alluring, so exotic, so treasured as it did when it rolled off his lips, his eyes locked with hers, as he crashed around her and in her and through her.

Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made to eternally weep.

oOo

IX

The next three weeks were transcendent. They met every night and laughed and loved until they fell asleep in each other's arms.

Near the end of April, however, she woke up sick and went to the nurse. One test and two words had her reeling.

She avoided him, though it tore her apart. He couldn't approach her in class or in the corridors, nor could he stare at her incessantly. Someone was always watching. She couldn't keep the truth from him forever, nor did she want to; she simply had a lot of thinking to do. By the second week of May, however, she had more questions than answers and sent him a letter asking to meet, as usual, in the dead of night on the Astronomy Tower.

He was cool toward her at first, as she had expected. When she uttered the most difficult sentence she'd ever spoken in her life, he paled and sank onto his knees.

She was crushed and started crying, standing on the opposite side of the Tower from him. Before she knew it, he was beside her, his strong, too-thin arms wrapped tightly around her. He murmured words of endearment, comfort and love into her hair and she wanted desperately to believe them. His initial response had betrayed him.

"I didn't mean for this to happen," she said through her tears. "I … Just once forgot the protective charm, that first time. I was so caught up in the moment …"

"Shhh," he said, his velvety voice soothing to her frayed nerves. "I'm here."

She pushed him away and crossed her arms, taking a few steps back. She accused him of not wanting the child, even though she hadn't wanted it either. But now that it was coming, she did. She wanted him in her life if he would have her, wanted him to be the father. He loved her, didn't he?

"Of course," he said, his voice strained. "It's not that simple."

"Sure it is," she argued.

Suddenly he was angry. He grabbed her wrist and yanked her flush against him. He was breathing hard and she noticed how tired and worn he looked.

"Things in my life are never that simple. Surely you've realized that by now," he said.

"We are though," she insisted. "Me and you."

He released her and took a few steps back. His expression was pained. "Up here, on this tower, yes. But there's a reason we don't have anything beyond that trap door. Not because I don't want it, but because … it's complicated."

"Are we finally going to have this conversation? About the outside world?" she asked.

He sighed and ran a shaky hand through his hair. "Whenever I try to think about … about us, out there, I just get sick. I can't … there's so much you don't know."

She crossed her arms again, fighting the tears. "About you, you mean? Are you finally going to tell me what you've been keeping bottled up this whole time?"

His eyes were sharp and his frown stern. "No. I can't. That's not an option."

"Draco, please—"

"No!" he shouted, whirling on her. "Do not ask what I cannot give you. You have my heart, you have my soul. I can't promise that my life will always be mine to give you."

It was her turn to pale. "What do you mean?"

His shoulders slumped and she was reminded of the first night they'd met atop the tower. "Don't ask, Hermione. The less you know, the better."

She marched across the tower, put her hand on his shoulder and pulled him around to face her. "Do not mess with me, Draco Malfoy. Tell me what's going on this instant! Are you in trouble? Whatever it is, we can get through it together."

He shook his head and took her hand in his. "Let's not talk about this right now. There's plenty of time." His smile was forced.

"Why did you react that way when I told you?"

It hit him then that the best thing for her would be to hate him, to wish she'd never given him a second chance. He couldn't possibly expect her to give him a third if his plan succeeded. If it didn't, well, then he wouldn't be around for her to reject anyway. He forced his features into indifference.

"I don't want to see you anymore."

"What?" she gasped.

Now he glared at her, putting as much of his former enmity and hate into the expression as he could. "I'm finished with you. I got what I wanted, and you were stupid enough to get pregnant. Now I want nothing to do with you." The words hurt him almost as much as they seemed to hurt her.

"You don't mean that," she said. How could he? Just moments ago, he had told her she held his heart and soul. "Why are you saying this?"

"It was all a lie. Leave me alone!"

She backed away, her thoughts a confused mess. "You love me!" she whispered, one hand involuntarily going to her stomach.

His eyes followed the movement and the tenderness in them betrayed him. But when he looked back at her, they were cold and empty. "No."

"You do!" she cried, frustrated with his behavior and beginning to understand that he meant to end things, no matter how he felt about her.

"How could I ever love someone like you?" he said, anger and hate dripping from every syllable. He was a good liar; at least the emotions behind it were true. He hated himself at that moment for hurting her so much. Finally realizing that she wasn't going to believe him, he cast her one last scornful snarl and left her alone on the tower.

The night whose sable breast relieves the stark,
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bloom at all
In light, but crumple, piteous, and fall;

oOo

X

Being in the same general space with her was unbearable. Being in the same classroom was a worse torture than any the Dark Lord had yet managed to inflict on him. Draco received a letter from his mother, telling him that his master grew restless as the months lengthened. That night, bereft of his usual companion, he sought somewhere to think, to try and sort out the impossible sides warring within him.

That night, he nearly cast the Cruciatus at Harry Potter.

oOo

XI

She heard what happened and couldn't speak. She harped on the book with Harry because she couldn't possibly tell him that he had almost killed the father of her child. Then she heard that Pansy Parkinson visited him in the hospital, and a worm of true doubt wiggled its way into her heart. She cried herself to sleep for a week.

oOo

XII

There were sounds of battle below and as he stood with his wand trained on the old man's chest, he couldn't help but wonder if she was involved. On his journey from the Room of Requirement to the tower, he had seen several of Potter's friends. Was she there now, fighting against the Death Eaters he had let into the school? The Order, they were somewhat expected, but Longbottom? Lovegood?

Draco, Draco, you are not a killer.

He wanted to scream, "I know, I know!" The brief triumph he had felt at successfully restoring the cabinet had been long replaced by the full impact of what that meant. Death Eaters … Greyback, roaming the halls of Hogwarts. Knowing her, she would be fighting. He thought of his child she carried and thought he might be sick.

He had to keep talking. For some reason, the more he talked, the better he felt. As he explained how he managed to get the Death Eaters into the school, he glanced around the tower. Memories flashed through his mind. The first time he'd seen her there, completely sloshed; the first time he realized she would come back; the first time he decided he wanted her to; the moment he realized he cared for her, loved her. His eyes fell on the spot where they had first … he swallowed bile.

His voice grated on his own nerves. He sounded like a spoiled, whiny brat; granted, he had once been exactly that. The year and his experiences had changed him, however. Resorting to what was easy, he tried to act the part he was supposed to play, that of a man about to kill another. Only he felt very small, as though he were a first-year again, as he stared at the headmaster. He cringed when he used the word Mudblood to speak of Hermione.

I can help you, Draco.

Her face swan in his mind, that night she had told him they could get through anything together. He noticed his hand was shaking and the inevitability of what would happen next threatened to choke him. He would kill, or in the end, be killed.

"Nobody can. He told me to do it or he'll kill me. I've got no choice."

No, Draco. It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.

Then his world crashed down around him. The others arrived and despite their commands, he couldn't do it. He couldn't kill the old man, not in the place where his child was conceived. It didn't matter if he would never see him; he didn't want the boy or girl to grow up and learn that his father was a murderer.

What followed was a blur. Snape joined them and killed the old man, then pulled him through the school and out. He ran; with all that he had in him, he just ran. The deed had been done, though not by him. Perhaps the Dark Lord would overlook the failure. He had something to live for, something to keep running for. He would get away from the school and find a way back to her. He wanted her in his life more than anything and suddenly, despite what had just happened, he believed it was possible.

oOo

XIII

She was numb, unsure that she would ever be able to feel again. After hearing everyone's tales, she excused herself, claiming much-needed sleep, and went to the tower where everything had happened. Someone had removed the ward he had placed on it that limited access to those with the Mark. She had seen him though, seen his bare arm on numerous occasions. He must have been using a glamour to hide it.

She wondered vaguely if it would have changed anything if she had seen it. Probably, but then, he had been torn in pieces, probably by the very reason for the Mark's existence on his arm.

A protective hand went to her stomach as she slowly spun around, surveying the scene. No wonder he didn't tell her what had slowly drained him of life all year. She was angry with him for not trusting her! They could have done something, she knew it! Now … now he was with the Death Eaters, likely to join them more permanently. The thought of him, murdering, torturing, and worse, turned her stomach. She was nearly sick on the tower but managed to hold it in.

He had loved her, she was sure of it. He had shared every part of his life with her except this, the one thing that would come between them. He had said it was better that she didn't know, and she understood he had meant to protect her.

The anger subsided and was replaced with worry. Where was he? What would happen to him? Harry had said that he couldn't complete his task … would he be all right?

I can't promise that my life will always be mine to give you.

He thought he might die tonight. Was it still a possibility?

She leaned against the crenellations, staring at the gates that led onto the property, the last place she knew he had been. Would she see him again? Did she want to? What would people think when she told them the truth, that she had fallen in love with him? That his child was growing inside her?

They would never understand, not after tonight. Even if she told them about all the wonderful things that had been discussed on the Tower, they would never be able to look past what he had done. Feeling more alone than ever, she shivered and left the place that held so many good memories.

oOo

XIV

He sat on his bed, a prisoner in his home. He'd received his punishment for failing, but been allowed to live, since the task had been completed anyway. His mother was spared as well, and soon his father would be retrieved from Azkaban. All he had hoped for at the beginning of the school year had come true, but since that time, he had gotten greedy and found something else he wanted. Or rather, someone. What did she think of him now? Did she hate him? He hoped not, but wouldn't be surprised if she did.

He remembered the way she had refused to believe him when he told her he didn't love her. He knew it was too much to ask that he be allowed to see her again, to explain, to make things right. Beyond that, he wanted to snatch her away from the war and keep her safe. He couldn't see her, but he could at least send her a message.

With a resigned sigh, he pulled out a fresh piece of parchment and his quill.

oOo

XV

She couldn't sleep that night. None of them could, but most people were sitting around the fire in the common room. She alone was in the dorm, staring at the ceiling, crying tears of a different kind from those being shed by her friends and schoolmates. She mourned the boy who'd been forced into a man's job and had failed, the father of her child, and the one she loved.

A tear slid down her cheek, she brushed it away, and then she heard a tapping on her window. A dark grey owl flew into the room when she opened it, and she hastily removed the attached letter. The creature flew away, which saddened her. He didn't want a response.

Her hands shook as she broke the seal and opened the missive.

Hermione,

You were right not to believe me that night. Of course I loved you then, and I do now. I hope this confession doesn't anger you, if in fact you're actually reading this.

I shouldn't presume to think you care, but I wanted you to know that I'm all right. My parents are all right. I couldn't do it, all I could think about was you, and I don't think I could have ever done it. I don't know what's going to happen to me, but know that I'll be thinking of you, and hoping you get through this war safely.

I'll send you money as I can for our child. Know that I would be in your lives if I could, and I hope that someday it will be possible. That would require your forgiveness, of course, and I ask for it now. I don't deserve it, and I may never know if you grant it.

I love you.

Draco

So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds,
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.

oOo

End Notes: Thank you for reading! The title of this story come from a poem of the same name by Countee Cullen. The verses are located throughout the chapter and the poem in its entirety can be found below.

From the Dark Tower by Countee Cullen/b

We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute,
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;
Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made to eternally weep.
The night whose sable breast relieves the stark,
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bloom at all
In light, but crumple, piteous, and fall;
So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds,
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.