Sometimes I hate my parents.

I suppose it's a bit more difficult to hate my mother, as I don't think she's ever had much say in the matters of our family. Hating my father is a little too easy, though. I don't think people are supposed to hate their parents, but I also don't think that parents are supposed to do things that spawn hatred. My father, for example, should never have put us in this situation, and I suppose my mother should have put her foot down and forbid it. But the past is the past, and I don't suppose there's any point dwelling on it, is there?

The Dark Mark burns. Sometimes it burns so badly that I feel my eyes start to tear up. I don't let myself cry, of course, but there are times when I'd like nothing more. But tears show weakness, and I refuse to be weak. I refuse to give them anymore ammunition to use against me. Everyone knows I failed, everyone already assumes I'm weak. But I won't give them more proof. So I certainly will not cry.

I don't know who to blame for all this. I could easily blame my parents, of course, but that's almost cliché, isn't it? It's easier to just secretly hate my parents and blame someone else altogether.

Like Harry Potter.

Up until this very second, I've convinced myself that this is all his fault. If he had just died when he was supposed to sixteen years ago, none of this would be happening. My family wouldn't be shamed, and I wouldn't have this damn Mark on my arm that seems to haunt me every single second of every day. Harry fucking Potter. This whole thing is his fault.

But when I see him standing there in the drawing room of my house, I forget to remember that.

He doesn't look like himself, though. His face is swollen to twice its normal size, and there's very little about his appearance that's recognizable. No doubt Granger's decided to hit him with some jinx to make identifying him more difficult. She's not disguised at all, surprisingly, and she stands there beside him with her eyes trained on the carpet determinedly. She looks like she wants to burst into tears but is forcefully restraining herself. Weasley's there, too. I knew that whole Spattergroit story was bollocks. There's no way, he would let Potter and Granger run off into the wild together where they might accidentally fall in love or start shagging each other out of boredom. Somebody's hit him, and he's got blood dripping all down his face and onto his ratty old shirt. A drop hits the carpet in front of his feet, and I get distracted by it for a second, wondering if Mother's noticed it. If she has, she'll probably have a conniption fit right here. Dean Thomas is there, too, and some ugly little goblin. They're all tied together and looking in different directions, and I realize suddenly that they're all going to die.

Everyone else is staring at me, waiting with baited breath for my confirmation that they have, in fact, captured Harry Potter. Mother's called me over, and that disgusting werewolf is damn near salivating at the mouth.

"Well, boy?" he demands, and I force myself not to look at him. I have no desire to see the eager look on his marred face.

When I don't immediately answer, Father urges me further. "Well, Draco? Is it? Is it Harry Potter?"

I can tell by the tone of his voice that he wants nothing more in the world than for me to say yes and confirm the capture. I know what he's thinking. If Potter's captured here in our home, the Dark Lord will forgive everything and stop punishing us. Or at least that's Father's train of thinking. I myself am beginning to think that the Dark Lord has no intentions of ever forgiving us. He doesn't need us, and I'm sure he's simply keeping us alive thus far for the mere sake of his own enjoyment as he watches us suffer.

I glance at Potter, just barely. He isn't looking at me. He expects me to give him right up, to shout eagerly that it's him. He has no reason to think otherwise.

"I can't…" My voice trails momentarily as I hear the words coming out of my mouth. "I can't be sure."

I don't even know why I lie. Lying about this will only make things worse, and I know it. But I can't do it. I should be able to- easily. But I can't. A deep feeling of nervous doubt fills me, and I realize that the last time I felt this was on the Astronomy Tower back in June. I could have killed Dumbledore, but I didn't want to. I don't want to kill Harry Potter, either.

Father's face falls almost instantly at my hesitation. "But look at him carefully, look!" he commands. "Come closer. Draco, if we are the ones who hand Potter over to the Dark Lord, everything will be forgiv-"

He's cut off by Greyback who snarls something about wanting credit for the capture. I don't listen. I just turn away and look over to the fireplace where Mother looks as nervous as I feel. Father and the werewolf are still debating over whether the inflated person in the middle of the room is really Harry Potter. I try to block them out, but Father says my name again, demanding me to come over and inspect what they've apparently decided might be the telltale scar.

I have no choice but to join them again. Father pulls me over to stand directly in front of Potter and points at something on his forehead. "What do you think?"

I meet Potter's eyes for the first time since his arrival. He and I both know that his fate is in my hands, and I can tell that he's already counting himself as dead. He doesn't trust me, nor do I expect him to. It would be so easy to prove him right, so easy to admit that it is him and put an end to this whole thing.

But I can't.

Father looks more excited than I've ever seen him. He keeps looking eagerly from Potter and then back to me. Potter, though, never once breaks my eye contact. I feel very ill.

"I don't know," I finally mumble, and then I move to the fireplace with Mother. She can sense that I'm upset because she moves a gentle hand over the back of my head and speaks as calmly as she can manage.

"We had better be certain, Lucius. Completely sure that it is Potter before we summon the Dark Lord." She starts studying his wand then and notes that it doesn't meet the well-published description. She's scared, too. I wonder if she senses the impending doom that's heading our way no matter what. Or perhaps she suffers from Father's delusions as well and assumes that we will once again be in good graces with the Dark Lord.

The werewolf is put off with us, I can tell. He's angry that his moment of glory has been snatched away from him or, perhaps, will never occur at all. He turns his attention instead to the other prisoners. Or, rather, one in particular.

"What about the Mudblood, then?"

The air in the room seems to flicker with excitement once again as the group of prisoners is spun around so quickly that the goblin completely loses his footing. He would hit the ground if he weren't tied to the others. The light falls directly on Granger who still has the uncanny appearance of someone who is about to burst into tears at any given moment. She's more afraid than Potter was seconds ago when all eyes were on him. She has reason to be scared, of course, as she hasn't even had the decency to properly disguise herself.

She doesn't so much as glance at me, and her eyes stay focused on the floor. If she looks anywhere else, she's going to start crying. While she's never been attractive, she's always at least been relatively well-groomed. Now, though, she's just as dirty as her male counterparts, and there are several scratches and bruises in various spots on her face and hand. Her hair looks even more horrid than usual, which is saying quite a lot, and it looks as if it hasn't seen an actual comb in weeks. To top it off, her clothes are so ragged that I'd almost swear she borrowed them from Weasley if they didn't actually fit her. Her jumper's going frayed at the neck, and her jeans have a wide hole straight over the knee.

Mother's voice is heightened slightly from behind me. "Wait," she breathes excitedly. "Yes… Yes, she was in Madam Malkin's with Potter! I saw her picture in the Prophet! Look, Draco, isn't it the Granger girl?"

She couldn't disguise herself even a bit? Perhaps she doesn't realize that her picture has been on the cover of every newspaper in the country. She must not know that the price on her forehead is second only to that on Potter's. To be so fucking smart, she can be really stupid.

What can I say? I can't pretend not to recognize her. Everyone in the room already knows it's her, they're just waiting for me to admit it. Still, the words are difficult.

"I… maybe…" I want to disappear. "Yeah."

"But then, that's the Weasley boy!" Father very nearly shouts. "It's them, Potter's friends! Draco, look at him, isn't it Arthur Weasley's son, what's his name---?"

I catch Weasley's eye just briefly. He has no apparent problem with making eye-contact, and he glares at me so hatefully that I almost wince. I don't, though, I just turn away from the whole lot of them and say, "Yeah. It could be."

"What is this? What's happened, Cissy?"

My aunt has joined us. She comes flouncing into the room as if she owns it, and she goes straight over to the group of people tied together in the center. She stops rightin front of Granger and barely dares to breathe the next words.

"But surely, this is the Mudblood girl? This is Granger?"

Father is nearly falling over himself with excitement as he confirms her suspicion and announces that Potter and the rest of his lot have been caught at last.

Bellatrix shrieks with glee at the news and immediately goes to pull back her sleeve and summon the Dark Lord. She's stopped only because Father wants to claim the glory for himself. They argue over who should have the honor of calling the Dark Lord, while Greyback offers his own opinion and declares that he shall be the one to claim the reward. This goes on for several moments, and I glance once more at the group of prisoners. They all look terrified by this point, and I assume they all know what's about to happen. I wonder if I can Disapparate unnoticed, but then I think of the things people would say. They would take it as even further proof of my weakness and inadequacy.


The yell comes from my aunt, and everyone in the room stares at her. She looks panicked and hysterical and absolutely mad.

"Do not touch it, we shall all perish if the Dark Lord comes now!"

Father, for some reason, obeys her and does not press his finger to the Mark on his arm. He looks at her expectantly, but she ignores him and pushes forward to one of the Snatchers who brought the lot in. He's holding a sword of some sort, and when she demands to know what he's got, he tells her just that.

"Give it to me," she demands hatefully.

"It's not yorn, missus, it's mine, I reckon I found it."

The next few seconds are a blur as Bellatrix Stuns each of the Snatchers in quick succession. The werewolf is on his knees, and she's eyeing him with a look so cold and serious that he must be positively terrified. She's now got the sword, and she rips Greyback's wand out of his hand. "Where did you get this sword?" she demands seriously.

"How dare you! Release me, woman!" He's frozen and can't do anything except glare up at her from his kneeling position.

"Where did you find this sword? Snape sent it to my vault in Gringotts!"

With everyone else's attention fixed on Bellatrix and Greyback, I take another glance at the group of prisoners. Potter and Granger both have their heads turned over opposite shoulders and are staring at each other, having some sort of secret silent conversation with their eyes. I wonder if they've learned to read each other's minds.

"Draco, move this scum outside." Bellatrix's order snaps me back to reality, and I see that Greyback has been allowed to stand but is smartly keeping his distance. My aunt narrows her eyes at me. "If you haven't got the guts to finish them, then leave them in the courtyard for me."

I say nothing, but I don't have to because Mother jumps to my defense and snaps at her sister to leave me alone. Bellatrix is having none of it, though.

"Be quiet! The situation is graver than you can possibly imagine, Cissy! We have a very serious problem!" No one speaks further, and the silence of the room is broken only by breathing for several long moments. "If it is indeed Potter, he must not be harmed. The Dark Lord wishes to dispose of Potter himself… But if he finds out… I must… I must know."

Perhaps she's finally gone completely mental. Azkaban does that to people, I suppose. I have no idea what she's talking about, nor, does it seem, do my parents.

"The prisoners must be placed in the cellar while I think what to do!" she says frantically, and Father once again jumps in to remind her that this is his house and that he will give the orders. I think once again about the opportunity to Disapparate unnoticed, but Mother cuts my plan off by instructing Greyback to take the prisoners to the cellar.

"Wait," Bellatrix breaks in. "All except… except for the Mudblood."

Greyback gives a growl of sickening pleasure, and Weasley immediately goes into his own bout of hysterics and starts offering himself up instead. He shuts up only when my aunt's hand hits his face.

"If she dies under questioning, I'll take you next. Blood traitor is next to Mudblood in my book. Take them downstairs, Greyback, and make sure they are secure, but do nothing more to them. Yet."

Bellatrix cuts Granger free from the others and literally drags her by the root of her hair to the center of the room as Greyback forces the rest of them out of the room and down the corridor toward the cellar. I don't look at them as they disappear, and I try very hard not to look at the only one who is left in the drawing room, either.

Granger gives a quiet little whimper, and my eyes find her against their own will. Bellatrix has still got her by the hair and appears to be pulling it so tightly that it might actually rip out from her scalp at any given second. I try to look away, but for some reason I can't. And when my eyes scan her quickly, I'm shocked to find her eyes locked directly on me. She isn't crying- yet- but she looks more scared than I've ever seen anyone look in my life, and her eyes bear into mine seriously and almost pleadingly. She isn't looking anywhere else, and I wish she'd find somewhere else to focus her gaze.

And then, in a movement so tiny that I barely even register it, her lips silently form the word "Please" as her eyes beg me to help her.

What does she want me to do? Step in front of the curses that are about to hit her? I'm not Weasley or Potter, I haven't got any obligation to her. I don't even like her. If she dies right in here in my drawing room, what consequence is any of it to me? She's nothing to me. She's some filthy little know-it-all Mudblood swot who has annoyed me incessantly every single day since the first time I ever laid eyes on her.

So why do I have the strongest urge to grab her and finally commence with the Disapparating?

It doesn't matter, though. I don't even have time to do anything because the first round of Cruciatus happens instantaneously. Bellatrix flings her halfway across the room and shouts the curse with a bit too much glee. Granger hasn't got enough of a pain tolerance to fight it for even a second, and she shrieks in pure agony.

The following shout of her name echoes loudly from below in the cellar. Weasley has lost it completely, and he keeps yelling for her. She hears it, too, and the look on her face as she registers it is actually almost sad. She bites down hard on her lip to keep from making anymore noise as a second curse hits her. She seems determined not to yell again- probably in an attempt to keep her boyfriend quiet.

"Where did you get this sword?!" Bellatrix shouts, brandishing her wand threateningly as she inches closer to Granger who takes several unconscious steps backwards. I glance behind her at Greyback who looks positively giddy at the sight of her moving backwards. It's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in my life, and I look quickly to my parents to see if they have any plans whatsoever to step in and stop this. Father has an unreadable expression on his face, and I can tell he's still trying to figure out the reasoning behind Bella's hysterics. Mother is watching the carpet with her jaw clenched tightly.

"Answer me, you little bitch!" Bellatrix shrieks, and she shouts another curse that apparently breaks right through Granger's resolve, as she screams in pain once more and actually falls to her knees in what has to be an attempt to block some of it out. "I'm going to ask you again! Where did you get this sword? Where?"

Granger's crying now- full, choked sobs. She gasps for breath as she tries to answer. "We found it… we found it." Another curse, and she shrieks again. "PLEASE!" And then she dissolves into sobs once again.

"LIAR!" Bellatrix has officially lost it, and she looks ready to kill.

"We found it!" Granger says again, gasping for breath. "Honestly!"

"You are a lying, filthy Mudblood, and I know it! You have been inside my vault at Gringotts! Tell me the truth, tell me the truth!"

She finishes her statement by actually shoving her foot into Granger's chest and forcing her backwards until she's lying on her back. Bellatrix then proceeds to spit right in her face and stomp on her stomach, eliciting yet another pained scream.

"What else did you take? What else have you got?" She drops to her knees and points her wand directly at Granger's face as she uses her other hand to hold the silver knife directly to her throat. "Tell me the truth, or I swear I shall run you through with this knife!"

I stop watching. I can't take it anymore. I feel physically ill, as if I might actually be sick right here over all over the floor. I turn my back on the whole scene and walk as far as possible to the other side of the room. Granger is screaming now, sobbing and pleading and literally shrieking in agony. Weasley is still screaming her name from the cellar and actually sounds as if he might be immersed in his own sobs. I don't want to hear any of it. I don't want to see any of it. I don't want to be here.

It goes on forever. Bellatrix demands to know where the sword came from, Granger continues to claim that they randomly found it and even claims that it's fake, Bellatrix continues to shoot curses at her, Granger continues to scream and cry. Forever.

"Draco," Father's voice breaks my concentrated attempt to ignore everything else, "fetch the goblin, he can tell us whether the sword is real or not!"

I stare at him, not believing that he wants me to go down there. When he gives no indication that he will change his mind, I look imploringly at Mother. I don't want to do this. I don't want anything to do with it! Surely, she must know that.

She avoids my gaze.

I glare at them both. I don't look at Granger again, but I know she's still on the floor. I hope my parents know that they're sending me off to my death. If Weasley and Potter have managed to free themselves- and let's face it, they probably have- they're going to jump me and probably murder me on spot. Not that my well-being is of any concern to my parents, as they're the ones who have let it go this far in the first place.

I grip my wand tightly as I make my way through the corridor and down the cellar stairs. I consider my options. I can allow myself to be murdered, that's one. I could bargain with them and offer to help if they spare me, that's another… But they won't believe anything that comes out of my mouth, so that's probably not a good choice. I could, I suppose, allow them to overpower me so that they can escape. It wouldn't be hard to play that one off, would it? After all, it's entirely likely that Potter and Weasley could kick my arse and leave me unconscious in the cellar, isn't it?

"Stand back. Line up against the back wall." I hear my voice shaking as I make the claims loud enough for the people upstairs to hear. I don't want them to have any indication that I willingly let them escape. "Don't try anything, or I'll kill you!" I add the last part for good measure and then shove the door open.

It's pitch black in the cellar, and I can't see anything more than a few inches past the tip of my wand, which I light for a bit of help. I want to see them running at me, so I can do my best to play dead as quickly as possible. To my surprise, though, there is no movement. Potter, Weasley, that mad Lovegood girl, and all the rest of them are lined up against the back wall, all watching me closely.

I don't know why they don't try and stop me. They hate me enough on a normal day- it would only stand to reason that with their damsel in distress being tortured upstairs in my drawing room that they'd be more than eager to kill me. I actually want them to attack me, maybe not kill me, but at least beat me well enough to where their escape looks plausible. But they do nothing. I don't know why, they could easily overpower me. Not to mention, of course, that Thomas is down here, too, and he's probably more than happy to help his mates slaughter me.

But nothing.

With no other choice, as I can't very well come out and tell them to kick my arse, I just walk over, grab the goblin, and hurry out of the cellar. The second the door closes, though, I hear a loud, familiar popping noise from the other side. Someone has Apparated into the cellar. Someone's come to save them. I should tell someone, I know, but I can't force myself to feel too concerned at the moment. I can't force myself to feel much of anything. It's extremely likely that the new visitor has arrived with the plan of murdering my entire family and burning our home to the ground.

We could only be so lucky.

Everyone is waiting for me to return. Granger has apparently given up. She's lying in the middle of the room and curled onto her side. She seems too weak to do anything- even cry. Her eyes are halfway closed, but they flutter open just long enough to spare me a sweeping glance. She doesn't understand why I'm back. She expected Weasley and Potter to attack me. She wants to know why they're not up here to rescue her. I'd like to know the same thing.

She knows she's going to die. I can tell by looking at her that she's given up all plans of surviving. She is too weak to fight back, and no one is coming to save her. For a moment, I feel something almost close to sympathy for her. It must be horrible to lie there and accept death as an inevitable when you're only eighteen years old. I've never noticed how small she is, but she looks very much like a child lying there. There's blood on her teeth and dripping from her mouth, no doubt caused by an attempt to bite her own lip and silence her screams. Greyback is staring at her in a disgustingly menacing sort of way. He licks his own lips, and I don't even want to imagine what is going through his mind.

I look away.

"You," Bella sneers, pointing her knife threateningly at the goblin. "Where did you meet this brat and her friends?" She kicks Granger in the ribs in an attempt to demonstrate who she means by this brat. It's met only by a slight whimper.

"In the forest," the goblin retorts. He doesn't say more, and I realize that I've still got a grip on his arm. I let go immediately, wanting no more part in this than absolutely necessary.

"You're lying," she spits hatefully. Then she turns her attention back to Granger and shouts loudly, "He gave you that sword, didn't he?! CRUCIO!"

Apparently the Cruciatus is painful enough to elicit a full-fledges scream from Granger, and she immediately dissolves into sobs once more.

"Please," she chokes out, and she spits a mouthful of blood onto the floor as she tries to speak. Her words are barely audible as she draws in ragged breath after ragged breath. "We found it… Just, just let me see them… They'll tell you, we just, we just found it…"

She's talking about Potter and Weasley. She's out of her mind mad if she thinks that anyone is going to allow them to come up and talk and with her. Of course, she probably is mad by now, or close to it. I don't even realize that she's staring straight at me until I catch sight of her eyes- they're wide and determined now, and they're locked directly on mine.

"What did you do them?" she hisses through clenched teeth.

"Shut up!" Bellatrix demands, cutting her off with yet another round of curses. Granger screams loudly and terrifyingly until she no longer has the strength to do even that. And she finally passes out completely.

"You, goblin," Bellatrix grabs the sword away from my father who has been holding it and shoves it into the goblin's hand. "Is this the Sword of Gryffindor?"

A loud crack sounds from below. It gets everyone's attention, and the drawing room goes instantly silent until Father shouts, "What was that? Did you hear that? What was that noise in the cellar?" as if it isn't completely clear that we've all heard the exact same thing.

"Draco-" he cuts himself off. "No, call Wormtail! Make him go and check!"

Wormtail appears and does as he's told. He heads down toward the cellar, and Father makes an exaggerated hushing motion at all of us. You could literally hear a pin drop now, as there's nothing but silence. All ears are trained solely on the area below, searching for even the slightest of noise. When everyone decides there's nothing to hear, they get back to the task at hand. Bellatrix glares anxiously at the goblin who is taking the slowest of time to study the sword. Granger gives a single stir and then screams shrilly for no apparent reason. She's completely unconscious, and everyone stares at her for a long moment until finally deciding that she's finished. They go back to the sword.

And then I see them.

Potter and Weasley are hovering by the door, unseen by everyone else whose attentions are all focused solely on the goblin. He is studying every inch of the sword, turning it over and over in his hands. Potter's watching him, too, but Weasley won't move his eyes away from Granger who is now as good as dead. I look away from them, not wanting to be caught staring, as now that they're properly armed, they would surely kill me without even a second to realize that I'm not giving them away.

"Well? Is it the true sword?" Bellatrix is losing her patience, and finally the goblin decides to answer.

"No. It is a fake."

"Are you sure? Quite sure?"


She smiles, and her lips curl around her filthy decaying teeth. "Good." Then she sends a careless curse at the goblin, and he falls beside her. "And now we call the Dark Lord!"

She presses her finger to her Mark, and my arm instantly starts to throb. My own Mark is burning so badly that I have to bite down hard on my back teeth to keep from crying out. No one else seems to notice or mind their own, though, and Bellatrix looks positively giddy.

"And I think we can dispose of the Mudblood. Greyback, take her if you want her."

The next moments are a blur.

Weasley bursts into the room first with a screech somewhere between desperation and fury. He disarms my aunt, and Potter catches her wand easily. Curses fly everywhere in all directions, and as I have no idea what to do, I follow instinct and try to defend myself. I can't see anything or anyone, all I can see are flashes of lights as curses shoot off in every direction.


The curses stop immediately, and silence fills the room as all eyes are drawn to Bellatrix who has pulled Granger to a standing position. She isn't conscious, and Bellatrix has got the knife pressed dangerously close to her throat.

"Drop your wands. Drop them, or we'll see exactly how filthy her blood is!"

Weasley and Potter are both frozen in spot. Neither of them looks immediately willing to disarm themselves, but they're both staring at Granger with identical terrified expressions.

"I said drop them!" Bellatrix shouts, losing her patience once more. As proof of her intentions, she presses the blade of the knife just hard enough against Granger's skin to draw a thin line of blood.

It takes only a second for them to both do as she says and drop their wands. They're mental. They're going to be killed, and it's as if they don't even think of that. They only think of her. They love her. Honestly love her. Either one of them would trade places with her in a heartbeat. I don't know a single person in the world who do that for me.

Bellatrix knows their weaknesses as well, and it's clear that she's pleased with herself. She couldn't care less about Granger and would slice her throat wide open in a second if she didn't need her for bargaining. It works. They're wandless and completely defenseless.

"Good! Draco, pick them up! The Dark Lord is coming, Harry Potter! Your death approaches!"

She sounds as if she's speaking in some grandiose language made up purely for her own amusement. I wouldn't be surprised honestly, as she's gone quite mad over the years. I do as she says, though, because the last thing I want her to do is turn on me as well. She cares no more about me than she does about the three other people of my age in this room. She doesn't care about anyone actually, no one except the Dark Lord, of course.

She barely spares me a glance as I rejoin her, now grasping the two discarded wands as well as my own. "Now. Cissy, I think we ought to tie these little heores up again, while Greyback takes care of Miss Mudblood. I am sure the Dark Lord will not begrudge you the girl, Greyback, after what you have done tonight."

That's the last thing I hear before the ceiling starts to crack over our heads. Everyone looks up as the chandelier starts swaying dangerously. Then, almost as if it's in slow motion, it falls. I hear someone scream and see Granger fall to the floor lifelessly as Bella drops her and hurries out of the way. The chandelier crashes with a huge shattering noise directly on top of Granger and the goblin, and it breaks into a million pieces. Crystal flies everywhere, and I feel a hundred shards cut into me deeply. I cover my face instinctively, feeling the blood there as it starts to gush against my fingertips.

The next thing I know, Potter has leapt at me and shoved me backwards. He grabs maniacally at the wands that I'm still clutching. He takes them easily, and I'm honestly not sure if I tried to hold onto them or if I gave them up willingly. He pays me no attention, though, and instead turns the wands on the werewolf.

Mother hurries forward and grabs me by the elbow, literally dragging me out of the way as more curses are shouted. Weasley is digging frantically through the mess of glass and crystal and trying to get Granger out. If she wasn't dead before, she surely is now. His hands are dripping with his own blood, cut and scraped severely as he moves aside the broken pieces and finally manages to pull her out of the mess. He holds her up with one arm as he uses his free hand to brush some of the excess crystal away from her face and hair. It's pointless, though, as she's nearly completely covered in blood now. She's limp and completely lifeless in his arms as he struggles to pick her up.

No one else is paying them any attention, though, because the old House-Elf, Dobby, has appeared out of nowhere. Mother gasps. "Dobby! You dropped the chandelier!"

He doesn't appear afraid of her, though, simply walks calmly into the room and tells her that she must not hurt Harry Potter. It's so bizarre that it's nearly comical. Bellatrix doesn't see the humor, though, and she screams at Mother to kill the Elf. There is no opportunity, though, as Mother's arm flies out of her hand and disappears to the other side of the room.

"You dirty little monkey! How dare you take a witch's wand, how dare you defy your masters!" My aunt is hysterical, clearly recognizing that her plans have failed and that things are falling apart. If she doesn't fix them, we're all doomed, and she knows it.

The Elf fires back at her, shouting that he is free and that he has come to save Harry Potter and a load of other bollocks that I don't really hear. Instead, my attention's drawn to Potter who has grabbed the goblin out of the chandelier wreckage. He shouts at Weasley and throws him a wand before grabbing Dobby and Disapparating quickly. Weasley's gone in the next second with Granger clutched tightly.

And then there's nothing.

Father is lying by the hearth somewhere. Greyback is unconscious. Mother and Bellatrix stare at each other with mirroring looks of fright and despair. I do nothing. I just stand there. The realization that we've all just sealed our own fate washes over me, and I know that this is the end. There is nothing more to do.

A loud pop sounds, and no one moves a muscle. A billowing black-caped figure appears, and the Dark Lord has joined us.

And now, we have to pay.


A/N: So, that was fun! I do love my Draco… And it was a nice little break between stories. I'd love it if you'd review!