I unfortunately don't own the world of Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling does.

Thank you to my wonderful beta, Book. Freak112233 !

Also a quick thanks to xXMizz Alec VolturiXx, lilyann96, High Reacher, Aleucard, dragjakelong'sgurl, 21stCenturyMarauder, AushAshMommy, AnjuAddams, sapurplemonkey, and Rainy-Round.

*Please remember that even though you know that Lyra is a Malfoy, most of the characters don't.*

Also, I know people have suggested that I take on a co-author and/or concentrate on one story. I am sorry it takes so long. However, I have future plans for these stories and I prefer working alone. I am grateful that everyone keeps reading and puts up with me. Thank you for this suggestion, but though I am busy, I am also very dedicated to these stories. Thank you! :)

Now on with the story! :)

Chapter 48:

Remorseful Protection

Severus Snape looked over to where Lyra Malfoy's body lay. He couldn't believe that anyone would do something so horrid to their own daughter…yet, knowing Lucius, he could almost see into why the cold man had done it. It didn't mean he agreed with it though. While he was treating her, it had been hard work, and he wasn't sure how Lyra would react once she awoke. He realized why he had chosen a Friday night to do his worst. No one would miss her for those days.

Then there was Draco, whom Severus viewed almost as a son of his own. He could see how close the twins were, that was plainly obviously when they weren't pretending otherwise, and even then, to those who knew them, it was hard to miss. He was afraid of what Draco might try to do now that she had been severely hurt.

Glancing at the clock, he sighed briefly. It was getting late, and he didn't want to arouse suspicion. The twins had already been missing for most of the day. Especially if Umbridge was keeping a close eye on the twins for Lucius Malfoy himself.

"Draco," Severus said quietly, laying a hand upon the younger man's shoulder, shaking him awake. Immediately, Draco awoke, gray eyes wide as he looked around before remembering where he was…and why. He had refused to leave his sister's side, and so Severus had let him spend the night as well.

"You should take her to the Hospital Wing," Severus said gently as he looked over at Lyra's still unconscious form. Draco shook his head.

"Questions would be asked."

"She needs proper treatment, Draco. Treatment I can't provide. I can, however, provide a note excusing you."

Draco gulped. "Fine. Thank you Professor," he said stiffly. "May I floo to the Hospital Wing?"

Snape nodded once curtly, unlocking the floo system as Draco carefully picked his sister up and stepped through the floo, noting how her torn robes still stuck to her body from the dried blood.

Severus sighed as he looked at them. He was glad that Draco was continuing to look after his sister, despite Lucius' warnings otherwise.

"What happened?" Draco heard Madame Pomprey ask as he entered her office.

"She's not wanted. Can you heal her?" he asked, his tone impatient and cold.

"Come put her on this bed here," the mediwitch said, pulling back the curtains to the nearest bed and setting a chair next to it.

Once she saw the condition of Lyra's back, she gasped, her eyes widening. Quickly, she bustled away, gathering the supplies she needed.

"Mr. Malfoy, apply these to her back," she instructed, knowing he would help, as she handed him medicated strips. With more care then she had ever seen him show before, Draco followed her instructions.

Once he was done, she began cutting away the destroyed robe and magically wrapping the teenage girl's upper body tightly, to keep the bandages in place and stop the wound from infection and further bleeding. "That's all I can do for now. However, I will excuse her from class for at least the next week."

Draco nodded, not making a move to leave.

"I'm afraid I cannot excuse you from your attending your classes." She said then, noticing the lack of movement.

"I understand," Draco replied stiffly.

"You may stay the night, if you wish," she said, closing the curtains around the bed as she left.

They were finally alone together. Draco felt his shoulder's sagging from remorse and fury. Fury at his father for doing this to her; remorse for not being there in order to do the one thing he had always vowed: protected his sister.

Gently, he adjusted her body, sliding onto the bed, leaning her against him. Rubbing his hand up and down her arm smoothly as she still slept unconsciously, his thoughts turned hateful. He couldn't let their father…or Umbridge for that matter…get away with this. They had gone too far this time. Now the only question was: how?

More importantly, how would Lyra react once she finally awoke. He hoped to be there when that happened, as he knew she would be upset and in pain, and would only show it around him.

Sighing, he felt his eyelids drop as well as exhaustion once again threatened to overcome him. He hadn't been sleeping well, and now one of his nightmares was coming true. Leaning against the pillows, he too fell asleep.

The following afternoon, once classes were done, Harry began by immediately talking to his friends, his concern growing at their missing friend.

"Now I'm really starting to worry. You're sure she hasn't been in the girls' dormitory at all?"

"Positive, Harry," Hermione answered for what seemed like the fiftieth time.

"Harry, she could be anywhere; it's Monday, she could have slept in and forgotten about classes, would you stop worrying?" Ron said, rolling his eyes at his friend's incessant concern. He couldn't say why, but there was something off about Lyra; something they couldn't quite trust.

"Ron, she was last seen with Umbridge. Not to mention she's been missing for almost three days. That can't be good."

"You don't think she got hurt, do you? That maybe Umbridge did something?"

"I don't think so, but it's possible."

"I'm going to see," he declared, changing the way they were going. Ron rolled his eyes again, but didn't follow, instead putting a hand on Hermione's arm to stop her going after their friend.

"If he wants to go, let him," he said, his voice a bit harder than usual.

As Draco was leaving the Hospital Wing the following morning, after silently promising to visit later that night, when everyone else was gone, he left his still unconscious sister in the care of Madame Pomprey. He didn't like having to leave her, but he knew he still had to attend class, especially if his father found out what he had done.

From the corner of his eye, he saw Potter headed towards the Hospital Wing in the late afternoon. Perhaps he would have to keep a close eye on the Gryffindor boy than he previously thought. Yes, he knew Lyra had said they were "only friends," but that didn't mean that he wouldn't watch Potter. Though he trusted his sister, and knew she wouldn't lie to him, at least about this, it didn't mean he trusted her friends.

Though, he had to admit, even Potter was better than Weasley. He didn't seem to care about Lyra at all. And that worried him even more.

Harry entered the Hospital Wing, quickly scanning the beds, when one with closed curtains caught his eye. Cautiously, he said her name, hoping she was in there. When no response came, he peeked in, shocked by what he saw. Her entire back was bandaged tightly, and he could see blood soaking through it.

Coming closer, he pulled the chair next to the bed up closer to his friend.

"Lyra?" he whispered, unable to believe that the severely injured girl in front of him was his friend. Harry paled as he realized that she had last been with Umbridge. She was getting hurt because she had tried to help him. This was all his fault. A wave of guilt crashed over him as he realized he would have easily taken her pain – pain that was meant for him in the first place. Swallowing hard, he took and squeezed her hand before leaving, whispering as he went "I'm sorry." This was just too much. To see her so vulnerable and hurt like this – it hurt him.

Thanks to all who are reading and enjoying this story. If you have any suggestions, (i.e. would like to see something happen, etc.) questions, or comments, please feel free to private message me. Thanks! ~ Leanora