Disclaimer: Tragically, I am not J.K. Rowling, nor do I own any of her fabulous creations.

Prologue: Victory and Defeat

There are moments in time that pass by and fade away, as inconsequential as snowflakes--often beautiful, each unique unto itself, but ultimately meaningless. Brief. Unimportant. This, thought Draco Malfoy, was not one of those moments.

The Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry simply buzzed with the joy, the celebration, the complete and absolute rightness of the dawn. He'd done it. Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, the Gryffindor Golden Boy Extraordinaire, had actually defeated Lord Voldemort. Relief and gratitude was written on every face in the hall—although often mingled with shock or grief.

The crowd assembled for the post-battle celebration was, well…diverse. The centaurs of the Forbidden Forest rested and dined alongside House Elves from the school kitchens, students still in dress robes, and some of the most prominent and illustrious wizards in Britain. Despite their many obvious differences, this morning they were one; united by their victory.

In fact, of the many gathered there that day, only three remained isolated. Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy huddled on either side of their only son, outsiders to the joy that filled the room. They were as freed by Voldemort's defeat as any present, yet this victory was not theirs to share.

Lucius was tense as a bow, expecting at any moment for the joyous occasion to turn into a lynching, with his family at the focus. Narcissa's cold hands clasped desperately onto Draco's robes, terrified of losing him as so many mother's had lost beloved sons that night.

Draco simply sat very still, silently observing the jubilation. His eyes sought out familiar faces in the crowd: unexpectedly valiant classmates like Loony Lovegood and Neville Longbottom; wizened Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout; an absurd number of flame-haired Weasleys, all uncharacteristically stoic; and, of course, the Golden Trio. They each looked half-dead; bloodied and bruised and quite clearly exhausted. Their crowd of admirers seemed oblivious to their fatigue and continued clasping hands, hugging, kissing, and crying--despite the objects of their appreciation looking ready to collapse at any moment. He watched as Lovegood spoke softly to Potter and then distracted those around her as he made a stealthy retreat, pulling Weasley and Granger out the wide double doors with him.

With the trio gone from the hall, Draco's mind wandered back to his own reality. He turned to regard each of his parents in turn. Without saying a word, he asked the silent question that had his stomach churning and his head spinning; What happens now?

A/N: This is my first attempt at writing fanfiction; your brutal honesty would be most appreciated. Thanks for reading!