The song 'I couldn't kill Albus Dumbledore' by Draco and the Malfoy's sparked the idea for this story.
"Go now, Draco!" Bellatrix yelled over the sounds of people duelling. "We will come as soon as we get rid of these fools!"
Bellatrix pushed the boy roughly towards the stairs leading up to Hogwart's highest tower. His heart in his mouth, he stumbled on to the first step and glanced back, uncertainly. Bellatrix made an impatient gesture before turning back and shooting violent spells at everyone within reach. He had no choice; he knew there was no way of getting out of his task.
Draco took the stairs as slow as he dared, each step taking him closer to the fate decided for him. He was about to become a fully initiate Death Eater – a murderer. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion, yet his heartbeat was struggling to keep up. If the choice was presented to him at that very moment, he would rather meet Death than carry out his duty tonight. Although he had never been close with Dumbledore, he even despised the Headmaster many times, he never wanted him dead.
His mind was spinning. I can't do it. I won't. I'll just turn back and…no. I have to do it. If I don't, it won't just be my life on the line. He would come for my parents too. He thought of his father, alone in his cell in Azkaban. Trapped, with nowhere to escape the Death Eaters coming to punish him for his son's failure misdeeds.
Upon reaching the top of the stairs, he slammed the door open with all the force he could muster, his ears barely registering the slam as it hit the wall.
"Expelliarmus!" he yelled as soon as he saw the Headmaster, barely recognising his own voice. The odd-shaped wand flew into his hands obediently, he stared at it as if wondering how it had appeared there. Why didn't he counter me? Why was he so unprepared? Doubt resurfaced in his own mind, maybe I shouldn't have disarmed him. I cannot kill a defenceless, elderly man…That's not who I am, or who I want to be. He dispelled those nagging thoughts. None of that mattered, this is who he had to be.
Dumbledore looked extremely pale, but other than that did not show any signs of discomfort.
"Hello, Draco," he greeted his killer, as if he had merely invite him for a cup of tea. Draco looked into his eyes, shocked not to find hate, fear, or any of the emotions he had been expecting. He only saw pity.
Tearing his eyes away from the man's searching gaze, he glanced around the darkening room suspiciously. Immediately he noticed two broomsticks leaning in the furthest corner. A feeling of panic overtook him. His eyes darted around the room desperately, searching for a sign of another person. When he was satisfied the room was empty, he turned his gaze back to the seemingly serene old man.
"Who else is here? Where are they?" Draco tried to keep his voice even, but to a man as experienced as Dumbledore, the fear was evident. His gaze slipped momentarily to the brooms in the corner, but returned at once to Dumbledore.
"Ah, I may ask that question of you. I know you are not acting of your own accord. Who have you brought into my school?"
Draco considered his answer. Seeing as he had got this far and there was no turning back, he may as well play the part properly. He carefully tried to arrange his features into a hate-filled expression, which once came so easily to him.
"No." He added his customary smirk. "There are others. There are Death Eaters here in your school tonight. I bet you never saw that coming."
If Dumbledore was shocked at the remark, he hid it well. "Ah, I see. Very clever. But, and forgive me, where are your friends? You seem to be quite alone."
"They're coming!" He retaliated, but his voice sounded uncertain. There was a part of Draco, a larger part then he would have admitted, that hoped the others would not come. His mask wavered for the briefest moment. "They will come!"
"Well, then. You best complete the task they have given you before they catch up. I imagine it will only be harder with them watching, my dear boy."
And, despite everything, Albus Dumbledore smiled. His face folded into a maze of lines and his eyes twinkled, reflecting the green glow of the Dark Mark. Draco stood there in shock.
"Just as I thought. Draco…Draco, you are not a killer."
"How do you know? You don't know me!"
"I know that you are not a killer. They manipulated you into accepting this mighty task, but you do not have to carry it out. Look at me, Draco."
"You don't know anything about me!" Draco flinched as the childish words came tumbling out, but couldn't stop himself. "You never gave a damn about me, or any of the Slytherin's! All you care about it Potter," he spat.
"That is untrue. Draco, you do not have to do this."
"I do! I've got to do it! If I don't, he'll kill me! He will kill my entire family!" Draco tried to blink back the angry tears which began forming. He felt so trapped, the most fearful he had ever felt in his whole life.
"Draco, listen to me. It is not too late. You are not a killer. I can protect you, and your mother too, if you wish." He smiled again, as if oblivious to the unstable boy armed with two wands. "They cannot force you if you do not wish to be forced."
"I do! I-I've got to…I have to…" but even as he spoke, his mind was opening to a sliver of hope. What if he could protect me…and my family? Could he really do it? Could I really escape from the Dark Lord? He felt the tears sliding down his cheeks. He felt weak. His grip loosened on Dumbledore's wand, which fell to the floor with a clatter.
It was then he realied the noise from below had stopped. Dumbledore seemed to have noticed too, and was looking at Draco expectantly, as if a professor calling on a pupil for an answer in class. Dread flowed through Draco. They were coming. They would make him finish the job.
"Come to our side. We can protect you more fully than you could ever imagine. However you must hurry, young man, your back up will arrive soon. I imagine you should want to have left before they arrive."
"I don't…I-I…Can you? Can you really? Me?" Draco stuttered, his voice trembling. For the first time, he was presented with a choice. He could accept Dumbledore's offer and leave this all behind him, or he can wait for the others to come up and finish him off themselves. He wiped his eyes, composing himself. His father always taught him a Malfoy should never show weakness. The Headmaster slipped down the wall he was leaning on a little, clearly very weak. The footsteps were clambering up the stairs.
"Yes. Yes I can. Now, we must act swiftly. Are you sure? There will be no turning back."
Draco nodded resolutely. Following the man's gaze to his feet, he picked up the knobbly wand and handed it back to its master. The Headmaster non-verbally sent a jet of pinkish light over to the corner of the room. It did not take Draco long to put it together, the two broomsticks and the invisible presence. Potter was hidden under his stupid cloak. How did I not see this sooner? Of course he would be with Dumbledore.
"Potter. I should've known you'd be here," Draco snarled, the frustration rising inside of him.
"You must leave now. Both of you," the Headmaster said, as if the previous events had not happened. Harry pulled Draco under the invisibility cloak, both standing as far away from the other as possible.
"For now, the two of you must return to Gryffindor Tower. I believe it should be safer than the Slytherin common room at this present time. Do not take any detours. Wait there until I send for you. Stay under the cloak."
The two boys made their way towards the door, leaving the Headmaster alone and weak to face the Death Eaters.
But then the footsteps on the stairs came to an end by the door.