Title is from an AFI song ( it wasn't my CD, I swear!).

Silence-verse, sometime around Christmas 1997.

It has snowed. Not that Draco can take advantage of it, in any sense. He presses his forehead to the windowsill and breathes deeply, looking at the drifts which cover Mother's roses.

Tibby appears with a cup of cocoa. 'Young Master."

He doesn't turn round. 'She's out there, Tibby. It's cold."

"Is being fine. Is being snug and safe. Tibby is taking care of Miss like always. Was taking care of young Master, yes?" This, for Tibby, is heavy stuff, and Draco, who'd heard this since he was old enough to open his eyes, relaxes without knowing it.

'Has she enough warm clothing?"

"Yes, young Master."

Draco reflects bitterly on the irony of things. He loves his parents but wantes Granger; last time he'd been with Granger, he'd wanted his parents. What he really wants is all of them, together, happy, laughing, in the snow.

He turns from the window and decides on a whim to go into the garden. He calls for his cold weather gear and, rugged up, steps onto the snow laden terrace, feet crunching, nose tingling.

The pain is like a scab, he thinks. It has worked itself into the very fabric of his heart, and is mostly quiet now until something touched it. It is a dry pain. Thinking that, he reaches down and picks up some of the snow. It is heavy, wettish, good for packing. In years passed, he and Greg and Vince would have had snowball fights in this sort of snow.

He picks up more, and starts to roll it. He is absorbed in his thoughts, and when the ball he's rolled is big enough, he sets it down and starts to build it from the ground.

He works for some time, until he becomes aware he isn't alone. From down in the garden, he hears a strange noise. Drawing, he walks slowly, damning his black coat, using the bare shrubs and statues for cover.

As long as Draco lives, he remembers what he saw that day. Bellatrix, in Mother's old green coat, sitting on the swing, pushing herself higher and higher, laughing. Head thrown back, cheeks pink, she pumps with her legs, face fixed in concentration, as though she is remembering some long forgot skill.

He hears footsteps and froze. The wolf, snow in his side whiskers, fresh blood on his mouth. He leaves pink footprints. He stands behind Bellatrix and stops the swing with a single movement, taking her whole weight without a grunt. She tips her head back and smiles, looking beautiful and deranged both, an overgrown child with a hulking and monstrous playmate.



"Push me."

He does.

Draco remembered Granger in Hogsmeade that day; the memory of his former cruelty bothers him not at all, but the sight of her called forth, snow in her hair, makes his heart slow. Bellatrix is laughing.

Draco turns and leaves them in the snow, two predators, frolicking. As he turns, he sees Greyback's head dip for a kiss, and his aunt lets him. He feels sick, thinking of charnel house romances and kisses dripping with gore.

He goes back to the terrace. Father and Mother, well wrapped up, are carefully moulding his snow ball. Father is critically eyeing the arms, carving a touch here and a bit there. 'Hello, Draco."

Draco forces a smile. Lucius can tell. He cocks his head, and Draco knows that someday Father will know. He's never been able to hide anything from Father, and this isn't a poor mark on a quiz or a broken vase; this is huge. It could destroy them.

Such a small thing. A few words, a single hard thrust. Could he say that? Look Father in the eye and tell him 'It was like flying, and I didn't regret in. Not once." He prays he'll never find out every night. But he will, he knows. If they don't win (and does he want them to? After everything that's happened, does he think they should be allowed to rule?) they'll still find out.

That, alone, would not be enough. He's accepted that revelation as fait accompli, and is thankful for every second of borrowed time. But all it would take is another hard thrust, that of the Dark Lord into Draco's mind, and they'll all be killed. He'd know, wouldn't he, that Draco has determined that no man may serve two masters, and thus has chosen? Hermione will win every time, Hermione cuddled against him in the bed, face serene, hair damp, smelling of flowers and tears.

Lucius and Narcissa have finished. 'It's been a long time, Draco, hasn't it?"

"It has, Father."

"Are you well?" This from Narcissa, who lightly stroked his cheek and looked worried.

"Yes, Mother, very. Just woke up early, I think. Too early."

A shadow passed over both his parents' eyes. There was a sort of momentary silence. 'As long as you're sure."

"Yes, Mother."

Lucius turned to the snow witch they'd made. "Go and have a lie down, Draco. Mother and I will come and see you later, hmm? Perhaps play some dominoes or something."

Draco nods. It's been averted once again, the terrible secret, the thing he can't tell. He hugs Father, hard, as he passes, and Lucius watches him go, knowing there was something in the boy that was off, something that was gnawing.

"He's seventeen, Lucius."

"A girl, you think?"

"Of course."

The snow had started again. Their snow witch was done, complete with an old hat of Narcissa's. Lucius smiled, and made himself believe that it's just so girl problem and not, as he's come to suspect, something more than that. Something with teeth, he thinks, and shivers.

Narcissa comes closer and leans her head on his shoulder. 'You as well, darling?"

"Me? No. No trouble, I'd say." He bends from his height and kisses his wife full on the mouth, not caring if the others see, and clutches her with desperation, wanting to cast away the horrors they'd seen and the strange change in their son, wanting to clean it away with his mouth on his wife's.

She kissed back, snow melting on her eyelashes, and they went inside. Snow covered the country side, and love, like winter, took them all and held them, silently.