Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to JKR, anything you don't is mine.

A/N: Thanks to everyone for the reviews!

Okay, okay, I know, it's been awhile again, BUT my sister had a baby so I've been a bit preoccupied. I'm sorreyyyy:(

If it makes it any better, I started this chapter this morning and am already finished writing and revising it, and I got it posted. So that's an improvement!

Chapter 31

I screamed as it hit Draco square in the chest. He flew backward through the air, landing with a thud against the wall, where he slid down to the ground and lay completely still.

I stood frozen, rooted to the spot, unable to think correctly, unable to process anything at all.

I didn't realize how many Death Eaters now surrounded James and Sirius and I. I didn't realize that they were trying to duel their way out, that several killing curses zoomed so close to both of them that they missed death by millimeters. I didn't realize that the Death Eaters, still dueling, parted slightly so somebody else could walk through.

I didn't realize, that is, until I felt somebody tugging on my arm roughly and looked up to see Riddle's angry face staring down at me.

"Come with me," he ordered, his voice low and demanding. I looked back to James and Sirius, slowly starting to fall to the Death Eaters, and then to Draco, lying on the floor and noticed he was still breathing, his mask still plastered firmly on his face – if he could get up and move into the crowd without them noticing, he could still avoid detection.

I couldn't just go with Riddle without a fight.

But I couldn't not go or he would be smart enough to figure out that Draco's a spy, that he's the one lying on the floor beside me.

"No."

I said it before I could stop myself. It burst out of my mouth like a bullet from a gun. Riddle rose his eyebrows, but I was still furious and yanked my arm out of his grasp, drawing my wand on him.

"No," I repeated, more forcefully this time, shaking my head. "I'm tired of taking your orders. I won't have any more of it." Riddle was still staring at me, not even bothering to take out his wand, while Sirius fell to the Cruciatus Curse beside me. I flicked my wand at the Death Eater cursing him, and they fell to the ground unconscious. Riddle did nothing about it.

"I'm getting tired of your mouth," he snapped, grabbing my arm again. "Now – come – with – me." He pulled me after him, but before we had gotten very far, just past the last Death Eaters, I pulled all my magic strength together (which hurt mentally and physically because of being weakened by the gash in my leg) and threw him across the room, knocking him out against the far wall before putting an imombulus charm on him so even if he did wake up, he wouldn't be able to move.

Let's just hope he never found out it was me and thought it was just a stray spell that hit him. Otherwise he would realize the potion either wasn't working or Draco wasn't giving it to me.

Maybe I could just convince him it wasn't working, that Rosier screwed it up or something…

It'd be a cheap shot, but it might work if I had to.

"Nick! A little help would be nice!" James yelled after a moment. I spun around and saw how only three of the dozen Death Eaters had fallen victim to him or Sirius or stray spells flying around. I looked to Draco and saw a few Death Eaters moving around Sirius toward him.

"Oh, no you don't," I muttered, throwing myself through the crowd of Death Eaters next to me toward Draco. "Not on my watch." Just as they reached him and started to move his hood back, I pointed my wand at the nearest one and screamed,

"Stupefy!"

The Death Eater had barely had time to look up before he was thrown backward, right into one of the others going toward Draco. The last one stood up, pointing their wand at me, getting ready to curse me, but one of the Death Eaters fighting Sirius and James turned and, out of nowhere, jinxed him.

I stared at the Death Eater who had come to my aid. He – by the size of him, it seemed very unlikely that it was a she – had gone right back to dueling James and Sirius. But he obviously wasn't dueling as well as I knew all Death Eaters could.

"Nick! Help?" Sirius asked, getting irritated.

"Right, yeah!" I said quickly, throwing myself into the battle in all force, dodging spells and curses and jinxing anything that moved and wasn't Sirius or James. But I kept my eyes on that one Death Eater who seemed to be on our side.

It was when I threw a jinx at him and he ducked it that I recognized the way he dove forward – Harry.

I smiled to myself as I went for the Death Eater beside him – even when he wasn't supposed to be here, he was always there for me. Whenever I needed him, I could trust Harry to be there.

I've doubted that before. I don't know why I ever did.

And that's when the two of us started to work as a team to slowly get all the Death Eaters down – he would jinx them while they were distracted by me. James and Sirius noticed our tactic, and even though they seemed confused as to who was helping me, they decided to try it too.

Soon, between the four of us, we only had two Death Eaters left. When Sirius and James took down theirs, the one Harry and I were going for got scared and started to run away. Being the merciless brat I am, I cursed them as they ran.

I turned back to find Sirius and James pointing their wand at Harry, who held his hands up in surrender.

"Tell us who you are, and don't move, or else –"

"Or else what, you'll curse your own Godson?" I interrupted Sirius. He and James looked from Harry to me, before Sirius growled,

"Take off your hood!"

"Is that really necessary?" I asked, rolling my eyes. "Look, we need to get out of here, and quickly, because it looks like Draco might need some serious medical help." Sirius and James glanced down at Draco, who was still lying in an unmoving heap.

"Yeah, good idea," they said. Sirius must've found it so severe that he didn't even make a joke on the "Sirius" vs. "serious" pun. James flicked his wand so Draco was floating between Sirius and I, and Harry said,

"Come on, I know the easiest way out." I started limping after him, my leg hurting worse than ever now, knowing the general area that he was headed, but I kept looking behind me to be sure that Sirius, Draco, and James were still there.

After about five minutes Harry pulled open a door and led us into the fresh air. It was raining – storming, actually. Rain poured down on us, drenching us all within seconds, causing even more blood to run down my leg, and lightning shinned and thunder clashed almost constantly. I waved my wand, and an invisible rain-repellant bubble formed around the five of us.

We walked about a hundred feet from the manor in the rain before Harry came to a stop, turning to face us and pulling his hood down finally.

"You can Disapparate now," he said. "I'm going to come too, I wasn't even supposed to be there tonight but I heard about something happening to Dad and I decided to make sure everything was okay. You should probably take Draco to the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts as soon as possible, that was a dark curse that hit him."

James nodded before he grabbed Draco's wrist.

"I'll drop him off there. Nick, I'll tell you what Madam Pomfrey has to say when I see you okay? You just get home and…and rest for a while," he said. I wondered if he had forgotten about my leg, because I knew I was headed to the same place he was taking Draco. He Disapperated without a word about it.

Sirius glanced from Harry to I, muttered, "I'm going to go straight to Grimmauld place. See ya guys," and left Harry and I alone together.

Sirius had only just been gone for a second when I threw my arms around Harry's neck, pulling him tight against me.

"Thank you," I whispered to him. He rubbed my back in gentle circles soothingly. "I don't know what would've happened if you hadn't been there." I paused. "I love you."

"Well you better!" he joked. I leaned back to look up at him and rolled my eyes. He kissed my forehead before he said his real voice, "I love you too." He paused. "Now let me see your leg, so I can see if we need to take you to Madam Pomfrey too."

"I'm fine," I lied as he leaned down to look at it. Blood still dripped down it into a small pool on the ground.

"I don't think you're fine," he said. "You need to go to the Hospital Wing. Come on, I'll Side-Along you." He gripped my hand tightly in his and spun on the spot until we were standing in Grimmauld Place, in the empty Drawing Room by the fireplace.

"I thought we were going to Hogwarts," I said, confused.

"It's easier to Apparate here and then Floo too Dumbledore's office rather than take one of the secret passageways into the school. Especially with that leg of yours. Come on, you go first." He pushed me into the fireplace and I quickly Flooed out.

When I slid into Dumbledore's office, a burning sensation ran up my thigh and I grit my teeth, letting out a sharp cry of pain before grabbing my leg with my hands, drenching them in blood. Dumbledore was sitting at his desk when I came in, and was only just reaching me when Harry came flying into his office too.

"Nicole, what happened to you?" Dumbledore asked as Harry stood up, rushing over to me.

"What?" Harry asked, kneeling beside me.

"I don't…I don't think Flooing was the…the best idea," I said, still gritting my teeth together to keep from crying out in pain again.

"Can you walk?" he asked. I shook my head – without even trying, I knew I wouldn't be able to. It hurt so bad just sitting down, I knew I wouldn't be able to stand let alone walk. Harry frowned. "Okay, I'm just going to carry you."

"But –"

"It's not like you weigh anything anyways," he said, slipping one of his arms behind my back and the other behind my knees before lifting me up gently. I wrapped my arms around his neck, putting my face into his shoulder as he carried me away, leaving Dumbledore behind us, bewildered.

Because there were staring students in the halls, Harry told me to put a Disillusionment charm over the two of us. I saw Johnny Longbottom on the way down, and couldn't help but notice that he wasn't with Riddle – which I suppose he couldn't be, as Riddle was stuck in Malfoy Manor.

At least for now.

As soon as Harry and I were in the Hospital Wing I removed the charm and he set me down on the bed directly beside Draco, who Madam Pomfrey was fussing over. He was still out cold, but he seemed to be breathing better. When she caught sight of me and the red blood from my leg that was now staining her clean, white bed sheets, she gasped.

"What happened to you?" she asked, bustling toward me and examining it.

"Voldemort," Harry answered sourly. Madam Pomfrey pursed her lips.

"Who else?" she muttered before drawing her wand and pointing it at my leg, muttering a few spells. It stopped bleeding, but it still hurt. "I'm going to make you a potion to drink to help with the pain and another one for the blood-loss, but you're going to need to stay the night."

"How's Draco?" I asked.

"Mr. Malfoy has a lot of internal damage, and he'll probably be here or just taking it easy for a while, but he'll survive."

"Thank God," I muttered.

"See? He'll be fine," Harry replied, sitting on the edge of the bed and running his fingers through my hair.

"Thanks for 'just happening' to be there today," I said, even though I had said thanks already. I couldn't express how much it really meant to me that he was there. "I don't know what I'd ever do without you."

"Well you don't ever have to worry about that," he whispered, still playing with my hair. "I'll always be there. Always. I promise." I nodded slowly.

"I know," I replied. He leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek before he stood up quickly.

"I'm going to go find Regulus, tell him what happened and what's going on, alright?" I smiled at him as Madam Pomfrey handed me two potions and told me that they would probably make me fall asleep as well.

"Thank you, Harry." He smiled, nodding, before he left the room.

I feel asleep mere seconds later.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

I woke up around eight the next morning. Surprised at how long I had slept, I rolled over and found my eyes meeting the familiar grey ones that belonged to Draco Malfoy.

"Draco!" I exclaimed, sitting up suddenly. He smirked at me. He was sitting up in his bed, reading a book lazily. He looked tired, but otherwise uninjured. "How're you feeling?"

"Fine, thanks to Madam Pomfrey," he replied. "A few minor bruises, and apparently my lungs aren't going to be back to their full capacity for a while – not going to lie, just getting up to use the loo makes me feel like I'm going to pass out." I flinched slightly. "Heard you got cut up pretty bad," he added. I nodded slowly.

"Yeah, Riddle got me, but I'm fine," I said. He rose his eyebrows.

"You haven't even checked it yet," he pointed out. Rolling my eyes, I pulled the sheets back and revealed my almost completely healed thigh.

"See?" I asked.

"That looks like it's going to scar," he said, making a face. I shrugged.

"Not like I don't already have a ton of them. One more can't hurt." I paused. "Hey, thanks for trying to help us get out –"

"That's kind of my job, as spy," he pointed out. I rolled my eyes again.

"You know what I mean," I said. "I'm sorry I couldn't stop them from hitting you –"

"It's not your fault," he interrupted, sounding more confused than anything.

"I should've stopped them, blocked it or something –"

"I doubt it," he scolded.

"I –"

"Come on, stop. You can't always blame yourself for things you couldn't have prevented, okay? I got hurt, so what? People get hurt all the time. If it weren't for you, so I hear from Harry, I would've been caught and would be in much worse shape than this anyways. So if you have to blame yourself for anything, blame yourself for keeping me alive." I blinked, and the corners of my lips turned up slightly on their own.

"You're not the first person to tell me something like that."

"Good, because it's all true, and the more people that tell you, the more likely you are to accept that you can't always help everybody," he retorted. I sighed.

"I just –"

But before I could finish, the doors to the Hospital Wing were thrown open with a bang! and Sirius came bounding in, flanked by Regulus and Severus. Draco and I looked up sharply, turning our attention to them rather than each other. Regulus looked about ready to come over to my side but Sirius came to a stop at the foot of our beds and started talking before he could even so much as look my way.

"Dumbledore needs you two."

"For what?" I asked, furrowing my eyebrows. Dumbledore knew we were injured, he must – why would he call us out of the Hospital?

"Mr. Black, I don't know why you think it's okay to come bothering my patients but–!" Madam Pomfrey admonished. Sirius held up his hand to silence her and she frowned.

"Dumbledore sent us."

"Why are we needed?" Draco repeated.

"They're not leaving –!"

"Madam Pomfrey, this is very important, the whole war could depend on this one thing, I'm sure they'll be fine to leave for a few hours," Severus interjected. Madam Pomfrey glared at him.

"We won't do anything to hurt them, and we'll send them right back," Regulus added. She sighed.

"Fine," she conceded. "I'll give you three hours – that's it! Miss Potter should be fine away but Mr. Malfoy needs all the rest he can get."

"What's going on?" I demanded, getting annoyed.

"An Order meeting. It seems Voldemort is planning on making his move soon."