Title: The Meaning of War

Author: UniqueWolfLover

Rating: M

Warnings: Violence, foul language, and scary situations, character death (not Harry or Draco), ah yes and slash.

Pairings: Harry and Draco

Summary: What would Harry, Hermione, Ron, Fred, George, Luna, and Neville have done if the Order of the Phoenix did not exist? They are on their own to fight a war that is much larger and more difficult than they ever realized it could be. They have banded together to face insurmountable odds. Now they must face Voldemort in a battle they may not all survive.

A/N: This story definitely takes artistic license with the last book. I just had a dream about Harry and the gang fighting Voldi in Malfoy Manor instead of Hogwarts without the aide of OoTP. I had to write it down. This story will have some book 7 elements but will mostly be in its own world. We will enter the scene right before the final battle. We jump in mid-action scene. I have never written drama before. I hope it comes out alright. Please review and tell me what you think. It will be completed because I never leave a story unfinished.

…..

I couldn't catch my breath. We have been running for so long, winding through the passages of Malfoy Manor, looking for Voldemort. All but two of the horcruxes were found and destroyed. The last two were Nagini and the one inside me. Both of which we would deal with when the time came. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that the others looked just as winded as I did. We were being pursued by five death eaters. Stopping now without a plan would mean death. We reached a flight of stairs the curved around the corner and I saw the opportunity to get rid of our pursuers.

"Ron, 'Mione!" I caught their attention and mentioned toward the staircase. They nodded. When we reached it I yelled for Neville, Luna, Fred, and George to keep running. Hermione, Ron, and I followed close behind.

"Now!" We spun around, keeping close to the curved wall momentarily hiding us from the death eaters. We leaned out only enough to fire several curses.

"Avada Kedavra!" was fired back liberally. One grazed so close I felt the electricity from it raise the hair on my arm. I couldn't count the number of times that death came so close in the past year. Too many for my liking! I felt suddenly reenergized by the boost of adrenaline in my veins.

"Encarcio! Stupefy! Reducto!" I fired quickly and efficiently, taking out three of five. Hermione and Ron got the last two. We finally had a moment to rest.

"Everyone okay?" Hermione asked. She had a long cut across her cheek that looked shallow but painful.

"Let me heal that for you Hermione." Ron offered, quickly using episkey while the calm lasted.

I surveyed our surroundings, vaulted ceilings and a marble staircase that would have been beautiful if our lives were not in danger. My mind drifted to the original occupants of this opulent mansion.

"I wonder if Malfoy is alright."

"Who cares about that git." Ron scowled still sounding winded.

"I do. He saved me last time we found ourselves here when he didn't tell Bellatrix who I was. He really isn't as evil as we first thought."

"Temporary insanity, he's probably crawled back to Voldemort by now."

"I don't think so. Even if he did, I don't think it's for real. He looked so scared last time. It took courage to do what he did. He may surprise you and help us again Ron."

"If he's still alive in this Merlin forsaken place."

A shudder ran through me at the thought. No matter how much trouble he gave me in school, Malfoy didn't deserve to die at the hands of Voldemort.

"Let's catch up with the others."

Hermione shot me a calculating look before nodding her assent.

We made it up the stairs to another long corridor. The others were no where to be found. Maybe splitting up wasn't the best idea.

There! A small movement to the left. We raced down the corridor, keeping our wands up as the light from the windows began to wane. The danger of our situation was rising as the sun set. We had almost reached the end of the corridor when a deep, sorrowful wail froze us in place and made the blood run cold in our veins.

"That sounded like George!" Ron gasped, his face stark white.

"We have to find them now!" Hermione cried pulling Ron towards the sound. We reached the final door. My blood pounded in my ears as the feeling of dread overtook me. I knew something horrible had happened. Ron pushed forward and threw the door open, dodging a spell as it whizzed past his head.

"Luna it us!" Hermione called out. Luna and Neville both lowered their wands. The defeated looks on their faces told me everything I needed to know, someone else was dead.

It was that moment that Ron saw into the shadowy corner of the room. His brother George sat on the floor, tears flowing freely down his face. The unmoving body of his twin Fred was coddled close, silent head resting on his chest.

"No." a whisper of disbelief from Ron. "No. Please no!" He dropped to his knees next to George and the fallen Fred. "Can't we do anything, save him, bring him back?"

George slowly shook his head clutching Fred's body closer to himself. Ron released a sob. I knew the image of this moment of mourning would haunt me for the rest of my life.

"What happened?" I choked out towards Neville.

"I'm not sure Harry. Fred threw an Alohomora at that door," He pointed to the other side of the large room. "and a green light came back at him, it had to be something like Avada Kedavra. Then Fred fell. He was gone before we could even reach out to him." Neville turned sorrowful eyes to the group in the corner.

The anger was building inside of me again. We were only at the cusp of adulthood. There was a whole world ahead of us to experience and enjoy. We should be enjoying our graduation, finding careers, falling in love, getting married. What right did Voldemort have to take all that away from us? He thrust us into this world of pain, sorrow, and premature death.

"That's it! I'm ending this now. I'm going to AK that crazy bastard and end all of this!" I threw the door open and began to stalk away, refusing to heed the protests of my friends. Once I considered myself far enough away from their room to keep them safe I started to make noise, lots of noise. "I'm ready to fight you Voldemort! Come the fuck out and face me!"

"Potter! What the hell are you doing you idiot?" I almost dropped my wand at the familiar voice. I turned and my vision was filled with the grey eyes and blond hair of the one and only Draco Malfoy. Relief flooded through me. At least he was safe.

"Hello Malfoy."

"You are a brainless twat did you know that. Are you trying to get yourself killed?" Malfoy grabbed my wrist and pulled me across the darkened corridor into a hidden alcove. We were close, closer that I had ever been to Malfoy, even during our many fights at Hogwarts.

"Fred was just killed." I told him, daring him with my gaze to say anything derogatory about the red-headed family. He just let out a deep breath.

"I'm sorry Potter." He whispered. I looked at him, shocked.

"You've changed Malfoy."

"War does that to people."

"It's a good change for you though."

"Whatever Potter, back to your stupid stunt. You are telling me that you left your friends, yes I know you have your friends with you, and decided to challenge Voldemort by yourself, without a plan, which would have gotten you killed and lost the war for all of us, and probably bring an end to the lives of your friends as well?"

Embarrassment colored my cheeks and made me look away from Malfoy's piercing gaze.

"I know you are distraught over your friend's death but you can't make decisions based on your emotions, which is probably what you usually do." Draco rolled his eyes. "Stop acting like a dunce Potter."

I let his words sink in, knowing he was right. "I wasn't thinking." A moment passes. "Thanks for saving me again Malfoy." This time it is Draco who looks surprised. He quickly brushes it off and glares at me again.

"Don't mention it…really, I mean it. Don't mention it ever." I felt a chuckle bubbling up for the first time in what felt like a year.

"I'll try my best." I answered.

"Good, now go back to your friends, Quietly, and figure out what you are going to do next. It better not include storming corridors and screaming at the top of your ridiculous Gryffindor lungs."

"What about you? You're helping me so you are not on their side anymore."

"Obviously," Draco drawled in a perfect impression of his godfather Snape. "But I am of better use where I am now."

"You're a lot braver than you used to be Malfoy."

"Oh shut up and go before I decided to curse you myself."

I smirked back at him before I took off. "Hey Malfoy."

"What Potter?"

"We're going to be friends after this."

"In your dreams Potter."

With a final glance I made my way back to my friends, feeling more hopeful and sure we would win than ever before.

...To be continued...