"I'm going back."

The words were spoken softly, but with the determination of a shout. The elder Malfoys stopped and turned in their tracks.

"Draco, sweetheart, we just have to get outside the boundary so we can apparate. It isn't much farther. Then we'll be home and away…"

"NO Mother!" he did shout then. "I have to go back."

"Son, the Dark Lord is winning this battle. He doesn't need more help…" Lucius' next words faded away at the look on his son's face.

"I'm not going back to help HIM." Draco shoved his hands angrily through his hair and restlessly paced for few moments before stopping to face his parents. "You don't know what happened earlier tonight. Potter saved my life."

"You can't be thinking of going back to save Potter!" Lucius took a step toward his son.

"I told the Dark Lord Potter was dead," Narcissa answered softly. "Whatever debt our family owes him…"

"I'm not going back to save Potter!" Draco shouted. He took a deep breath and continued in a lower volume, but with no less forcefulness. "I'd probably screw things up for him if I tried to help him anyway." A deep sigh. "But Potter came back for me. Me. The one person who has tormented him from the moment we started at this school. He wouldn't leave me to the Fiendfyre, even if I deserved it." The younger Malfoy looked over his shoulder, back toward Hogwarts, then back at his parents. "There is one person in that school who has never judged me. She never responded with hostility or sarcasm when I made fun of her. She never cared that I was a Malfoy or how much money I had or how handsome I was or whether I was a Weasley with no money and red hair. She doesn't care about Griffyndors or Slitherins or Pure Bloods or Mud Bloods. She sees everyone with the same open heart and gentleness and understanding. And if she could see me right now she'd probably say the Wrackspurts are making my brain all fuzzy, but my mind is clearer than it's ever been. Potter didn't leave me. I'm not going to leave her. I will fight the Death Eaters and Potter and his friends if I have to. If I don't make it out of that castle alive, I will do everything I can to make sure she does."

Draco turned from his stunned parents and began to run back to the castle.

"Draco, wait!"

He didn't slow down. He didn't look back, although he heard their footsteps behind him. Only when his father grabbed the back of his cloak did he stop.

Whirling angrily, he began "You're not…" but Lucius held up his hand.

"You're not going back alone."