Warning: two swear words.
Italics in quotation marks are a direct quote from Deathly Hallows. I don't own it.
When he sees Potter lying still in the gamekeeper's arms, Draco's blood runs cold – though not out of any actual concern for the man, of course. Draco knows, though, that Potter is his best chance at getting out of the hell his life currently is. Without Potter, even if the so-called "light" side wins, it won't be easy, it won't be quick, and Draco will see no mercy. Potter, on the other hand, might just be thick enough to forgive Draco.
So if Potter is dead, then, Draco's chances don't look so good.
He holds his expression impassive as the Gryffindors around him yell in horror. He maintains an emotionless façade as Longbottom stupidly stumbles forward, as his aunt mocks the boy derisively, as the Dark Lord causes the Sorting Hat on Longbottom's head to burst into flames.
He holds his face still as he crumbles inside. Apparently that small ember of hope was supporting him more than he'd thought.
And then the world explodes into chaos, and Draco seems to be the only one still watching Potter. He watches – expression still carved in stone – as the boy who is supposedly dead pulls out and Invisibility Cloak and vanishes from view. He's smiling on the inside. This is why he was actually almost all right with the fact that he's pretty much relying on Potter at this point – Potter is oddly reliable, and he's seems to have a stubborn refusal to die.
Draco follows everyone else into the Great Hall, twirling his mother's wand between his fingers, but he doesn't think he'll need it. At this point, he's pretty much nobody. No one cares about Draco Malfoy, not now, not when they've got scores to settle and a battle to end. As long as he's not shooting curses at anyone, no one's shooting curses at him.
He finds a spot near the wall in the center and reclines there, observing everything carefully. He watches stoically as his Aunt Bellatrix dies at the hand of Molly Weasley, which doesn't upset him as much as perhaps it should. But then, she's never exactly been the best of aunts.
Draco thinks he might be the only one not surprised when Potter whips the Invisibility Cloak off with a grandiose flourish. He smirks, loving, as always, the feeling of having known something no one else was aware of.
But then Potter begins to speak, and Draco is frozen in place. His smirk stays put only because he's no longer aware of it – his face is plastic. His insides are ice.
"Yes, Dumbledore is dead," Potter says with an almost Slytherin tone. He's enjoying the reveal. "But you didn't have him killed. He chose his own manner of dying, chose it months before he died, arranged the whole thing with the man you thought was your servant."
And the ice turns to fire, and Draco is suddenly furious. That year, his sixth year, was hell. And it wasn't necessary? He accomplished nothing?
Draco burns. That's cruel. He went through all of that, and it was pointless?
But Potter seems completely unaware that he's just turned Draco's world upside down, and he keeps speaking.
"The Elder Wand recognized a new master before Dumbledore died, someone who never even laid a hand on it. The new master removed the wand from Dumbledore against his will, never realizing exactly what he had done, or that the world's most dangerous wand had given him its allegiance…"
And Draco's blood runs cold again. 'No,' his brain is saying. 'That's not possible. He can't be saying…'
But then Potter speaks again. "The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy."
And Draco doesn't miss what tense Potter speaks in. Was. And he sees his wand, the hawthorn and unicorn hair wand he got from Ollivander when he was eleven, and Draco understands before Potter even says it.
"Does the wand in your hand know its last master was Disarmed? Because if it does… I am the true master of the Elder Wand."
And Draco wonders how on Earth this is what it comes down to. Is it really possible that Potter could win this because of Draco? Is it possible that Potter could win because Draco was reluctant to hand his long-time rival over to the cruelest man he's ever known? That because Draco hesitated and Potter escaped with Draco's wand, that Potter now has the upper hand?
Could Draco have, in some way, actually contributed?
Now that question makes Draco stop. Merlin, if that's true, he's set, Potter's foolish honor or not. If the Elder Wand obeys Potter, Draco is in the clear.
And Draco watches, muscles tight with tension, as Potter and the Dark Lord shoot simultaneous spells. Potter, the utter fool, chooses a Disarming spell – great Merlin, is the man honestly still using a spell he learned in second year?
But then, Potter's always had an insane amount of sheer dumb luck, and Fate doesn't seem inclined to let him down any time soon. He snags the Elder Wand out of the air with a Seeker's reflexes, and the Dark Lord falls with an anticlimactic thump.
Draco breathes a heavy sigh.
He doesn't have to deal with stuffing his pride so far down that it hurts anymore. He doesn't have to bow to a madman. He doesn't have to see his house turned into a thoroughfare for Dark wizards and creatures like Fenrir Greyback. He doesn't have to hear the screams from the basement and feel guilty because self-preservation instincts won't let him help.