Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or its characters. No copyright infringement is intended.

AN: This fic is slightly AU. You will find things along the way that do not line up with canon but I did try to stay as close to it as I could. I'm sure you will notice those things along the way so I will not point them out since I'm informing you of them now.

I hope you enjoy :D


Lucius Malfoy was running as fast as his feet, and his charge, would let him. His grip was firmly on Draco's collar and pulling the boy with all his might as he tore through the abandoned hallway. If anyone was around to witness it, they would have sworn the fires of hell were licking at his feet, and that wasn't far from the truth.

He had to get Draco to Severus. He knew he, himself, was dead. There was no way out of this battle but through a coffin, and oddly enough, he was alright with that. But, his son was an entirely different matter. He wouldn't let his son die – not here, not like this. He had to keep him safe and there was only one way to do that. Deliver him into the hands of The Order.

He saw the light of the curse reflect off the dark stone wall of the castle and quickly threw himself and Draco to the ground, turning on his back as he did and firing his own curse in an instant. He watched as Mulciber fell to the ground, but he didn't bother to stay and watch his nasty slicing hex go to work once the sounds of gurgling blood could be heard. He knew the man would be dead in an instant and so would they if they didn't keep moving.

"Up," he growled as he dragged his son to his feet. His hand had yet to leave the collar of Draco's robes.

Down another hallway, dodging the rubble that had been blasted sometime in the last two hours from the raging fight on Hogwarts grounds, they quickly made their way up. The battle for the end of this war was at its peak. Many had already lost their lives, but it all boiled down to two – his master and Potter. He could care less at this point how either was fairing.

He didn't know exactly where Severus was, but he knew he was in this direction. Somehow, he could always find his friend. They had always had a very strong bond in knowing where the other was or if they needed help, and while most would find that odd, he never questioned it. It had saved both their lives many times before to have the special connection that they shared, and the benefits outweighed any curiosity that Lucius might have had toward the subject.

Up a flight of steps and into another hallway, this one lined on one side with nothing but windows. He could see the flashes from outside – green, red, blue, white, another green – and the loud explosions that accompanied most of them. The brilliant colors dancing along the stained glass would have been a beautiful sight to behold if it weren't for his absolute terror. While he had always been one to appreciate beauty in rare places, he couldn't afford to be sentimental now. He had a job to do before death took him.

He was getting close, he knew, but before he could round into another hallway, they both collided with something. He instantly recognized it as a small, soft body as they fell into a heap. He wasted no time scrambling to his knees, fully alert, and had his wand trained on the offending person. Much to his surprise, he was also staring down the length of a wand, which was ultimately attached to a young woman. In his panic it took him a moment to recognize her.

"Miss Granger," he sneered, trying to assess the situation to his benefit. He stared into her wide brown eyes and calculated whether she could be of some use. Normally he wouldn't even consider the matter, but since he was trying to deliver Draco over to her kind, he paused.

"Mr. Malfoy," she said, strangely calm for a girl of her age in her position. They were at war, in the middle of a deadly battle, yet her hand was steady as she glared at him. Regardless of his initial response of being impressed with the girl, he could see the fear in her eyes.

Taking a moment to study her, he saw she had a small cut above her left eyebrow, but the blood seemed to have mostly dried. While she appeared to be rather level-headed, the fatigue she was no doubt experiencing showed in the slump of her shoulders. Her clothes, while soaking wet, were singed and tattered, apparently from some sort of flame curse. Her eyes were red and puffy as if she'd been crying and she looked deathly pale. If it weren't for her steady hand, he might have expected her to fall out in a dead faint at any second.

He was surprised to feel a small wave of admiration for the witch. He had never put much stock in the mudblood, but he couldn't deny she had some talent, especially while he stared down the tip of her wand. It wasn't a position he found himself in often.

Draco had told him how powerful she was, and he was seeing a glimpse of that now. They had formed a grudging truce with each other this past year, so he had heard a few stories of her heroism and magical ability. He had never thought he'd come face to face with it, however, being a Slytherin meant using all situations to your advantage. She was a member of the Order and he thought it best to try to work through her to find his friend.

"I need to find Severus. Do you know here he might be?" He lowered his wand and leaned back slightly to show he meant her no harm. It was a risk, and one he normally wouldn't take, but seeing his son shake violently out of the corner of his eye, he made the choice nonetheless.

She furrowed her brows in confusion. Obviously, she'd expecting him to kill her on the spot. She studied him for a moment, he wasn't sure what she was looking for, butshe seemed to find it.She slowly stood and took a wary step back.

"I haven't seen him. There is nothing but Death Eaters down this corridor. Now, if you don't plan on hexing me, I need to be moving before they get any closer."

Her wand was still trained on him, but he saw her glance in Draco's direction briefly, no doubt assessing his level of danger to her. He had yet to move or speak. The boy was too exhausted to do much else.

She began to walk backwards, wand still steadily fixed on his chest. Admitting that the girl was of no use to him now, he made to grab his son, but before he could, he watched as a purple flame shot past the Granger girl and hit Draco instead.

His son cried out and fell backwards into his arms as another blue jet of light barreled down the hallway. He had no time to react with his son twitching violently in his arms, but much to his dismay, the hex hit a shielding charm that had wrapped around them both.

In an instant, the Granger girl was standing in front of them defending and countering hexes from the two dark figures at the end of the hall. He was too shocked to do anything but watch as she gracefully, and sometimes wordlessly, shot spell after spell from her wand. He leaned as far against the wall as he could and held Draco tightly in amazement as the witch defended them valiantly.

His mind thinking quickly, as it always had, searched for an escape route. Seeing the slightly jarred classroom door a few feet down from where he sat, he decided shelter was his best bet. He could regroup and figure out what to do from there. Scrambling as fast as he could while still sitting, he dragged his son, whose shaking had become more violent, towards the room.

Pushing the door ajar, he noticed it was the Defense classroom. He turned back towards the girl and noticed that she was now only battling against one. He couldn't see well enough to make out who she was up against, but whoever it was, they were wearing her down. Each curse had pushed her further back and she was losing ground quickly. She dodged a rather vibrant yellow curse, that he knew well to be the Entrail Expelling Curse, and by the look on her face he knew she recognized it, too.

He shivered in disgust. He had seen that curse performed before, and no matter who was on the receiving end, he didn't wish to experience that horror again.

He stopped his movements just as he saw her jaw set and a well spoken, eerily calm, "Avada Kedavra" left her mouth. The figure at the end of hall fell with a loud thud. The violent battle had lasted less than a minute.

He blinked in surprise, never imagining he would see such a curse leave the mudblood's lips, much less a member of the Order. He studied her for a moment longer and suspected by the blank, vacant expression in her eyes that this had been the first time she had ever uttered the spell. The violent shiver that rocked her body a moment later as her soul shattered confirmed his thought.

For some unexplainable reason this shook him to his core. He remembered well the first time he cast the Killing Curse, and knew well how it felt to have your soul shattered. It was a painful experience, one he had learned to accept over time, but that had never made it any easier.

He was not a nice man. Actually, most considered him quite evil, and to some extent he supposed they were right, but the love of his family had always kept him more grounded than the insane people he had surrounded himself with since his youth. The loss of his wife, and now the threat to his son, had forced Lucius to accept the responsibility of his mistakes. Seeing the girl shatter her soul while protecting him, even after everything he and his family had done to her touched him in a way that nothing else ever had.

He heard the footsteps approaching from the way the girl had come, and he made a split second decision. Making sure Draco was securely inside the classroom, he got to his feet, reached out and grabbed the girl by her wrist and yanked her inside with them, Throwing her beside his son and slamming the door shut, he immediately threw up several nasty Wards locking them safely inside.

Once he was satisfied he hadbought them some time, he turned to see the girl on her knees, hands loosely by her side and her head bowed – the frizzy mass she called hair obscuring her face. He closed his eyes wondering what had possessed him to do such a thing, but he didn't dwell on it. The girl had protected them and he couldn't deny he owed her. At one time in his life Lucius had prided himself on upholding honor, even if his idea of it was sick and twisted to most. He couldn't help but try to uphold that even as death himselfinched his icy hands ever closer.

A whimper from his son drew his attention down to Draco's side. He frantically searched him for any signs of trauma, but could find no distinguishing marks of any kind. Whatever he had been hit with, it must work from the inside. That helped to narrow down the possibilities of the curse.

Waving his wand above his son, he went to work. He was very adept at curses and counter curses, something he owed to Severus. There had been many times they had found themselves in need of healing with only each other to rely on.

He let nothing penetrate his thoughts as he searched for answers on what his son had been afflicted with. He knew the girl was in a state and wouldn't be an issue for now, and although he could hear the others outside the door trying to gain entrance, he also knew his wards would hold for a while longer.

Studying the runes before him, he found the answer he was looking for. It was a nasty curse, but luckily he knew the counter spell. Not wasting any time as he heard Draco's whimpers of pain, he began to chant the counter-curse, watching as the grayish-blue flame left his wand and traveled over his son. He didn't allow himself to relax until Draco's breathing leveled out and his eyes opened – the look of pain gone.

"Father?" Draco whispered, staring at him weakly.

He laid his hand on his shoulder and said softly, "It's alright Draco."

His relief for Draco's well being was replaced by an overwhelming sense of shame. It was the first time he had ever shared a moment such as this with his son. The boy's eyes softened and his shoulders relaxed, knowing he was safe in his presence.

He didn't deserve that trust, not after what he had put his family through. He had pledged his allegiance to a mad man, who had taken his wife from him for something out of his control. He had endangered his only son, one he'd loved so deeply he'd never been able to properly express it.

Malfoy's didn't show even as the thought ran through his mind, he understood just how wrong he had been. Not only in regards to how he ran his family, but a great many things. It only proved to increase his shame.

He had been so sure, for so many years, that the Dark Lord was the one to bring the Malfoys to glory. He had believed, and still did to a point, in his sentiments and ideals on blood purity, conveniently overlooking the fact the snake was a half-blood himself. Not that it really mattered to him. His best friend, the only person in the world who had ever been there for him unconditionally, was a a half-blood as well.

None of it made any sense now. He couldn't understand his hatred for those of less pure birth, nor his reasoning for wanting to kill an entire planet of people who had never bothered him, who didn't even know if his existence. What was so important that he'd risk the only people that really mattered to him?It made absolutelyno sense to him now.

He knew it was the stress from everything they had gone through the past several months, or maybe even knowing his death was at hand, that made him examine things he had never looked too closely at before. If he had survived the war, he knew he would be just as nasty and judgmental as he had always been. He was Lucius Malfoy after all, and nothing could change that.

But seeing this look in his son's eyes he wanted once, just this once, to do something good. He wanted his son to remember him for something other than what he was. His son deserved to live a life not ruled by fear or servitude. He would die before he saw Draco reduced to the sniveling, broken man he had become.

Leaning over his son, he laid his head gently against Draco's, staring at him with all the love and affection he, as a father, should have shown him, but had never been able to bring himself to. He placed both of his hands on the side of his son's face and closed his eyes as the tears started to form.

Leaning back so he could look at his son properly, he said, "I want you to know that I have always, beenproud of the man you have become." He swallowed hard as he felt his son grip his shoulders tightly, his eyes glistening. His throat constricted painfully as he swallowed hard.

"Inever toldyou this, but I was so relieved when Severus told me you couldn't kill Dumbledore. I knew then that you'd be so very different from myself." He watched as a lone tear fell from his son's eye, and reveled in his look of admiration, pride and love for only a moment before catching the boy up in a fierce hug. Closing his eyes he wondered why he hadn't done this more often. It was the most freeing experience of his life. "You deserve more, Draco, and I will die to make sure you never become me."

He didn't give Draco a chance to react before he was on his feet, his son pulled with him. He quickly opened the large armoire to his right and tossed his son inside, before turning to the still despondent girl and doing the same to her. Draco was on his feet by the time he had thrown the Granger girl at him. He instinctively caught her, which seemed to startle her back to the present. They both made towards the opening of the small closet as if to escape.

"Father, what are you..."

Lucius raised his wand at them both, stopping both of their struggles to free themselves from the closet. He felt his heart shatter as his child's eyes clouded with fear. "Remember what I told you," he said with conviction before casting his spell.

"Vocare Una Ad Defendo."

He watched as they both froze at the site of the golden light emitted from his wand. It swirled around them swiftly, doing its work before shimmering faintly and disappearing altogether. He had a brief moment of panic, wondering what he was thinking binding his son to the mudblood, but he had a feeling this would benefit him somehow in the future, so he let it go.

"Severus will come for you. Live free my son," he whispered to Draco who was staring at him in shock.

The moment he saw the implications of his words register on his face, he slammed the door and began to cast the appropriate spells to keep them safe. He could hear his son yelling "no" over and over as he banged against the door, but he held fast in his decision.

He knew that Severus would come for them. It all fell back on that feeling that connected the two of them, the one he had never questioned. He didn't have to do so now, either. Instead he let himself feel the comfort of their bond in knowing his brother was on his way to protect that which was most precious to him.

His protections complete, his son safely hidden from all but one, he walked towards the door and awaited for his Wards to be broken. It didn't take long, for no sooner had he positioned himself for the fight ahead, the door flew from its hinges. He wasn't surprised to see his executioners. They knew he had betrayed their cause and he wouldn't deny it.

Being a proud man, he stood his ground and sneered in arrogance. He was better than they were, not because he was a Malfoy or had more wealth than they did. No, it was because he had chosen his son over fear. He had not sacrificed Draco like they had all done to their own children, and he was a better man for it.

No words were spoken as the duel began.

He fought with all the honor a master of the Dark Arts could. He held nothing back, knowing no matter what decision he made from this moment on would change the future. In the end, when the final blow came, his last words to his son were the only thing to echo through his mind as the slicing curse cut through his neck and shoulder.

You deserve more, Draco, and I will die to make sure you never become me.

Lucius' spell was "supposed" to read as "Call Together to Protect". My Latin is ridiculously rusty, so much so, that I had to refer to a translation website to help me with this. Although, in the past when I've used these sort of sites, I've found sometimes the nonsense it spouts back at me is not what I think it is. If I got the translation wrong, by all means please, let me know. I'm not the prickly type to get offended when called out on mistakes. I'm only human after all.

Special thanks to Kedavranox for her amazing beta work and Jasper's Dark Angel for prereading and cheering me on when I wanted to throw this fic on the floor and set fire to it. Reviews are appreciated if you are inclined to leave one, and I will try to answer each one and answer any questions if you have them. Thanks for reading.