He wanted to call, "I'm here", but his lungs were failing him. He could barely process anything but those two words. Funny, he thought. I always thought she would be the death of me.


More silence.

He wanted to shout, "I'm not going to leave you", but all he could hear was his heart pounding. The words left his father's mouth. Sick bastard. He saw it coming. He was never fit to be a Malfoy. He was always too weak– or too lazy. A disgrace of a Pureblood– how was he supposed to do great things if he couldn't beat a Mudblood in O.W.L.s? But she was no Mudblood. She was pure. And he was tainted. By the sins he couldn't have lived long enough to commit. He was corrupted by his name. Dirtied by his father's actions. Soiled by his father's ideals. Stained by his delayed conscience. If only he would have listened to her earlier; believed when she told him he could be good.



Green light. He counted down the seconds before the light hit his chest. He could see his whole life before him.


His mother was lulling him to sleep. Cleaning his wounds inflicted by his father. He missed her voice. She had light in her eyes and joy in her heart. Before he ruined her. Before he ruined everything.


The Hogwarts Express. 1 September 1991. He stealthily wiped his clammy hands on his robes. Malfoys are never nervous. Get sorted into Slytherin or don't bother returning home. He felt the embarrassment Potter and Weasley caused him. But this time, he was embarrassed of himself. Maybe, he thought, if I could go back, this would be the moment I would change. He silently swore to make their lives hell.


She punched him in the nose. Warmth blossomed in his chest. He hated her. He was cursed, hexed, and hit for nine years and he just mastered the Malfoy mask. He just learned how to become numb to it– the constant abuse. Reprimanding himself for not being cruel enough. Tuning out his conscience. But that one hit, that one slap. He never hated her more than he did then. She made him feel, and that wasn't allowed. He never wanted her more.


The Yule Ball. He could hear Zabini in his ear now. "Who knew death could turn you into such a pansy, Malfoy?" Fourteen year-old Draco was forced to sit back and just watch the girl he fancied fall in love with that Krum bloke. He couldn't even tell his father! He couldn't interfere– she still hated him and he was still confused about her. She was an enigma, and he was the prick that ruined her magical experience. He watched the joy bloom on her face. She was always prettiest when flustered. Then, when she punched him in Third Year. When he called her a "Mudblood". When she defended her friends. But especially now. He almost hexed the ginger twat. As he started, Zabini sent him a questioning look. He threw back a sneer. Granger can hold her own, he repeated to himself as he sat back down and Pansy snuggled into his side. But he was a Malfoy, and Malfoys always protected what was theirs.


She said it first.

They were sitting on the top step at Head Quarters. He knew it was coming. War was no longer an option– it was inevitable. There was no stopping it.

It was chilly. He loved when her cheeks were rosy and her hair was windswept. She looked so real, unlike the Slytherin girls. Their mothers taught them how to pile on the makeup and snatch a Pureblood husband. But she didn't care about that. Books. Knowledge. Enlightenment. Not material things. She knew everything could be broken. Bones, minds, hearts. She preferred to play it safe—stay away from anything capable of damage. Never give all of yourself to anything tangible. Fall in love with abstract. She always told him nothing could love her. He always told himself "but I do".

But that night was different. He knew it was coming– he could feel the air change between them. The icy looks melted; then it was the indifference. He saved her life in their first mission together. She finally forgave him. These nightly meetings became something else: they'd greet each other formally before the Order missions– he'd sneak an arm around her waist and she'd steal a kiss. They didn't think anything of it. But he started noticing small things about her: the way she'd scrunch her nose when they researched. When she couldn't figure out the answer soon enough, she'd chew her lip. He could count the freckles dusted across her nose. The glazed look in her eyes when someone mentioned a parent. The looks of longing she directed at Peppermint Floss. He knew what it meant. He fought saying it, in fear of its repercussions. Once you have something worth losing, the War is lost. Nothing makes it out unscathed– everyone and everything damages. It was a taboo; more dangerous to say than "Voldemort".

It was a crescent moon– her favourite. The sky was speckled; early enough in the year to see Sirius but too early to see Draco. She made them hot chocolate. They were both supposed to be sleeping; they both had missions in the morning. The silence had passed for long enough, and he was tired and scared. As he rose, she placed her hand on his wrist. When she looked up at him, he saw it in his eyes. The words he couldn't say. And she whispered it. He cringed. She had no right. The words were so peculiar, he wouldn't have believed it was real if he couldn't feel the front teasing her hair. They both knew that when she said it, they were damned. They forfeited any false hope. Any peace. She uttered those words and it was real. He was about to spin on his heel, seek refuge and pretend it wasn't happeni–

"I love you."


Nothing else mattered. In the last second, they met each other's eyes. He barely nodded. But she understood. She would always regret it. It would be her nightmare. Strong enough to drive her mad. That night. Almighty Dumbledore called love the "greatest weapon", but it was their weakness. It was their damned salvation. He hated the defeat on her face. But it was her eyes that killed him. And in his last second, he was weak. His face looked stoic, the Malfoy mask in place. But his eyes said, "I love you."

She heard silence; it was loud enough to break her heart. She saw love; concentrated enough to break her soul.

He said nothing. But his heart wanted to say, "Never forget me", as his eyes shut with finality.


Author's Note: Hello! Thanks for reading! It's my first fic and blah blah. I hope you liked it! I've edited it about six times and it still feels a bit skimpy. Feel free to leave any criticism I'd rather know that it sucks than believe that it's great. PM me for any details you think it's missing, you have a better idea for the ending, whatever. I'd love some feedback! XOXO