To Risk It All

Do you know that saying ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’? Well Hermione didn’t believe in it until her life flashed before her eyes. Trapped in Malfoy Manor, tortured, threatened with death, forced to tell secrets, her only hope is him. He wants to try, he wants to forget. He wants redemption not power. But with time ticking and a battle looming will they survive?

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14. Let the Sky Fall Around us All

 

Fourteen

Let the Sky Fall Around us All

“Take the children and yourself
And hide out in the cellar
By now the fighting will be close at hand”

–Silent Running, Mike + the Mechanics

 

The air exploded around them. They had grouped together and after a silent moment of relief the world wrenched itself apart. Completely and utterly apart as the building around them demolished under the force of a spell. Hermione heard screams and yells, felt Harry fly away from their close group and she opened her eyes to destruction. Draco was on the ground, his palms outstretched to the sky and around them was a silvery blue shield. The building may have exploded but they were safe, for now.

“Fred?” Percy whimpered and spun to see his brother on the ground, a gash on his forehead and a frozen smile etched on his lips. But he was alive, staring shocked at the blue covering above him. His eyes swept the entirety of it, back and forth, back and forth, as though he couldn't believe it.

“I would have been–“ he didn’t finish it and looked at Draco, now kneeling on the ground and straining his face.

“Hermione, do you mind…?” Draco questioned and Hermione was quick to add her own magic to the shielding spell, watching as Draco’s shoulders relaxed. Ron shook his brother’s shoulder, hugging him in relief. Somewhere in the action Ron thanked Draco, and Harry stood to stare at the debris that was littered around them. Blocks of stone pushed against the shield and slid off with the help of gravity and magic. 

The reprieve didn’t last long and a body moved out of the gaping hole in the building, curses being hurled at them. Percy leapt out of the shield when it came down around them with a cry. “You almost killed my brother!” he cried and Fred and Ron could do nothing to stop him. Less than a minute later spiders crept through the rubble. 

Draco cursed.

“I want to fight Death Eaters,” Ron murmured as he helped Fred up.

“Don’t we all Weasley, just don’t kill me,” Draco said flippantly, “But we have to stop the Horcruxes, remember the Horcruxes.”

“The snake, Ron, the snake.” Harry informed them and Hermione handed over a dagger to Ron. “If you see the snake you kill it.”

“It would help if we knew where Voldemort was?” Hermione asked like it was simple. Fred was still peering around the battle, not believing his luck. Somewhere amongst the trouble of Draco flying spells around them, Fred clapped him on the back and it was feeble but still there, almost like it hurt for Fred to do it. Harry lifted a hand to his scar and made a pained noise as he crumbled.

“He’s in the Shrieking Shack,” Harry gasped, “with the snake and Snape.” Fred sniggered at the alliteration.

“I can’t go with you,” Draco gasped, pulling another spell into the raging air, “they’ll kill me if they see me and I like my life thank you very much. Hermione you stay safe for Salazar’s sake.” He muttered something about going off with Fred and Percy, unwilling might he add, and he held Hermione’s hand for a brief moment before they were running off in separate directions. Words and spells and blasts spun through the air and Draco ducked, spinning and hurtling.

The world was chaos, everything uprooted as he stepped over bodies broken and dead, and moved around people who felt the need to fight and survive.

Everywhere a battle made destruction out of a school of witchcraft and wizardry.

Somewhere Snape was bitten by Nagini and died looking into Harry’s eyes, the eyes of Lily Potter. Before he took his final breath Hermione kneeled down beside him and whispered the words she knew he would want to hear. “I will look after Draco, I will always keep him safe.”  His lips didn’t get the chance to form a word of gratitude but his eyes lightened ever so slightly before they went still.

Somewhere else Draco didn’t feel his godfather’s death, somewhere he ducked and cursed and said the killing curse on the people who used to be called friends.

 

*

 

The castle was unnaturally silent when Voldemort gave them their one hour to mourn their dead. One hour did not seem enough and everyone knew that after that one hour the danger would start again and more lives would be lost. Part of the banisters had been torn away, the tables were broken on the edges of the Great Hall and small bundles of people huddled in their families and friendship group.

“Where is everyone?” Hermione whispered as Ron led the way into the Great Hall. The boys had filled her in on their Horcrux adventures on their search for the diadem and she had said that they were lucky that they had managed it without her. Ron had told her how he had wanted to leave but knowing that Harry would be utterly alone stopped him. She was glad that they had stuck together and even prouder to be back with them again, close to her best friends once more.

The injured were being treated on a raised platform and the dead were arranged in rows in the middle. Near the rows of the dead stood the Weasley family hugging and crying. They were lamenting how Fred’s body could have been lying there but wasn’t and George clung to his twin’s side. Ron was swallowed in his family and Hermione went over to hug Ginny. Harry didn’t move, staring at the two bodies that laid beside them; Remus and Tonks.

They looked peaceful, asleep almost and soon Harry was reeling back and out of the room, Draco being the only one to witness his departure. Draco stood alone, on the edge of the room, the only Slytherin his age although he didn’t look like a student at all. His cheek was bruised and he looked overall ruffled, the battle making it harder to remain put together. His mark burned, it had since just after Harry and Hermione had left for the shrieking shack, Voldemort calling him and Draco resisting.

The burning only abated when someone brought in Severus Snape’s body. They placed him at the end of the line and Draco marched up to it and collapsed to his knees. He didn’t register that he was speaking, his voice hoarse in the Great Hall, or that teachers made their way to him, or that Hermione broke off from the Weasley’s to join him. He was too busy trying to comprehend that Severus Snape; his Godfather, the very man that had helped himself and Hermione, was dead. 

His Godfather’s skin looked thin and relaxed, the lines not there anymore, his eyes were closed against the enchanted sky.

“You said you wouldn’t leave me behind god damn you,” he whispered as his hand found the limp hand of his godfather. McGonagall’s hand found his shoulder and he shrugged it off. His hand found the dark mark that stretched grey against his god father’s forearm and when he touched it, his vision whitened, blurring as the pain overcame him and he saw a flash of cruel eyes and dark trees. He clamped his lips shut and scuttled backwards, his hands clenching around his own mark and then his whimpers wouldn’t be contained and he slumped forwards and to the side.

Hermione caught Draco as he fell. The mark appeared angry on his pale skin and McGonagall was ushering towards them, calling for Pomphrey. “I just think it’s the mark,” Hermione was saying, resting Draco’s head against her knees as she sat on the dusty floor.

Pomphrey consulted Draco, his pulse steady but his chest heaving, “We don’t know a lot about the marks logistics unfortunately,” she was saying and gave him a calming drought before moving on to the next injured person. The Weasley’s huddled around them. “I may hate the bloke but he saved Fred’s life and that counts for something,” George muttered and then Ginny was asking why she and Draco were so close.

“Because we’ve saved each other’s lives.” Hermione smiled sadly, “He took an Unbreakable Vow for me, and the least I can do is repay him for it. Now that Snape is gone and his parents are… well, where they are, I have to do this for him.” With an unconscious Draco in her lap she started to sing, or try to sing, the words he had once sang. Their trip to Ireland seemed ages ago and she tried to put the offputting behind her as she felt how soft Draco's pale hair truly was as she swept it away from his forehead. 

“Dream, Dream, grah mo chree
Here on your Mamma’s knee
Angels are guarding and they watch o’er thee
As you sleep may Angels watch over
And may they guard o’er thee.”

It was when Hermione started to sing that Ron knew that they would never be together, she may have used to look at him in that way, but the way she was looking at Draco then and there was something he didn’t recognise. Draco may have been awful, someone who Ron would never understand, but in that moment Hermione understood Draco enough to discredit everyone’s opinions of him.

It was also then that he noticed that Harry had left the room. He knew that his best friend had went off to do something incredibly stupid and his eyes shut at the realisation. Damn you Harry Potter.

Draco awoke to singing. His grey eyes blinked open to haziness and mispronounced Irish words.

“Merlin Hermione you’re butchering it.” A voice quirked and someone told Seamus to shut up.

“I think it’s the fact that it’s to Malfoy that’s ruining it,” another voice inputted and squawked as they were slapped. The singing paused.

“Shut up Dean,” Hermione hissed and Draco awoke to lying on Hermione’s lap, her hair dangling down into his face and tickling his chin.

“Why are you singing?” he whispered out, looking up at her eyes as they fastened on him. He groaned as he forearm flared. “What happened?” he asked but didn’t move, glancing at the way Hermione’s eyes changed.

“You fainted dear,” it sounded weird from Mrs. Weasley’s mouth and he sat up with a groan, placing his arm carefully as he watched who was around him. Hermione was kneeled on the floor with him, and the Weasley’s, Lee Jordan, Seamus and Dean sat around them. They were there for the Weasley's and not for him, their heads more angled towards their friends. “The pain caused by the mark and by Severus’s passing lead to it we think," the elder woman continued and a pang wrestled its way through Draco's chest.

He didn’t want to think about his godfather’s prone body just mere feet away from him, so he didn’t. “That’s great to know,” he sarcastically replied, dodging the worried looks that were surprisingly sent his way. "Voldemort is always getting his boot far up my ass." Snape would have berated him for his language with a quiet smirk of laughter but Snape was...

God what would his parents do when they knew? They were just as close to Snape as Draco was, if not closer due to their occupation. 

Merlin he missed his parents, he had to admit that even if it pained him, but who knew what they were doing.

 

*

 

Somewhere in the forbidden forest a mother’s love for her son saved Harry Potter and his body was lifted into Hagrid’s arms as they walked the long way back to the castle. Narcissa knew her son was alive and when she told Lucius, they knew that as soon as they saw Draco they would be running away from this battle and saving their own skin.

Amongst the fighting Lucius has felt the absence of his son more than he ever had. Halfway through he realised that this was a mad man's mission and although some of the belief's were still with him, the lives lost were more than enough to make it seem utterly insane. 

In the Great Hall everyone heard Voldemort’s call; Harry Potter is dead and I have come to show you my victory. They filed outside to see the congregation of Death Eater’s lumber their way towards them, Voldemort leading them with Hagrid following behind holding something that looked suspiciously like a body.

They stopped and Hagrid’s body lurched uncomfortably. “Harry Potter is dead, you’re battle is lost, your fighters have fought valiantly and died for your efforts.” Voldemort said proudly as he raised his arms to the crowd of Hogwarts fighters. 

The scream that ripped itself from McGonagall’s throat was overwhelming and yet she didn’t crumble to her knees. Ginny wrenched her way from her father’s grip and stalked forwards, Ron holding her back at the last minute. Draco supported Hermione as her legs buckled and tears sprang to her eyes, her own cry working its way through the survivors. That was her best friend, and the body in Hagrid's arms looked alarming. 

“SILENCE!” Voldemort cried, and Draco’s eyes met those of his parents from across the way. He tore them away again when he saw the anguish in his mother’s eyes. “Harry Potter is dead!” Voldemort cried to his followers who laughed and rejoiced. Bellatrix’s laugh was the loudest and Draco shut his eyes to get away from the commotion. Hermione shook under his grip and he knew the effect it would have on her, bringing the past to the forefront of her mind. It was made all the more worse with the body of Harry still on display. 

Then Neville stepped forward and the sorting hat was in his grip, a body bind was thrown at him and the hat spurted into flame and suddenly a giant trampled towards them all. The battle resumed, so quickly that Draco couldn't make sense of it all.

 In the commotion they didn’t realise that Hagrid no longer held a body in his arms. In the commotion Neville lifted the Sword of Gryffindor that had been procured from the sorting hat and sliced Nagini’s head off in one clean blow. 

Chaos reigned, house elves erupted from the Great Hall and students trampled over one another. Draco and Hermione were lost in a cacophony of spells and people, blood pounding through their veins as the battle fell around them. They may have been separated but they both knew the stakes they were under.

“NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH!” Mrs. Weasley cried as she bested Bellatrix in a duel and Draco had to cheer as he saw his aunt come apart, the vindictive sneer on her face disappearing as she was killed. He had to admit that the Weasley's were good for something. Harry ripped the cloak off himself and cries of his name ripped through the commotion, steering battle worn exhaustion into battle worn readiness.

But the battle did not stop as Harry and Voldemort circled one another, baiting each other. Draco didn’t stop hurling spells even though his limbs hurt, even though Harry told Voldemort that Draco was the owner of the Elder Wand. For a moment he faltered, he could have had that wand in Ireland, he could have had that power. In a small grieving and greedy part of himself he wanted that wand in his hands, he wanted to prove to everyone about what he could do. That was the arrogant part of him that would always remain because he was a Malfoy and that was who they were at the very core.

That was what Draco had always been taught. 

Red and green light collided, and Draco had to sarcastically clap at Harry's spell choice. Then the green light of an Avada Kedavra spell rebounded and caught Voldemort. Voldemort became Tom Riddle as his body swept through the air and fell to the ground in a heap. In that instant he became human, his soul finally destroyed or put back together and the air stilled around everyone, living and dead. 

The sun rose steadily over Hogwarts as victory crowned through the rubble and remaining survivors. Hermione was sat with Harry and Ron, patting their backs about winning the final fight. Draco finally found his parents and hugged his mother, his father greeting him with a weary look.

"Mother," he gasped as he was pulled into a hug and then reluctantly detached from her. He had missed her, hurt for her when he found out they had been tortured. They may have had their differences but these were his family, family that he couldn't just ignore.

“I know you’re not going to apologise,” Draco muttered to his father, “I know you don’t regret what you’ve done, not entirely.”

“I regret how I handled you,” the words were pushed out in the space between them and Draco was suddenly pulled into an awkward hug with his father. Together they sat at the edge of the Great Hall and Narcissa hugged her son, kissing his ruffled hair and saying sorry into the fine locks. Together they mourned Severus and Draco allowed himself to finally cry into his mother’s chest, exhaustion cracking his exterior shield.

When he finally put his shield back together he found Pansy in the fray, the one girl that was willing to do anything for him if that meant being with Voldemort and being safe. She was flanked by his old friends, people who he didn't know still qualified as friends. Blaise remained stoic near Theodore Nott, Crabbe and Goyle leaning  on each other. 

"I'm glad we are all alive," he said to them, "I'm not your leader anymore, I haven't been for a long time so I don't know if you understand what I've done but..." 

Pansy didn't allow him to finish as she started crying into his already damaged shirt. "You idiot, you're a fucking idiot." 

They didn't understand everything, least of all his new found connection with Hermione Granger, but they were battle worn and they had come out alive. There would be consequences but in that moment they didn't matter.

 

*

 

Hermione finally found Draco in the stillness of the battle. Everyone was sat in the Great Hall, enjoying the come down and the peace and quiet that had emerged after the fight. The war was over, it was all over and they could bury their dead and move on from Voldemort’s long reign of terror.

She found him next to his parents and she said his name loud enough for him to stand and step towards her. “We’ve finally done it,” she laughed and they hugged, her head on his chest.

“Do you mean you’ve finally done it?” Draco joked and Hermione hit him lightly on the chest. Their hands met in the middle and a ring of red flame leaped around their joined palms. The crackle made heads turn and Draco’s eyes met Hermione’s as he kneeled down. “My pledge of safety has been fulfilled, I have protected you with my life and it has been a pleasure.”

His need for etiquette ran through his veins, Severus Snape had taught him that at least. 

Somewhere in their journey his contempt towards her had turned into a likeness that he knew he himself shared. That likeness grew into respect and that respect transformed into something else, something he didn’t want to label just yet.

“Get up Draco,” Hermione tugged on his hands and they were embracing again, “Thank you for everything you’ve done, everything you’ve said, just thank you.”

They would have stood there for a long time, holding on to one another, if the Auror’s hadn’t entered the torn apart Great Hall and began arresting the Malfoy family and Slytherin students.

“Draco Malfoy you are under arrest for conspiring with Lord Voldemort,” one of them said and ripped him away from Hermione. He hadn’t saw it coming, too busy wrapped up in the very essence of Hermione to notice them quietly stunning his parents, the quiet becoming awfully loud in the Great Hall. Hermione was saying something, shouting at the Auror’s, slapping at their hands.

"Draco!" Hermione screamed, she said his name like she had swallowed razor blades. "Draco, no, Ron let go of me!" 

As Draco was led away he saw Ron take Hermione into his arms and then be ripped from her as she herself was arrested. “Hermione Granger you have been accused of aiding Draco Malfoy, a known Death Eater.”

Together they were led out, kicking and screaming and Draco’s eyes met Hermione’s over the chaos and their peace and quiet was shattered.

McGonagall tried to reason with them, even Harry came to their aid but shock coated the entirety of the Great Hall as Draco finally stilled in the Auror's grip. 

The battle may have ended but the commotion still rattled in Draco’s chest and trouble still came to meet them.

 

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