He can't leave the room. Her room. And it's all the Order's fault. Confined to a small space with only the Mudblood for company, something's going to give. Maybe his sanity. Maybe not. "There," she spat. "Now your Blood's filthy too!" DM/HG. PostHBP.


43. Amort

Draco thought it was bizarre how a room full of screaming people could seem so quiet and empty.

All the noise just seemed to glide over him in muffled waves, like vibrations rather than noise, tingling his ears, but never quite reaching them. Never quite registering. He frantically scanned the room, searching for Granger, pausing at a couple of girls with wild hair similar to hers, but he couldn't see her. As his eyes darted from one person to the next, he absorbed it all speechlessly, taking in the familiar faces of the people crowding the room.

Many were bleeding, pressing their palms into their wounds, or casting Healing Charms. Most were standing in groups, mumbling to each other or trying to help a companion, but there were several people wandering around the room alone, staring blankly at nothing or crying. Some people were standing, some sitting, and the rest were lying down, separated into two lines on opposite sides of the Hall. It took Draco a few moments, but he realised that one line was for those injured too severely to stand, and the other line was for the dead.

Pomfrey rushed past his line of sight to aid a screaming victim, but all he could focus on were her red hands; gloves of blood fumbling with potions. She pushed her hair out of her eyes, smearing the red across her forehead, and Draco averted his eyes as she bent down to attend to a large wound slicing across Ernie Macmillan's chest.

The noise hit him then, and he gritted his teeth against the shrill, bellowing roar of it.

His eyes swept the room again; perhaps Granger had been crouched down and he'd missed her, or perhaps the sweat in his eyes had compromised his vision. He lingered on a mane of ginger hair, thinking it might be Weasley, but it was the other twin, George, calling out to his brothers, who had walked into the room ahead of Draco, Blaise, and Luna.

Carefully placing Boot in the line of the fallen, Fred and Percy made their way to the corner of the room with George, joining the other Weasleys. Except for Ron, and Draco never thought he would be disappointed to not see Ronald Sodding Weasley with Granger nearby, but today was apparently a day of firsts.

And lasts for some people.

He was momentarily fixated on Professor Sprout fixing Stephen Cornfoot's fractured collarbone when Blaise and Luna stepped forward, entering the Great Hall, hand in hand. Numbly following them, his eyes shifted from one gory scene to the next, staring at a girl with a mangled, battered face, her Hufflepuff tie hanging loosely around her neck. He didn't recognise her; her face was so damaged that it didn't look like a face at all. His attention drifted over to the Patil twins, one of whom had a broken arm and a shard of bone poking out of her skin. Her sister held her hand as Trelawney cast Healing Charms. He turned his head to the line of the dead then, but a loud voice stopped him before he could glance at one pale body.

"Hey! What the hell are you two doing in here?"

Draco's groan rattled around his dry mouth. "For fuck's sake, what now?"

He didn't need to look to know that whoever had yelled was shouting at Blaise and himself, but he did anyway, meeting the aggressive glare of Seamus Finnegan. Others in the room lifted their heads, their expressions tightening with anger when they spotted the Slytherins, and an odd sense of shame crept in, settling heavily on Draco's shoulders. Beneath the hot and uninhibited hatred in their eyes, he felt very much ostracized. Where was Tonks when he needed her?

"I asked what the hell you two are doing here!" Finnegan shouted again, his accent harsh and spitting. "You don't belong here!"

"They do belong here," said Lovegood, like it was obvious. "They're with us."

"Get away from them, Luna."

"I swear to Salazar," muttered Blaise, so only Draco would hear. "If one more person implies that I am her kidnapper instead of her boyfriend, I'm going to start breaking jaws."

"Luna," said Seamus, stepping towards her. "Come away from them."

He reached out to grab her arm but she snatched it back, holding Blaise's hand a little tighter as she frowned sadly at Seamus. The thirty or so people nearby who had stopped to observe — mostly Gryffindors and Ravenclaws — eyed Lovegood with confusion, some of them warily raising their wands. Draco glanced around the room, searching for his cousin in the hopes that she might intervene, but, like Granger, she was nowhere to be found. He reached into his pocket for his wand.

"Don't," Blaise stopped him. "It won't help."

"Luna," called Cho Chang this time, "They're on Voldemort's side. You know that."

"No, they're on our side."

"Come on, Luna, stop messing around!" growled Seamus, aiming his wand decisively. "And you two, get out!"

"Look, she's telling the truth," said Blaise. "We've been staying in a safehouse. We're fighting with the Order."

Seamus' mouth twitched. "You know, if it was just you, I might believe it," — he narrowed his eyes at Draco — "But not you. We all remember what you did last year."

"For fuck's sake, Finnegan," said Draco. "Do you think I would be here if I was fighting for Voldemort?"

"You're obviously trying to trick us. Voldemort probably sent you here to get information-

Draco scoffed. "Oh, please. Do all you Gryffindors gather together on weekends to think up stupid shit to say, or does it just come naturally to you?"

Blaise shook his head. "You're not helping by insulting them."

"Well, honestly, these morons make it so bloody easy-

"Shut up, you tosser!" barked Seamus furiously. "You two, leave! Right now!"

"Or what?"

"Or we'll make you!"

"Fuck off, Finnegan!" spat Draco. "I am not leaving! Just find Tonks and she'll tell you!"

Seamus' expression darkened a little. "You are a sick, twisted bastard."

Draco's brow furrowed. Something about Finnegan's disposition suddenly seemed off, but he didn't know the Gryffindor well enough to know how or why. He twisted his head to see if Blaise had noticed, but before he could glimpse his friend's eyes he felt the searing stab of a spell striking his bad arm and he yelled out in pain.

"You wanker!" he snarled at Seamus.

"I told you to leave! Now go, or we'll remove you, you slimy piece of-

"That is quite enough Mr Finnegan!"

McGonagall meandered her way through the crowd, pushing down several of the wands aimed at Draco and Blaise as she approached. Draco absently thought to himself that he'd never seen the Headmistress look anywhere close to dishevelled, but her usually tidy, fixed hair was messy and loose around her face, and her robes were dusty and torn. Despite her rumpled appearance, she still carried that formidable air of authority, ignoring the confused looks of the students as she stopped by Finnegan's side.

"What is going on here?" she asked.

"They're up to something," said Seamus, pointing an accusatory finger at Draco and Blaise. "They're saying that they're fighting on our side."

"That is correct."

Seamus balked. "Wh-what?"

"Mr Malfoy and Mr Zabini have been staying in a safehouse with Andromeda Tonks for several months," she explained, her tone clipped and matter-of-fact. "They are on our side."

Draco managed to conceal his surprise, deciding instead that a cocky smirk in Finnegan's direction would be more effective. The look on his face, and the faces of the others who had challenged them for that matter, were brilliantly flabbergasted.

"B-but..." stuttered Seamus, "They're Slytherins."

"Integrity and bravery are not traits exclusive to Gryffindors, Mr Finnegan," said McGonagall. "You will find members of every Hogwarts House here, which should tell you that well enough. Now, go and assist those that require care."

With a final disbelieving glance at Draco, Seamus pivoted on his heel and disappeared, blending into the mass of people like a raindrop in a bloody river. Blaise stepped forward to thank the Headmistress and Draco stole a moment to examine the room again, hunting for any indication of Granger, but again, he found nothing.

"...believe I saw Mr Bletchley, Miss Davies, and Miss Bulstrode with Professor Slughorn near the back of the room," McGonagall was saying to Blaise and Lovegood. "They appeared to be perfectly fine."

"And Granger?" Draco rushed out. "Is she here?"

The creases in the Headmistress' face deepened with her frown. "I...have not seen her, but I'm sure she will turn up shortly with Mr Potter and Mr Weasley."

"What about Theo?" asked Blaise. "Theodore Nott. Have you seen him?"

"I'm sorry, no. We have several groups out searching for injured people and I'm sure there are others still making their way here. Try not to worry until you know anything. Worrying does little but burden already busy minds."

"Is there anything we can do to help?" asked Lovegood. "I'd be happy to check the room for a Nargle infestation."

McGonagall blinked slowly. "I'm sure that's not necessary, Miss Lovegood, but thank you for the offer. I can see that you all have some injuries that need healing. There's a bit of a wait, but Madam Pomfrey, myself, and most of the other Professors are dealing with injuries. If you come and find me in about fifteen minutes, I should have finished aiding those with more severe wounds. In the meantime, we have food, water, and blankets. Keep yourselves warm and hydrated. It seems likely we will be battling again soon."

"Thank you, Professor," said Lovegood.

McGonagall hesitated to leave, her thoughtful eyes flitting between Blaise and Draco. "I commend you both for being here," she told them gently. "I understand your circumstances can't have made the choice easy. The right decisions are often the hardest to make."

Draco cleared his throat uncomfortably as the Headmistress returned to the bedlam, joining Pomfrey near the line for the wounded. Ignoring the unfriendly stares of a group of nearby Gryffindors, he clutched his bad arm a little tighter, flinching as the ache intensified with his movement. The pain was the sort that throbbed at steady intervals, travelling from his shoulder all the way down to his fingertips, but it was bearable. Just.

"We should find Slughorn and the others," suggested Blaise. "They might have seen Theo. I doubt anyone else would have cared enough to note his presence."

"Actually, I'd like to speak with Professor Flitwick," said Lovegood. "Will you be okay walking without support, Blaise?"

"Yes, of course. Come and find us when you're done. And keep an eye out for Theo."

Feathering a kiss against his cheek, Luna left the boys alone, disappearing amongst the sea of students within seconds. Blaise and Draco began to walk, moving deeper into the thick of the aftermath. The air was so rich with the stench of blood and sweat that Draco had to swallow back a gag or two. He slowed his pace to accommodate Blaise's limp, and whether by accident or morbid curiosity, his eyes drifted over to the line of the dead.

They were close enough that Draco could recognise and distinguish the features of their still, grey faces, and he absorbed them all silently. This side of the Great Hall was unsettlingly quiet, like an invisible, muffling wall had been erected to protect their unhearing ears and leave them in peace. One by one, he put names to the faces he knew; Terry Boot, Lavender Brown, Lisa Turpin, Gabriel Tate, Nick Alas, and so many others that he thought he might recognise, but had never taken the time of effort to learn their names.

As unfeeling and cruel as it sounded, he felt no sympathy for them. He'd never known or interacted with these people beyond exchanging glares in the corridors, but that's not to say he was unaffected by them.

Death leaves imprints on your mind; stranger or friend, witnessing it scars memories, and while some scars are smaller than others, none really heal.

He felt disturbed more than anything, particularly when he saw a Hufflepuff girl with wide, dry eyes, her jaw still agape from her final scream. All the others had seemed somewhat serene and calm, but this girl looked like she was stuck in time, reliving the horror, trapped in purgatory. He wanted to direct his attention elsewhere, but decided to sweep his eyes across the remaining corpses, just to ensure Granger wasn't among them. He knew McGonagall would have informed him, but the need to check was too niggling to ignore.

No, Granger definitely wasn't amongst the fallen, but...

"No," murmured Draco, stopping dead in his tracks. "No, no way."

"What?" asked Blaise, following Draco's line of sight. He sighed sadly and shook his head. "Shit. How the...Shit."

Towards the end of the line was a shock of red hair and Draco recognised it instantly. Without really being aware of it, he edged closer, taking in Tonks' dead features. Her skin was moon-white, her lips blue and slightly parted, but the brilliant, vibrant shade of her hair was so alive, and that somehow made it worse. It was only when he'd almost reached her that he realised Remus was lying beside her, his complexion also tellingly pallid and his shirt peppered with browning bloodstains. Draco frowned when he realised their hands were touching; Tonks' fingers softly grazed Remus' palm, as if intentional, and he absently wondered if someone had placed their hands like that, or if gravity and fate had gently pulled Tonks' hand to rest against Remus' so perfectly. So tragically.

A couple of paces behind him, Blaise was talking to Trelawney, but he was too distracted to pick up on what was being said. The emotion that was trapped somewhere between his throat and his chest was indefinable and completely foreign to him. It was neither anger nor grief, but more an awareness that something was missing and could never be retrieved. It was like there was a hole in him where he'd always assumed there'd been a hole anyway.

But then that's what death is: a puncture in the status quo.

His relationship with his only cousin had been far from amicable, but she had entered his life at a time when everything had been changing for him, and he had become somewhat accustomed to the possibility of her being present in his future. Not even in a particularly profound way, but certainly...there. And now she wouldn't be, and the closest emotion to which he could think to compare what he felt was disappointment.

When Blaise came to stand beside Draco, his knuckles were as white as Tonks' skin.

"She was an Auror," he muttered. "How could-

"Bellatrix," interrupted Blaise. "Trelawney said Bellatrix killed her."

Draco clenched his eyes shut and sucked in a breath through his gritted teeth. Now he felt angry. Furious, actually. "I really fucking hate that woman."

"Andromeda's going to be devastated."



His Aunt had barely finished mourning her husband, and now her daughter had been slaughtered by her sister. Exactly how much was one person expected to take before they crumbled? Cracked? And shit, what about Granger? She adored Tonks like a sister. He suddenly felt helpless, knowing that he couldn't protect both Andromeda and Granger from the reality of Tonks' death, and although he had no idea why, he felt like it was his responsibility to do so.

Pinching the bridge of his nose with his fingers, he exhaled heavily, trying to soothe his racing thoughts. But it was pointless. He was surrounded by death and destruction, and it was all he could see, hear, smell, and taste. It was overpowering, consuming, and he didn't know what to do.



Despite the smoke scratching them, Hermione's eyes danced, roaming the ruined courtyard and lingering on the enormous, motionless corpse of a giant. Strewn across the ground were countless bodies, some in Death Eater robes, some in school uniforms, and it took everything she had to keep walking. Her knees felt brittle, her legs wobbly, but Harry was marching intently towards the castle and she needed to keep up.

She couldn't quite believe they had been in this very spot perhaps twenty minutes ago. Everything had been so loud and bright then; a constant explosion of noise, light, and heat. Now everything was cold and silent except for the wind, howling like the dying, and she shivered with that morose thought.

"It's so quiet," said Hermione. "Where is everyone?"

"They must be inside," replied Ron, his voice strained. "Come on, Hermione."

She could tell he was studying each body, searching for ginger hair. Harry, on the other hand, seemed fixated on his feet and the path to the castle, hardly lifting his head, and she could practically feel the guilt radiating from him. She considered saying something to try and comfort him, but what words could she offer him that might do anything to alleviate his conscience?

As they entered Hogwarts, the distant sounds of voices journeyed down the corridor and Hermione breathed a sigh of relief. Yes, logic had assured her that there would be survivors, but hearing them was so reassuring that her heart pounded a little slower.

"The Great Hall, I reckon," said Ron.

The trio followed the voices, their footsteps quickening the closer they got until they were jogging. The doors were wide open, but they stopped before they could pass the threshold, taking it all in. Hermione didn't know where to look, but she caught herself watching Pomfrey, who was tending to a nasty burn on Firenze's flank and thigh. Ron dashed forward and she tracked him as he joined his family at the far side of the room. She did a quick head count, sighing when she realised all the Weasleys were accounted for, aside from Charlie, who she knew was still in Romania.

Thank Merlin.

Taking a better look at the chaotic room, she slowly dragged her eyes from the right side to the left, her heart sinking when he spotted a row of unmoving bodies, laid out neatly like fallen dominos. But then there was a spark of something familiar just out of focus; a flash of white-blond hair. She honed in on it, on him, knowing but not quite believing, because he couldn't possibly be here.

But he was. Even with his back to her, she knew it was Draco.

"Oh my God," she whispered to herself, her heart in her throat. "Oh my God."

She recognised his height, his build, the slant of his shoulders; all of him. She was frozen — not even daring to breathe — for exactly five seconds, and then she was bolting forward, like lightning.



"...the only family she has left," Blaise was saying. "You should be the one to tell her-

"I am hardly family, Blaise," sighed Draco, unable to completely tear his eyes away from Tonks and Remus. "I've known Andromeda for a few months and that's it."

"You're still her nephew."

"You know it's more complicated than that."

"Yes, but..." Blaise trailed off, his mouth tweaking at one corner with a half-there grin as he spotted something over Draco's shoulder. "You might want to look behind you, mate."


"Just look."

Narrowing his eyes with confusion, Draco began to twist around, barely managing to turn halfway before he had the wind knocked out of him. The body was petite, but it slammed into him with such force that he almost lost his balance. Almost. A pair of arms locked around his neck like a noose, so tight that he choked, and he could feel wet hair pressed against his cheek. Shifting his eyes to the side, he couldn't see the face buried into the sway of his unharmed shoulder, but her drenched, coffee-coloured curls gave her away.


She was shaking slightly, her fast puffs of breath tickling his throat, and he could feel her heartbeat hammering against his chest. Draco was still for a long moment, static with disbelief, but then his good arm slowly snaked its way around her waist, drawing her closer. Her fingernails stabbed into his back and shoulder blades, but the pain was oddly comforting, like it somehow confirmed her presence. Dipping his head with relief, he had exactly one second — one second — to inhale her familiar scent and thank Merlin for finally gracing him with some good luck, but then she was tearing herself away from him. And then she slapped his chest.

"Ow!" he spat. "What the fuck-

"What the hell are you doing here?"

Draco stared at her face, noticing first her split lip and the deep, purple bruise by her temple, and he ignored the urge to reach out and rub away the dried blood on her chin. It was hardly the first time he'd seen her swollen and bleeding but it infuriated him anyway; yet it was her expression really stole his attention. Her eyes were wide and shiny, glistening with the glaze of tears that had yet to fall, and her lips were parted, baring clenched teeth; the closest thing to a snarl she could probably manage.

He listed in his head the emotions he found in her eyes: anger, sadness, awe, excitement, and at the core was the faintest hint of happiness. With her balled fists trembling at her sides and her chest heaving with laboured breaths, she looked completely conflicted, like she was torn between punching him and kissing him. Apparently she reached a decision.

She slapped his chest again.

"Shit," he hissed. "Stop doing that!"

"I asked what the hell you're doing here!" she demanded furiously. "You're not supposed to be here!"

"What the fuck is wrong with you? Calm down!"

"You're supposed to be somewhere safe!" She began to cry then. "I wanted you to be safe! It's too dangerous here! People are getting hurt and...and killed-

"I know that!" he yelled. "What, you thought I was just going to wait at home and wonder if you were one of those people? You thought I wouldn't give a shit? Fuck, Granger, of course I came here!"

"I am not leaving here with you! I am here to fight!"

"I know you're not going to leave with me! I am not here to ask you to!"

"Then why the hell are you here?" she asked again, roughly swiping away her tears. "Because can't be here just for me! You can't just-

"I'm not here just for you!" he blurted, sucking down a calming breath. "Look, I'd be lying if I said you weren't the main reason, but I..." He growled with frustration. "Do you remember when you told me I'd need to choose a side?"

She swallowed heavily and nodded her head once. "Yes, I remember."

"Well, this is obviously my bloody choice, isn't it? Evidently all your nagging paid off, because here I am!" — he scowled accusingly at her but continued his rant — "And I knew damn well before I came here that there was no way I would convince you to leave because you're that fucking stubborn, but I came anyway!"

Hermione actually felt all the anger drain out of her body, leaving behind only wonder. "So you''re here to fight with the Order?"

"Don't take this for something it isn't because — Granger, don't look at me like that," he warned. "This isn't some heroic statement. If you weren't here, I wouldn't be here, and believe me, I am very tempted to stun you right now and Apparate us both out of here-

"Don't even think about-

"But I want Voldemort dead, and I want to see it happen," he carried on, lowering his voice and looking her dead in the eye. "So yeah, I came to fight, alright? And I came here to fight with you because you're..." He hesitated and sighed, grasping at words, "You're just it for me. I have other reasons for being here, but you're the reason. You're the reason for everything, for fuck's sake! Do you understand? Am I making any sense at all?"

She nibbled her swollen lip. "Yes, but I...I just wanted you to be safe-

"If you say that one more time, I swear I'll Stupefy you. What about your safety? What the hell did you think was going through my head?"

"But I-

"Granger, just come here," he sighed, exasperated. "I didn't come to Hogwarts and hunt the entire damn castle to find you for an argument. I came here to...Just come here."

Draco thought he saw her mouth curve into a sad, forlorn smile, but she was rushing towards him again before he could really pay it any heed. She crashed into him, flinging her arms back around his neck and desperately smashing her lips against his. It was one of those impulsive kisses where your teeth clash upon impact, but it's fine because it's raw and intense; the realest of kisses. Draco looped his arm around her, just as he had before, and held her tight against him, anxious to gather her as close as possible lest she decide to slap him again, and he wouldn't put it past her.

"I'm" —kiss — "sorry," she mumbled. "I am glad you are here, but" — another kiss — " at the same time I'm worried that-

"I know."

Kiss. "I love-

"I know."

He softened the pressure of the kiss when the cut on his bottom lip started to sting, and he felt her relax a little, exhaling contentedly, moving her hands to hold his face and caress the bruises freckled across his cheekbones. His lips were chapped, his mouth as rough as sandpaper, but he kept kissing her. Needed to keep kissing her, and she was just as reluctant to stop, but when he heard a few gasps somewhere to his left, he frowned and lost the moment.

He pulled away from Hermione with a frustrated growl rumbling deep in his throat, despising the interruption, but unable to ignore it. Slanting his eyes to the side, he glowered at the prying group of Gryffindors and Ravenclaws, including Finnegan and Longbottom, watching and pointing indiscreetly in their direction. He certainly hadn't forgotten that he was in a room brimming with people that might deem his relationship with Granger unfeasible and gossip-worthy, but he'd apparently forgotten to care.

"We have an audience," said Draco, rolling his eyes. "Your moronic friends are staring at us, Granger."

"I don't care."

"Their ugly faces are putting me off."

She laughed softly; not with amusement but with relief. She doubted he could comprehend how much it touched her that he was here with her. For her. There was something indescribably blissful and terrifying about having someone walk willingly into danger's path just to stand at your side, and that was essentially what Draco had done.

As she looked at him now, noting all the changes he'd made since that first day in her room, the pride and love she felt for him was a warm and wonderful sensation in her chest. Yes, she wished he was far away from this War, because that's what love is; love is the shift of someone's life taking priority over your own. But a dormant, selfish part of her wanted him here. Just to see him, really. Just to have him within reaching distance.

"Hey!" Draco snapped at the onlookers, severing Hermione's reverie. "Can we help you? This isn't a free show, you know!"

"Draco," she groaned. "Just ignore them. They're obviously going to have questions. I'll talk to them later."

"You might want to tell them that it's rude to stare, and that they — Finnegan, I will break your finger if you point it at me again!"

Pursing her lips with irritation, Hermione gently nudged Draco's shoulder to bring his attention back to her, oblivious to his injury. He released a loud bark of pain, following by a hissed list of profanities as he clutched his wounded arm, clenching his eyes shut and inhaling through his teeth. Salazar's grave, it hurt. His whole left side was throbbing.

"What happened?" asked Hermione, her tone inevitably concerned. "I barely touched you."

"Shoulder...dislocated," he rasped out.

"You let me slap you when you're injured?"

"I didn't let you slap me," he replied drolly. "Evidently, it's just a habit you have regardless of whether we're in a relationship or not. Charming, by the way."

"How did you dislocate your shoulder?"

"Folk dancing."


"Fighting bloody Death Eaters. Obviously."

Hermione's eyes narrowed inquisitively. "Wait, you've been fighting? How long have you been here? And how did you get to Hogwarts?"

"I've been here about two hours," he explained, "And I came with Blaise and the others. Tonks brought us..."

His voice faded, his pain disregarded. He suddenly felt quite numb. Shit. How could he have forgotten that Tonks' cold, lifeless body was lying only a few feet from them? From Granger. He needed get to her away. He didn't want her to see.

"Oh, that makes sense," said Hermione. "Ginny said she saw Tonks, but then I-

"Granger," he interrupted, gripping her elbow and trying to position himself between her and Tonks. "Come with me for a second."

"Where is she? Have you seen her? "


"Would you stop pulling me?" she frowned, searching her surroundings. "I'm trying to find her."

"Hermione, don't."

"Draco, stop that!" She ripped her arm out of his grip, still inspecting the Great Hall, her expression anxious and fretful now. "Where is she? Where's Tonks?"

Draco grimaced as Hermione's eyes drifted perilously close to where her friend lay like a tattered ragdoll, and he could pinpoint the precise moment she found her. Her brown eyes darkened with horror and recognition and her jaw dropped a couple of inches, prepared for words or screams that she couldn't yet conjure. Squinting and blinking several times, as if she was trying erase the image of Tonks through sheer will, she began to shake her head frantically as tears spilled down her cheeks.

Draco's hand shot out, cupping her face and stroking away one of them with his thumb. He hated to see her cry now. Despised it. It did inexplicably terrible things to his insides, like each tear was a jab to his stomach. Studying her intently, he could see the outburst building up inside of her, piecing itself together bit by bit, and he didn't know what he could do to comfort her. He felt helpless.

"Granger," he whispered as softly as he had probably whispered anything in his life. "Stop looking at her-

"Th-this can't be happening," she stuttered. "Sh-she's just had a baby-

"Granger, look at me, don't look at her."

She kept staring past him. "No, no, no, no, no." She started to tremble. "This is impossible-



She made to move past him, but she stumbled, collapsing into Draco's ready and steadying arms. Bunching the fabric of his shirt in her hands, she gave up and stayed there, burying her face into his chest before she let it go. Her scream was muffled against his skin, but the shudders of it, and her, ran through him like ice, and all he could really think to do was wrap his arm around her, absently stroking her back with his fingertips. She choked it all up; every sob, every whimper, and every cry felt by him. Absorbed by him.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled, because it was all he could think to say. Not that it did anything to console her.

So he did nothing. When it comes to death, sometimes nothing is all a person can do.

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