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~o0o~

Hermione almost rushed out the door wearing nothing more than the day she was born, until Draco grabbed her, pulling her back into the room, telling her not to start panicking yet. They could hear Ron and Harry moving around the house, checking the spells and wards. Forcing the contents of her stomach back to where they belonged, Hermione followed Draco downstairs.

“I hate to say it, Malfoy, but you were right,” Harry said grimly. He had his wand out, and was gripping it tightly. His skin was pale, but his eyes were focused and alert, his lips pursed together in determination.

“Where’s Ron?” Hermione asked, pulling her hair into a low ponytail.

“Here,” Ron said, coming into the room. His wand was out and he held it in front of his chest, as a soldier might hold a rifle. His eyes darted around the room, stopping to rest on Draco and Hermione. He met Draco’s eyes, and Hermione had the distinct feeling that something passed between them in that look. Instead of lightening her heart, it only added to her already heightened sense of fear.

“What now?” she asked softly. The four of them looked around at each other slowly. Hermione had an unexpected and slightly unnerving thought that it would be strangely peaceful to die with the people she loved.

Harry opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again, cocking his head to the side. “Do you hear that?” he asked.

Hermione gave a faint shake of her head, and Ron did the same. Draco, however, nodded.

“Oh I hear them alright. I hear them here,” he touched his head lightly. Ron was looking at him like he’d gone mad, but Hermione just squeezed Draco’s hand, flashing him a quick, reassuring smile. Then they all heard it. A voice Hermione recognized. Blaise Zabini was outside the house.

“Come on out little Malfoy! It’s time to play,” Blaise taunted from outside.

“How many?” Harry asked Draco swiftly.

“Five, maybe six,” Draco replied. “I need my wand, Potter. Now!”

Hermione was confused, until she remembered that Harry had taken Draco’s wand on their arrival, to try and stop him turning some ordinary object into a Portkey and leaving. They had all known how much he didn’t want to be there.

Harry nodded, reaching into his robes and pulling out Draco’s wand. Without a word, he handed it to him. Draco let it rest in his palm a while, before taking it in a firm grip.

He looked at Hermione, and gave her a sweet smile. “What will be will be darling.”

She nodded, feeling tears blur her eyes. Draco stepped forward and enveloped her in his arms, whispering comfort in her ear. Hermione buried her head in his chest, trying hard not to cry.

“Awww look at that! Little Malfoy’s afraid of us? I don’t know why. Come on, Malfoy, I thought we were pals. What would your father say if he knew you were hiding in there with Potter, Weasley and a Mudblood?” Blaise called again from outside.

Draco stiffened at the mention of his father. He gently set Hermione away from him, his face like stone, his eyes dark and enraged. She swallowed nervously, watching him clench and unclench his fists, his wand held tightly.

“What are you trying to prove, Malfoy? We know what you’ve been up to, Draco, you Blood traitor! It’s time to come out and face us,” called another voice.

The house shook as the Death Eaters bombarded it with spells. Calls and laughter could be heard outside.

“I hope those little spells of yours hold, Weasley,” Draco called over the noise. His face was extremely pale. “I have no desire to be put under the Imperious Curse! That is, if they don’t just kill me instead!”

A crash came from the back of the house, and Draco paled further.

“They’ve breached the door!” Ron cried.

Hermione pointed her wand at the lounge room door, crying, “Colloportus!” The door swung shut, cutting them off from the Death Eater coming in the back. Hermione raised her wand again, and the large, heavy lounge chair slid in front of the closed door. “It won’t hold for long!” she said. Already they could hear muttering from the other side of the door.

“We’ve got to get out of here. We’re outnumbered,” Ron said. “Harry! Malfoy! Come on!”

Draco spun to look at him. “No, Weasley. You’ve got to get out of here!”

Hermione frowned, confused, her eyes darting from one to the other. Harry was focused on the front door, his wand held high. The front of the house shuddered as it was blasted with spells. Ron shook his head.

“Now, Weasley,” Draco growled. He grabbed a cushion from the lounge, touching it with his wand and muttering, “Portus.” He held the cushion in front of him, and turned to look at Hermione.

Their eyes locked, and at that moment comprehension dawned. She took a step towards him, as the walls began shaking violently. “No…”

Draco smiled, leaning forward to kiss her softly. He looked at her, his face grave and sad. “I love you,” he whispered, before shoving her, hard, into Ron’s arms, at the same time tossing Ron the pillow. Hermione struggled, tears falling from her eyes, screaming out Draco’s name, but Ron held her tight. He grabbed her hand, slamming it on the cushion with his own.

Before the world lurched, Hermione’s last sight was of Draco looking back at her, a look of anguish on his face, before he turned to Harry’s side as the front door exploded.

***

“So what now, Potter?” Draco asked. He and Harry were crouched behind the short stone fence at the back of the house. Blaise and four other Death Eaters had come tearing through the front door, to be met with a barrage of stunning spells from Harry and Draco. They’d fled outside, taking refuge in the darkness.

“I don’t know, Malfoy. Play it by ear?” Harry replied.

Draco laughed softly. “Is that how you got the better of them last time? How in Merlin’s name did you manage to defeat the Dark Lord? I’m surprised you’re still alive.”

“And I intend to stay that way. I want to get home to my wife and baby,” Harry replied.

“Didn’t know you had a kid, Potter,” Draco said.

“Not yet, but I will,” Harry answered swiftly, ducking as a bolt of blue light shot over their heads.

“Well in that case,” Draco said, grinning. “I’d better make sure you get to meet him or her.”

“Can you see anything?” Harry asked, peering into the darkness.

Draco shook his head. “Not really, but I think they’ve split up. Come on. Lets move. I feel like a sitting duck here.” Draco stood slowly.

“Well well,” said a voice behind him. He spun around. A Death Eater was standing behind him, his features concealed by his mask, his wand raised, pointed straight at Draco. “It’ll be a pleasure,” he said, smirking. “Cruc- ”

“Sectumsempra!” Harry cried, springing to his feet. The Death Eater fell to the ground, blood pouring from his the invisible wounds on his chest. Draco and Harry stared down at the dying Death Eater at their feet. Shock was written on the other man’s face, his eyes open as he writhed and twisted in agony on the ground.

“Good thing you remembered that one, Potter,” Draco said quietly, the memory of Harry using the same spell on him in sixth year rising like it happened yesterday. He summoned ropes and bound the Death Eater tightly as Harry healed the gaping wounds, keeping him alive.

Harry smiled weakly, his face pale in the darkness, before suddenly being tossed into the air, hanging upside down as if dangling by his ankles. Draco turned and saw a Death Eater running towards them. Draco raised his wand, shouting, “impedimenta,” and the other man was frozen in place. Quickly, Draco turned to Harry, reversing the non-verbal spell. Harry tumbled to the ground.

“Thanks,” he muttered, jumping to his feet.

The spell holding the Death Eater broke, and he raised his wand, crying, “stupefy” at the same time Harry yelled “expelliarmus”. The Death Eater’s wand flew from his hand, landing a short distance from Draco. Harry was flung backwards onto the ground, stunned. Draco dashed forward and picked up the wand, snapping it like a twig. With a scowl, the Death Eater disappeared.

Suddenly, Draco was hit with a pain beyond all imagining. He fell to the ground, his hands over his head, arching his back. His blood felt like it was on fire, his insides being ripped from his body. He clawed at his skin in desperation, his screams echoing in his own ears. As if looking through a fog, Draco saw Blaise, his mask lowered, step into his field of vision. The other man had a look of triumph on his face. Draco dimly realized Harry was beside him on the ground, screaming as he was. He had been hit with the Cruciatus Curse as well.

Blasie raised his wand again, smiling. “Two for the price of one. Potter I will kill. You, Malfoy, I’m not sure what I will do to you. Ahh. If only my Lord and Master were alive to see this.”

“Show him this instead,” a voice called from behind Blaise. He spun around.

Ron shouted, “Stupefy!”

Blaise fell to the ground, stunned, and Ron quickly muttered, “incarcerous”, binding him tight with magical rope. Just for the hell of it, Ron stunned him again, making sure he was out cold, and then rushed over to Harry and Draco, mumbling a quick healing spell.

Draco sat up with a groan, rubbing his head, and panting. He looked at Ron. “Never have I been so glad to see you, Weasley.”

“Thanks, Ron,” Harry said weakly, sitting up also.

“Neville and Seamus are on their way,” Ron said. “How are you two holding up?”

Draco scowled. “Never been under the Cruciatus Curse have you? I feel like I have been ripped apart.”

“How’s Ginny?” Harry gasped as Ron helped him to his feet. The remaining Death Eaters were nowhere to be seen.

“She says she’ll kill both me and Malfoy if anything happens to you, if we’re not already dead,” he added gloomily, looking around into the darkness.

Draco dragged himself to his feet. “Hermione?”

Ron looked guilty. “I had to tie her up. She was going bloody mental. Ginny is with her, to stop her coming after you. I think she’s going to kill us both too.”

Draco gave a short laugh, and ducked as a blast of light came at them from the darkness. “She’ll have to get in line.”

Neville and Seamus came running up to them, panting.

“Another one down around the side,” Neville reported, clutching his ribs. Seamus nodded at them, blood trickling down the side of his face.

“Looks like he put up a fight,” Harry commented.

Seamus laughed. “Nothing we couldn’t handle,” he said. “Malfoy. Harry. Not looking too good there boys.”

“Shut up, Finnigan. We were handling it,” Draco growled, leaning against a tree for support.

“Now that’s more like it. This one here,” Seamus motioned to Ron, “ said you’d gone soft.”

Draco scowled at Ron, who blushed to the roots of his hair, muttering under his breath.

“You two stay here,” Neville ordered Harry and Draco. “We’ll finish them off. Come on, Ron.”

Harry and Draco looked at each other. “No way!” they replied in unison.

“It’s me that want, and I’m going to make sure they never get the opportunity to have me again,” Draco said, standing up straight. He took a deep breath, holding his wand at the ready. He noticed Harry did the same.

“Come on then,” Seamus said with relish. “I’m sure we can handle two lousy Death Eaters between the five of us.”

~o0o~

A/N: okay, so I'm not totally pleased with the second half of this chapter - I don't write action well, so any suggestions on how it could be improved will be greatly appreciated! Sorry its a short chapter!

Maji
xx


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