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Snape was pacing in McGonagall’s office, waiting for her return. He kept looking over at the headmasters’ portraits, mumbling to himself. It was still hard for him to look at Dumbledore, so he never made his way down to where his portrait was hanging.

“You had to kill him. He told you to,” one of the portraits reassured him.

Snape shook his head. “It still doesn’t remove the guilt.”

Snape turned around when he heard the office door open. McGonagall slowly entered, not surprised to see Snape standing there.

“Severus,” she greeted, as she walked toward her desk and sat down.

“I don’t think it worked, Minerva,” he said, as he stood in front of her desk.

“I told you I thought it was a bad idea.”

“Tell that to Dumbledore,” he angrily replied. “Oh wait. We can’t, can we?”

McGonagall sighed at his comment. She knew he was right, but there was no way she was going to let him know that.

When Snape had told her what Dumbledore said to him on the roof before he died, she didn’t want to believe him. She was already wary of Snape when he killed him, but after he showed her his memory in the pensieve from the night that Dumbledore and him had talked about killing him, she knew she could trust him. 

“I must admit, I am mystified that Harry has yet to come see me,” she said.

“And I thought Draco would have come to me as soon as it happened.”

“Could it be that it didn’t work?”

“I checked the potion when they handed it to me. It definitely was made correctly,” he answered.

“Perhaps,” she gulped, “what they wished for was not what we thought they would.”

Snape crossed his arms and grimaced. “We should never have done it.”

“I know. But, I trusted Dumbledore. He had to have had a reason to do it.”

“It was still a huge risk to take. Especially with no reverse. What if you’re right and they both wished for something else?” he fumed.

“I don’t know, Severus. I just don’t know,” she said, shaking her head.

“Dumbledore was so sure that Draco would wish to be happy and be allowed to choose his own path, instead of what Lucius wanted,” he continued. “He would have definitely come to me after he made that wish, since he would have felt a defiance against his father and be scared for thinking that way.”

“And Harry was supposed to wish to find all the Horcruxes,” she stated. “That’s all he’s been wishing for in the past year. He would have told me he knew where they all were, if he made that wish.”

“I still don’t understand why he wanted us to do this,” he grunted.

McGonagall grinned as she recalled memories of Dumbledore. “Do we ever really understand why? I mean this is Dumbledore we’re talking about.”

“He always did like to play mind games,” he rolled his eyes.

“It was his way of trying to make people think outside the box,” she sighed. “Of course, with him gone, it does make it a little harder to figure out why he wanted to do this.”

“Well, I can understand Potter’s wish. That just makes sense. But, Draco’s? Why would he care so much about Draco choosing his own path?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, Severus. We must be missing something.”

Snape sighed and looked over at the portraits hanging on the wall, hoping that one of them would have an answer. The headmasters, not able to solve the missing link, shook their heads in embarrassment. They were as puzzled as McGonagall and Snape were.

The only person that smiled brightly in his portrait, understanding what it all meant, was Dumbledore, himself. But, since Snape was still full of guilt and McGonagall was still trying to get over his death, they weren't able to make their way down to that side of the wall, yet.

“Do you even know how Draco ended up in the hospital wing?” he asked, as he turned back around and sat in a chair across from McGonagall’s desk.

“Horace just said he blacked out after their discussion on the Desiderium potion,” she replied.

He shook his head. “Which means something must have gone wrong. He had to have wished for something, or he wouldn’t have reacted that way in class.”

They sat there in silence, thinking about the situation. They weren’t sure what to do and didn’t know how to approach the boys on the subject. After a few minutes, they finally decided not to say anything, until the boys came to them. There was no sense telling them what they did, if there was no real way they could help them change what happen.

“So, what do you think they wished for?” he asked.

“I have no clue, but hopefully it was something they really wanted. I’d hate to think they wished for something that couldn’t be reversed.”

Madam Pomfrey was giving Harry a dose of medicine. “There now, young Malfoy. This is the last of it. You will be able to go back to your common room in the morning,” she smiled.

“Thanks,” Harry said.

“Could you please leave us?” a deep, cold voice called out.

Madam Pomfrey turned around and saw a tall, pale man, with cold, gray eyes and long, blonde hair standing in the doorway. “I didn’t know they called you,” she said nervously.

“And why wouldn’t they? He is my son, after all,” he coolly responded, walking closer to Harry’s bed. 

Harry sat frozen, not wanting to see Lucius Malfoy. He hated this man so much and did not want to have any part of him. Even though he knew Lucius wouldn’t do anything to him, since he was in his son’s body, he still didn’t like that he was going to be left alone with him.

Lucius waited to speak until Madam Pomfrey went inside her office. He turned toward Harry and sighed. “Well, first off. Your mother hopes you’re okay and wanted me to give you her…well…you know,” he hesitated.

“Love?” Harry finished, seeing how hard it was for Lucius to say it.

“Yeah, that,” he said, brushing it off. “So, are you okay?”

Harry nodded.

“Good,” he said, impassively. “Now, listen up, Draco. The time is getting closer and the Dark Lord is waiting.”

“Waiting for what?” Harry inquired.

“Waiting for what?” Lucius repeated. “What do you think?”

Harry shook his head. He had no clue if Lucius was talking about the war or something else Voldemort was waiting for.

Lucius stared at Harry for a few minutes. There was something peculiar about how his son was acting, yet he couldn’t place it. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine. Actually, if it weren’t for Harry-” he started.

“What did you just say?” Lucius roared.

Harry stood his ground. He wasn’t going to let Lucius intimidate him. “I said if it weren’t for Harry Potter, I could’ve been worse off.”

“Oh, so now we’re friends with Potter?”

“He’s not so bad,” Harry smirked, knowing that Lucius was about to become enraged at his comment.

Lucius glared at him. He couldn’t believe his own son was talking nicely about Harry Potter, the boy who is trying to kill the Dark Lord. “Have I taught you nothing?”

“It’s my life and I’m allowed to have my own beliefs,” Harry glared back.

“How dare you speak to me that way,” Lucius seethed.

“I’ll speak any way I want to, father,” Harry sneered.

“You better watch yourself, Draco. Just because you’re at school, does not mean you’re safe from me.”

Harry laughed to himself. He knew Lucius had to be all talk. There was no way he would intentionally hurt his son, even if he were a Death Eater.

“I’d like to see you try,” Harry bravely responded.

Lucius, with fire in his eyes, turned his head and saw Madam Pomfrey sitting in her office, filing paperwork. He raised his wand toward the closed door of her office and put an imperturbable charm on it.

After he cast the spell, he turned back around and moved closer to Harry. He pointed his wand against Harry’s chest. “It amazes me that after all this time, you still try to disobey me,” he fumed.

Harry remained stationary, now scared of what Lucius may do to him. He shifted his eyes toward Madam Pomfrey’s office, but knew she wouldn’t be able to hear him scream for help. He gazed into Lucius eyes and saw no emotion behind them.

“It seems like every time I see you, you start having these crazy ideas of your own. And when you talk nicely about Potter, it’s enough to make one sick,” he raged on.

“When did Mal…I…ever talk nicely about Potter, other than today?” Harry nervously asked, still not sure what Lucius was going to do to him.

“When do you not? It takes all of my powers just to make you forget and remind you where your duties lie. I’ve always taught you that Malfoys are not supposed to be nice. We are the purest of the pure and everyone is supposed to fear us. So, when I see my own son, a Malfoy, start acting friendly toward others, even start caring for them, I can’t really have that, now can I?”

“I guess not,” Harry admitted.

Lucius smirked, still holding his wand up to Harry’s chest. “You know I hate doing this to you, Draco. But, it’s the only way for you to learn.”

Harry gulped, as he saw Lucius’s eyes narrow.

“Crucio,” he cursed.

Harry’s body writhed in pain. He was hurting too much to even make a painful cry. Tears fell down his cheek as he closed his eyes and felt every part of his body twitch. He couldn’t move for fear that if he did, he would cause more harm to himself. He felt shooting pains in his sides and all he wanted to do was die. He knew in death he would never feel this pain again.

Lucius, sensing that he had enough, lowered his wand. Harry could feel the pain slowly fading away. His eyes were filled with tears, as he stared over at Lucius.

Lucius sighed. “Next time, you better not forget where you come from.” He lifted the imperturbable charm on Madam Pomfrey’s office, pocketed his wand and turned back around toward Harry. “We will see you at Christmas,” he finished, as he walked away, not waiting for Harry’s response.

Harry sat on his bed in wonderment. The pain from the curse had subsided, but his memories were still intact. All he had to do was close his eyes, and he would remember the pain he felt. His pulse started racing as he thought more about what Lucius just did to him. He then started thinking about Draco and how he is able to hide the truth about his father to everyone. I never thought I’d feel sorry for Malfoy.

Madam Pomfrey walked out of her office, as if nothing had happened. “I see your father left. I hope it was a good visit,” she stated, as she lifted his wrist to feel his pulse. She shook her head, not letting go of his wrist. She could feel his pulse beating very fast. “Are you alright, my dear?”

Harry nodded. “I think it’s just excitement of knowing I’ll be out of here soon,” he lied.

She sighed and let go of his wrist. “Well, if your pulse keeps racing like that, I may have to keep you here for another day.”

“No, it’s fine. Believe me. Everything is fine,” he quickly answered, not wanting to stick around any longer.

“Well, I’ll recheck it tomorrow morning. If it’s still beating that fast, then I will have to keep you one more night,” she affirmed.

Harry nodded. “I understand. But, don’t worry. It’ll be back to normal.”

She smiled and walked back to her office. Harry had suddenly become very tired and couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. He had fallen asleep, although he wished he hadn’t. All he kept seeing in his mind was Lucius Malfoy standing over his body, watching in enjoyment as his son fell victim to his curse.

Albus Dumbledore was sitting on the roof, talking with Draco, who had his wand pointed toward him. “I can help you, Draco.”

“No, you can’t. Nobody can. I’ve got no choice,” Draco stammered.

“Come over to the right side, Draco. You are not a killer.”

Draco’s hand that held his wand started to shake. He knew Dumbledore was right. He hated Dumbledore, but not enough to actually kill him. He stood there, frozen, trying to make up his mind. If he didn’t kill him, not only would he suffer, but his parents, especially his mother, would suffer as well. And if he did kill Dumbledore, he would finally become a true Death Eater, which he wasn’t sure he wanted to be. 

“I have to do this,” Draco trembled, lifting his wand a little higher.

Dumbledore smiled, which made Draco pause. He couldn’t understand why this man in front of him, facing death, was smiling. “Why are you smiling, old man?”

“A smile means you’re happy,” Dumbledore explained. “And if I’m about to die, I want the whole world to know I died a happy man, with no regrets.”

Draco slightly lowered his wand. He knew it would be a lot easier if Dumbledore weren’t smiling. He could feel the power inside of him start to dwindle. He was amazed that Dumbledore was okay with death. He didn’t know anyone who was able to accept death, feeling that they lived a happy life.

“I envy you,” Draco murmured, lowering his wand all the way to his side.

Dumbledore smiled more radiantly, knowing he had gotten through to Draco. Since Draco weakened a bit, feeling all these different emotions, he had forgotten to close out his mind, which allowed Dumbledore to read it. He could see how Draco was wishing for a better, happier, life than the one he had now. He knew Draco needed to figure out who he truly was, before his path would be chosen for him.

“A true wish will last forever,” Dumbledore smiled. 

Before Draco could ask Dumbledore what he meant, Snape, along with several Death Eaters, burst through the door on the roof. Snape stared first at Dumbledore and then at Draco. He sighed, knowing Draco couldn’t go through with it.

Draco backed away from Dumbledore, as Snape neared closer. Snape kneeled down in front of Dumbledore, and Draco watched the two men gaze into each other’s eyes. If he didn’t know any better, he would have thought they were somehow communicating with each other. Snape bowed his head, lifted his wand and in an instant, killed Dumbledore.

Draco quickly opened his eyes and sat up in bed, covered in sweat. He looked around the room and knew it was only a dream: a dream that has haunted him all summer. He could recall that night like it was just yesterday.

Draco stepped out of bed and headed toward the common area. It was one o’clock in the morning, and he knew there was no way he could possibly go back to sleep just yet. He sat on the couch and stared into the fireplace, which was burning away its last remaining logs.

He heard a creak sound, but he didn’t move. He had fallen into a daze, watching the logs crackle in the flames, and nothing around him could break him from it.

“You couldn’t sleep, either, huh?” a quiet voice asked.

Startled, Draco quickly turned toward the voice, which broke him from his stupor. He followed Hermione with his eyes as she sat down in a chair across from him. Not able to stop himself, he glanced down at her body, noticing the new outfit she was wearing tonight: a purple, lacy, silk tank top, with matching pants.

Hermione was waiting for him to say something to her. For the past few days, they have avoided any kind of contact with each other, except for when they had to patrol at night. In fact, the last time they had an actual conversation was when they were in the hospital wing. She didn’t know what was happening to them and hasn’t been able to sleep, wondering what she could have done that made him treat her this way. She knew it was time for her to find out the truth.

“Harry, we need to talk,” she hesitated, as she bit her bottom lip.

“About what?” Draco asked.

“About us.”

“What’s there to talk about?”

Hermione looked down, admiring the floor. “Well, um. Haven’t you noticed that we really haven’t had conversations with each other since that night after you had detention?”

“I’ve been busy,” Draco shrugged.

“But you’ve always made time for your friends before. And then whenever you do talk to me, you start biting my head off.”

“Things have changed. I can’t explain it.”

Hermione looked over at him, with tears starting to materialize in her eyes. “Harry, do you even like me anymore?”

Draco remained silent and gazed into the fireplace. He didn’t know what to say. On the one hand, he was taught never to like her, but on the other, he knew that he had to treat her better, if he wanted her help figuring out a reverse to the potion.

“I guess that’s my answer,” Hermione said sadly, when he didn’t respond.

“I’m sorry,” Draco sighed, still not able to look over at her.

“What exactly are you sorry about?”

Draco closed his eyes, took a deep breath and looked toward Hermione. Their eyes locked on each other. Hermione felt a weird sensation when she stared into his eyes. It felt new to her, as if she were seeing Harry for the first time through those eyes. And this feeling was rather enjoyable for her.

Draco, however, felt petrified. For the first time in his life, he was actually staring into Hermione’s eyes and saw something other than the bushy-haired, muggle-born bookworm he always saw. All he could see now was this beautiful girl that he just wanted to hold in his arms and kiss all over. He took a big gulp, as thoughts of her swept through his mind.

Stop it, Draco. She’s a Mudblood. Your father would kill you for even thinking these impure thoughts, he said to himself, trying to erase all intimate thoughts of her. Yes, but what a way to go. Just look at her. Look how her hair falls beautifully around her face in such a carefree manner, another part of him said. Ugh, how can you call that bushy hair beautiful? Of course it falls around her face. It’s not like she can control that monstrosity, he rebutted. Face it. You’re attracted to her, he countered. Like hell I am. It’s just my hormones. I haven’t gotten some in a while and I’m just feeling lonely, he confirmed. Perhaps you’re right. Wouldn’t matter anyhow. After everything you’ve done to her, she would never have you.

“Harry?” Hermione fearfully asked, not sure what he was thinking about and if he was going to snap at her again.

Draco stopped the battle inside his head and turned toward the fireplace, not able to look her in the eyes again. “I’m sorry for everything I have ever done to you in the past,” he confessed.

A/N:  I just wanted to give a little thanks to all my readers!  I'm very glad you're enjoying this story and I want you to know that I will not leave you hanging.  I am sorry, though, if I have lost some of you along the way after making this a mature rating.  I just couldn't keep it at the lower rating after I wrote this chapter with Lucius.  

Also, on a side note: I used parts of the discussion with Dumbledore and Draco from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and incorporated it in Draco's dream.

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