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DISCLAIMER:: All characters and places belong to J. K. Rowling and are of her creation. Set in Hogwarts during the time of DH.



It was easier the second time. Quieter. The first time, silence had screamed in its mourning, people in corridors hugging one another and crying… Everyone hid from the patrolling Eaters the first time. It was starting to become a natural instinct, hiding. Hiding in our own school… our home. The first time, everyone tried to ignore it. No more owls flew in carrying the Daily Prophet… People were too afraid to read it.

I had arrived late for our first class after the Easter Holidays. I was laughing and playing around with Draco, happy at seeing him smile for the first time in months. Banging the double doors open as I came through the Potions classroom in the Dungeons, preparing to push past the two annoying Gryffindor girls, Pavarti and Lavender. I had not felt so happy in weeks.

But then they looked at me.

I stopped. I had to. Inside I felt my mind spin. Beside me, physically, I felt Draco freeze. The silence… Oh, the horrible realisation.

Draco laid a soothing hand on my shoulder, but I glared at him. "Who is it?" I demanded.

I shrugged away from his comforting touch and looked at the silent tears that were running down Pavarti Patil's face. I lost grip. "Who?!" I shrieked, looking from Draco to Pavarti to Lavender, and then back again.

Lavender looked at me curiously for a moment before taking Pavarti's hand and walking silently away. Draco bowed his head, his smooth, silvery blonde hair falling over his pale features. I opened my mouth to say something—say anything—but Blaise Zabini walked up beside me.

"Did you hear?" he asked. "The Loony girl. Lovegood. People are saying she knows where Potter is hiding so the Ministry took her away."

"You mean the Death Eaters," I scoffed, not taking my eyes off Draco. I had never, ever wished for Draco Malfoy to be dead or not be in my presence, but at that moment, I could not have cared less. "The Death Eaters took Luna away." Draco raised his head at the name of Lovegood, his soul defeated at hearing my voice crack, but I had already pushed past him and walked swiftly into Potions class.

I sat alone, looking at the table where Granger, Potter and Weasley used to sit. If they were captured, the last wish of our freedom would shatter. There would be nothing left to live for. Everyone would loose their hope… We couldn't loose that—our hope was the only thing we had left! I didn't want the Dark Lord to reign anymore. But no one knew this, of course. My mother always said, "Now, you are in Slytherin, Pansy, you must keep your head down and secrets to yourself. Trust no one." I had followed her advice well. So far.

I looked at the faces around me. I knew, like me, they could not really care less about Luna Lovegood. No; they only wanted Potter safe. If he was safe and hidden then so were we. So were we.

Draco sat beside me, somewhat hesitant. "You're angry at me," he whispered, voice smooth but shaky. "You have been ever since the Mudblood Thomas disappeared as well."

I shook my head, taking out my Potions textbook. "I know you had nothing to do with Thomas' disappearance, Draco."

This was the problem with having Draco as a best friend. He was the most perceptive of all the Slytherin's, perhaps even the Ravenclaws and Gryffindors, and especially the Hufflepuffs. He always had been. Not one really to follow blindly the line of his forefathers, but more one to soak in the sights around him and always read between the lines. Always seeing things that know one else ever saw.

He knew me too well, and in our third and forth year, he had proven that. He knew I loved him then. He knew a lot of things about me, Draco did.

"You think I had a lead in Lovegood's disappearance, then, do you?" he demanded, suddenly heated.

"Not you," I replied coolly, looking directly into his cold, grey eyes. "But I'm sure your father has some idea—"

"Don't you dare," he hissed.

"Dare what, Draco? Express the truth?"

A small whimper and Draco looked away from me, crawling into his own mind and thoughts. He didn't even ask why. As I said before, Draco knew me well. He knew that. Though I played tough and bitchy on the outside, inside I was the same as anyone else. Dean Thomas had a family out there; Muggles though they were, I couldn't help feeling sorry for them. In fact, them being Muggles made my sympathy increase. They had no idea about the wizarding world or how much trouble their son was actually in. And then little Miss Lovegood. A strange girl she was, but she was still just a girl.

The knock came in Defence Against Dark Arts. Two knocks, in quick succession. It was Potter, coming in and apologizing for being late. He was here to say the Dark Lord was defeated and we were free. Or perhaps it was the young Weasley girl, a friend of Lovegood's, coming in to say that they found Luna. That everything was fine and it was all just a lie.

But when the teacher opened the door, it was just Seamus Finnigan, flushed and quiet. The teacher asked no questions and continued on with the lesson.

We all knew life went on. We had learned that over the interesting six years of staying at Hogwarts… We learned that when the most powerful and famous wizard of all time had fallen off the top of the Astronomy Tower, dead. Oh, yes, we knew all too well, and by lunch, silent though we were, we still carried on.

Draco forced himself to remain hushed around me all day. I didn't mention it, not even to ask if he was okay, because I knew the answer. He'd never be okay again.

Two days later, and life carried on. Draco stroked my hair, looking at me, as though seeing me for who I truly was. He went to say sorry, but I stopped him and told him to go talk to Daphne Greengrass, his new girlfriend. He looked away from me and nodded. He knew that there was nothing we could really say to each other until the time was ready to do so.

Even if that time came after this life. Even if that time never came.

In the end, all I could do was act like I liked the Dark Lord's new world. I smiled when Crabbe and Goyle got excited at the idea of "no Mudbloods." I talked normally to Blaise about the design of my next birthday party. "Oh, but who should I invite?!" I'd laugh. And pretend. Always pretending.

So it was easier the second time. But also deeper. And this isn't going to have a neat, happy ending. No. It's going to keep flowing in jagged scars and cuts and holes. The sadness and loss won't leave, but we have to carry it around, like our pride. Sad, but triumphant. Flickering in the small hope that it will not happen again. At least now, perhaps, not to us.

Authors Note:: Tops to FreakOut13, my lovely one-shot beta ;)


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