It’s funny how a single spell can ruin someone’s life.
Especially when that spell is your own and it’s your life that’s ruined.
Draco had to kill Dumbledore. He couldn’t let his family down. Not now, when their lives hung so precariously in the balance. If he didn’t kill Dumbledore then Voldemort would kill his family. People would look upon his act of murder with distaste and think he had no heart. They would think he couldn’t love, couldn’t sacrifice.
It wasn’t true. He loved someone with all his heart and this very love was what he was sacrificing.
Hermione would never, could never understand why he had to do this. Not when she clung so desperately to Dumbledore as a life raft as Harry did. Pathetic Harry Potter, Draco thought. His hatred had never run so deep for the Chosen One. If it wasn’t for Harry Potter, he wouldn’t have to murder at all. If it wasn’t for Harry Potter, he wouldn’t have to become a killer.
He was an asshole, and he knew it. He knew why most everyone despised him, knew he deserved it. But there is a difference between being the school bully and being a criminal.
Hermione had kept their relationship secret; waiting for the day they could be together and not worry about what people said about them. Draco couldn’t blame her after all the hurtful things he had said to her and called her. He thought after the war was over and what he knew to be the good guys, the Order of the Phoenix, won, they could really be together. Right now, they both knew Hermione’s friends and certainly not his or his family would understand. But after the war they could run away together. He loved the stolen hours at night when he and Hermione could go out to the outskirts of the forest and plan their escape by wand light.
He didn’t need to be anything but himself when he was alone with her. For the first time in his life he felt truly happy with another human being. She was the one. He couldn’t believe it, but he found himself thinking that how pure a witch or wizard’s blood was didn’t matter. Hermione proved it because she was absolutely perfect in every sense of the word.
Their stolen kisses in dark corners of the school between classes kept him going. They gave him the strength to do the very thing that would take them away from him.
And when Harry Potter found him in the bathroom that day he wept not for himself but for Hermione. As he felt the pain of the curse Potter hit him with he thought, This is nothing, nothing compared to what I feel when I look at her and realize time after time we can never truly be together.
He reached out to his friends to help him and felt himself falling deeper into his plans.
At night he laid awake and remembered moments from his life. He wanted to keep these memories alive so that when his soul split in two he’d still feel somewhat human. His favorite was when he told Hermione his feelings for her. He remembered it perfectly from the smell of her hair to the touch of her lips.
He had gone to find her and when he saw her behind Hagrid’s hut in his garden he yelled at her, “How can you be perfect? You have dirty blood! I hate what you are! But I love the way you look at me, the way you frown when your potions don’t come out just right, and the way you walk. I love everything about you Hermione Granger!” He had paused, searching her surprised face. “Please,” he pleaded, “love me too.”
She had walked up to him with this look on her face, but he couldn’t figure out what it meant. Did she hate him?
“Alright,” she said simply with a type confidence he had never seen in her before, “alright, I do.” And she kissed him.
After this she surely would never love him again no matter how much he pleaded or begged.
The night Dumbledore’s murder was planned came and all too soon. He had shouted out when he realized he had made a way for the Death Eaters to enter the school. He felt relief and panic all at once. He had half been hoping he would never succeed because then Hermione would maybe never stop loving him.
Everything was going smoothly that night. The Death Eaters rushed through the school shooting off spells at anything moving, and all Draco could do was hope Hermione was still asleep in her bed.
He rushed up to the tallest tower and reached a door. Hermione, I’m sorry, he whispered wishing she could hear him. He wished he had been able to her how much he loved her and hold her just one last time.
He burst through the door and Disarmed Dumbledore. He was amazed, really. Without his wand a wizard was nothing, and Dumbledore was no different. It would be so easy to kill him now and yet…
He couldn’t do it.
Relief shot through his body and numbed his mind when Snape did it for him. He ran down the stairs half thinking Hermione would be waiting at the bottom with open arms. But then there were spells and curses shooting at him from every direction some of which he was quite certain belonged to Death Eaters. He would surely die he thought as he ran through the hallways to find a way out.
He heard someone following him closely behind. He musn’t die now, not when his whole world had been given back to him. Draco wanted to grow old with Hermione and he could not die now.
He turned around and shouted two words he knew would be his pursuer's end.
And his. He looked to see who his curse had hit, and he saw the body of his beloved Hermione.
This was the spell that ruined his life.