Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling.
I leaned heavily on Draco's arms as we approached the castle. My chest was heaving unsteadily and my ankle throbbed with pain.
"We're almost there," Draco whispered, short of breath. I nodded, lacking enough oxygen to give him a proper reply.
"Becky!" someone cried.
"Hermione," I replied hoarsely. I found her with my eyes, warily walking towards us, her wand raised.
"Let her go, Malfoy," she spat, blocking our path. "You have three seconds before I kill you."
"No," I said. "Let him in." Hermione shot me a look of surprise at me.
"Let Draco in," I said, my voice beginning to falter.
"I need to get her to the hospital, she's hurt. Let us through," Draco demanded. Hermione hesitated.
"I'm trusting you on this one, Becky," she said, moving aside.
"Thank you, Granger," Draco gruffly nodded. Hermione took a deep breath.
"Go on in, Draco." My vision blurred as he leaned against a door, pushing it open and revealing the Great Hall of Hogwarts. I saw all the bodies that littered the floor.
I blacked out.
"Put her on that bed over there, Mr. Malfoy. Get a cloth and clean up the dried blood," Madam Pomfrey said gruffly. Someone's strong arms were wrapped around me. Malfoy. I felt a soft pillow on my cheek. He removed one of my shoes. I felt something wet run over my leg. My eyes flickered open
"What's going on?" I whispered groggily, my throat feeling thick and cottony.
"Shhhh, just relax," he said in a soothing murmur.
"Are you ok?" A hint of a smile came over his face.
"Yes, I'm ok."
"Am I ok?"
"I think your ankle might be broken, and you're pretty scratched up. But you'll survive," he replied.
"What are you doing?"
"I cleaning the blood off your legs."
"I'm glad you came with me," I said, reaching out and grabbing his hand. A flash of fear shot through his eyes, and he squeezed my hand.
"Me too," he said. I nodded and let my eyes fall close, gently holding on to his hand.
"How is everyone else?" I whispered.
"Are Miriam and Nat ok?" I repeated. Draco's hand tensed.
"Yes, now go to sleep. You need some rest." I obeyed.
"Wake her up." I felt a gentle hand shake my shoulder. My eyes flickered open.
"Hey," Draco whispered softly. I smiled and tried to push myself up, but cried out in pain.
"Don't move, it's your ankle," he warned. I nodded. Madam Pomfrey shoved a small cup of a thick white paste into my hand.
"Drink it quickly, Miss Waldern. The faster it goes down, the less you can taste it," she commanded. I looked at the paste in disgust.
"Why am I drinking this?" I asked.
"Your ankle is broken," she said. I sighed and downed the stuff, gagging once I was done.
"Here, drink this," Draco said, offering me a glass of water."
"Thanks," I replied once I had chugged the entire thing, trying to rid my mouth of the atrocious taste. "Why does all medicine taste horrible?"
"Because it works." I smiled as Madam Pomfrey began to wrap my ankle with Percival's Pre-Plastered Ankle Wraps- quick-dry, of course.
"Where are Miriam and Nat?" I asked, looking around the room. Draco didn't answer, just took the glass from my hand and placed it on the side table.
"Draco, where are they?" I said, trying to catch his glance. He avoided my eyes.
"Tell me," I demanded again.
"Nat's in here," he whispered. I sighed in relief.
"Good, tell him to come over here."
"Becky, he can't."
"Is he hurt?" I squeezed my hand into a small fist. "It's ok, I can walk to his bed. He'll want to know I'm alright."
"Becky-" Draco tried.
"I want to see Nat," I insisted. Draco looked up at Madam Pomfrey.
"He's behind the third curtain," she murmured, nodding her consent. Draco handed me a pair of crutches.
"He's in here," Draco said, standing at the curtain Madam Pomfrey had pointed out.
"Then let's go inside," I said impatiently. Draco pulled back the curtain and stepped inside first, holding it open for me. I awkwardly hopped in.
My breath left my body. Dull hair hung over his closed eyes. The only color on his white face was his bluish lips. Sheets covered up the bottom half of his body. A malicious gash scarred his chest.
"He's dead," I whispered, my knees giving out. Draco caught me and pulled my trembling body to his chest.
"He's not dead," he whispered, rubbing my back. "He just lost a lot of blood." I shook my head.
"No, look at him," I sobbed. "His face is so pale. Don't lie to me. He is dead."
"Becky, touch his face," Draco commanded. I shook my head and tried to pull away.
"No," I pleaded.
"Touch his face," Draco insisted again. "Feel it, it's still warm. He's alive." He took my hand and brought it to Nat's colorless cheek. I struggled as it came in contact.
It was warm.
Nat was alive.
"Becky, Dumbledore wants everyone to go downstairs to the Great Hall," Draco whispered, brushing the hair out of my eyes and kissing my cheek. I shifted in his arms. After he'd proved to me that Nat was alive, I'd returned to my bed and fallen asleep as he held me.
"I'm getting up, I promise," I murmured, resting my head on his chest in a more comfortable position.
"As much fun as this is, I think it's important," Draco said seriously. I sighed and slowly sat up, my head slightly spinning.
"My head feels funny," I groaned.
"I'll help you down the stairs."
The first thing I noticed when we arrived in the Great Hall was that no one was sitting at their House table. United we stand, I suppose. Dumbledore caught my eye as we sat down at the far end of what used to be the Hufflepuff table.
"Good evening, students. And yes, it is a good evening, because even though we have lost some courageous people tonight, we have been brought closer together than ever before, and Voldemort once again has failed to defeat us." I glanced around the room, trying to see where Miriam was sitting. She must have known about Nat. I couldn't imagine how devastated she must feel.
"Tomorrow, classes will not go on as usual. As we have seen tonight, this body is not fully prepared for reality. I believe I have tried to shelter too many of you from the horrors of this world. I am sorry." I watched as Dumbledore's eyes twinkled with tears.
"In a few days, we will begin new classes that will prepare all of you for what is to come. The only classes that will continue are Defense Against the Dark Arts and Potions. If you wish to continue learning other subjects that will not be taught, you are welcome to organize your own class as long as you can find a professor who is willing to guide you. Your other option is to continue your education elsewhere, which I most certainly wish you will not choose to do and I would not at all recommend." He took a deep breath and folded his hands.
"Unfortunately, there is more bad news. We have lost five members of our school to tonight's attackers. Mona DeMond and James Malone have been confirmed dead. Please take a moment of silence to honor their bravery." Dumbledore raised his head.
"Three have been taken hostage. Professor Melanie Ryan," he named. My eyes flew to Prof. Stafferly. His eyes were red-rimmed and he appeared to be lightyears older. He ran his hands through his hair, twitching where he sat.
"Victoria Malone." I looked back at Dumbledore in shock. Vicky? Why would they take her? She's so... insignificat. She wasn't friends with Harry or anyone important. She was just a girl who liked pink and boys.
"Harry is not the only target here.
Dumbledore's words rang in my ear. I shuddered. How long ago had he said that to me? It wasn't very long at all.
"Miriam Decker." My breath snagged and my chest tightened. Not Miriam.
"Oh my gosh," I whispered, tears running down my face. A pair of strong arms drew me close.
"She'll be ok," Draco murmured. "We'll get her out."
A/N: I don't think I've updated this story in like... ten years. Possibly less, but you get the idea. I will be finishing this story over summer break, so keep your eye on it!
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