Chapter 1 : Prologue: October 9th, 1998.
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Still there were precious hours of the night when he did escape into his dreams, and oh how wonderful it felt. He would be able to leave the pain and destruction behind, run away to one final place where none of them could chase him, where he knew she'd be waiting for him, waiting. Always waiting. And within the comfort weaved with the scent of strawberries, he was safe.
But even dreams couldn't last forever, and he'd find himself awake, his voice hoarse from screaming, wishing anything to leave this place, to see her again. And every morning Draco was left with nothing but a few forbidden tears and the whisper of her name upon his lips once more.
Somewhere else, a girl laid between the white sheets in a bed within St. Mungos. Her skin was shockingly pale and the whiteness of the room on succeeded in making her look even more fragile. What could have been startling hazel eyes possessed only a glassy, blank look, windows of a house of which the residents had long left, leaving behind a rundown structure in their place. But as the teenage screamed awake, lights seemed to flicker on within her eyes, and a small smile crept onto her face, as she whispered something unheard.
"Cass? Harry asked, and the girl turned to see another boy next to her. "Did you say something?"
Her eyes shined as she nodded, simply replying, "I heard him."
"Heard who?" he asked, certain that no one had said anything, especially since he was the only one visiting at the moment. Visiting hours had passed awhile ago, but because of his name, the nurses did nothing to make him leave. Masking his fear, he tried to remain strong for her, as he waited for her answer.
"I heard…" Who had she heard? She searched her mind, trying to place the voice, but instead hit a blank wall. Whose voice had it been that resonated around her, bringing a calm that she hadn't felt in weeks? She shook her head, her smile quickly disappearing, giving way to desperation instead. Who was it? "I… I can't remember," she heard herself say, shocked as she realized this herself.
Tears raced down her cheeks, as she shook her head again, barely registering how Harry had pulled her into a hug. His arms held her tightly, trying to hold together the girl that had become the sister he never had, to keep her from falling into pieces before his very eyes. He hated the way how her fiery spirit had disintegrated, leaving behind this hollow husk of a person. Harry swallowed, closing his eyes. "It's okay," he murmured. "It's going to be okay." Again he was struck with how small and thin she had become, as sobs wracked her frame.
"No, it won't be okay. It won't," she said. "Harry, he's calling for me. He's looking for me." Her voice had taken on a pleading tone so easily. Did she think he could help her? "He needs me right now," she breathed, "and I can't even remember his name." Wordlessly, he rocked her back and forth, her grieving for what she lost. Before this, he never would have thought that one could miss something that they couldn't even remember. Now, he knew that it hurt all the same, if not more, now that she couldn't even cling to the memories of before.
Eventually, her breathing evened, and once again, she had fallen asleep. The sudden outburst of energy had tired her out completely, leaving her in the one place she could still find peace. Gently, he laid her back onto the pillow, before tenderly tucking the sheets around her. For a moment, he studied her, before drying her face, getting rid of the leftover tears.
With a sigh, he settled himself back into the chair. Even as he could hear Cassandra's soft breathing, he could still hear her voice crying, heartbroken. It rang within his ears, filling him with regret as he chocked on a sob himself.
"It's not our fault," he repeated, trying to convince himself. "It's not." But the words meant nothing to him coming out of his lips. It had seemed like the solution to everything before. How could something that seemed so right go so wrong? He swallowed again, shaking his head, as he looked at her again.
What in Merlin's name had they done?