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Summary:  After the war, the survivors struggle, trying to find a way to cope with the losses they have incurred and move into a future they have yet to create. As they try to find ways to save themselves, they realize that perhaps the best way is to save each other. 
This story will eventually be Harry Draco Slash. It will probably take a while to get there from here.  This chapter is rated about the same as Book 7.

: Harry Potter, his friends, his enemies, and the lovely world they live in all belong to JK Rowling. The first chapter or two has some direct quotes from Chapters 31 through 36 of book seven peppered throughout, as it is Draco’s point of view of events we have already seen from Harry’s. After the final battle, we’ll be branching off.

I have several chapters already written, and will be posting them here after I proof them. I also have some scattered scenes from later on. Reviews and feedback would be most helpful in inspiring me to write onward!

After I get the whole story written here, I will upload it to a few fanfic sites.

Chapter 2:  Running – Draco
Draco sat knees up, hidden by bushes. If he had his wand, he would have cast a Disillusionment charm on himself, but the bushes would have to do. He could hear screams, shouts, and explosions. He could hear the crunch of rock on rock as the castle fell apart.
There was movement in the distance, flashes of light. His parents were out there somewhere. Maybe. His godfather. His Slytherin friends… well, comrades. And here he was, no wand, no hope, no future. He had cast his bet and lost. Draco put his head on his knees.
A closer sound drew his attention. He ducked downward, but curiosity got the better of him. It was Potter, Weasel and the Mudblood. Again. They were everywhere. Weren’t they supposed to be fighting in the battle? Some hero, the battle raged behind them, and they were running away. Bloody Perfect Potter, leaving the battle. 

Draco did not quite believe it. Bloody Gryffindors did not run away. They did not even strategically retreat. They charged in, as if the world were offered to them on a platter, as if the only outcome could be the one they sought. So maybe the Scarhead was not running away. Maybe he was running toward something.
Draco suddenly needed to find out what that was.
He waited until they passed, then crept after them. Fortunately, they were intent on where they were going, not even checking around them. He heard Potter shout “The Whomping Willow,” and the three pelted toward it.    Draco crept behind them, running from one bit of fallen castle to another, from bush to tree. Potter moved purposefully, and Draco did not try to keep up so much as he tried to keep the trio in sight.
There were open stretches between him and the Willow, where Potter was headed. Draco followed his progress with shadowed eyes. The blond was almost beyond caring if he was seen, but he had to find out what Potter was up to. He could not quite explain why, not even to himself. His own life did not to matter much anymore, except to himself. He could have no effect on the battle around him. His wand was out of reach, his parents were not presently powerful enough to protect him. The Malfoy aura he had leveraged for so many years, that he could have used to gain followers or to create an influence, was tarnished.
“No longer protected.” The Death Eater’s words echoed in his mind. He was not significant here. He hated that. But in times like these, you found out what was significant, gathered knowledge, tracked the action. And used what you learned.
Potter was significant. It was likely that the Dark Lord would kill him, but Draco could see Potter had a plan, he moved forward with a purpose, and did not hesitate. And Draco wanted to know what it was that Potter meant to do.
The Whomping Willow started thrashing as the trio came nearer, and Draco wondered what Potter thought he was doing. But Granger yelled something about being wizards, and with a swish and flick of her wand there was a flash of motion and the tree became still. Even with all the battle noise in the background, it suddenly seemed silent. Draco realized that the Whomping Willow had always created its own wind, and now it was still. The sounds of the battle suddenly seemed sharper, and somehow both closer and more distant. 
How had Granger done that? How had she known to do that? Draco pushed down the admiration before he could feel it. It was just more evidence she was a know-it-all Mudblood. 
He watched from the cover of a large, flat-topped piece of granite jutting from the ground, where he and Pansy had sat in his second year, practicing banishing spells by flicking wads of moistened parchment back and forth to each other. They had allotted points if the wads hit instead being caught by the spell of the other’s wand. Draco tried to remember the last time he had felt so carefree. It had been a long time. At least two years. Not since Potter put his father in Azkaban at the end of fifth year. Draco’s eyes narrowed as he watched them.
Potter, Weasel and the Mudblood threaded their way through the motionless, but still sharp twigs of the Willow, and somehow climbed inside. He waited for them to re-emerge. Minutes went by. A crash and shriek from the battle made Draco jump, but still he waited.
What if it was it a portal of some sort? Had he just lost them, waiting like an idiot? Draco could not think of any spell other than a portkey or a floo to transport people. There had been no crack of apparition. He supposed the Willow could have had a portkey tucked at its base, but that seemed unnecessarily complex. Why hide a portkey when you could just require a spell or phrase or motion to trigger one, and carry it, instead? Finally, he crept closer, noticing a small, darker hollow at the base of the tree, between the ridges of two large roots. He stared cautiously, but he needed to learn what they were up to. He needed knowledge. He started to creep forward again. 
A sound sent him scuttling back behind the boulder. The cold, dangerously familiar sound of the Dark Lord’s voice. “You have fought valiantly.” Draco knew the Dark Lord could not possibly be speaking to him. It did not quite sound like a Sonorus Charm, it was too – large, somehow, as it echoed across the fields. But it still felt personal. As if the Dark Lord were speaking to him. “Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery.” And how to punish failure.
Draco shivered in the sun as the voice continued. This was the voice that had called for his Death Eaters to punish Draco, his mother, his father. That had required him to kill Dumbledore, knowing the pain of failure was death for his mother, maybe even his father. This was the voice of the one they had to please, that rewarded victory with power and failure with torture and death.
“You have sustained heavy losses,” the Dark Lord’s voice echoed. It sounded like he was speaking from several directions at once. “If you continue to resist me, you will all die, one by one.” Draco felt the cold granite against his back. A sharp edge poked unpleasantly into his shoulder blade. At one point, Draco would have listened to the Dark Lord’s display of power with unholy glee, knowing he and this powerful force were on the same side, the winning side. Knowing that Potter would die. You are no longer protected.  At any moment, the Dark Lord could have a Malfoy killed. Or do it himself.
“I do not wish this to happen,” the voice echoed. Draco started, but then realized that the Dark Lord was continuing his speech, not answering Draco’s thoughts. “Every drop of magical blood spilled is a loss and a waste.” Yes, that is why the Malfoys fought alongside him. Every drop of pure blood is precious. Blood traitors like the Weasleys did not see this, that the Blood and traditions of magical families was something to protect.
“Lord Voldemort is Merciful.” Draco had seen that mercy. Draco had writhed under the merciful Cruciatus curse, and seen his mother and father do the same. Failure was always punished. 
“I command my armies to retreat immediately. You have one hour. Dispose of your dead with dignity. Treat your injured.” 
“I speak now to Harry Potter.” The voice continued. Draco glanced back to the Whomping Willow. Still no sign of Potter. What were they doing in the tree? “You have permitted your friends to die for you rather than face me yourself. I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, the battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every man, woman and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One Hour.” 
Did the Dark Lord really expect Potter to just give himself up? Potter was annoying, and part of that was that he did not give up. Even when it made sense to do so. That idiot meddled everywhere, and threatening friends did not stop him. People could die all around him, and Potter would just continue right on. Sure, he whinged about the people who had died. As if Perfect Potter was the only person to have lost friends, lost family. But he would continue to fight, not considering the risk to others until it was too late to save them. After seven years, Draco knew how Potter was.
Speak of the git, and he shows up. The Gryffindor Trio crawled out of the tree. They were covered in dirt, which they tried to dust off with their hands, which only succeeded in getting the worst of it off, and grinding the rest of it in more thoroughly. Maybe there was a tunnel or a cave, then. The three Gryffindors ran back to the Castle, but Draco hesitated.  He wanted to see where they had been, what they had been doing. The Willow was still not moving, so Draco edged closer. 
When he got to the perimeter of the branches, he paused. The Willow still held still. A slight breeze jostled some of the upper branches, and a shower of loose twigs fell through the branches at him, but most were caught by upper branches before reaching the ground. Even though it was not banging its branches around, it still did not seem to want him there. Draco took a deep breath, and made his way through the twisted branches, toward the indentation from which Potter and the others had emerged. 
It was an opening. Draco leaned forward to see inside, wishing for his wand again for a lumos spell. But if he had his wand, he wouldn’t be here, tracking after Harry bloody Potter, he’d be fighting. Or he’d have turned Potter over and would be basking in the rewards the Dark Lord offered, instead of hiding from his punishments. No, not hiding. Scouting. 
He rested his hand on a protruding root to support himself as he leaned further, dislodging a twig that was sticking out of a knot at its base, when suddenly the Willow started to move again. It started slow, as if winding up, reading for a good throw like a chaser might ready to throw the Quaffle. Draco did not fancy being a Quaffle. A large branch pounded into the ground right next to him, and he quickly rolled over the root into the opening, managing to just miss another attempt of the tree to pound him to a bloody pulp. 
Retreating a bit more into the gap, he looked out to see the tree writhing and pounding, each thump as a branch thumped against the earth caused the ground to shake and dirt to fall into his hair from the ceiling above him. This was not good. Potter had come back out the same way he had gone in. Draco hoped that was not because it was the only way in or out, because he did not see how he was going to get past these branches now. He was acting like a bloody Gryffindork, going in without making the escape route certain. Draco looked up. The ceiling looked furry, as root tendrils hung down from the soil above him, poking through the wooden slats that had once been a ceiling. They and wooden beams supported the ceiling, and Draco, eyes becoming accustomed to the dark, could see he was in a tunnel, stretching down under the base of the tree. The wooden supports arched over it every few feet. 
Somewhere along this tunnel, or at the other end, was the reason Potter had come in here. 
Draco started forward, forced to drop to his hands and knees after a few feet. The tunnel constricted, and he wriggled through the narrowest part. The tunnel was longer than he expected. Potter must not have spent much time at the end of it, if it took this long to traverse. 
The tunnel got dark almost immediately, and Draco wished again for his wand. Another thing to hate Potter for. “Lumos.” Nothing happened. Of course not. Lumos was tied to the wand even more than most spells, and Draco had never been good at wandless magic. He felt a clump of dirt fell onto his hair, and he found himself wondering why he was doing this. Potter had left, he should be following Potter, not investigating places the bloody Boy who Lived had already left. But whatever was at the end of the tunnel must have been important. Potter had that stupid Gryffindor bravery thing, and as much as Draco hated to admit it, Potter was not a coward. Draco would have expected the fucking Boy Who Lived to be in the midst of the fighting, dying gloriously so everyone could put up a fucking shrine to him. Instead he had left the battle, he knew how to get past the Willow, and had crawled through this dirty, narrow, dark tunnel. Thus, it was not something that Potter did on a whim. Draco ignored the fact that he was crawling through the same tunnel, and had no idea why. Draco brushed the dirt off his head, combing his fingers through his hair, managing to get most of the dirt out, but grinding the rest more thoroughly in. He grimaced.
He started forward again, bumping his head against a particularly low beam in the earth above him. He rubbed his hair again, aware that it was becoming grimy, and the dampness and pain said he may have cut his head against the beam. Just great. How long was this fucking tunnel anyway? He thought he saw something ahead, lighter than the dark that surrounded him. He crawled more quickly, and the ceiling of the tunnel started to retreat from above his head, until it was high enough that he could stand. 
There was an opening, camouflaged in the back of a shallow closet, and a large crate stood in front of the opening, hiding it and him.  Draco stood for a moment and peered through the opening between the wall and the crate. It was a room in a house. It was filthy, with debris littering the floor. It seemed to be empty. What was Potter doing here? Was there some secret stash of something? Potter did seem to be collecting things: that diadem—Draco shoved the memory aside, flames, the certainty he was going to die, Potter’s hand lifting him up onto the broom, his terror as he grabbed Potter and held on. Draco did not think he could look Potter in the eye anytime soon. 
He edged past the partially open door, nearly tripping over a pile of black cloth.   His eyes skittered over the mound. Not a pile, a person. Merlin. The familiar profile of his godfather shocked him, and Draco dropped to his hands and knees, feeling the older man’s face. Uncle Severus. The face was cold, and there was blood, so much blood. 
Was this what Potter had come here for? Had Potter done this? Draco started to feel a burning of hate stronger than any he had felt before, and he grabbed his teacher and held him close. Severus’ head dropped down over Draco’s shoulder, and he noticed what he had missed the first time. Bite marks. Draco recognized them. He had seen such marks before. Nagini. The Dark Lord had given more than one person to her, had displayed the damage she could create, made sure his Death Eaters understood yet another way he could punish those who disobeyed. 
Nagini had killed Severus Snape. And the hate he had been feeling suddenly had a new target. Fucking Voldemort had killed his Godfather. He had tortured his parents, sent Draco on a mission he could never have completed, and now killed Severus Snape. 
When Draco’s father had been cold and demanding, uncle Severus had given quiet, wry support. Draco had known him since he was a child, and knew how to read the dry humour behind the impassive face, behind the quirk of the lips. He knew how to read his godfather’s emotions, when to face his anger, and when to run. When he could smile at his wry comments, and how to see the pride that came through only when he had done something right. He knew in the Potions classroom, Severus favoured him, but he also knew that he was graded fairly at the end, based on his actual accomplishments. His father had to see the favour, had to hear the reports from the other Slytherins’ parents, but Draco knew when his Godfather was proud, and honoured his accomplishments.
And Voldemort had killed him. And left him behind, like a pile of rags. Snape had done everything that Voldemort asked, risking his displeasure only to protect Draco. Draco knew that now, having seen the results of his failure on himself, on his parents, and on Snape himself. Draco ran his hand near down Snape’s neck, finding the point just under the jaw, despairing and hoping at the same time. Severus could not be dead. He was too mean to die. He was Severus Snape and Snape was eternal. 
The skin was cool, the body limp, but…
He felt something.
A pulse of blood, against Draco’s fingers. Slow, weak.
And another.
click tracking

Back to Chapter 1
Go on to Chapter 3

Date: 2008-05-02 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Severus is alive?! Does the trio know this? Sooo need more!

Date: 2008-05-03 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Muhahaha Snape is ALIVE!

Ahem, sorry about that, I just love Snape :3

So glad you wrote this!! I've had an incredible craving for Battle Day/Day after The Battle fics for months now, surprisingly can find many :(....

Anyways you're making very happy now! *glomps you*

PS:just read Chapter 3 but I'll just post here saying ":O... Please update soon!"

Date: 2009-03-02 01:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like the inclusion of Snape in this tale. I'm sure his presence will provide many opportunities for illuminating Draco's character development. I'm looking forward to the next...


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July 2012

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