Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter are owned by JK Rowling and her friends. I'm making no profit from the publication of this story.

This is my take on the D/G/H triangle. It is set post-HBP - which means there are spoilers from the book! All chapter titles come from Lifehouse's self-titled album (including this one).

One last thing... if you don't like the story, send all complaints to Rainpuddle. She's the one who encouraged me to write it.


I was young but I wasn't na´ve
I watch helpless as you turn around to leave
And still I have the pain I have to carry
A past so deep that not even you can bury…

Blind, Lifehouse

Chapter One

It seemed that Potter had finally bucked up and asked the littlest Weasley to marry him. Draco calmly folded the paper and placed it on the table. Despite the inner turmoil he was feeling, the Malfoy knew it was imperative he not let his godfather know how the news affected him. He reached for his tea and drained the cup. There would be time for his unruly emotions tomorrow when he returned to Hogwarts. Besides, it wasn't like Ginevra knew how he felt.

Severus Snape watched the younger man carefully. Because he'd known Draco since birth, it was very easy to read his emotions. He'd seen the article about Potter and Ginny Weasley that morning and had intentionally left it out so Draco would see it. The former professor didn't often involve himself in the lives of his students, but he was certain that there was no better witch out there for Draco. After knowing the girl, he was left questioning why she hadn't been sorted into Slytherin. She'd been the best Potions student in her year, regardless of her house. He'd heard from Headmistress McGonagall that she'd been Head Girl her seventh year. It didn't surprise him at all.

Today, however, he was concerned with the present and not the past. Years ago at Hogwarts, he'd seen the mutual attraction between her and Draco. After McGonagall had hired her to teach Transfiguration, he'd assumed their attraction would bring them together. Her continued attachment to Potter was not something he would have predicted.

Not that he spent any time thinking about it.

"You'll be returning to Hogwarts tomorrow?"


"When do classes resume?"

Draco eyed Severus, wandering what he was getting at. "The students will be returning next weekend and classes will resume on Monday. The schedule has hardly changed since you were teaching."

The Potions Master continued on as if Draco hadn't spoken. "Have you given any thought to next year? Will you return to Hogwarts?"

The blond refilled his tea cup and took a long sip, while he pondered the question. Before, it wasn't even a question – he would be returning. That decision was easy, because that's where Ginny would be. But if she planned to marry Potter, he knew she would likely leave the school. "I'm not sure. I might try something new."

"Something new?"

Draco shifted in his chair. "Yes. I do have other options."

Severus raised an eyebrow in question. "Such as?"

"I could resurrect my father's company. Or work for the Ministry. As I said, I do have options."

"Or you could continue teaching, as you've done the last six years." The black haired man reached for the paper, and turned it face up. Potter and Ginny Weasley were smiling at them. "And Ms. Weasley?"

"What of her?" Draco questioned. "I don't see how the two things relate."

Severus knew he would have to be careful with his wording. If he wasn't, Draco would shut down completely. "There was a time when I thought you might have…cared for her."

"Why would you think that?"

"It was just an observation." The older man sipped his tea. "Do you have any thoughts on the matter?"

Draco wondered if he looked as uncomfortable as he felt. He'd thought he'd done a fair job of hiding his feelings for the littlest Weasley. "On Weasley? Or Potter? Or their engagement? What exactly are you asking, Severus?" When his mentor did not respond, Draco continued on, "I think she could do loads better than Potter and I think he is more in love with being a Weasley than being her husband. As for their engagement, I can't say I'm surprised. If I remember correctly, she's been hung up on him since before my second year.

"On the matter of where I care for her or not…yes, I do. Or I did. However, it's something I've always wanted, but knew I'd never have."

"Why not?"

His silver eyes drifted to his left arm and the Dark Mark there. "At school, I was absolute git to her and her family. And while she no longer holds me responsible for Dumbledore's death, I hardly expect she could accept that I was a Death Eater. Besides, there is the aforementioned attachment to Potter."

"Just because you have the Mark doesn't mean you're destined to a life of loneliness."

"I hardly think you're the one to offer advice on this subject."

Severus shifted in his seat. "I'm not alone because I am marked, but simply because it suits me." He paused for a moment. "I should have never allowed him to mark you."

Draco waved this away. "You and I both know the Dark Lord was punishing me because of my father's failure. There was nothing you could have done to stop him. It was the same reason he gave me that suicide mission. He knew I couldn't kill Dumbledore. If not for the vow Mother made you swear, I would have died after sixth year."

This was not a topic they discussed often, for good reasons. The retired professor still felt the guilt from the role he played in Dumbledore's death. But perhaps now was the time – it'd been seven years. When he started to speak, his voice was very low. "After your mother came to me, I immediately went to Albus. We discussed every possible scenario and he knew it was likely he might have to sacrifice himself."

"Why?" Draco cut in. "Why for me?"

"We watched you closely that year, Draco. While you assisted Voldemort, every task you completed was half-hearted. You didn't want to succeed. I watched your confrontation with Albus and when you dropped your wand, I knew I would have to complete your task. You would have been killed otherwise."

"That still doesn't explain why." The younger man desperately wanted to understand the sacrifice the old professor made.

"Lily Potter gave her life for love of her son. Albus knew someone would have to do the same for you. We needed you on our side, even if you were only at Hogwarts teaching." Severus grew quiet, before adding, "He knew I would not have been able to complete my task had you perished. You and your mother are the closest I have to family, and I could not have continued knowing I could have stopped your death."

It seemed like Draco had lost his voice. He now understood why they never talked about that year and the decisions they made. Those decisions were still affecting their lives. "Thank you," was his whispered reply.
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