Part 12 - See Them Break

By IvyBlossom


What do you when your best friend goes one day
Somebody takes his life away?
I don't think that I can go to school today
Without you.
Prozzak, Monday Morning

Ron remembered just as awoke, before he opened his eyes. The realization rolled over him anew every morning just like this, just before he opened his eyes. Harry. He had been fine at breakfast, they had gone to potions class. He had been paired with Malfoy, as usual, with Hermione and Pansy at the table behind them. Ron had been opposite, paired with Blaise Zabini, and Neville was in front of him, with Millicent. They were all relatively subdued, this being their first morning back to class after the Hols. Ron had been just in the middle of measuring his flobberworm tail when he heard a bang, and heard Hermione start screaming.

Harry. On the floor. His skull bashed in, his chest collapsed. Broken arms, legs, his face, his cheekbones, his jaw. He was entirely broken, drool beginning to drip from his slightly parted lips. Ron hardly recognized him. The image of his scar, floating serenely above the mess of disjointed limbs and misshapen face, torso, seemed like the one thing reminding them of who this was. It was Malfoy who knelt down in front of him first, touched him, but Ron threw him off quickly and rushed to Harry's side, cradling broken fingers in the palm of his hand. Hermione was white and looked like she might be sick. Before anyone managed to say anything, Snape was on top of them.

"What–" he started, and then stopped, looking down at Harry. He blinked once, twice, and then turned to Crabbe. "Hospital wing. Run. Tell Madam Pomfrey to prepared for…an extreme injury. Multiple broken bones. Quickly. Now." Crabbe nodded and ran like a terrified dog of the classroom. Hermione was crying, Ron was still staring into Harry's face, willing his eyes to open.

"Who did this?" Snape hissed, as he whispered a variety of spells over Harry and conjuring a floating gurney.

"M-Malfoy." Hermione stuttered, her hands shaking and pressed against her cheeks. "Malfoy had his wand. Pointed at. Harry." She was breathing far too fast. Ron stood and turned, his face red and his hands balling into fists. He could still feel the echo of those broken fingers. Malfoy stood in front of him, looking stonily at Snape as he began to move Harry toward the door, his expression largely unreadable. They knew You Know Who was attempting to get at Harry another way, they should have guessed something like this.

Malfoy would not get away with it. Ron didn't even remember what he said, what he screamed at the top of his lungs as his fists flew at Malfoy. They hit their target and Malfoy fell to the ground, as if he expected it, as if he knew how much he deserved it. Hermione had pulled Ron off him eventually, after she caught her breath, after the rest of the class watched as Snape quickly moved Harry out of the room and toward the hospital wing. Pansy gathered Draco up and they sat at a desk at the far end of the room, saying nothing. Malfoy just looked down at his guilty hands, probably smirking and feeling proud of himself. He was at least smart enough not to say anything; they would have torn him apart if he had. They had all sat and cried afterward in near silence, or just breathed, thankful for every breath, afraid they might be next, the Gryffindors and the Slytherins both. And that was how Dumbledore found them.

Ron turned onto his side, the curtain open facing Harry's bed. He still did not open his eyes. He knew the bed was empty, but for a moment or two before he remembered it, he felt that reassuring, mundane normalcy that told him that Harry was on one side of him, Neville on the other; today they had double potions first thing; breakfast would probably be eggs and sausages; Hermione would make sure he didn't forget his homework; Harry would probably need to be woken twice, and they would rush downstairs, late again. Even after he remembered, he tried to pretend he hadn't. There was a deep pit in his stomach, he felt as though he were incased in a well, looking up, seeing no light. He woke and remembered with painful clarity that Harry was still not well, that no one expected him to be well any time soon, that it was raining, and it was Monday morning.

Dumbledore had asked them, quietly, what had happened. Parvati had begun. She explained that they were preparing a potion, that Harry had cut his finger ("Where, precisely?" Dumbledore asked. "His thumb," Hermione answered shakily. "His thumb, it was bleeding badly. That knife," she pointed. "See, there, the blood is sill there."). That Malfoy had pointed his wand at him, and he collapsed. ("Did anyone hear Mr. Malfoy use any particular spell?" Silence. No one heard anything.) Dumbledore sat down rather heavily on a desk and sighed.

"Mr. Malfoy?" Dumbledore asked, quietly. "Can you tell us what happened?"

Malfoy looked up. He blinked rapidly, then looked at his hands again. "It's just as they say. Potter cut himself. I got my wand to get rid of the blood, and before I could do anything, he collapsed."

"Did you curse him, Draco?"


Dumbledore sighed again. Ron banged his fist against the table. "Sir, of course he did, we all know he did. He was the one with the wand POINTED AT HARRY! He's the one who wants to KILL HIM! He's the one who's a DEATH EATER!" Ron was standing by the end of his speech, Hermione holding on to his arm.

"Mr. Weasley, please." Dumbledore held out his hand. Ron wondered in retrospect if Dumbledore had put some kind of spell on him, because he immediately sat, blanched, and felt a strange calm, a deadly kind of peace. Dumbledore didn't seem to believe any of them, including Malfoy. When Snape returned they whispered to each other earnestly, Snape shook his head. Dumbledore turned and asked them all to hold out their wands, and not to move. He whispered something, shut his eyes, and all of their wands rose into the air. They hovered there for some long minutes, one by one glowing slightly blue, Malfoy's wand glowing rather longer than the rest. Finally they all sank back down again and fell into each of their hands.

They had been excused from classes for the day after that because all the teachers had been summoned to the hospital wing. Chaos ensued, and only Flitch and Hagrid were left to deal with the entire student body. The Gryffindor common room was packed; there was a group of Hufflepuffs hanging around the portrait hole, agog; some sixth year Gryffindors had met up with a group of Ravenclaws in the library, looking up curses in the restricted section, whispering, looking suspicious. The Great Hall was one solid mad gab, with students of all years and all houses gossiping loudly with each other. What was wrong with Harry? What had happened? Had anyone heard the curse? Would he be alright? Who did it? Was it You Know Who? Is Draco Malfoy a Death Eater, and did he try to kill Harry? If not him, then who?

Something was dreadfully wrong, that much was clear. Whatever had happened to Harry was more than just a simple beating, more than just a bit dueling out of turn. The rumours were flying that the teachers, even Dumbledore, had no idea how to cure Harry, and that he might die. The first thing Dumbledore had asked, when he had come to the Gryffindor commons that afternoon, was that Ron look over Harry's things. Was there anything out of place? Anything missing? Anything unusual? He and Neville looked through Harry's trunk, his drawers, pulled out his sheets and tossed the mattress onto the floor. It was then that they found the cedar box under the bed. Ron had pulled it out slowly, as though it might explode, as though You Know Who might spring forth from it. Neville eyed him nervously as he opened it, and looked down at the fencing foil.

"Bet this is it," Ron said, nodding seriously to Neville. "Bet it's charmed or something. Best bring it to Dumbledore." He closed the lid again and tucked it under his arm, heading to the common room where Dumbledore waited, sitting heavily in a chair by the fire. He nodded solemnly at Ron and patted his shoulder, taking the foil back to the hospital wing with him. He smiled sadly as he left, and conjured some chocolates on the large table in the centre of the common room. At dinner that night, Ron heard rumours that there was blood on the foil, and that the blood was Malfoy's. Some kind of voodoo hex, the Ravenclaws were saying. Blood, hair, and a weapon, under the bed. One night sleeping over it and Harry was doomed. Malfoy was most certainly a Death Eater, and the Death Eaters were getting more and more creative. Mandy Brocklehurst had done a term project on voodoo and bit her lip after explaining it, leaning across the Gryffindor table, her school tie dragged across a basket of thick-sliced bread.

"Rather difficult to cure, really, not knowing how the thing was prepared," she said. "I wonder where they're getting the hexes from. Not even the restricted section had much on the topic. I had to get my mum to get some books from America." Hermione looked at her hands, saying nothing.

"So if they took the sword away, and…fiddle with it some, dance around it maybe, Harry'll come on back?" Seamus had asked. Mandy had only shrugged, looking grim.

That night in the boys dorm there was a kind of haunted silence. Ron, Dean, Neville, and Seamus sat for a while on their beds in their pajamas, their curtains open, Harry's empty bed the focus of their attention if not their eyes.

"Do you think he'll be alright, then?" Dean asked.

"Yes, yes, of course he will." Neville said, lying back against his pillows. "He'll be fine. Madam Pomfrey can fix–"

"–pretty much anything," Seamus finished. Ron was grateful for that. The last thing he wanted to hear was another description of Harry's injuries. Broken bones. Madam Pomfrey can fix broken bones, no matter how many of them there are. He had heard it over and over all day. The voices now sounded like a chorus in his head, a chorus he was directing. Broken bones, they sang. Malfoy's a murderer, Harry will die.

"Yes, I would think so," Ron said. They didn't look at each other.

"I heard that there was something else," Neville said. No one answered. They had all heard it, yet no one felt strong enough to stop him from saying so yet again. Perhaps they even hoped this rumour might be different. "I heard that they have healed him, but he's still not okay."

"Don't believe everything you hear, Longbottom," Dean said.

"He'll be alright," Ron closed his curtains, and avoided looking at that empty bed.

It wasn't until the following evening that Hermione and Ron's request to see Harry was finally acknowledged and they were permitted into the hospital wing. They had placed Harry in an airy private room at the end of a long corridor Ron and Hermione had never seen. As they walked behind a very serious-looking Madam Pomfrey, they saw Snape standing in front of a large stone table in a small potions room talking with Dumbledore; two men Ron didn't recognize were mixing something in cauldrons beside them. Madam Pomfrey's lips were pressed into a thin line as she ushered them in to Harry's room.

The first thing they saw was white. The walls, the floor, the curtains framing the large window, the bedding on the cot, whose headboard was pressed against the wall. Ron eyes were at first drawn to the window, which dominated the wall directly across from the door. It was dark and Ron couldn't tell what direction they were facing, whether they were looking out over the lake, the herbology garden, the Quidditch pitch, or the vast forest behind the school. The curtains were thin and did not look as though they were ever drawn; and even if they were, they were so gauzy and insubstantial the sun would just pour through in the mornings, in the afternoons, whenever the sun did manage to find this forsaken little corner of Hogwarts. He hoped it did. He hoped the sun inched into this room in the mornings the way it did in the seventh year dorm, prying Harry's eyes open here the same way it did every morning, every other day.

Harry was lying on the bed, white bedclothes pulled neatly up to his chest, folded over at the top, showing crisp, clean sheets. His blue and white flannel pajamas were buttoned up properly, the collar lying neatly flat against his shoulders. An attempt had been made to comb his hair, but it remained a bit of a mess, sticking straight up in the front, pressed against the smooth white cotton pillow case, a black halo around his head. His arms lay at his sides, fingers loosely curled, his fingernails (clean) neatly trimmed, the palms of his hands strangely red and speckled. He had an tube running from one arm up to a bag filled with a clear fluid hanging from a metal stand rolled against the wall. His chest rose fitfully and fell, with no rhythm, as though he were still struggling. Otherwise, he didn't move.

Madam Pomfrey closed the door and walked toward the bed. "Harry?" she said softly. "Come on now, Harry. Your friends are here!"

Hermione was blinking back tears. "Is he alright?" she asked, as if they didn't already know the answer. She walked toward the bed and sat, carefully taking Harry's hand in hers. Ron remembered seeing the broken fingers, the limbs askew, his skull bashed inward, his eyes open and nothing but white. He shook his head, looking at Harry, seeing him whole and unbroken, his cheekbones perfect, his chin, in the right place, his arms and legs straight, as though he could sit up and laugh at any moment. Ron breathed a sigh of relief and circled the bed, looking at Harry from all angles. His collarbone was righted, his ribs looked normal again; there were no marks even, no bruises or signs that yesterday he looked as though his entire body had been mashed and broken into bits. His glasses were sitting on a small table beside the bed, his long eyelashes looking dark against his over-pale skin. Ron sat down across from Hermione and patted Harry's hand, afraid to touch him, afraid he might break.

"Come on, Harry! Wake up now! We've been waiting for two days to see you, you sod," Ron said, attempting to sound jovial, but worry and fear seeped through his voice. There were a few moments of tense silence when all of them watched Harry's face. He didn't move, didn't blink.

Madam Pomfrey sighed. "I'm so sorry loves, it's not your fault. I expected that this would be the case. Just a moment, please." She walked out of the room and called for Professor Snape, who entered the room shortly afterward, followed by a very grim-looking Dumbledore.

"No response." Dumbledore said sadly. He smiled weakly at Ron and Hermione. "We had hoped…well, yes, you should know. We had hoped that your presence might help Harry to regain consciousness, but. No. Apparently not." Snape walked toward the bed and exchanged the bag of clear fluid with another, this one pale green. He hooked up the tube while Ron watched, terrified, hopeful, confused, on the brink of bursting into tears.

"What's wrong with him, sir?" Hermione asked. "Why doesn't he wake up?"

"We don't know," Dumbledore said crossing the room and standing between Ron and Hermione at the foot of Harry's bed. "His wounds were serious, quite dreadful. Most of his bones were broken, and Madam Pomfrey managed to heal them all quite quickly, before any more damage could be done, but Mr. Potter continues to evade recovery." He touched Harry's foot gently. "We are…looking into what can be done."

"Is he in a coma?" Hermione had started crying and made no effort to hide it this time. Ron shut his eyes, his fingers finding Harry's hand. He took it and held it lightly, listening to Dumbledore explain. Coma. Breathing spells. Brain damage. Possibilities. Hexes, curses, spells. Snape interrupting to check the tube in Harry's arm. More talk. Hermione nodding, speaking. The words blurred together for Ron. He was angry and afraid, he wanted to punch the wall, the scream, to shake Harry and pinch his ears and pour water into his face. He wanted to wake Harry the way he always did; pull open the curtain around his bed, watch the light beam directly into Harry's face and say, "Good morning, sleepy!" or "Oy! Late again! Come on, Harry!" or "You bag of bones, wake up!"

"I'll kill that Malfoy for this. I'll kill him," Ron growled. Dumbledore looked at him, startled. He had interrupted Hermione asking about potions, charms, hexes, cures. The nature of this curse, the kinds of curses that could do this, general families of magic.

"Mr. Weasley," Dumbledore said. "You know that if you were to kill Mr. Malfoy, you would end up in Azkaban with whoever it was who was responsible for this." Ron grumbled. "We know that this curse did not come from Malfoy's wand, nor from any stray bit of purple parchment, nor from the foil you found under Harry's bed, that much is clear. It is completely possible that it was cast upon him while he was away from school over the holidays, and was timed to beset him just when it did. It's possible that the flagstone upon which Harry stood was the culprit. I assure you that Mr. Malfoy is as surprised by this turn of events as the rest of us." Dumbledore raised an eyebrow as Ron twisted his lips and lowered his eyes.

"Sir," Hermione asked. "Will Harry die?"

Dumbledore sighed deeply. "That I do not know, Ms. Granger. I do not know."

They had been permitted to sit with him as long as they liked, but they couldn’t bear to stay long, no more than they could bear to leave Harry like this. Ron whispered, "Buck up, chum! They'll cure you soon and you'll be up and around in no time!" while Hermione leaned forward and kissed Harry's cheek.

After a couple of days, everything returned to an eerie kind of normal. They woke, dressed, had breakfast. Went to class. They gossiped about what had been done to Harry. Malfoy, Death Eaters, curses that didn't require wands. In some circles, they mourned. Seamus was convinced that Harry would die.

"I knew it was coming," he said, shaking his head. "I knew Dumbledore couldn't protect him forever. You Know Who finally found a way to get to him, and now he's done it." Neville looked around nervously, shuffled his feet. Ron pretended not to hear this and shut his eyes tight.

Accusing stares from all tables were directed at the Slytherins. Ron knew that two of the larger sixth year Gryffindors has roughed Malfoy up rather badly shortly after word got out that Harry really might die, that he really wasn't coming back to class after a few days, and he had had to spend one night in the hospital wing with a fat lip and a broken arm. Ron checked to see where he was staying that night (at the opposite end of the hospital wing), and sat with Harry rather later that night than usual, keeping watch. Malfoy had remained remarkably quiet through all of this, and Pansy had stopped associating with him. The two sat at nearly opposite ends of the Slytherin table at meals, and opposite ends of the potions classroom. It seemed that Snape was taking the Gryffindors' side in this at least. Even he didn't seem to trust Malfoy; while everyone else was partnered for potions, Malfoy was left to do his work alone. He didn't complain, and he didn't even look at the Gryffindors. He measured his ingredients, drank his potions, look victorious in his own quiet way. Ron seethed.

Each day that went by, the rumours got worse. Madam Pomfrey looked more and more grim, and Snape had taken his potions back to his dungeon. The decision had been that they should wait. They didn't seem to know what the spell was, what curse could have done this, and his and Hermione's efforts at searching through restricted books, even with the help of a couple of whizbang Ravenclaws, hadn't helped. There had been rather more owls delivering letters from anxious parents in the last few days, and the Daily Prophet had blared the news far and wide: The Boy Who Lived: Dead? Ron had thrown the paper away without looking at the cheery-looking picture of Harry on the front page.

Time would tell, they were saying. Perhaps he's like sleeping beauty, Ron thought. Perhaps he's waiting for his Princess to kiss him and wake him up. He looked drearily around the Great Hall at dinner, eating his chicken and mashed potatoes, and realized there were no Princesses here to cure him, only a ragtag group of well-wishers with books and potions and charms and hope, which was fading fast. After a week, Ron himself began to wonder if Voldemort had won after all. He glared across the room at Malfoy, who defiantly refused to look up.


I want to be the girl with the most cake.
I love him so much it just turns to hate.
He only loves those things because he loves to see them break.
I fake it so real I am beyond fake.
Someday you will ache like I ache.
Hole, Doll Parts

Draco sat with his fingers steepled, looking into the fire. It was nearly midnight, but he wasn't ready to climb the stairs up to his dorm and crawl into bed again. Sleeping made him dream, and lately all he dreamed about was Harry, face destroyed, collapsing in front of him, turning into dust when he touched him. Falling from a great height, being raped, tortured, beaten. He woke up crying, he beat his fists into the pillow.

His father had asked him if he had done it. Had he killed Harry Potter? Did he not know better than to use Dark magic in public? Did he have any idea how dangerous this was? Was he likely to get caught? A letter had been send to Dumbledore; Draco's presence was required tomorrow night, a family engagement. A dying uncle, the importance of this gathering. Dumbledore had sighed and agreed. There would be no dodging this time; the Death Eaters were calling. Was it because of Harry? Draco doubted it. Harry's health was no doubt just of passing interest to Voldemort. Besides, certainly he would recover.

Certainly he would.

("Even though the injury is fixed, the Norwegian girl had said, the body still believes itself to be wounded. The pain in unchanged. Eventually, it would drive him mad." Eventually. Madness. Pain and madness. Draco tried to pretend he had misheard this.)

Draco had heard the rumours as well. Harry was dying, he couldn't breathe without the help of spells. He was in a coma, he convulsed and drooled and would be a vegetable for the rest of his life. And Draco had done this, of course. A foil found under Harry's bed, what else was that? A gift? Traces of Draco's blood found near the hilt, a curse? Something his father had taught him? The Gryffindors beat on him, threw him down the stairs, glared at him. The Slytherins were terrified of him, the things that he could and would do, with no provocation. Blaise had absently glanced as his arms while he changed his shirt, looking for the Dark Mark, no doubt.

He had been called to the hospital wing that night, and sat in a small room opposite Dumbledore. He rested his hands on his knees and jutted out his chin, thinking about his father and the cold sneer he adopted when the Ministry came to call. I am innocent, that look said. I am innocent and I dare you to prove otherwise. While his father looked down his nose like this and lied, Draco did the same, telling the truth, and felt like a fake.

"Mr. Malfoy, you sent Harry a foil?" Dumbledore asked.

"Yes, sir." Draco had never been so mortified. His silly gift, now the subject of an inquiry.

"It had your blood on it."

"Did it? I had a…bit of an accident with it when I was inspecting it, before I sent it. I expect some blood might have…well. It was entirely accidental." Draco avoided fidgeting as best he could.

"Draco, why did you send Harry a weapon with blood on it? Was this a kind of threat?"

Draco closed his eyes. "No, sir. It was just a gift."

"A gift?"


"You sent Harry Potter a gift?"

"Yes, sir."

"Why would you do that, Draco?"

There was a pause. Draco looked at the floor, shuffled his feet. "I thought we could be friends, sir."

It was such a farce. It wasn't until this moment that Draco realized he had even been considering not being a Death Eater, that he had ever considered standing behind this man, the ancient headmaster. What a bubbling fool.

They didn't even have a clue. They were trailing along after pointless traces that could be clues but weren't; they didn't even know where to look. Clearly they had never heard of the Norwegian curse Pansy had used; no one seemed to suspect Pansy at all. Draco could hear Jan in his head, You English and your wands! He was right. All these years depending on one form of magic, teaching it, pretending there were no others, had left them profoundly vulnerable. What fools they all were, these muggle-lovers. Draco could already see the end of this war; Voldemort, winning with a simple curse, the army of the Ministry trampled with one chilling word no one would even think to defend against. It was madness. It was pathetic.

Draco had been shocked. Pansy. Betraying him so fully, he would never have expected it. Oh, he should have known that Pansy would see that he had a bit of a crush, but he would never have guessed that she would work out on whom. He thought he had been so discrete. So. She had found out, and, since her parents and his parents desire to see them married was not enough to make her feel secure, she decided to blot out the competition. He felt so foolish; He should have known. And now Harry would die for it. Draco felt sick to his stomach.

He hadn't spoken to Pansy at all since Harry was whisked off to the hospital wing. When she had helped him up after Ron's distracted beating, they had sat together at a table, and he avoided her eyes. He was so scared, so furious, and so shocked he didn't trust himself.

Finally he whispered, "What the fuck did you think you were doing?"

She only replied, "It's for the best, Draco."

Within five days he was in the hospital wing himself with a broken arm. After everyone else had gone to bed he had tiptoed down the hallway and pushed open the door to Harry's room. It was bluish gray in the moonlight, the white room looking ethereal. Harry looked so pale and so forlorn, tubes coming from his arms, unmoving. It was as though he were dead already. He heard movement down the hall and quickly closed the door again, running back to his own bed. That night he dreamed about Harry, broken and in his bed with him, begging Draco to kill him.

He sighed and closed his eyes, feeling the heat of the common room fire against his skin. He heard the light tap of shoes against the stairs coming from the girls dorms and looked up. Pansy. He looked away again. She sighed and walked toward him, curled herself up in the chair opposite and rolled her wand between her fingers.


He didn't answer. He looked into the fire, pretended she wasn't there.

"Draco, you know it was for the best. Stop sulking." He raised an eyebrow, but did not respond. "Yes, I found out about your little infatuation. Do you know what would have happened? I'll tell you. You would have wooed him, and he would falter and give in, and then he would turn around and destroy you. He would use it against you, he would tell everyone and tell them you seduced and raped him. He would convince you that you were in love with him and make you betray your father. He would insult you in front of his friends and make you fuck him in the dark. He would fuck you and then leave you for the Weasley boy or his sister or that hellion mudblood Granger. And make it all feel like your fault. He would make sure you paid for it. This isn't some Ravenclaw no one cares about, Draco. It's Harry Potter. You look at him wrong you'll be in the Daily Prophet. There would be pictures of you half-naked with him splashed all over Witches Weekly. I know you had a crush on him, I do understand it," she stopped and sighed. "But it's not worth throwing your life away for, Draco. Our life."

Draco looked at her coldly. "Our life?"

"Yes, our life. Mine is bound up with yours, in case you hadn't noticed. Unless you think that you can evade both my parents' and your parents' wishes for us to marry. Do you think your mother would ever give up the chance for a grandson? An heir to the Malfoy name? Who else do you imagine they're going to try to pair you up with? You know there's a reason why we celebrate Christmas together, you know what our future is. You must be barking mad. If you need to have male concubines on the side, keep them as dense and harmless as Blaise, don't go messing around with pseudo-heroes like Harry Potter."

She softened her tone then, leaning closer to Draco and smiling. "I promise not to tell how I did it, or that I did it. You can take the credit for it. You can tell Lord Voldemort that you killed Harry, I'm sure he'll be most pleased."

Draco shut his eyes, his fingers on his wand. He had always liked Pansy, it was true. He knew he was expected to marry her, and until recently that hadn't seemed like a bad lot.

He pointed his wand at Pansy and whispered, "Imperio." He saw her face freeze in shock.

"What are you doing, Draco?" She said. Draco was through talking. He didn't want to hear any more.

Pansy's hands were shaking as she gripped her wand in two hands and pulled its tip back toward herself. "Draco," she said, unable to speak above a whisper. The tip of her wand was pointed at her stomach, hovering, still shaking, a foot from her body. She made a squeaking noise, unable to say anything more, until she found herself hissing words, curses, destruction. She whispered those hateful words and felt her insides implode, shrivel, burn. Her head was reeling with pain, his mouth still whispering without her permission, her hands, wrapped tightly and mechanically around her wand, grew more and more still as her body trembled. Blood began streaming down her thighs.

When he let her go, she was still staring at him, unbelieving, the remains of her tortured and destroyed uterus slipping down her legs.

He rose from his chair, pushed his wand into his pocket, and said, with a deadly calm, "I don't think even your parents will expect me to marry you now, do you?" He turned walked up the stairs to the boys dorm.

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