Hey. I'm back.

It's only been a few weeks since Fate Has Its Ways ended, but I'm so excited to write again.

For those of you who are new, hi! I'm Starkidsftw and I write stories and put messages at the beginning complaining about something/making disclaimers.

This is my new story: Seven Minutes. It's not a mystery like Fates, it's definitely a tragedy/romance. It's about the tragedy of making the wrong choices, and the tragedy of making the right ones.

It's Dramione. If that's not your thing, you don't have to read it. You still can, I mean, it's not like a Dramione fans only story, but that's a huge part of the plot. But, I'm not like a bouncer at a club who won't let you in unless you're a proven Dramione fan. It's open club. All are allowed.

I should just shut up now.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

They say after you die, your brain stays alive for seven minutes. And in those seven minutes, you relive your entire life. You don't realize this; it feels like you are going through everything for the very first time.

However, everything is already laid out. You wrote your life into a book when you lived it.

In those seven minutes, you read the book.

The book is everything you are: your memories, your experiences, and the moments that truly allowed you to live.

When Draco Malfoy's seven minutes came, he saw all those things. He saw himself hanging out with Crabbe and Goyle in the common room. He saw himself playing Quidditch on the pitch.

But, most importantly, he saw her.

He saw the moment when he knocked her books out of her hands. He saw her scowl as he mocked her friends. He saw the night stars as they sat on top of Astronomy tower, talking. He saw her smile when he decided not to do it. He saw her hatred when she realized it was a lie.

In those seven minutes, Draco Malfoy relived his life.

His short life of seventeen years.

His seven minutes came a little too soon for his liking. However, he would not have wanted to go at any other time, or for any other reason.

For when Draco Malfoy died, he died protecting the girl he loved.

Who could ask for a nobler exit?

And then again, who would want one?

For to die in the service of love, well, that is not a death at all.

That is an honour.

It was late March, 1998.

Draco was at his childhood home, Malfoy Manor. The Dark Lord had made the Manor his headquarters. After last year, Draco was officially a member of the Death Eaters, and now spent his days locked in the manor, watching the prisoners and occasionally torturing them.

Every time he raised his wand against another human being, her words from that fated night always rang through his head.

"There's always a choice! You're just too much of a coward to accept that!"

He was a coward, he knew that now. Only a coward would tie a man up in a cellar and proceed to torture him. Only a coward would kill to save his own life. Only a coward would fight for a cause he despised with every bone in his body.

Only a coward would leave her.

The regret filled his every waking moment, and his nightmares as well. He thought of that night at every moment. He could have done it differently. He could have made the right choice. He could have held her in his arms instead of turning his back on the only girl who had ever loved him.

He could've had her.

Instead, he had been a coward.

So then, nine months later, he was inside Malfoy Manor instead of at her side when the snatchers brought them in.

Draco was downstairs, bringing food to the few prisoners they had. Draco refused to look any of them in the eye. These were people he had shopped from, people he had sat in a classroom with for years.

These were people, not the scum of the earth. In fact, Draco felt more like scum than the prisoners of Malfoy Manor would ever be.

He was just laying a plate of stale bread in front of Dean Thomas when his name was called from upstairs.

"Draco! Get up here now!"

It was the voice of his father, Lucius Malfoy. Once a committed Death Eater, Lucius now spent every moment trying not to displease the Dark Lord even further. He took any opportunity that could put the Malfoys back into Lord Voldemort's good graces.

So when Draco heard his father's voice, anxious and excited and terrified all wrapped into one, he knew another opportunity had arisen. Without thinking, he dropped the plate in front of Thomas and raced back up to the Drawing Room.

His father was standing with his mother and Bellatrix. His parents were shaking nervously, their pale faces scared and excited. Bellatrix was smiling that demented, unhinged smile of hers. She was looking at a group that had just entered.

Draco turned. It was a group of snatchers, holding three teenagers hostage. Draco recognized Greyback, but the rest of the snatchers were strangers to him. Draco turned his attention to the three teenagers instead.

The one in the middle was fairly tall, and fairly built. He looked about the same age as Draco. The boy had black hair, hanging limp and messy over his heavily distorted face. It looked like his face had exploded. It was swollen and unrecognizable, as if he had just come from a whopping.

The Slytherin stared for a moment. No, he thought, shivers running up his spine. Even distorted, Draco could recognize that face anywhere.

Damn it Potter.

He looked at the one on the left.

Even with nine months of separation, terribly messy clothes, and his ginger hair falling past his chin, Draco would be a fool not to recognize Ronald Weasley. The Gryffindor glared at him, spitting a piece of hair out of his mouth.

So if the first was probably Potter, and the second was Weasley, that meant that the third was…..

Draco almost blacked out.

This could not be happening, this has to be a nightmare.

It took an eternity for Draco to turn and look at the final one. He was hoping that they'd all disappear, that he wouldn't have to look at her.

But they didn't disappear. This nightmare was real.

So Draco turned, and stared into the face of Hermione Granger.

Their last meeting flashed through his mind. The guilt on his face, the tears on hers. The anger in her voice and the regret in his.


Draco looked at Hermione Granger for the first time in nine months. Her hair was longer, pulled back into a messy ponytail. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her face was smudged with dirt. There was a cut above her eyes.

Those beautiful brown eyes that he loved so much.

Those eyes looked up and met his.

Draco didn't see the love or hate from their last meeting. All Draco saw was pleading eyes.

She was pleading for their lives.

Draco almost broke on the spot.

"Well, Draco," his father said nervously. "Look who has stumbled across our path."

Draco stood still. He moved his eyes back to his father.

The golden trio was going to die, here in his house. He was going to see her die, right before his eyes.

He couldn't let that happen.

Draco met his father's eye. In his most confused voice, he responded. "Who?"

Bellatrix laughed. "Well, Draco, are you blind? It's Potter, with the blood traitor and the mudblood."

Hatred filled his veins.

Lucius nodded. "Yes. Now, before we call the Dark Lord, we need to be absolutely positive. We can't be wrong…we need to be sure. Draco, they were your classmates for years. You must identify them."

He would never identify them.

Not if they tortured him. Not if they threatened his life. Not if the Dark Lord himself stood before him, demanding their identification.

Never was the new always.

His parents eyed him, and his aunt twiddled her wand.

Draco took a deep breath. They were expecting him to speak. He thought back to all the lies he had told in his lifetime.

He might just be able to do it.

He walked forward and stopped right in front of Potter. The boy who lived eyed him venomously, being sure that he would turn them in.

Draco eyes turned to Hermione for a split second. He had forgotten that she had never told Potter or Weasley about them, and what happened between them.

Draco turned his attention back to Potter. He looked over the chosen one's face. It was obviously him; there was even a slit on his forehead where the scar was hidden.

"Come on, boy!" his aunt shouted. "Is it Potter or not?"

Draco looked at the boy who lived for several seconds before responding. "I don't think it is, maybe."

The shock on all of their faces was evident.

There was silence behind him for a moment.

"Well, what about the ginger? That's the blood traitor, Weasley!" Lucius's nervousness was increasing.

Draco stared at Weasley. "Possibly, but it doesn't look like it."

There was dead silence in the room. Weasley's mouth was gaping at him.

"The mudblood! She's the one on the end! It's Hermione Granger!" his aunt sounded furious.

Draco walked right in front of Hermione. He met her eyes for what felt like an eternity before he responded.

"It's not them."

Draco heard a scream of frustration. Bellatrix was not impressed.

Lucius rushed to his side. Muttering, he said, "Now, Draco. This could change everything. All would be forgiven if we handed him Harry Potter."

Draco stood up straight. He did know that. He didn't care. "It's not them."

No one said a word.

Suddenly, from behind him, his aunt spoke.

"Snatcher, what is that in your hands?"

Draco looked over.

One of the snatchers was holding a sword. It was a long silver sword, with rubies impeded in the hilt.

The snatcher shrugged. "Found it in their tent. Figured it was mine now."

He was cursed before he had a chance to blink. The sword flew out his hands and into Bellatrix's waiting ones.

"This was in my vault at Gringotts!" she screeched. "Out, all of you! Get out!"

The snatchers began to run for the door.

"Wormtail!" Bellatrix screamed. "Bring the boys to the cellar." She advanced on Hermione. "It's time for just us girls to have a chat."

This couldn't be happening.

Potter and Weasel were dragged off to the cellar. Draco could hear them screaming for Hermione.

Inside, Draco was screaming too.

Bellatrix knocked Hermione to the ground. Then, without hesitation, she began to torture the girl that Draco loved more than anything on the Drawing Room floor.

"You filthy mudblood!" A curse was sent at Hermione. She screamed in pain. "You lying thieves!" Another curse hit her, causing her to twitch and moan.

Bellatrix smirked, seeing Hermione's pain. "I've barely started."

She had barely started at all.

Curse after curse was sent at Hermione. The Gryffindor was powerless to stop them. She was trapped in a vicious cycle of screaming and pain. She only moved when she flinched or twitched. Bellatrix laughed. The boys shouted from below.

Draco stood immobile as his insides broke. He was powerless, just like she was. He couldn't save her. He couldn't keep his promise. He had never even given back that book of hers.

Useless. He was useless.

It had been true before, but he had never truly felt it before this moment.

Hermione's ragged screams filled the air. She twitched on the floor, crying, as Bellatrix circled her once more.

"You broke into my vault at Gringotts!"

"No, we didn't! We just found it!" Hermione cried out the words. Draco hadn't heard her voice in so long. It felt like several punches to the gut.

"You lying mudblood!" Bellatrix took out a short silver knife, and advanced on Hermione once more.

The torture continued.

Draco wanted desperately to close his eyes, but he couldn't. He couldn't stop looking at her. For all he knew, he might never see her again after this.

He was right.

Hermione screamed and cried and thrashed. Draco looked on, each curse breaking him into pieces. He stared at her, wishing he could die.

Luckily, Draco got his wish, in less than five minutes time.

Finally, Bellatrix stopped. She took a few steps back, and admired her handiwork.

Hermione lay on the floor. Her eyes were open, with tears spilling out of them. There were gashes across her body, from where the curses had split her skin. On her arm, the word mudblood shone out, written in blood.

Her head moved slightly. Draco stared at her face, and suddenly her eyes met his.

It was only for a brief second. But those eyes, they spoke more words than he could say in a lifetime.

The main ones stood out to him immediately.

This is what you chose.

Yes, this is what he had chosen, and he regretted it every day afterwards. But, it was too late to turn back now. There were no more choices. He would just have to live with the consequences.

But in less than three minutes time, he didn't.

Suddenly, a voice sounded through his head. It was her voice. Draco recognized the words immediately.

They were from that night that they had sat at the top of the Astronomy tower.

"You're making excuses, Draco," she had murmured. "There is always a choice. It may not be the easy one, or the smartest one, but there is always a choice. You can save who you want. You can do what you want. People will say you can't. They're wrong. You just have to have enough bravery."

But he had no bravery. He was a coward, and that fact was proven every day, in every curse he cast, in every death eater meeting he attended.

In every moment he remembered her.

Bellatrix laughed her high, out of control laugh. "Well, mudblood, you've served your purpose. You won't tell us how you got the sword? Fine. We don't need you for anything else. You're disposable, just like all the mudbloods before you."

With that, Bellatrix raised her wand.

Draco froze. He stared forward at Bellatrix's wand. He shouldn't have been surprised, this was to be expected. But Draco was in love. He had a belief in the impossible that no loveless man could understand.

But that illusion was shattered as Bellatrix's wand pointed at the bookworm.

She was going to kill Hermione.

Draco felt his entire world fall to pieces. In that moment, he didn't care about anything or anyone else but the girl on the Drawing Room floor. His parents didn't matter. The death eaters were pointless. The entire planet could explode and he wouldn't care.

There was only Hermione, facing her death. She knew what was coming, she had to. She wasn't stupid, she was the smartest person Draco had ever known. Her time was coming. Her story was at an end. She knew that.

She didn't look her killer in the face, like her companions would. Instead, she chose to look at Draco.

A story popped into Draco's head for a moment, as he stared forward at Hermione. It was a story the Dark Lord told in contempt, but Draco had never truly understood until this moment.

A woman and her husband were at home one night. It was Halloween. They were sitting in their living room, playing a game with their year old son. They were laughing, unknowing of the danger that would soon befall them

Their door exploded. They knew in a second who was there. The Dark Lord had appeared. The man tried to hold him off. The Dark Lord laughed, and killed the man in a moment. The woman ran upstairs with the son, and tried to hide. However, Voldemort followed them.

He just wanted to kill the son, he didn't care about the woman. She wasn't his objective. It was about the boy, it was all about the boy. He told the woman to step aside. But the woman wouldn't leave. She wouldn't abandon her son. She protected him until the end.

The Dark Lord killed her to get to the son. But, he wasn't able to kill that little boy.

When the woman had died, she had cast her life in between the Dark Lord and her son. Her life, and her love, had protected that little boy when the Darkest Wizard of all time had cast the spell. It was a shield, a deep, impenetrable never-ending shield for that boy. It was a shield made of love. The love she felt was so deep and so everlasting that it protected the son for years to come.

But in that moment, in that little house on Halloween, it saved the boy's life.

Draco stared at Hermione, awaiting her death on the Drawing Room floor.


And suddenly, he was running.

In a moment, he was standing in between his aunt and Hermione.

Shock filled the faces of everyone in the room. Bellatrix's eyes widened as she realized her wand was now pointing at her nephew's chest.

"If you want to kill her, you'll have to kill me first," he proclaimed.

Gasps filled the room.

"Draco! What are you doing?!" cried his mother. She ran forward to stop him, but Lucius pulled her back. His eyes were hard as he looked at his only son. Draco stared straight back at him.

Bellatrix cocked her head. "You'd die for the mudblood?"

Draco looked death in the face. "In a second."

"Draco…..don't," murmured Hermione's voice from behind him. He didn't turn.

He had made his choice. Finally, he was going to be brave.

His love for Hermione made him brave.

There was no turning back now.

Bellatrix glared at him. Draco saw in her face what she was going to do. He didn't close his eyes.

In his last moment, he looked over his shoulder at Hermione.

She was lying on the ground, staring up at him in wonder and fear.

He hoped she could read in his eyes how much he loved her.

Draco heard his aunt speak the words.

The last thing he ever saw was Hermione's big, brown eyes, wide and frightened.

But most importantly, loving.

His body hit the ground.

Draco Malfoy's seven minutes had begun.

Let me know if you guys like the concept, and stuff. Oh yeah, and review :)

I've missed this.