Flashes of his final moments hit me full force as the box is lowered into the ground. Light, like lightning, illuminates the room. I see each delicate eyelash painted green to match his eyes as he turns. I see the wonder on his face.
I see his pain.
And then, I see nothing. He is gone before the glow of the curse fades away and I am left alone in the dark.
This day is, by contrast, grey. I reach down and take a handful of earth into my fist. Wet with rain it packs tight into a ball, and when I drop it into the hole, it hits polished mahogany and explodes into a soggy mess. All the beauty has been taken out of the world, it has been ripped from my grasp and I cannot help but take the blame upon myself.
As I glance up at the gathered crowd it is evident that I am not alone. They all know that mine was the wand that cast upon him. It is a whisper I have heard often in the preceding days, how could the Saviour of the Wizarding World survive certain death at the hands of Voldemort, yet be taken down so easily by the man he loved?
Yet that was not the moment I failed him.
People start to draw back from the grave. Umbrella charms break, sending explosions of water into the air as they Disapparate.
“It’s not your fault.”
I turn my head. “Granger.” She's still here.
“There was nothing you could do, Draco. None of us saw it coming.”
I turn my eyes back to the mound of dirt that covers the dead body of my lover. “I did,” I whisper. Over the sound of the rain I’m not sure she hears me. “I helped him hide it,” I say, raising my voice. “I kept the extent of his madness a secret from those closest to him. You. Weasley. The Ministry. I believed I could help.”
“You never believed he would do what he did.”
I drop my chin to my chest in an aborted nod of agreement. “That spell...”
“Would have destroyed everything. I know. I felt it, we all did. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. And you were at the epicentre, Draco. How—?”
“I can’t—” I shake my head vigorously. It was bad enough reliving it when I surrendered the memory for the Ministry to Pensieve. I still see it over and over in my head. “I could have stunned him. Petrified him. Anything—" I choke on my own tears. I hadn't realised I was crying.
"None of us knew how powerful he'd become. It might not have stopped him. Maybe somehow you knew."
I force myself to relive the moment I felt the magic—his magic—crushing in on me. In his madness, he'd grown to believe that there would be another Dark Lord, that it was only a matter of time. He'd driven himself mad trying to predict it, to see it in every person he met. In the end, he convinced himself that the only way to avoid the inevitable rise of another like Voldemort was to end all who had magic. Again, I felt what it was like to have my magic crushed by Harry's spell, to feel my life slipping away from me. My chest constricts as if a heavy weight lies on it, but this time it's real. It doesn't force me into the earth like it did before. "I couldn't let him," I say. "He wanted to help people. It would kill him to know that he'd destroyed all the people he was trying to save. I knew I wouldn't get a second chance. So I cast the Killing Curse because I had no other choice. It was that or die, along with every other wizard and witch in the world." I stop, and I open my eyes.
Granger steps up beside me. "I miss him, Draco," she says.
"As do I." I wipe tears and rain from my face and take her arm so she can Apparate us back to the Ministry. There I'll await trial for the murder of my lover.
The only way they'd agree to keep the truth of Harry's madness off the public record was to take the fall myself. I'm facing life in Azkaban with no hope of parole.
It's worth it.