The lone woman is a vision in the burnt-orange of Phoenix robes that swirl around her legs. Her wand is stretched before her, releasing sharp flashes of rumbling destruction into the fields at his back, and he’s too awestruck by the crackle of power to find better cover. He almost gasps in recognition.
It’s not supposed to be this way; she’s not supposed to be able to wield such force, and he’s not supposed to be hiding.
A curdling cackle creeps closer behind him, and the stench of death and that sickly headache-inducing purple is briefly smothered by presence of his aunt. Jamming his wand between his teeth and biting down hard enough to add yet more marks to its worn surface, he hisses in pain. One hand subconsciously adjusts the fluid silver mask obscuring his face and the other digs splitting fingernails into the putrid, rotting flesh on his left forearm.
Bella knows who it is, and she’s called Him already.
Draco shudders and tightens his focus.
There’s something… startling in the way that Granger commands attention as she forges on towards them—the enemy. Her face is bright and so alive against her frizzing, wild hair, and when the colours of her spells rent the inky night, he’s struck still by the thundering expression on her face.
Somewhere through the years of war, Granger’s grown up, and he bends to vomit when his breaths come too short and there’s a rush of heat in his bones. He tells himself it’s another attack—the anxiety that’s been growing faster and faster lately—and counts to one hundred inside his head. It doesn’t help.
Shit. Perhaps it’s something else.
Granger doesn’t speak until Bella appears not two feet in front of her, and then she snarls. “Don’t come anywhere near me,” she says, loudly enough that Draco can feel the vendetta in the timbre of her words. “Don’t you fucking touch me, you vile bitch.”
He recalls an evening long ago in his drawing room, and vomits again. If Granger was strength then, she’s iron now.
Bella giggles, her face softened into youth with joy. “Oh, you remember me, darling?” She’s after more; something to play with, he’s sure. “I’d be careful who you call vile, you insolent little—”
Her eyes widen as she’s cut short.
Pelting rain explodes from the cloudless sky above, and a single bolt of lightning strikes the ground. Flames erupt around them and Granger is fury bent on decimating their number. The Dark Lord arrives just in time to see green light find Dolohov as he slinks closer—a tinkling silver chain snapping from his neck and into Granger’s outstretched palm—and then it’s over in a moment of unfathomable control.
Against a backdrop of magical stormy skies and endless fields of calming lavender, Hermione Granger snaps her fingers and the lights go out.
When they return, she’s gone and Draco Malfoy’s war is changed.