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from the orchids

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Draco has the only wand between them and if someone wanted to step up and finish off all three of them she doubts anyone would meet much resistance. The wand – hers, given to her son so at least he would have a fighting chance – lies on the table in front of him, nowhere near fingers or hands.

She wonders if it’s intended as a sign to the others – look, we’re unarmed, just leave us alone – or exhaustion prevents his fingers from curling properly around the wood.

She watches Draco scan the room, seeing everything but registering nothing. Eyes usually so full of life, even when angry, are blank and dull. She wonders if any of his friends survived. If he had any friends at the end.

Lucius keeps his head down, staring at the wood table as if the whorling grain holds infinite fascination for him. She thinks it might; he hasn’t slept well since Azkaban when he’s found the time to sleep at all and the last few weeks of running, chasing and searching fueled only by adrenaline and awakening potions has taken its toll.

There’s order within the chaotic aftermath as the dead are covered and the wounded triaged. Any Death Eater remaining alive is tied and silenced and dragged out of sight, their wands piled in a quickly-charmed cauldron for safekeeping. She’s surprised when the three of them are left alone at the table, no hushed words or furtive glances or furrowed brows. Simply ignored.

A piece of tattered green fabric falls from overhead and she smooths out its wrinkles before looking upward. All of the House banners took heavy damage, burned and charred, but all four still hang mostly in one piece.

Finally, when the sun glitters at the tops of the Great Hall’s windows, she runs out of patience for just sitting. She places her palms on the table and pushes up, standing. She thinks Lucius has fallen asleep and Draco, having found none of his friends, has resorted to counting cracks in the stone floor. Trusting that her husband and son will be safe without her beside them, she walks, hands open to show that she is unarmed, to the center of the Hall.

She can’t help but think of the woman in charge as Professor McGonagall, despite it being years since she was under the witch’s tutelage. “How can I help?” She asks, when McGonagall turns and recognizes her presence.

“Tend to some of the injured,” McGonagall orders after a moment’s hesitation. She gestures to a group of lightly-wounded students sitting at the Hufflepuff table, their efforts to contain the Death Eaters or move the more seriously wounded no longer needed.

She nods and turns and crosses the rubble-ridden floor to a table she’s never sat at before. Their eyes are full of mistrust by association, but when she searches the box of medical supplies and withdraws a bottle of wound-cleaning potion, they seem to understand and accept why she’s there.

As she begins to clean and bandage the forehead of a young Gryffindor who won’t stop talking about the moving statues and suits of armor, she knows that almost her entire family is rolling over in their coffins.

It isn’t what Malfoys would do and it certainly isn’t what Blacks would do, but Narcissa thinks that perhaps a small change is necessary.