Word Count: 757
Summary: At the end, all that's left for Draco is to obey his mother.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: I'm trying to wrap my head around movie canon.
With hateful words for Filch, Goyle and Zabini break away from the other Slytherins as the caretaker leads them from the Great Hall, and Draco follows them because he knows that Goyle is intent upon doing what damage he can before Voldemort takes Hogwarts, and that Zabini is intent upon saving Weasley. Weasley doesn't need saving and will probably hex Zabini before he can offer her his aid, and Goyle can't be allowed to do anything rash because Draco is intent upon putting an end to the nightmare in which they've all been living. He is intent upon disobeying his mother.
"Don't act," she told him, before he left for Hogwarts, but Draco can't help himself as he sees Potter. He grabs Goyle and Zabini, forcing them to follow Potter with him.
He'll keep Goyle in check. He'll keep Zabini safe. He'll help Potter—if he can.
He wants to help Potter; he does, even if he has no idea how to do it. On the other hand, if the Dark Lord should take Hogwarts, Draco knows that he must remain in a position to capture Potter; it's the only thing he can think to do that will please the Dark Lord, the only thing he can think to do that will help keep his mother safe from the Dark Lord's wrath. There's no relying on his father for help in that regard, so much has long been clear to Draco.
Within the Room of Requirement, however, he realises that there's no way to offer Potter his aid, not in front of Goyle and Zabini, and everything goes pear-shaped. He says the wrong thing. He can't answer Potter's question. He finds himself fighting, fleeing, failing.
He finds himself certain that he's about to die and almost welcomes death.
But the agony in Goyle's screams as he falls into his own Fiendfyre causes Draco to look out for Potter again, and when Potter saves him, as somehow Draco knew he would, all Draco can feel is shame. His shame deepens when Potter leaves him in safety, leaves him with other Slytherins who have remained to fight. The Greengrass sisters are among them, and Draco believes that they will die just as Potter will, and because he can't bear to think of anyone dying anymore, he stops thinking at all.
Things pass in a blur after that until, standing before the Dark Lord, Draco's eyes fix upon his mother. Relief to see her alive and unharmed crashes through him so violently that he is almost physically ill, but he masters himself. He remembers his mother's instruction to him and does not act. He stands there, on Potter's side, wanting to fight but without having the will to do so in spite of the life debt he now owes Potter because he suspects that if he fights, his mother, too, will fight, and it will be his fault that she dies. He stands there as the Dark Lord calls for people to join him. He has no wish to demonstrate a loyalty that he does not feel to the Dark Lord. He stands there as his father calls for him to join him. He has no wish to demonstrate a loyalty that he does not feel to his father. He stands there because he wants to demonstrate the loyalty to Potter that he feels, no matter how galling or dangerous.
And then his mother calls, "Draco, come," and Draco finds it impossible to do anything but obey her; his loyalty to her has always been paramount among his concerns.
This loyalty is what prevents him from flinching as the Dark Lord embraces him, which he bears by keeping his eyes trained upon his mother. Her gaze promises, "Stay safe, stay safe with me," and Draco wants to believe her, but it makes no matter that he doesn't; he will do nothing to endanger her. He joins her, takes her hand, and waits to die. His wait is not long, for Potter lives, and soon, everyone is fighting or fleeing. Again, Draco embraces the loyalty he feels to his mother as he obeys the silent press of her hand and follows her from the battlefield.
There is no reason to remain. Even if Potter were to accept his loyalty, the others fighting with him would not. Of this, Draco is certain. The only thing left for him to do is to stay safe, safe for his mother, the only person in the whole of his life who has ever truly loved him.