This takes place the summer before Harry's sixth year, and will eventually be Harry/Draco slash.

Warnings: In case you missed the first few warnings, this is SLASH, as in two people of the same gender in love, kissing and holding hands and having sex. If you don't like that, leave now. This story will also involve abuse, probably a few graphic scenes and also some cursing, along with implied attempted suicide, hence the R rating.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any related items or characters.

The Damned and the Lonely

Chapter One

It was a swelteringly hot summer day at number 4 Privet drive, and one unfortunate raven-haired, green-eyed boy was outside doing lawn work. The Dursley's, despite Moody's warning, were treating him like crap. The bruises and cuts covering his torso were testament to that. Harry was in the back yard, currently weeding the flowerbeds. Even with the almost constant yard work he was still unusually pale, being locked in his room for two or three days in a row before being released to do chores.

His Uncle had taken up drinking over the last year, and he was not a very happy drunk. The alcohol only increased his dislike of Harry, while decreasing his inhibitions. Harry was treated as a waste of time, space, and money, and if it weren't for the warning, would have been tossed into the streets without a second thought. Instead he was treated as a slave and a punching bag. He was Vernon's favorite target when he was in one of his drunken rages.

Even when Vernon was sober Harry was abused, though in a less conspicuous way. He was tripped and pushed into things, including the hot stove, and had once been 'accidentally' pushed down the stairs by Dudley, in the hope of him breaking his neck. Things were back to the way they were before he received his Hogwarts letters, with the addition of the more violent beatings. And Harry never once protested.

His letters to the order were short and uninformative. Several times he had merely written 'I'm fine' on a piece of parchment before sending it off. He knew if the order showed up Vernon would try his hardest to kill him before they could save him. In return to his letters, his friends were once again being quite secretive in their letters. Hermione was almost fully recovered from the incident at the ministry, but her chest was still slightly sore where the curse had hit. But Sirius would never get better. Harry still felt guilty for his death. He didn't want to go on without Sirius. Part of him almost wished the Dursley's would kill him, while another part fought to go on, and yet another part felt he deserved the beatings he got. He was just so confused.

Harry got off his knees, finished with the weeding. He retrieved some tools from the shed to trim the hedges that separated their lawn from the house to their left. After that he had to mow the lawn. He knew he would not be allowed into the house until his chores were done, and he would not be given dinner unless he was done before dinnertime. Today he had an unusually large amount of chores. At least the lawn work only had to be done once a week, Harry thought to himself.

Luckily enough, Harry finished just in time for dinner. Vernon wasn't home yet, never a good sign. He was most likely at the pub, drinking himself into a towering rage. Harry retreated to his room to try and work on his homework. Waiting for him was a Hogwarts owl with his yearly letter, and hopefully his O.W.L. results. He never got a chance to open it. Squealing tires announced Vernon's arrival along with the slamming of the front door.

"BOY!" his uncle's slightly slurred voice shouted. Yup, he was drunk.

Quickly Harry sent off the owl and shoved the letter into his trunk before dragging it in front of the door. He wasn't fast enough, and the door flew open to reveal the large form of Vernon Dursley. Suddenly a fist flew out of nowhere, knocking him off of his feet and into the floor. A large boot was shoved into his back, pressing him into the floor.

"Worthless brat! No good freak! Should have dumped you at an orphanage years ago you worthless waste of space!" Vernon slurred, increasing the pressure on his back. Suddenly his foot was gone and he was being dragged to a standing position by his hair. Vernon sneered in his face before punching him in the stomach and dropping him. His foot connected with his stomach, knocking the wind out of him and he curled up to avoid being kicked there again.

"Ungrateful little bastard! We never should have taken in your no-good sorry ass! You've only caused us misfortune and grief! Suppose it's the best we could expect from a freak like you!" Vernon shouted, kicking him again.

"I oughta teach you a lesson!" Vernon said. Another kick collided with his stomach and he began coughing up blood. A kick to the back of his head and he knew no more.

He woke around noon, still in a heap on the floor. He knew he had most likely been locked into the room again. He tried to stand, but his muscles protested and he felt light headed. Instead he crawled over to his trunk and rummaged through it. Before he could find what he was looking for his door opened. Luckily it was his aunt. She had a pail of water, soap, a few clean, soft rags and a scrub brush.

"Here, you can wash up." She said in a whisper. Harry knew Vernon had gone after her once he lost consciousness because there was a bruise on her cheek and she had a black eye. "Wash this floor, it's filthy." She snapped loudly, not wanting to attract Vernon's wrath by appearing to help him. She set the things down and shut the door, locking it.

Harry dragged the bucket closer to himself and dipped one of the rags in the warm water. He found a bottle of pain relievers rolled up in another rag, and gratefully downed two of the small pills. He began gently bathing his wounds, most of which were only bruises. The warm water felt good on his stiff body, however. After cleaning himself up he kneeled on the floor, trying to wash his own blood off the ground. He was partially successful.

Vernon was truly out of control. Even Aunt Petunia was afraid of him. Her and Harry had come to a mutual understanding, helping each other out whenever possible. Harry had cleaned up his aunt once or twice after a particularly nasty beating, and she had returned the favor. Petunia was truly terrified of her husband, but was even more afraid of what would happen if she called the police. The closest she had come to turning him in was almost a week ago, when Vernon had raped her. But she didn't want to admit her husband was abusive, so she want on as normal, wearing long sleeved shirts and makeup to hide the evidence. Only Dudley escaped his father's rage, often joining in on beating Harry, truly his father's son.

Harry was once again forced outside to finish the lawn work, which was basically non-existent, most of it having been finished the day before. He only needed to weed the flower beds in the front lawn, hopefully avoiding questioning about his wounds. Vernon stumbled out of the house and into his car, obviously on his way to drink the weekend away. Soon after his Aunt and cousin left in a taxi to who knows where, most likely shopping. Despite the lack of money Dudley still got whatever he wanted, sometimes resorting to abuse to get his mother to obey. Harry only hoped they hadn't locked him out of the house this time.

When Harry finished, he decided he needed a bit of time to clear his head. He stood up slowly, careful not to aggravate his wounds, and headed down the street. He wandered aimlessly for a bit, before finding himself near the same alley he had first seen Padfoot in, back before third year. With a sad look, he wandered slowly into the alley. He was stunned to see that he was not the only person occupying it, however. There was an unconscious body laying curled up behind some trash cans. The person looked severely injured, bruises marring what little skin was visible, blood covering his clothing and sticking to his platinum blond hair. Turning his over, Harry was shocked to see the face of his schoolyard rival.

"Malfoy?" Harry whispered to no one in particular. Harry took in his appearance again. He had obviously been beaten. But Malfoy? Perfect, snobbish, aristocratic Draco Malfoy? As Harry sat motionless, the blonde began to wake, catching sight of Harry.

"H-help. Please help me." He begged in a small, pain filled voice. In that moment all hatred was forgotten, if only for a bit.

"Tell me what happened." Harry demanded.

"Lucius. Don't let him get me! Please..." Draco said, rocking back and forth slightly and looking wildly around him. His eyes seemed slightly unfocused and he was sweating a lot. Harry had the feeling he was delirious. Reaching out to touch his forehead for a fever, he quickly drew back. Draco had flinched away from the touch, batting his hand away. Harry was positive someone had beat him, over a long period of time. Harry knew he used to, and still did, flinch like that because of Vernon's beatings.

"Come on. I'll help you get cleaned up, but it's not very safe to stay here. I'll bring you to my house for a bit. Vernon won't be back until Sunday most likely." Harry said, the last part merely thinking out loud. It was a little hard to get back to the house and upstairs, both of them injured and Draco shying away from Harry's touch.

Finally Harry got him into the bathroom and removed his shirt. He was stunned by the wounds covering the boy's body. He grabbed a warm washcloth and gently washed away the blood. Harry's gentle touch seemed to calm the boy, and he allowed Harry to touch him without flinching badly.

Bruises covered his torso, as if he had been kicked many times. Long welts covered his back, looking suspiciously like they were made by the cane Lucius Malfoy always carried around. The thing that disturbed Harry the most were the lines of cuts and scars going down the inside of his arm, ending with several half-healed scars on his wrist. If Harry wasn't mistaken, he had tried to kill himself, and had been cutting himself for some time before.

Harry got him cleaned up as best he could and went to touch his forehead. Again he pulled back sharply. Draco's forehead felt as if it was on fire. No wonder he was delirious. Harry brought Draco to his room and went to rummage through the cupboards for some medicine. He noticed with disgust that his hands were shaking. Something about seeing the usually arrogant blond weak and helpless, about seeing anyone in that condition, even though he himself had probably been just as badly wounded before, was unnerving. He returned to the room to give Draco some medicine and he quickly fell asleep.

Harry sat on the side of the bed watching Draco sleep. Every once in a while he replaced the cool cloth he had put on his forehead. Part of him was wishing Draco would wake up himself again, insults and sneers included, that he would be alright, while part was hoping he would at least be nicer, less of his old arrogant self. Harry found himself wondering what happened, and hoping it wasn't a trick. He didn't think those injuries could be faked so realistically, but then again, they had magic.

Harry decided that healing Draco was beyond his ability. He didn't want to inform the order though. They had too much prejudice toward the Malfoy's for them to bee one hundred percent helpful. Instead, Harry penned out a quick note to a person he definitely did not want to see again, but knew was the best one to help Draco. Severus Snape.

Harry was woken a few hours later by a face hovering over his own. He hadn't realized he had fallen asleep.

"Potter? Where am I?" Draco asked.

"You're at my house." Harry answered.

"Well obviously. What am I doing here?" He asked, a hint of his old self coming through.

"I was hoping you could tell me that. I found you in an alley. You had a fever and were delirious." Harry said.

"Why did you help me? I've always been a jerk to you, why help me?" Draco asked. Definitely not the Draco Malfoy he knew and loved (not).

"Well I couldn't just leave you out there. You were terrified and delirious, and you said something about not letting your father get you." Harry said. That seemed to strike something with him.

"He's not my father." Draco said darkly, a scowl on his face he was quiet a moment, and looked as if he were debating himself. At last he spoke. "I was supposed to get the Dark Mark as soon as I got home this summer, but I refused. He locked me in the dungeons, hoping to beat some sense into me, as you can tell." Draco continued, gesturing to his wounds. "Oh god, he disowned me. I'm lucky to be alive." Draco groaned, burying his head in his hands. After a moment he looked up. "But what happened to you?" Draco asked. Harry only then noticed many bruises were visible due to the t-shirt he was wearing.

"It...it's nothing." Harry said, looking away. Draco silently studied the boy in front of him. It definitely wasn't nothing. Just as he was about to say this, the front door slammed shut and they were interrupted by shouting.

"BOY! Why aren't your chores done!" Vernon shouted upstairs.

"Shit! He wasn't supposed to be back tonight! He never comes home Saturday nights! Quick Draco, hide. He'll kill us if he finds you." Harry said, pushing Draco in the direction of the wardrobe. As an extra precaution he handed him his invisibility cloak. Just as he shut the wardrobe, his door burst open and a hand shot out, grasping him by the neck and lifting him off the ground. Harry struggled, trying to get out of the grasp.

"Why didn't you finish your chores? You ungrateful waste of money! I clothe you, I feed you, I put a roof over your head, and you can't even finish a few lousy chores!" Vernon was slurring badly, and he reeked of alcohol. Just before Harry thought he would suffocate, he was thrown against the wall. He numbly registered being kicked in his already badly wounded stomach and the feeling of blood on the back of his head before falling into blissful unconsciousness.

Draco watched horrified from his hiding place as the whale like man continued to kick Harry long after he had fallen unconscious. So this was where the bruises were from. Maybe the Boy-Who-Lived's life wasn't all it was cracked up to be. And here everyone was thinking he was a pampered prince with muggles to wait on him hand and foot. Draco found himself feeling bad for his long time nemesis.

Finally the man left, slamming the door so hard it bounced off of the frame instead of closing. Draco silently followed, watching him collapse on the sofa and begin snoring loudly. He crept back into the room and carefully turned Harry over. His face was bloody and Draco could tell he had at least one broken rib. Slowly and carefully he moved him onto the bed, trying to at least make him comfortable. He woke up coughing blood a few moments later.

"Noting happened, huh?" Draco asked, raising an eyebrow. Harry glared at him. "Why do you take that? Why don't you leave, or tell your friends or even Dumbledore?" Draco asked.

"I told Dumbledore, several times in fact, and he refuses to believe me. He said he's sure it's nothing I can't handle, that it's probably not as bad as I say it is, and please don't write to my friends, they tend to overreact. I have to stay here because I'm protected from Voldemort"

"But you're not protected from that...that thing! That bastard! Why don't you just leave? To hell with Dumbledore and his stupid meddling and plans." Draco said.

"I can't leave, I have nowhere to go. The Weasley's have enough on their hands, they don't need me putting them in danger. I don't want to go to...to where I was last summer, plus Dumbledore is there often. I'd be easily recognized in Diagon alley or any magical city. So I'm stuck here." Harry said. He was stopped from speaking further by a fit of coughing. When he pulled his hands away from his mouth they were covered in blood.

"You need to see a healer. We both do." Draco said quietly, staring at the blood.

"I wrote a letter to Snape. He should be here soon." Harry said

"Thank you...for helping me, even though I've been a jerk to you." Draco said quietly.

"Draco Malfoy apologizing to the one and only Harry Potter?" Harry said, raising an eyebrow.

"Not Malfoy anymore. Just Draco." he said bitterly

Looking back neither knew why they had acted the way they did. But both knew something had changed about the other, and that they had more in common than they thought. Fate had thrown them together for some reason. They would survive this summer together, whether they liked it or not.