A/N: Hello. This is Part One of In This Space... I will be posting one part a week until the story is finished. It has a total of five parts. And...that's it! Enjoy!

Your heart is pounding so hard that you can almost guarantee that your ribs are going to cave in, but you're running. You have to run, you tell yourself. Away from Dumbledore's ever-watchful eyes. Away from the permanent scowl fixed on Snape's face. Away from Hermione's questioning gaze and Ron's judgmental glare.

Away, deep in the Forbidden Forest, you run from the battle you just witnessed. It hurts so badly you can't breathe, but your drive is far stronger than the air screaming in your lungs. You run until you collapse on the ground.

It's all your fault. Ron doesn't understand why you cared so much for the twitchy ferret. He'll probably never understand, either, because you don't understand it yourself. One minute you were glad the sod joined his father because it gave you justification to use as many Unforgivables on him as you could think of. And the next, you were on your knees in front of him, begging him not to be so quick to ruin his life. Maybe you thought you could give him something he didn't have. Maybe you hoped you were enough.

The war has just ended, but before you set the wizarding world free, Voldemort had one more treat in store for the Precious Boy Who Fucking Lived.

You watched Voldemort take the Polyjuice Potion, watched him transform into you, watched him rape Draco as you, and watched Voldemort kill Draco. And Draco screamed, "Please, Harry, no!" throughout the whole thing.

If Voldemort hadn't been successful in breaking you before, he'd surely done it now.

And now you lie, soaking wet from the rain, in the Forbidden Forest, wishing to Merlin that Voldemort had just fucking killed you instead of the other way around.

You start to realize that Ron was right. A guy could get killed being your friend. Everything and everyone you touch has been destroyed.

You've heard about ancient earth magic. It makes you wonder if, with your magic fields being as sensitive as they are right now, you could just will yourself to be swallowed up by the ground. It's no sooner that you think those thoughts that a gruff, war-torn voice brings you back to earth.

"Potter."

You don't even have to turn around to realize that Snape is standing behind you. And whatever his intentions are at the time, you couldn't care less. He's done this before. Sought you out after someone close to you died. You don't care to hear his shit at present. You don't answer him.

"What happened?"

Ah, yes. He doesn't know. No one knows because it only happened close to an hour ago and you ran for it as soon as it ended. You didn't care that your wrist was dislocated or you were bleeding from the ears.

"He's dead."

"I've assessed as much. But what happened to Mr. Malfoy?"

You involuntarily shudder at the mention of his name.

"He's dead."

"By your wand."

"Yes."

"But you didn't . . . "

"Please," you beg, though you don't really know what it is you're pleading for. Solace, maybe? Or some sort of rectified sanity, perhaps? "I can't say . . . "

And by some miracle of Merlin, Snape knows exactly what you need. You barely hear the whispered, "Legilimens," and your world flashes blinding white and you can see the whole thing playing out. It breaks you all over again.

You lay there, numb about the whole thing, and watching as Snape gasps and stumbles back away from you. That's it, you think; run away, before you die, too.

It takes Snape a minute before he gathers his bearings and presses forward a bit.

"Are you injured, Mr. Potter?"

"It doesn't matter. Nothing matters," you say, barely a whisper.

"Can you move?" He sounds a bit irritated, but you stand by what you said. Nothing matters now.

"I'm not going back there," you say, strong as ever. There is no emotion in your voice.

"Very well. I have neither the time nor the patience to deal with your thickheadedness tonight. If you cannot see that you need medical attention, then it is no longer on my shoulders to deal with."

Which is all great and good in your mind. This right here, this very position you find yourself in, is the only one in which you can breathe without your entire body aching. You can hear Snape bustle around behind you. You can hear him turn to leave. He lets out an exhausted sigh and breathes "Mobilicorpus," as your body lifts gently off the ground.

You haven't the strength to fight it, nor the will to care. It's a long walk from the Forbidden Forest to the Hogwarts grounds. You can't be sure, but you swear you hear Snape whisper "Everything will be fine," from behind you.

Nobody knows what has happened to Draco and to the Dark Lord. They ask you, but you can't even speak. You know that Snape will inform them of all they need to know eventually. But right now, you just can't speak. They all take turns watching you. They all say that they are just there to make sure you don't wake up alone. You have a sneaking suspicion that they are all afraid of you. Or of what you might do if you were left to your own devices.

You leave the hospital wing, and the school, a week later. No one does or says anything to stop you, and part of you wishes they would. Mainly because you haven't the slightest idea where you're going or what you're going to do now that you don't have to live your life for the sole purpose of defeating a Dark Lord.

You wouldn't go back to your aunt and uncle's house if someone gave you Gringotts. You could go to the Burrow, but what's there for you? Constant coddling and someone who's always in your business? You don't need that right now. You could go to Grimmauld Place, but you haven't been back since Sirius died, and you're not sure you could take it. Too much death in your life, and you don't need to be constantly reminded of it.

The only thing you can think of is to clean out your Gringotts vault and buy a place of your own.

You stay in a muggle hotel for about a week, until you can secure this quaint house tucked far away in the country.

Despite the fact that you haven't worked out any of the issues you left behind, you feel generally content with the house you purchased. It's minuscule beside the manor that is down the road, but you'd rather be where you are. Living in a manor would only make you feel smaller than you already do.

It's two weeks when you've finished buying all the furniture and things you could possibly need and Snape pays you a visit.

You stare at each other in the doorway for about a minute. You don't invite him in, nor does he ask to enter. You cave first.

"The headmaster sent you," you say matter-of-factly.

"He wishes to see you well, though I cannot understand why."

You actually snort. Leave it to Snape . . .

"I'm fine."

"No, you are not. You are the farthest thing from 'fine', Mr. Potter. Running away and buying houses in the country will not make what happened go away, as much as you would like it to."

You're growing irritated that everyone thinks they know what's best for you.

"Where else was I supposed to go? I'd rather die than go back to the Dursleys'. I've left school. I'm a big boy, now. And I'm fine," you say, as you slam the door in his face.

You watch him walk down the garden path and see him enter the manor that you'd decided was entirely too big for you.

Only you could have become Snape's next door neighbour without even realising it.

Your house was already connected to the Floo network, so it was only a matter of time before the Headmaster fire-called you to see if you were settling in. Two days after Snape's visit, to be exact.

"Harry, son. Are you well?"

It's always startled you to see someone's head poking out of a fireplace. You don't know how any wizard could get used to it.

"Yes, Headmaster. The house is a lot of work, but it's coming along nicely, I think."

"Now, Harry. I'm very glad you're settling into your new house well enough, but you know that's not what I meant."

"I'm fine, Headmaster. Really," you say, trying on your best cheesy grin. He seems to buy it for now.

"I see. Well, I've sent some treacle fudge and a few of Dobby's famous biscuits along with Professor Snape, who should be arriving shortly. He had a few errands to run for me, and I asked him to stop by your house to deliver it. It really is nice having Professor Snape next door, Harry. Isn't it?"

You nervously glance over your shoulder out your window and glare.

"Mm. Yeah. Great."

You really shouldn't have been surprised that as soon as the Headmaster ducks out of your fireplace, there is a knock at the door.

You open your door to see a gaunt face staring at you. Snape hands you the package Dumbledore was speaking of.

"A housewarming gift from the Headmaster. I assume he told you I would be here."

"Yes. Thank you," you say, as you go to close the door.

He puts a hand out to stop the door, and you looked a bit shocked. Snape wants to come in?

"May I?" he says, motioning inside your messy hallway. There are still plasterboard patches on these walls, as you haven't had the chance to paint them yet. The paint cloth covers a dull hardwood floor. Snape notices nothing.

"Um...sure," you stammer. You're quite unaware of how to entertain a guest. "Would you like some tea?" Tea, yes. That's a good place to start. You hope he doesn't want to stay for dinner. While you can manage to not burn down the house making pasta for yourself, you're not sure you can handle dinner for two by any means.

"No. I'm here to do a simple evaluation. Then I will rid you of my presence."

You barely form the question, "Evaluation," when you feel the familiar presence of Snape in your mind.

You know what he sees. Pain and hurt and suffering, all bottled up inside, waiting to explode. And it will. He knows this. But you're still in denial. You're still breathing, and that's all that matters, you suppose. They don't see it that way. He leaves your mind. You wished you hadn't seen the flash of pity in his eyes. You've never seen that from him before, and you're sure you never want to again.

Snape sighs sadly. "You need to seek professional help, Mr. Potter. The way you are dealing with this situation is very self-destructive."

"Thank you for that, Professor. Now, if you would kindly sod off. . ."

When he sneers at you, all pity has left his features. He leaves, and you can breathe again.

There's a muggle family that lives to the left of you. A fairly young couple with a six-year-old son named Aidan. Aidan had often come ringing your doorbell in the middle of the afternoon to ask if he can retrieve a stray ball, or a random toy he'd accidentally flung over the fence. These incidents have become commonplace, as you nearly expect to see the boy every day (who reminds you of yourself at that age with messy dark hair, but with fierce blue eyes instead of your now dull green ones).

Aidan's father, Paul, and mother, Andrea, are rarely seen not but for a few times during the day. They always wave at you, and greet you when they see you walking out to get the post. They seem like very warm parents. Like the kind of people you'd like to believe your parents were.

Aidan leaves behind his stuffed lion, aptly named Lionel, on the pavement one afternoon. You pick it up and vow to knock on their door later when they return to give back the patchy old looking lion. They left in a bit of a hurry that afternoon, dressed in church clothes that you're grateful you've never had to wear, solemn expressions on their faces.

Andrea opens the door, and the last thing you expect to see is the young woman crying.

"Oh, Mr. Potter. Thank you so much for bringing Lionel back. Aidan's been absolutely distraught looking for him," Andrea says.

You smile, despite the fact that all you want to do is cry for some reason.

Andrea continues, "Benjamin gave it to him. Aidan's older brother. He'll be so relieved."

"Oh. Is Aidan afraid Benjamin will be angry for losing him?"

You should have known all along, you suppose. What with the way Andrea's face crumpled at the mention of Benjamin.

"Benjamin passed away, I'm afraid. Three years ago today, actually."

You nod. "I'm sorry," you reply. Simple words like that become used so often that you find yourself apologizing for things that could in no way be your fault. "It'll rain this weekend." Oh, I'm sorry. "My husband cheated on me." I'm terribly sorry. "My cat was run over." Oh, how awful. I'm sorry to hear that.

You're sorry for a lot of things. Mainly things you didn't do. And that will never change for you.

It'd been one of those weeks where nothing to you seemed least bit entertaining, which meant that you were left to your own devices for far longer than you knew was good for you. You blame yourself for that, as you do for everything else. You probably could have gone out and actively sought company. You simply chose not to. And the razor blade just looked too tempting. You've cut before, right after Sirius died. It felt like such a relief.

You forgot, for a whole two seconds, as the blade separated flesh and trickled crimson guilt onto the floor, who exactly you were born to be. You became delirious at the fact that you had no identity. So delirious that you laughed. Out loud. To no one but yourself and your bathroom.

Of course, Snape had chosen that exact moment to fire-call you. You could pretend you weren't home, you think thought to yourself. But Dumbledore always knows. And Snape had already stepped through the fire and burst in on you before you could even spell the wound healed.

It was the look on Snape's face, you think looking back, that made you believe what he said was right. But for some reason, that fact only made you angrier. Snape grabbed you angrily by the wrist and pulled you into the floo with him, straight to Dumbledore's office.

Which is currently where you sit. Silently watching Dumbledore watch you over the top of his half-moon spectacles.

You look to him, waiting for him to speak, while you trickle blood on his hardwood floors. Snape left in a hurry after dropping you off, and Dumbledore seems to be waiting for you to make the first move. You refuse to oblige him.

"Whispered words will not heal your wounds, Harry. Professor Snape has set off to make a potion for you. In the meantime..." Dumbledore says, as he kneels in front of you and wraps bandages around your wrists, "...perhaps you'd like some tea. Do tell me if you start to feel lightheaded, my boy."

And that's it. That's all he says to you from the time you entered his office, until the time that Snape stalks back into the room carrying a vial.

It is Snape who kneels in front of you this time, rubbing the contents of the vial over your wounds. Whatever the potion is, it's burning so badly that it's bringing tears to your eyes. But otherwise, you don't say a word. Dumbledore speaks again, however.

"What makes you so angry, my dear Harry, that you cannot see what's right in front of your eyes?"

You swallow loudly, because the only thing that you can see right now is a blurry image of Snape.

After that, Snape escorts you back home through the fire, but makes no move to leave. So you go to sit down in your favourite armchair in front of the fire, mesmerized by the whipping flames. You still haven't found any words, concerned that when you do speak, it will only give them the fuel they need to send you to St. Mungo's for good.

Snape, of course, follows you, and without being asked sits on the couch adjacent to you. You can tell that he's choosing his words carefully.

"Do you know why I am here, Mr. Potter?" Snape says, no tone whatsoever in his voice.

You can't answer because you don't know.

"I am here to ensure that you do not repeat this incident. As there are many more useful and productive ways I can think of to occupy my time, I'd ask you not to do anything stupid for the next week."

If you weren't so goddamned tired, you'd have retorted with some sort of quip to put him in his place, but you don't even have the energy to breathe.

You think of a thousand letters you could send your friends, but you quickly dispel the thought from your mind. Your wrists itch now. "That is because they are healing, Mr. Potter. Stop scratching them, else they'll scar," he tells you, and you can only hope they do. You scratch anyway, just to spite him.

A week turns into two. It isn't anything like you'd thought it'd be, having him stay with you. He makes his own meals and expects you to do the same. He coaxes you out of your room when you're sulking whereas the Dursleys would have let you drown in your own misery. It's a lot like living with them, you think, but with a little more respect that you think is being forced by Dumbledore. He sleeps in the guest bedroom. He rouses you from your nightmares when you're caught in the throes of them and can't get out of them yourself. You might actually miss him when he's gone.

You walk into the kitchen one morning and he grabs you by the wrists. You cringe reflexively, even though they stopped hurting days ago. He pulls you down in a chair, and unwraps them.

You usually look away, afraid of the damage you've inflicted on yourself, but today you can't stop staring at the jagged red lines that have indeed left scars.

He applies the potion and announces, "We're going into Diagon Alley today. Be ready in an hour."

He could have said, "I'm taking you to St. Mungo's. You're obviously not fit to care for yourself."

Or worse, "I'm leaving."

People seem to do that a lot around you.

As much as you hate to admit it, he'd be right. What made you think you could do this yourself? You're barely eighteen.

An hour later, Snape is laying down the ground rules of this little trip.

"Stay close. Don't wander off. If you're in any danger, send up red wand sparks. Are you taking any of this in, Potter?"

You nod through the haze you've been living in for the last week. He's actually being decent to you, despite the fact that he's treating you like a toddler. You deserve it.

The threat of retaliation from the still existing Death Eaters has always been present, but it's never fazed you. According to Snape, Dumbledore has been preparing for another fight, but you think that it's all for nothing. Lucius Malfoy is smart. If he leads the Death Eaters into a fight, it will be far in the future. Though you've heard from the grapevine that Bellatrix has strayed from the group and become a rogue Death Eater. She's first on your list of people to kill.

You floo into Diagon Alley, and he strings you along to the many stores. You desperately hope not to see anyone from school. Ron and Hermione were vacationing in Switzerland this summer, the last you heard from them. Fred and George's business is booming, so they're here somewhere.

You're lost in your thoughts and lost in the crowd. You can't see Snape anymore. But that's not why you're suddenly panicking. You're being swept away, away in the river of people. They're touching you, your arms, your legs, feet. You're breaking out in a cold sweat, breathing heavy. You close your eyes, ready to drown.

There's a tug on your wrist. And another. You're being lead through the river. And suddenly...you're free. Up on the pavement outside Fortescue's Ice Cream Shop.

"Foolish boy," Snape hisses. He checks you out, to make sure nothing happened. "You look ill. Sit here. Do not move," he stresses that last part. "I'll be right back."

You sit, watching the river of bodies flowing down the streets and up into shops. You used to be in there. Used to be one of them. But now you're sitting on the river bank watching it all go by.

Snape returns with a butterbeer in his hand. He sets it in front of you, and studies you as you take a sip. It warms you immediately, and you've got your bearings once again.

"What happened?" he asks solemnly.

Things have changed, just now, between you. You don't like it. Snape is being nice, and you don't like it at all. You liked it better when Snape was spiteful and he didn't give a damn about you. It made you feel normal. Like you weren't special.

"People."

He leads you back to your house, citing you've had enough excitement for one day. And for once, you completely agree with him.

Despite all of your reassurances to Dumbledore that you're okay, he insists Snape stay with you for one more week. Snape doesn't seem to protest, which is odd. Although, you think, perhaps Snape Manor to him is like Grimmauld Place is to Sirius. Was. Was to Sirius.

It's an empty desolate place that reminds him of bad people and even worse times. You can't sympathize. You've never felt you've even had a home. It's been the Dursleys', the Burrow, Hogwarts, Grimmauld Place. But you've never said "I'm going home," and meant it.

This house you have is not a home. It's just as desolate as you imagine Snape Manor to be. You have no memories to reminisce about here.

Another morning you can't leave bed. Snape forces you to get up. Literally. Nearly flings you halfway across the room. This is new.

"Come into the kitchen when you're decent," he says, and strides out of the room. You obediently follow orders.

"Tea?" he asks, as you sit down. You nod. "Would you like something to eat?" You shrug.

Snape gets frustrated. You've seen this before. "Are...you...hungry?" he asks you, as if you suddenly turned into a deaf child.

"No."

Snape sighs in frustration. "You haven't eaten in two days. May I ask why?"

"No." You get up and turn to leave.

"Sit down, Potter!" he bellows. You obey.

"Eat." He ceremoniously shoves a bowl of porridge in front of you. You stare at it disdainfully. You wandlessly wave the bowl across the table.

He sits down next to you and attempts to feed you.

"If you insist on acting like a spoiled child, then you will be treated as such. Open."

"Piss off," you say, turning your head away.

He takes your chin, forcing your head against the back of the chair, and shovels food in your mouth. His hand is covering your mouth. He knows you'll spit it out the first chance you get.

"Swallow," he commands. You don't have a choice. And for some reason, it brings tears to your eyes.

"Talk to me. Now."

What's there to say, you think.

"'Bout what?"

He's a bit taken aback, but recovers quickly.

"Whatever thoughts you are thinking in that dense skull of yours, Potter."

You look away. You were afraid of that. Clearly not liking where this conversation is heading, you bolt out of the room.

So it's back to locking yourself in your bathroom. And you don't even charm the door locked, so a few minutes and one bellowed "Alohomora!" later, he's got you pinned against himself and he's wrestling a piece of broken mirror out of your hand. God, you can't take this anymore.

"Stop it!" you yell. "Why can't you just leave me be! You're always trying to save me. I don't want to be saved anymore!"

"Really, Potter. For all the people in your life trying to give you a chance to live, you certainly are blind. You've got life in front of you. Your friends tell you that, I'm sure."

"What life? This life? You can have it, Professor. There's no reason for me to be here anymore."

"Oh, don't be so dramatic. You weren't born to slay the Dark Lord."

"Yeah?" you ask. "Tell that to Dumbledore. 'You were meant for this, Harry. This is what you were meant to do. It is your birth rite.' For seven fucking years, he preached it to me. But it wasn't just him, and he was right about it anyway. I was born. I was marked. And I served my purpose, so let me go!"

You're finally able to squirm out of his grasp and you push your way out of the bathroom, your mission to hack away at your wrists suddenly lost on you. There's nothing left to do, in your opinion, but to take a nap.

You have energy today, but it's fierce angry energy. Like you can't sit still and you want to punch walls and people and whatever else gets in your way. You've broken six bowls making breakfast. You throw the seventh at Snape's crooked nose when he walks in and finds you destroying the kitchen.

It feels like rage is suffocating you. Snape watches off to the side as you tear yourself from the kitchen and run outside. Outside equals fresh air is some sort of deluded equation in your mind, and maybe you can breathe there, but you doubt it.

You're sitting on your front porch watching Aidan play with his football on the pavement. You'd give anything to have that. To be that young and innocent again. Not a damn care in the world.

His mother is gardening, her back to her son. But even if you weren't watching, you'd have heard the car's tyres screeching around the corner.

But Andrea didn't see Aidan's ball bounce into the street. And certainly didn't see Aidan chasing after it.

You run and catch Aidan around the middle, yanking him out of the car's careening path and running across the street just in time.

"Aidan!" Andrea screeches, and she rushes over to the two of you. "Are you alright? Oh, my poor sweet boy!" she checks her son frantically for injuries.

"I'm fine, mummy," he replies, rather calmly for a boy who was quite nearly killed. "Mr. Potter saved me!" He's very proud of this fact. As if you were Superman, or something.

"Oh, Harry!" she says, wrapping her arms around your neck. "Thank you. Thank you so much. Are you alright?"

"Yes, ma'am. I'm fine."

When you return to the porch, you find Snape watching the scene, arms crossed over his chest.

"Well, Mr. Potter. Seems as though you've found your purpose."

You snort. Saving people. As if it weren't bad enough dealing with this God-forsaken hero complex you developed at the age of eleven.

It will be a cold day in hell before Snape understands.


It's dark.

Too dark.

And very cold.

You hear a whimper that isn't your own.

Draco.

"Get out of here, Potter. He's coming. He's coming and you need to leave. He'll be here any minute!" Draco says in a harsh whisper.

But it's not you he's talking to. The man has got your face. But it's not you. You want to scream it out to him, but you've been silenced.

"I'm sorry, Draco," you hear the man with your face say, in a tired and unapologetic voice.

Draco's taken in one swift painful movement. He screams. So loudly that if the blood weren't already rushing in your ears, and your own silent screaming filling your mind, you'd think you'd gone deaf.

"Harry? What are you doing?"

"This is the way it has to be, Draco." That's all he says, and Draco doesn't understand.

"That's not me!" you're trying to scream. But nothing comes out.

"Please, Harry! Stop!"

Gods, you're trying to scream out to him. But he can't hear you. "That's not me! God, please stop him! That's not me!"

You're shaking.

"Potter! Open your eyes." Where did that come from? Your eyes are open. You're watching Draco being raped.

"Come on. Wake up, dammit!"

God, where is that voice coming from? You hear floo powder rushing around your fireplace and a mumbled, "Poppy Pomfrey."

That's not right. You have to tell Draco that it's not you. You're not able to move. You're pinned down. Someone is forcing liquid down your throat and now you're choking. You can't breathe. So now you're drowning. Oh good. Maybe you'll be able to see Draco in the afterlife. You'll be able to tell him then.

"Potter?"

Is that Snape? More importantly, is that Snape scared? You MUST be dreaming now.

"What's not you, Potter?"

"Harry, I need you to open your eyes, dear." You feel a cold cloth against your forehead. You're still confused. Draco was right there.

"It's not me! It's not me. God, please!"

Wait. You heard yourself speak. The spell has been lifted!

"Draco, it's not me. Please! Listen, that's not me...why...why can't...can't you hear!"

"Harry! Open your eyes, dear. That's it. Merlin, he's feverish."

"Thank you for that assessment, Poppy," you can hear Snape say sarcastically.

You do open your eyes, though. And regret it the second you do.

"Oh, God." And you're vomiting over the side of your bed into a bucket that had been placed there beforehand.

"That's it, dear. Let it all up."

A soothing hand runs over your back, and several minutes later the retching finally stops.

"I thought Albus said you were staying with him?" Madam Pomfrey questions.

"I AM," Snape irritably presses. "How do you think it is that I called you?"

"He's malnourished, Severus. Even you couldn't have forgotten that to live, you need to eat."

"I am well aware of the basic functions of human life. Though I'm not so sure I can say the same for him. It came to be that he hadn't eaten for several days, and I'd resorted to force feeding. He's as arrogant and stubborn as his..."

"I hardly think now is the time for inaccurate comparisons, Severus," you hear her sigh. Though your eyes are closed, you can feel her get off the bed and over to the fireplace to call Dumbledore.

"He couldn't hear me," you say in a raspy, sleep deprived voice.

"I'm sorry?"

You're rolled over on your side, your back towards him, as you know now that it was his hand on your back before, and it still is now. You don't think you could face him, as you're not exactly sure what is compelling you to share this information with him.

"Draco. He couldn't hear me. I tried to tell him that it wasn't me...they cast a silencing spell. And Voldemort used the Polyjuice Potion. He thought it was me. I tried," you feel tears falling. "God, I tried. He thinks it's me! But it's not! God," you let out the sob. "It's not me."

"Shh," Snape comforts you, which is a strange thing indeed. But you don't fight it. It's just a simple hand on your back and you haven't got the energy to fight it anymore.