Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters in the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling owns all Harry Potter characters, places, etc. mentioned from the book series.
Summary: When it's all too much you find the best escape you can think of, even if it's dangerous and deadly. When the world seems too much to bear you find your own relief. And one Harry Potter finds his relief in the cold steel of a dagger. No one knows what is under the mask of the Boy Who Lived; they don't see what's under the surface of his carefully built façade. But then two of the most unlikely people find out his secret or secrets as they later find out; Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape and their views of the Gryffindor Golden Boy change when they find all they thought about him to be a lie.
Draco Malfoy's not all he shows himself to be. Behind the sneer and the cold exterior he is hurting inside. With a father like Lucius Malfoy, his life is anything but the glamorous show he acts in. He's got a hard life that no one but the Potions Master knows about. When he finds the one person who could possibly understand what he is going through and it happens to be his enemy, Harry Potter, can both boys put aside their animosity for each other? Or will they drown in their own darkness?
Note1: This takes place in 6th year
Warning: Slash, nothing too serious as I want to work out the friendship before I move to a relationship, so the slash won't be until later. But there will be other slash material (light) but some. There will be mention of abuse, self-mutilation, suicide attempts and alcohol. This is going to be slightly dark – in the way of talk of morbid things.
Pairings: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Draco and other miscellaneous couples.
Chapter 1: Crimson Relief for the Golden and Tarnished
The chill of an early November night swept the castle that was Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The sky was black in its velvet intensity and glittering white stars were painted across the sky; a quarter moon hanging, with a glow of milk white surrounding it. The Forbidden Forest looked even more darkened and sinister then usual in the cold of November, like the drop in temperature was the cause for the darkness of the feared forest and not the animals and creatures that reside in it.
The Quidditch pitch seemed like a lonely stretch of grass as a light wind blew, followed by the chill of November weather. But there was a solitary figuring sitting in the middle on the pitch that banished the thought of it being lonely. Harry Potter sat in the middle of the pitch on his invisibility cloak that he had brought with him when he had left Gryffindor Tower at eleven. He had offered no explanation to where or why he was leaving and no one bothered to ask. He had walked out to the pitch after that, wanting to be alone and knowing no one came outside when the weather was cold like this. But he loved the cold bite of the winter winds and was not bothered too much by it.
He now sat in a black, long sleeve shirt with the words 'I would like to see things from your point of view, I just can't stick my head that far up my ass' in white that clung to his lithe and lightly muscled chest and torso and baggy dark blue jeans. He had a pair of black combat boots on his feet and he was sitting crossed leg, his head tilted toward the sky. His right eyebrow had a silver barbell in it with hematite balls on each end. In his hand something glinted in the moonlight that dimly shown down on him. Feeling the weight in his hand he remembered what he had come here for and he looked down and saw the objected he was holding.
A butterfly knife rested in his palms; silver, four and three quarter inches, stainless steel blade shining in the beams of the moon and the black handles with their diamond like cuts in them glittered faintly along with the blade. It looked deadly and beautiful at the same time.
Grabbing his wand from beside him he rolled up his sleeves and muttered something almost inaudibly under his breath with a small wave of the wood in his hand. And like the unveiling of a macabre painting, his arms the canvas, red and white lines of scars appeared from wrist to the bunch in his sleeves at the crook of his elbows. Almost every golden tanned space of flesh was marked by a cut, jagged or straight. He set his wand aside and with the finger of his left hand began to trace a few of the scars on his right arm.
The wind swept by him again, the coolness seeping into his skin and making the more recent cuts sting with a pleasurable pain. He hissed lightly at the feeling and bit his lower lip stopping the oncoming moan that wanted to burst from his throat. Picking up the butterfly knife with his left hand, he held it up to the moonlight and leered at it, the steel glaring back at him. He lowered the blade to a space of flesh unmarred on his outstretched right arm, licked his lips gently and pressed the cold blade to his skin. With a sigh he dragged the sharp metal across the flesh.
Blood began to bloom and traveled in a gruesome mockery of a waterfall down his arm; the blade already staining dark cherry red. He paused and this time the moan came as the relief washed over him, taking away the cold ache inside; filling him with an intense pleasure. A relief to the constant pain he felt. Moving the blade up a bit, he made another cut just above the other one with another hiss of pleasured pain. And he felt the cold aching pain withdraw a little more, inching away from the surface like tides of an ocean lapping at the shore and retreating back.
He sat and reveled in the feeling he was experiencing, the all too familiar feelings that he knew only too well. And as he did the blood dripped from his cuts staining the dying grass of the pitch, his pants, his cloak and all he could think about was that wonderful feeling of warmth. But soon the feeling began to fade as he knew it would and he grabbed his wand with his clean hand and cast a cleaning spell to get rid of the blood. The cuts had stopped bleeding and were vividly red against his golden tanned skin; more art to the macabre painting on the canvas of his flesh.
He sighed and recast the glamour spell that he kept on; macabre painting vanishing and smooth unmarred skin taking its place. Rolling his sleeves down he glances at the watch on his left wrist, noting the time. It was 12:45; almost two hours since he had left the common room and he knew, with a pang of disappointment, that he should be getting back. So, pocketing his knife and standing up from his sitting position, he stretched his legs out before reaching down to grab the invisibility cloak he had been sitting on. Tossing it around his shoulders he pulled the hood of the cloak over his head and disappeared from view as he began to walk slowly back to the castle. He lost himself in thought as he let his feet take him to his destination.
It was now his sixth year at Hogwarts after another terrible summer at the Dursley's. Through his depression over the loss of Sirius and other factors surrounding mostly Voldemort and some issues with other things that happened that year he had to also suffer the beatings he got from Vernon who, enraged by the 'freaks' threats, took his anger out on Harry, which wasn't anything new. But Harry was able to find relief in the sharp edge of a knife, like he had since before his third year. That was his secret that no one knew about because he hid behind a mask to make sure no one knew.
But two weeks before school was to start he became fed up with the Dursley's and since Dumbledore and the Order had not came to get him yet and had sent nothing stating he would be leaving, he had packed his things and left Privet Drive. He had then gone to The Leaky Cauldron and got a room for the rest of his stay, only Tom and the Order and his friends knowing he was there. He had decided to take some money for himself from his Gringotts account and went to buy himself some new clothes. Not a whole wardrobe but a nice amount for himself. And, after much contemplation he got his right eyebrow pierced with a couple different piercing to put in it. He also got contacts, since his glasses were very much a hindrance.
When he went school shopping with Hermione and Ron and when he arrived at the platform on September 1 he had let the mask he wore slip back on and once again became Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the Golden Boy of Gryffindor who always has hope. And no one questioned him with eyes of concern and worry when he appeared to be coping just fine. Even though inside; in his thoughts he had lost the hope everyone seemed to believe him to have in abundance.
And since the start of term no one questioned him about the incident in the Department of Mysteries, no one held worry or concern in their eyes wanting to know if he was okay, because he was a brilliant actor and he didn't give away the fact he was hurting. He didn't give away the fact he was cold inside with an ache that he couldn't seem to dispense unless he sliced open his flesh and let the crimson liquid escape. He didn't give any of it away and everyone thought he was fine. Even if he paid a lot more attention to his school work than before.
'I'm an actor and the world is my stage and the students my oblivious audience' Harry thought with a soft snort of amusement.
He looked up and noticed he was just ascending the stairs that led to the tower and was mildly surprised at his ability to do this with only half his thoughts on the task. He shrugged it off as just knowing the castle and kept walking until he reached the portrait of the Fat Lady, who was snoring lightly in her sleep.
He muttered the password to the portrait, the Fat Lady snorted loudly in her sleep stirring slightly and opened up, mumbling something that sounded like "coming in all hours" before returning to snoring, more loudly than before.
Harry rolled his eyes and stepped in, the portrait closing behind him. Scanning the common room, which was empty as he had hoped, he made his way swiftly upstairs to his dorm. His roommates were all sleeping soundly and Harry made his way over to his bed, stuffed his invisibility cloak in his trunk, stripped off his clothes and then pulled on a pair of dark green sleeping pants and hopped into bed. He closed the curtains around his bed casting a silencing and locking spell on the drapes as he had done since school started.
He laid on his back staring up at the ceiling of his canopy for a long time before he finally drifted into a slumber full on nightmares not knowing that somewhere in the lower half of the castle someone was doing the same thing he had earlier.
Draco Malfoy, the Silver Prince of Slytherin and cold, emotionless aristocrat. Many saw the blonde youth as a malicious, evil bully who got off of making others miserable and unhappy. They all saw Draco as an uncaring, bigoted, haughty bastard with no respect for anyone besides himself. And his father, Lucius Malfoy.
But Draco wasn't completely like what everyone saw. He didn't, in actuality respect his father as much as he used to, as much as he acted like he did now. There were things in his life that drove him to strive for his fathers praise but that in no way meant he respected the man. Only Severus Snape, Draco's godfather, knew the whole truth of his life growing up with Lucius as a father.
Now Draco sat in his Prefects room in a chair by the fireplace, staring into the seductive dance of the flames. He was wearing nothing but black sleeping pants and you could see scars on his exposed upper body and on his arms, scars usually hid by a glamour spell when need be. In his right hand his fingers were curled around the ebony hilt of a dagger. The hilt had a blood red rose painted on the black surface with a thorny stem and the blade of the dagger was at least four and half inches long and double edged. The ebony gleamed brightly in the firelight, the blade reflecting the flames.
Pressing the sharp edge of the dagger to a spot on the middle of his forearm over an old scar that was almost nonexistent against his pale skin, Draco dragged the blade across his flesh with a light hiss at the relief he felt. The blade cut neatly through the pale moonlight skin and the cherry red of his blood trickled down his arm in dark red rivulets. He held his arm out in front of him, dark red against moonlight white and watched as the blood pooled around his wrist before dripping off the sides and onto the expensive carpet.
Quickly the blonde made two more incisions into his arm, dark red staining moonlight white even more and he sighed at the pleasured pain. This was his release from his problems, from his life. When he felt like it was all too much and that the cold darkness he felt was about to swallow him whole. When he became tired of acting like he had the perfect life and just wanted to show, even if only to himself, that not everything in his life was grand and perfect.
He grabbed his wand up and cleaned up the blood he had shed. He looked at the new cuts and sighed at the lingering feelings of relief he felt; the momentary warmness that engulfed him, having nothing to do with the fire.
He wasn't spoiled like everyone thought he was. His father was never satisfied with the things he did. And when Lucius Malfoy wasn't satisfied with his son, then he taught his son a lesson. The beatings he had received since he was seven years old was nothing to the Cruciatus Curse his father began to use when he was thirteen and had used until he was arrested. No one, but Severus knew about the horrible abuse he had suffered at the hands of a man who claimed to be his father and the cold detachment he received from his mother.
In first year when he went home for Christmas, it wasn't a happy one. He got a thorough beating from his father for 'being shown up by those pathetic excuses for wizards and a witch, a half-blood, a Weasley and a mudblood.' His father had a house elf heal him before he returned to school but his, admittedly, irrational anger toward Potter and his two sidekicks had increased. The summer after that year was full of more beatings but he got through it. Second year, his father had bought him and the Slytherin teams new brooms for the soul purpose that he wanted Draco to show up Potter. Too bad he only wound up making a complete arse of himself, getting the team and his father upset at him. At least the team didn't beat him and call him a worthless excuse. So Granger's comment about him buying his way on the team was a little to close to home and he retaliated by calling her a mudblood. His father had been twice as hard on him that summer and Draco didn't think it was all because he lost a match to Potter, but he didn't know what else it could've been. And that was the summer his father first put crucio on him.
He had picked up the habit of cutting himself after that, sometime in third year. He enjoyed the feeling it brought him, the relief from the cold darkness he had somehow found himself in.
Even through all this he kept up the mask he had been wearing for so long, even after his father was arrested and put into Azkaban last year. Last summer was the best he had had in a long time. But he didn't hold hope it would last because he knew his father would get out, with the help of the Dark Lord most likely.
Draco sighed as the fire was beginning to die slightly and stood up and stretched languidly, his lithe and sinewy form glowing lightly in the firelight. The light muscles of his body rippled with the movement as he stretched almost cat-like and walked from his sitting room to his bedroom and over to his bed, wand and dagger in hand. He set his wand on his nightstand and the dagger in the drawer and taking a vial out, before crawling into his bed, under the black and green covers. Pulling the stopper out of the vial he downed the Dreamless Sleep potion, set the vial on the nightstand and lay on his side, settling in for a night free of the tortures of his dreams.