Fic Title: Pulling Him Up
Chapter Title: Apologies (01 of ?)
Author: Firesword
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and its characters belong to JK Rowling and so on. I own nothing, except the plot?
Summary: Draco is broken. Severus is the only one who can get close to him. Until the moment Harry decides to visit Draco and Severus.
Genre: Slash, Romance, bit of angst.
Warnings: HP/DM/SS. Slash. OOC. Written before the release of Book 6, so it's post-OotP. Fluff without plot? This one, it is normal for Harry and Draco to call Severus by name, except in situations where formality is needed. Harry calls Draco by name in his mind, and vice versa until it's time where casualness is forgivable.
Rating: M (to be safe)


Frantic screams woke Severus from his uneasy nap and he jumped up to his feet almost immediately. He looked around in the dim room and finally found his student hiding in the corner. Sandwiched between an unforgiving wall and a closet, Draco sobbed and screamed.

Pain tugged forcefully at Severus' heart and he cursed the gods vehemently in his mind, for they had allowed the Death Eaters to break his prized student. When he saw Draco reaching up to pull at his hair, already tangled from distress, his legs moved automatically. In one fluid movement, Severus bent, grabbed Draco's shoulder, and forced the young Slytherin out of his ball and out of the tight space.

"Don't touch me! Don't touch me!" Draco yelled, sobbing incoherently.

"Dr-Draco," Severus uttered the teenager's name and wrapped his arms around the struggling body. "It's all right. I'm not going to hurt you. I won't let anyone hurt you."

"You lie! You left me there! You left me there … left me with…"

Severus gritted his teeth and winced when Draco's elbow connected sharply with his hip. "Draco, calm down!"

A sudden push from Draco caused him to fall hard on his rump. He snarled, and managed to regain hold of the young man.

"Traitor. Traitor. Traitor," Draco chanted. Severus shuddered and looked away from Draco's crazed eyes.

"I didn't know, Draco." Severus cursed himself silently. "I didn't know." It was his fault. His ignorance had caused Draco to experience something he should not have. "I didn't know." Severus steered Draco closer to him and started to rock Draco back and forth gently. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." The fourth time he said it, his voice broke, and he buried his face into Draco's sour-smelling hair. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "Draco, I'm sorry."

Draco started to cry again, but rather silently. His arms came up and circled around Severus' neck, and Draco buried his face against the crook of it. Severus continued the gentle rocking, and when Draco fell asleep, he wondered whether he was soothing Draco or himself.

Cautiously, Severus carried Draco back to the bed. His student curled up around the pillows the moment Severus' hands withdrew. The Potions Master retrieved the blanket that had been thrown away and tucked it around the sleeping wizard, before collapsing on his chair. He let out an explosive sigh and stared at the window. Deep, gold light of the setting sun draped over the windowsill and the gray, stone floor of the bedroom.

Someone tapped softly on the door. He turned to look, and Dumbledore's head poked into the room warily. Tiredly, Severus rose to his feet and approached the Headmaster.

"How is he, Severus?" Dumbledore asked worriedly.

"I managed to hold him today," he replied wearily. "He did not push me away."

Dumbledore sighed with relief. "He's responding then. That is good."

"What has been happening, Headmaster?"

"Not that much has happened, but there are still chaos erupting every now and then. What is good is that those events are keeping the Ministry busy."

"It is not likely they would forget about me, Headmaster," Severus reminded the old wizard in a quiet voice.

"They will not apprehend you, Severus." Dumbledore's tone was stern and determined.

Severus opened his mouth to oppose the Headmaster's words but decided against it. He changed the subject instead. "Harry. Is he-"

"All right, yes," Dumbledore replied. "He is already talking to Hermione and Ron."

Severus nodded, relieved. Dumbledore looked at him questioningly but he chose not to explain. He glanced over his shoulder, in time to see Draco frowning in his sleep.

However, Dumbledore stopped him before he could move away. "Severus, Tonks is here. If you allow her to take care of her cousin..."

"No, Headmaster. I'll take care of Draco. She can relieve me when the time comes for me to brew the Wolfsbane potion," Severus answered. Dumbledore nodded and Severus approached the bed cautiously. He heard the door close with a slight creak.

He sat gingerly on the edge of the bed, and reached out to caress Draco's cheek. His fingers danced along the stubborn jaw, and they moved up, to massage the scowl away. But it was as though he was erasing his own mask, to reveal a face that belonged to a man who had once loved. Who had once felt. His normally stoic expression crumbled away and it left him feeling helpless and unsure.

"I'm sorry, Draco. I truly am. I didn't know you were captured. I was out there, with Harry. I didn't know you were inside." Severus continued to mumble as the sun went down.

It was nearly dark when Draco opened his eyes, and Severus froze. He expected the young wizard to slap him, push him, or scream at him. However, a small voice in his mind reminded him that Draco was not himself and would probably not react, even with Severus kissing his face at the moment.

Silver eyes blinked slowly and Severus paled. Those eyes did not appear mad - they were perceiving, and sane.

"Severus..." Draco whimpered. Shaky hands came to cling around his neck, pulling him closer. "Severus..."

He did not fight. He could not fight. He was too weary. He was suffering as well, and he lowered his head gently on Draco's chest. "I'm sorry..."

To be continued in Chapter Two