Okay, guys, here it is. I wrote this the day after I finished Half-Blood Prince, because that bathroom scene was just begging to be turned into a flangst. And, well, I gave into its begging! This is an alternate ending of sorts, what may have happened if Snape had never come rushing in and the boys were left alone together. It isn't really slash, but I think it could be.
I would like to say that these characters do not belong to me, nor does the text in italics at the beginning. That is taken directly from pages 521-523 of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. All that stuffbelongs to JK Rowling.
I'd also like to give one final warning that this contains HBP spoilers! If you haven't read it and don't want to know too much, don't read this fic!
Also, thanks to Brenden, who beta'd this one for me.
A few days before the match against Ravenclaw, Harry found himself walking down to dinner alone from the common room, Ron having rushed off into a nearby bathroom to throw up yet again, and Hermione having dashed off to see Professor Vector about a mistake she thought she might have made in her last Arithmancy essay. More out of habit than anything, Harry made his usual detour along the seventh-floor corridor, checking the Marauder's Map as he went. For a moment he could not find Malfoy anywhere and assumed he must indeed be inside the Room of Requirement, but then he saw Malfoy's tiny, labeled dot standing in a boy's bathroom on the floor below, accompanied, not by Crabbe or Goyle, but by Moaning Myrtle.
Harry only stopped staring at this unlikely coupling when he walked right into a suit of armor. The loud crash brought him out of his reverie; hurrying from the scene lest Filch turn up, he dashed down the marble staircase and along the passageway below. Outside the bathroom, he pressed his ear against the door. He could not hear anything. He very quietly pushed the door open.
Draco Malfoy was standing with his back to the door, his hands clutching either side of the sink, his white-blond head bowed.
"Don't," crooned Moaning Myrtle's voice from one of the cubicles. "Don't… tell me what's wrong… I can help you…"
"No one can help me," said Malfoy. His whole body was shaking. "I can't do it… I can't… It won't work… and unless I do it soon… he says he'll kill me…"
And Harry realized, with a shock so huge it seemed to root him to the spot, that Malfoy was crying—actually crying—tears streaming down his pale face into the grimy basin. Malfoy gasped and gulped and then, with a great shudder, looked up into the cracked mirror and saw Harry staring at him over his shoulder.
Malfoy wheeled around, drawing his wand. Instinctively, Harry pulled out his own. Malfoy's hex missed Harry by inches, shattering the lamp on the wall beside him; Harry threw himself sideways, thought 'Levicorpus!' and flicked his wand, but Malfoy blocked the jinx and raise his wand for another—
"No! No! Stop it!" squealed Moaning Myrtle, her voice echoing loudly around the tiled room. "Stop! STOP!"
There was a loud bang and the bin behind Harry exploded; Harry attempted a Leg-Locker Curse that backfired off the wall behind Malfoy's ear and smashed the cistern beneath Moaning Myrtle, who screamed loudly; water poured everywhere and Harry slipped as Malfoy, his face contorted, cried, "Cruci—"
"SECTUMSEMPRA!" bellowed Harry from the floor, waving his wand wildly.
Blood spurted from Malfoy's face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword. He staggered backward and collapsed onto the waterlogged floor with a great splash, his wand falling from his limp right hand.
"No—" gasped Harry.
Slipping and staggering, Harry got to his feet and plunged toward Malfoy, whose face was now shining scarlet, his white hands scrabbling at his blood-soaked chest.
Harry did not know what he was saying; he fell to his knees beside Malfoy, who was shaking uncontrollably in a pool of his own blood.
Moaning Myrtle had left the bathroom through the pipes, presumably to alert someone of the attack. Harry might have worried about being reprimanded for his actions, but instead, he was now focused on the pale, bleeding boy beside him and nothing else. "I didn't…" he began again, attempting to apologize but knowing no apology could right what he'd done.
Malfoy shook harder, tears sliding down his cheeks, streaking his blood downward across his face. "Potter," he said weakly, "I… I wasn't going to do it. I just… I was so scared. I'm so scared." Harry realized, now, that Malfoy's attempt at an Unforgivable could, however contradictory it seemed, be forgiven. He'd acted similarly to the way a small, defenseless animal would react to being cornered by a predator.
Harry bent over his limp body, muttering any and all the healing charms he could remember. It wasn't much, but it would help for now. "Malfoy… What is it that you're scared of?" Harry took off the boy's school robe, knowing there would be more gashes to take care of underneath. Malfoy was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, a direct violation of Hogwarts dress code, but that did not matter now, especially when Harry's eyes were transfixed on the Dark Mark that marred Malfoy's otherwise flawless white-pure skin. All around it were deep slashes, carvings, almost, and it reminded Harry of a small child's cutting out shapes for a pasting project. These were not like the other gashes on Malfoy's body; no Sectumsempra could have caused these.
"I'm—I'm scared of Him! God, Potter, I tried to just cut it out, get it off; I tried so hard! I can't take it back! I want to take it back!" Malfoy was sobbing, thrashing, and Harry would have thought it was the strangest thing he'd ever seen had he not been so concerned for him. Malfoy clutched at Harry, desperately, still screaming frantically and with a raw voice, "I can't do it! I can't do it and He'll kill me! They said I should be proud and I said I could do it but I can't, Potter, I just can't, and I didn't want this! I just want—God, I don't even know what I want! I just want my life back!" His screams had died down to a quiet defeated cry, and there was a pause before Malfoy whimpered, "Please. I just want it back." Malfoy was staring into Harry's eyes with desperation. Maybe Harry did have a saving-people-thing but no one could ignore that Malfoy needed someone, and who better to help him than the light side's Savior?
Harry had finished healing Malfoy's wounds, now, even the self-inflicted ones. For the first time in front of Malfoy, he laid down his wand and he drew the boy's weak body up into his arms, sitting on the bloodstained floor as he held him. As he lay with Malfoy's tortured body across his lap, Harry thought, painfully, of the words that had accompanied "Sectumsempra" in his Potions text: "for enemies." He'd been mistaken. There was only one enemy, and only one way to defeat him: Unity.
"I'll help you Malfoy," Harry whispered as the boy cried weakly into his chest, "We'll both get our lives back."