A/N: Ever since HBP, I've been wanting to draw/write/do anything that related to Draco's breakdown. Please R n R. I'm not sure if this makes sense, and it may be a oneshot or I may add more, depending. Rated for language.

She was the girl who had witnessed one of his rare, but increasingly frequent of late, meltdowns. She had seen him crying, seen him at his single most vulnerable time in his existence. In the beginning, he had hated it. Hated that anybody had seen the weakness. Hated that anybody had realized that he was not as collected, as controlled, as he always made out to be. For a long time, he held it against her. Even before that day, her Gryffindor status had instantly chalked up a bit of reflexive disdain, and it catapulted into pure loathing after she had walked in on him that one fateful day. He hissed at her, glared… even tried to hex her. And that was one of the things that made him so angry… she hadn't yelled back, or even tried to hex him back. She avoided his curses but said nothing, and her face was filled with confused pity.

There was nothing in the world that he hated more than that look. He wasn't a person to be pitied, never had been and certainly never would be. But the girl hadn't known what was good for her. Even after he shouted at her and flung his wand at her after his hexes missed her by large margins, she approached him instead of leaving. And at that moment, he didn't care anymore. He had slumped to the ground and ignored her. Ignored the hand that cautiously reached out and touched his arm. Ignored the soft voice that asked him what was wrong.

He shoved her away from him with enough force to knock her a good couple of feet and he had snapped back up on his feet, rigidly striding away without a look back.

"Don't tell anyone." His voice was dead calm.

"I-I won't." she had responded to his retreating back.

And she hadn't as of yet. But it was a week from that day and every bloody time he saw her in the halls or in class, he wanted to shrink away. It was a cringe worthy thought and he hated himself for letting her rattle him, but he knew that every time she looked at him she thought back to the scene.

"What are you doing?" the familiar accusing voice of Ronald Weasly hacked into the boy's thoughts during class that day. He opened his eyes and shot the redhead an angry look.

"What does it look like I'm doing, you fucking fairy?" he growled, gesturing at the book that lay open in front of him.

"You're such a git," Weasly had hissed. "And one day, Dumbledore will see it and kick you out on your ugly pale ass and you can slither away to prison with your dad."

It was a blur, really. One moment he had been sitting quietly at his desk, next moment there was an all out fistfight barrelling over in the back of the classroom. His hard fists found their way to Weasly's jaw, nose, gut… It was a mad impulse of violence and though Weasly got in one shot at the blonde's cheek, there was no denying the real fact that Weasly was getting beaten to the ground.

In a moment Potter had raced over, his hands pulling urgently on his robes, in a fierce attempt to get him off. A swift elbow was thrust out and he heard Potter's quiet grunt of pain as Potter got winded. People were now yelling at him to stop, to pull away… in the distance the professor of whatever class they were in, fuck if he knew which one, ordered for him to desist. But though his knuckles were turning blue, and the crunch that sounded off Weasly failed to satisfy him anymore, he couldn't bring himself to stop. He deftly noticed that Crabbe had ploughed into Potter, preventing him from helping Weasly. On the other side, Goyle and a few other Slytherins were taking on the other members who were trying to help the now bleeding redhead.

Finally, the same voice that he had so recently learned to hate, cried out for him to stop, and with everyone else busy, there was no one to stop the girl from sprinting over. He felt the same soft hands grip onto his, and the same voice frantically pleaded with him to let him go, and oddly enough, he let the girl pull him gently away.

Panting hard now, he stood up; barely registering the chaos he had created. Weasly was a complete and utter mess. His face was completely covered in blood and ugly bruises were showing up already. He ignored the teacher who was heading his way, and made for the doors out of the school.

Once outside and away, he let out a helpless howl and rammed his fist into a tree trunk. That was stupid. He cradled his hand with the uninjured one just as he realized that the tree was moving. As in, aiming for him. With a sick jolt, he realized that he had hit the infamous tree that liked to hit back, the Whomping Willow. Something collided into him, yanking him out of harms way.

"What in the hell?" she exclaimed, staring at the very battered fist he was still cradling.

"What do you want?" he snapped hoarsely.

"To see if you're okay!" she said.

"Why do you keep popping up? Honestly what the hell are you playing at, leave me the fuck alone!" he yelled.

"Why do you keep running?" she retorted. He pushed her away again and started to walk off, but she stopped him. "I get that you don't want anyone to see you like this, but you can't keep doing this. God, look at your hand, you nearly broke it!"

"You barely know me, Ryan, what the hell do you care?" he snarled.

"Because you were crying." She said.

"I WASN'T BLOODY CRYING!" he bellowed. "I'm Draco fucking Malfoy and I can take care of myself!"

"Much as you'd like to forget about the fact that I walked in on you, I can't." she told him, "You're seriously worrying me."

"Why won't you just leave me alone?" he sighed, crumpling to the snow covered ground. "Why do you insist on making this as hard as it can possibly be, huh Vanessa?"

"I've seen you, and you don't react like this, the fact that you are is freaking me out, you can trust me, what's bothering you?" Her voice was anxious.

"Why should I trust you?" Draco demanded.

"Because just as you, Draco Malfoy, doesn't cry, neither is Vanessa Ryan allowed to give a shit about Slytherins." She softly responded, sitting next to him.

Draco ran a hand through his once sleek but now ragged white-blonde hair. His face had become even paler than it had once been, his pointed features shadowed by eye bags. He wasn't up to this, he couldn't hold up anymore.

"My life is a hell hole." He flatly stated. Against his will, icy tears slid down his cheek and he was unable to blink them away. "And I'd sooner go to my grave than tell anyone why."

"Something happened to you these last few months." Ryan muttered.

"And what, you've decided to be a Good Samaritan and save me?" he spat.

"You never needed saving, I know that, it's just…"

"Oh don't falter now, you've already budged into my life way too much for a complete stranger." He snorted.

"…I'm sorry for whatever's made you this way." She breathed. She slowly did something that was borderline suicidal and wrapped her arms cautiously around him in a brief hug before hastily pulling away.

"I don't like you in the slightest, we don't know each other, why the hell are you touching me?" his voice was harsh.

"I don't like seeing a person broken like this." She answered. "I've been going to school with you for years and I've never seen you like this. It's like you're dead. And it scares me more than you can ever know. It scares me more than Dumbledore telling us that the war is approaching; it scares me more than the Ministry's panic. You acting like this just cements the idea that something horrible is coming."

"Yes. Yes it does. And if I were you, I'd run, get the hell away from Europe." Malfoy quietly said.

"Why don't you?" she was prying, and she knew it.

"I can't. You can. It's bloody moronic for you lot to stay here." He leaned back into the tree he had slid down to.

"Why can't you?" she pressed.

"There's no hope left for me." His hopeless grey eyes met up with her desperate blue ones, the exhaustion so clear in his eyes. He ran another hand through his hair again and chuffed her lightly on the cheek. "Stop worrying about me. It'll do you nothing but harm." It wasn't a threat. Just a very resigned statement. And as the snowflakes brushed down on his face, the innocence of who he once was seemed to have diminished forever.

"Do you confide in anyone?" she asked, breaking the silence that had fallen.

"No." he sighed.

"Secrets eat away at the soul." She murmured. "And they will catch up to you eventually."

"Don't you think I know that?" he was sobbing now, uncontrollably. There was nothing left in him to keep up. His pride was long gone.

"You don't have to do this alone, Dumbledore-" Vanessa tried to reason.

"You don't know what haunts me, Vanessa. You can't know. No one can know. I can't tell anyone, I can't escape, I can't do this. And because of that, they'll die. You'll die. We'll all die." The words left his lips so tonelessly, so sad.

"I don't know what has you talking the way you are, I don't know why I'm here with you now when you obviously don't want me, I don't know you very well, and I certainly won't try and pretend to understand any of this. But that doesn't mean that I don't care. Just because you're not a friend, doesn't mean this doesn't hurt to see you like this." The girl said.

"Yeah, you get to see Malfoy breaking down again and again. The infamous arrogant prick reduced to tears." His voice was bitter.

"You can't do this alone. I don't care if you don't want me here." She replied defiantly, shifting closer to him, she took his beaten hands in her own hands and encased him in a hug. He didn't pull back and she could feel his silent sobs shake his entire body as he clung to her, the only person who would still touch him. It was a small piece of comfort, and a strange one from a strange source, but he needed it too desperately for those facts to matter. "Whatever's got you down and wounded, you are the infamous Draco Malfoy. And if anyone can do it, you can. You're one of the most powerful wizards in this school."

"I'll never understand why you're being so damn nice to me." He said, his voice muffled through her shoulder.

"You aren't pulling away. I say that is step one to you seeing why I'm being so damn nice to you." She smiled.

Draco was crying again and this time it wasn't silent. It was audible and desperate, his eyes flooded over with misery. "No one can ever know what I have to do. There's this constant battle that I can't win and no one even knows. I'm not some sort of coward, I'm not a bastard, I'm just fucking scared and no one can know. I'm alone in this bloody place with no one who even gives a shit."

"Draco, it's going to get better." She promised. "It always does."

"What if I become a murderer? Will it get better after that?" he angrily blurted. His shoulders shaking heavily, Vanessa wiped a few tears from his face and didn't answer him. "You're the only person who's even noticed and actually cared. And we don't even know each other. What does that say about my actual friends? No one cares."

"I'm sorry." She whispered. His eyes locked with hers and he shocked her by leaning in without warning and crashing his lips to hers. It wasn't affectionate in any from of the word. Desperate, wet, and charged with such sadness, such a need to get away from it all, his lips pressed against hers wetly, his tongue roughly exploring her mouth. She could feel his tears on her own cheeks, the coldness of his skin surprising her. He pulled back as quickly as he had leaned in and taking in deep breaths, his eyes never lost the desperation.

"I have to get back." Draco said, pulling away.

"And it will be like none of this happened?" she cocked her head. It wasn't an angry question, and he realized she was asking if he wanted her to pretend it didn't happen…for his own preferences and benefit.

"I guess so." Draco swallowed. "Look… thanks." He got up and started to leave the girl by herself under the tree. As he began to walk off, he said over his shoulder, "And Vanessa? Don't tell anyone."

He reaches up for the hopes he once had

Trying to keep them, hold them. Save them.

Clinging and yearning, he's too scared to close his eyes.

Desperate to be the man he used to be

But the stars have faded to black now

The snow long melted, the spring long gone

There is no more hope. No more sun. No more peace.

And alone now he must stand.