Author's Note: This is the product of college disillusionment. I am not at risk for suicide, and if you are, please, please, please talk to someone. I am quite available if you need me, and I'd be happy to give you all the help and advice I can offer.

Also, this fic is rated Mature for a reason—or, rather, two reasons, which are language and violence. Largely violence. You have been warned.

Perchance to Dream

I – With the Knife

You see, they always remember
They never forget a face

When they cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut you up

Cut, cut, cut, cut

They remember

Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut you up
Cut you up
– "The Killing Lights" – A.F.I. –

It was Draco Malfoy's twenty-fifth birthday, and he was trying to kill himself.

He'd tried before, of course, but his continued existence testified, quite succinctly, to his lack of success in that particular field of endeavor.

Draco took out his pocketknife, prised open the largest blade, plucked a bit of fluff from the tip, set it down on the table, and folded up the cuff of his sleeve. He considered a moment, and then he went over to the towel rack (as the bathroom was a pitiable shared one halfway down the hall), selected one of his graying towels, arranged it on the tabletop, and set his left arm down on it, his pale skin gleaming faintly, white shot with sapphire veins.

Up the aisle, not across the… what is it?

Pensively he weighed his options. A horizontal cut would, one would think, open more veins, but a vertical outlet along a single vein would permit a great deal more in volume to issue from that particular specimen.

Maybe he should try one of each?

And have a very symbolic crucifix-shaped mark, he noted.

He paused.

Am I comparing myself to Jesus in the process of killing myself?

There were bad figures, there were miserable figures, and then there were Draco Malfoy's figures.

He sighed, somewhat fondly, and then, with a surgeon's precision, cut a straight, clean line along his most prominent vein.

It hurt.

Like a bitch.

In hell.

On fire.

With a bit of acid thrown in for good measure.

Thinking about it, cutting the morning's grapefruit with a future suicide tool had not been very forward-thinking. Then again, neither had most of the actions and ideas that composed his life.

"Bloody hell," Draco said, and he smiled, because, colloquialism that it was, it quite adequately summed up his existence.

Speaking of blood, it welled, pooled, and spilled, and Draco A. Malfoy, professional failure, ruined another towel.

It was a bit of a pity, because he wasn't exactly rolling in the dough, and towels, like virtually everything in existence, cost money to replace.

Except hearts. Those were a one-time deal. Hit or miss; love or hate; right or wrong; sink or swim; win or lose.

He watched the blood flow, watched it surge and seethe and seep into his forsaken little towel, the stark red fading quickly to a lackadaisical coppery brown.

That was all right with him. The color transition was pretty neatly analogous to the way he felt about life.

More blood poured, gradually and persistently, and Draco started feeling lightheaded. Was that the process that preceded death? Detachment, lightheadedness… then what? Heaven? Hell? Oblivion? Some amalgamation of the three?

Well, with any luck, he'd find out momentarily, though he wouldn't exactly be able to impart his post-mortem wisdom to the masses.

Would it be worth it, he wondered, if there was no promise of anything to follow?

"Draco, hon, are you there?"

His landlady's voice, as guilelessly meddling as ever, tore him from the warm arms of his reverie.

"I'm changing," he announced, knowing as he did that it would only encourage her, as, for reasons he had tried and failed to determine, she had a tremendous crush on him.

"I need to talk to you—about—your—rent…"

There was nothing to say about his rent, but she was unlocking the door anyway, so Draco fumbled with the towel, the fingers of his unmarred hand slipping in the blood—but, as with every event in his pathetic excuse for an unending life, his opponent was faster.

Rosaline screamed, Draco sighed, and ten minutes, a lot of applied pressure, and a great deal of protesting later, he was in the emergency room.

It was an unfortunate part of this tradition that it often ushered in a rousing hospital bill to pay off over the course of the three hundred and sixty-five days until the next attempt.

As he stared up at the sterilized hallway's ceiling lights above, their distant white eyes burning into his, he remembered.

There he stood—there was the young man at the center of this whole maelstrom, around whom this great hurricane spun; transcendent and resplendent, the soot smeared on his cheeks like an extension of his raven's feather hair, his eyes a spot of verdure in a desolate world, magnified by the cracked glass before them. His scar blazed from beneath the ash like a beacon, and he was at Draco Malfoy's mercy.

With a steady arm and a shaking hand, Draco had pointed his wand right at that beacon scar.

Avada Kedavra, he thought, urgently and intently. Avada Kedavra, Avada Kedavra, AVADA KEDAVRA.

But the rest of him wouldn't obey.

He had to do something. They would kill him. They'd promised it before, and they kept their pledges.


His tongue stuck, his hand trembled, and his heart throbbed so hard in his ears that he thought his head would explode—

He didn't hate Harry Potter.

Dear God, why didn't he—why couldn't he—hate that stupid self-righteous martyr son of a bitch Harry Potter?

Enchanted ropes tightened around his ankles, the floor rushed up to meet him, his wand snapped, his nose gushed, and everything went blissfully black.

Once released from the hospital (having consistently repeated a highly dubious story about knife-throwing practice for his carnival routine in order to avoid psychological counseling), Draco returned to the apartment building, surveyed the wreckage of his flat, and started packing.

It was time to move on again.