Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and am not making any profit with this.

Author´s note: The story is set after the events of GoF. Please note that this is AU.

The story is furthermore not suitable for underage readers; there will be mention of non-consensual

sex, abuse and graphic scenes later on in the story, for mature readers only!

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Enjoy!

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-o-

Chapter 1: Surprise

-o-O-o-

Draco looked shaken. This was the first thought that crossed Harry´s mind even before he wondered what Malfoy was doing at his doorstep.

He was crouching on the threshold of Privet Drive Nr. 4, his hair a mess, his skin paler than Harry remembered. The blond was hugging himself and did not look up as Harry approached.

"Malfoy," he said, reaching for his wand, immediately feeling anger surging through him at the notion of Draco having the nerve to come here; it quickly faded when he got a closer look, though.

Bruises were forming around Draco´s left eye and on his temple, and Harry now noticed that his clothes were torn in places, and that his arch-enemy was trembling violently.

Harry quickly knelt down in front of him, a surge of cold rushing through him as Draco´s eyes finally met his: he looked devastated, his gaze was unsteady and empty.

"Draco," Harry whispered, reaching out to touch the other. "What happened?"

Draco flinched when he felt Harry´s hand, but at least he seemed to come out of his trance-like state; "P-Potter," he mumbled, his voice unusual small. "Have to h-hide... didn´t know w-where t-to go..."

"Shshshsh...," Harry tried to calm him: "It´s okay. We should go inside now, then you can explain..."

Draco flinched again when Harry made to help him up; his hands were cold, and he seemed unable to grip Harry´s firmly enough to pull himself to his feet. Harry looked down on them to find that they were not only cold, but bloodied as well. "Are your hands hurt?" he asked, appalled. Draco managed to shake his head no. That was no reason for relief, though, since the blood had to come from other injuries then.

Frowning, Harry reinforced his hold and somehow managed to get Draco into a standing position. Then he gasped: a puddle of blood had formed where the blond had just sat. Harry´s insides squirmed. He did not have time to do anything about that now though, as Draco was meanwhile shaking and leaned heavily on Harry. His eyelids fluttered while he tried to stay conscious, but his knees sagged.

Harry opened the door and more carried than pulled him inside and directly up the stairs, using whatever momentum they had. Panting, he did his best not to think about the trail of blood they were leaving behind, or what Aunt Petunia would do if she found out.

Just as Harry opened the door to his bedroom, Draco went limp. It was all Harry could do to catch him and drag him over to his bed. He cautiously lowered him onto it; Malfoy certainly wasn´t his favourite person in the world, but this was scary.

Images of Cedric flashed past Harry´s mind, and he blinked in an attempt to get rid of them. He did not know what to do: here was Draco Malfoy, lying unconscious on Harry´s bed, bleeding from an injury or maybe even several injuries, and looking as if he had just been to hell and back.

-

Harry´s thoughts were racing- what was he supposed to do? He did not have any medical knowledge, and he did not know how to stop wounds from bleeding. Reeling, he gripped his head: he was on his own, there was no one else. He had to stop the bleeding, that was the first thing in his mind. He had completely forgotten about the blood, had forgotten about anything else beside the immediate situation.

He crouched down on the edge of the bed: first of all, he would have to find out where the blood was coming from at all.

He had just peeled back Draco´s torn robes from his midsection when the doorbell rang. Harry froze. It rang again, more insistently this time.

Cursing again, Harry grabbed his wand, jumped to his feet and ran down the stairs- his aunt and uncle were going to kill him once they would be back from their shopping trip and would find about this. What if it was a neighbour who had spotted the blood, or worse, had seen Malfoy?

-

When Harry yanked the front door open, however, hiding his wand behind his back, it was old Mrs Figg: "Harry," she squealed, "are you all right?" Harry gaped at her, not knowing what to make of this.

"Do not simply stand there, boy," Mrs Figg now urged, "I know that something has happened, and this puddle of blood surely proves it!" Harry, desperate to find an excuse, opened his mouth to speak but the old lady forestalled him: "Do you have your wand?" "My-" Harry weakly raised his arm, as he was indeed still clutching his wand. "Good, " she murmured with an air of impatience.

"There is no time for explanations now," she said when she noticed Harry´s crestfallen expression, "you better tell me what has happened, and I´d really like to know where that Mundungus Fletcher is! He should be here by now!"

"Mun-" "It is his watch, and if he had any sense he would have known- luckily I had Mr Tibbles on duty, he informed me that something was not right." She ushered Harry inside, where her eyes instantly found the trail of blood. With an ominous look, she started to climb up the stairs: "Have you lost your voice, Harry?" she panted. Harry was following her: "No, I ... how- are you a witch?" he asked, still perplexed.

"I´m a Squib, that´s why I´m afraid I´m of not much help", Mrs Figg panted. "But we´ll have time for questions later, dear," she replied as she entered his bedroom. Draco was lying exactly as before, still unconscious. Mrs Figg shuffled over to the bed and bent over him: "Oh my, oh my," she murmured. "We need to get help- Harry, dear, be so good as to go outside. Mundungus Fletcher should appear any minute now, and you´d do good to get him in here as soon as possible."

Harry had barely opened the front door once more when he heard a noise that sounded exactly like CRACK, then a short, shabby looking man appeared on the threshold. He seemed to sway a bit and looked like he was drinking frequently: "Ah, Potter," he said as if they had known each other for years, "where´s Figgy?"

Harry would have grinned at this had the situation not been so serious. "Upstairs," he said and was about to step aside when a thought occured to him: "Mr... Mr Fletcher, could you please- my aunt, see-" he pointed to the puddle of blood.

"Sure can," Fletcher said jovially, and with a swish of his wand, the red liquid vanished. Then he turned to enter the house. Harry could smell alcohol on him and wrinkled his nose as he followed him upstairs, hoping that none of the neighbours had seen him Apparating. Harry noticed that Fletcher was carrying a bundle of cloth which strongly reminded Harry of his own Invisibility Cloak. Had he been watched?

-

The question was being driven out of his mind as soon as they had reached his bedroom: Mrs Figg immediately started yelling at Fletcher, accusing him of forsaking his duties, before she instructed him to get help; he immediately Disapparated at her orders. Mrs Figg huffed: "Insufferable man, hadn´t noticed a thing! And he was supposed to keep an eye on you!"

Harry would have liked to ask her why she had never told him that she was Squib, but was distracted by a small moan from the bed. He turned around; Draco had started to move, slowly wrapping his arms around himself again. He was shivering; with Mrs Figg´s help did Harry remove the blanket from underneath him and covered him with it in order to keep him warm. Draco´s eyes opened and he looked at Harry with heavy-lidded eyes: "Please... stay..." he murmured before drifting into unconsciousness once more.

Harry looked up at Mrs Figg, who shrugged: "Poor thing," she murmured. Harry did not know how to respond to this- Draco Malfoy usually was far from needing to be pitied, but then of course Mrs Figg couldn´t know that he was the son of a Deatheater.

-

Harry jumped when another CRACK accompanied the arrival of three persons, making his room seem even smaller than it was: Harry found himself face to face with Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey, who rushed over to the bed at once.

Harry stared- the situation must be worse than he thought if the headmaster himself felt compelled to appear here.

The bright eyes looked serious now as Dumbledore assessed the situation. "This is quite a predicament you found yourself in, Harry" he said by way of a greeting. "And the same holds true for Mr. Malfoy, it seems."

"Are you all right, Harry?" Lupin asked quietly when Dumbledore turned to Mrs Figg. Harry nodded, confusion evident in his features: "I don´t know what happened to him," he said. "He was in a terrible mess when I found him and said he had to hide and didn´t know where else to go."

Both of them looked over to the bed, but could only see Madam Pomfrey´s back.

Nodding, Lupin smiled at Harry: "Good to see you, nevertheless."

-

Right then, the front door could be heard downstairs, followed by the sounds of people coming in. A second later, Aunt Petunia´s voice shrieked: "What has that boy done now? There is blood all over my carpet! HARRY!"

Alarmed, Harry looked at the others. Dumbledore raised an eyebrow at this display of worry rather for the carpet than for Harry : "I will go and have a word with her. Remus?" Lupin nodded and made to accompany him.

-

Mrs Figg crumpled her nose: "Harry, dear, I am so sorry that you have to endure these horrible people", she squealed. "I could of course never tell you anything over the years, and that´s why I couldn´t make your stays at my place nice for you- they might have gotten suspicious!"

Harry nodded, still being confused. Mrs Figg shook her head: "I´ll go home now. Dumbledore will tell you all you need to know." "O-okay..." Harry watched her leave, then turned to Madam Pomfrey: "How is he?" "Can´t tell yet," she said. She had magically removed Malfoy´s robes and had discovered that he had worn nothing underneath. He was naked now apart from a folded cloth which Madam Pomfrey had used to cover his privates.

She had used a levitational charm so he hovered a few inches above the mattress; his body looked like it had been used as a crash test dummy, he was covered in bruises, some of them new, some of them apparently older already. His wrists and ankles were chafed and bloody, heavily scabbed in places. Harry swallowed, for it looked like he had been shackled. There were other marks around his neck as well, and he didn´t even want to know where they came from, but it seemed that someone had strangled him.

Malfoy opened his eyes when Madam Pomfrey touched his head, moaning quietly and recoiling from her touch. Harry knelt down next to his head, thinking that he might at least give it a try: "Shshshsh, calm down, Draco," he soothed. "You are safe here. Madam Pomfrey is checking on you. You know her from Hogwarts?"

Malfoy calmed down at this. Madam Pomfrey gave Harry an approving look and continued to examine Draco. She eventually lowered her wand: "I must ask you to leave the room now so I can properly assess my patient."

At this, Draco started to struggle, weak as we was: "No... please... H-harry stay..."

Harry scooted closer to him, tentatively lying his hand on the other´s shoulder. Madam Pomfrey looked from Draco to him and sighed: "Very well then. At least it seems to calm him."

She moved further down and pushed the cloth up a bit, then she carefully lifted Draco´s legs up and spread them. He whimpered when she began examining his nether regions. Harry looked away, for this seemed too awkward.

"Hush, dear, it will be over soon," Madam Pomfrey said absent-mindedly while she used the levitational spell to lift Draco´s hips up a bit more.

Draco writhed, breathing heavily; Harry found himself stroking over the other boy´s hair. This situation was far from real, thus it did not matter wether this was the least person he´d ever imagined to be treating like this.

-

Harry could hear Uncle Vernon yell downstairs, but it seemed that he was being cut off, for it suddenly became quiet again.

Harry sighed, returning his attention to Madam Pomfrey, who was gently lowering Draco´s legs down again: "I am going to turn you on your stomach, love," she said. Did Harry hear her voice shaking? He wasn´t sure, but she sounded strangely upset.

Draco gave another strangled whimper but quieted as he came to rest on his stomach. Harry gulped: the blond´s back was covered in bruises as well, but in addition to that, there were bloodied red welts all over his pale skin.

Madam Pomfrey had run her wand over his back once when Draco started to breathe heavily; at first, Harry thought he was panicking for some reason, but then the blond croaked: "...sick..."

Harry jumped to his feet and looked around for something to use. Madam Pomfrey, used to incidents like these, calmly summoned a small jar from her bag and magically enlargened it. No sooner had Harry held it underneath Draco´s chin as he started to retch. Harry held the basin for him and supported his forehead with his other hand. Draco´s body was heaving violently, but only a small amount of vomit came out, consisting largely of what looked like water.

-

Once the bout was over, Draco sagged. Harry put the basin aside.

"Now, now..." Madam Pomfrey handed Harry a piece of cloth, then she talked to Draco once more, her voice being unusually soft as she addressed him: "I´ll turn you back over in a minute. Take deep breaths in the meantime, that´s a good boy."

Harry awkwardly used the cloth to wipe over Draco´s mouth and chin; the blond was shaking badly and did not protest.

Madam Pomfrey administered layers of various ointments onto his back and other body parts. After covering them with soft pads, she turned him around, ending the levitational spell and cautiously easing him onto the mattress. She conjured up a soft cushion and placed it underneath his hips before repeating her treatment and spelling a nightshirt on his body.

She used a cleaning charm on the bed, then covered Draco up with the blanket: "Do you happen to have another one, dear?" she asked Harry, who had watched all this with growing concern.

"Er- no," he said, startled. Madam Pomfrey nodded somewhat grimly and produced a second blanket from her bag, which she spread over the first one: "Need to keep him warm," she mumbled.

From her enormous bag she produced several vials with healing draughts which she made Draco swallow; after the last one, his eyes drifted shut again, and his breathing evened out as he fell asleep.

Harry looked from Draco´s ashen face to Madam Pomfrey, but she wouldn´t meet his gaze; she had set her jaw firmly as she was clearing up her belongings.

-

Soon afterwards, Dumbledore came back in. His gaze lingered on Draco for a moment before he turned to the Healer: "Well, Poppy?" he asked in a grave voice.

Madam Pomfrey straightened her shoulders: "Maybe Mr. Potter should not hear this, Albus," she said, her voice quavering for sure this time.

To Harry´s surprise, a sad if ever so faint smile crossed the old headmaster´s face: "I am afraid he must, Poppy," he replied softly. "He needs to understand what is happening, especially after his own experiences."

Poppy looked at him hesitantly before she sighed: "Well, then... it seems Mr. Malfoy has been tortured over a period of at least a week." Harry did not notice that he was gasping; at least a week? But Madam Pomfrey continued, her eyes fixed on a point on the wall as if what she had to say would not come out once she started to realize what she was saying.

"He has been under the Cruciatus Curse several times, judging from the state he is in, and his body shows signs of beatings and mistreatment, along with malnourishment and dehydration. There are abrasions and bruises on his ankles, wrists and hips, caused by iron. Apart from that, he´s... it... he seems to have been r-raped, repeatedly and obviously with brutal force."

She fell silent, looking as pale and shaken as Harry felt, and as Dumbledore looked as well.

-

Neither of them spoke for a while.

The headmaster was the first to recover his composure: "We have to make sure that he is safe." His voice sounded unusually old and tired. He turned to Harry: "I know it is much to ask of you, but I´d wish that he stays here. We cannot take him with us." "But, Albus-" Madam Pomfrey interrupted, "if he was transferred to Grim- to our headquarters, I´d be able to take proper care of him."

"Poppy," Dumbledore sounded sad, as if his next words grieved him greatly, "despite what has happened to him is he still the son of Lucius Malfoy. We cannot risk bringing him to our headquarters, he would see and hear too much."

The following silence was louder than anything Harry had ever heard. He did not know which "headquarters" they were talking about, but Dumbledore had a point, even if it seemed ridiculous considering the state Draco was in.

"As long as he is here, we can keep watch on both of him and Harry, which we would have done anyway." Dumbledore continued. He addressed Harry once more: "I am sorry to impose this on you. I know that you and Malfoy cannot be considered being on friendly terms, and I am aware that you have... issues with his father."

His eyes twinkled at this. "I do however suspect that young Draco here has suffered at the hands of the Deatheaters, and as long as we cannot be sure about his father´s involvement, I´d deem it safest to keep him hidden with you. I do not expect Lucius Malfoy to look for his son in the house of Harry Potter´s muggle relatives."

He caught the doubtful look on Harry´s face and immediately understood that it rather concerned the Dursleys than his last words.

"I have talked to them," Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling even more. "They will not interfere, and I have even managed to have Petunia agree to be of assistance if need be."

Harry stared at him in utter disbelief. His aunt, helping him? She had only ever done so very grudgingly, even when he had been ill as a small boy. He could not help but wonder how his life before Hogwarts would have been if Dumbledore had intervened a little more often...

-

He was being distracted from his thoughts by Remus entering the bedroom, looking positively gleeful, something Harry had never witnessed in him before. "They will not give you any trouble, Harry," he said, and Harry got the impression that Lupin was subduing the urge to rub his hands.

"Harry," Dumbledore said. "We will keep an eye out on you all the time. If something is wrong, all you need to do is go outside and send some sparks up with your wand." "Isn´t it against the law if I use magic?" "I will answer for you if necessary," the headmaster answered quietly. "Now, I believe some changes are in order." He raised his wand and magically enlarged the bed, making it wide enough to fit two people in it. Then he turned to the window and waved his wand at it silently. Harry did not see anything happen, but he supposed it was a precaution. "This way, no one will be able to look in," Dumbledore explained.

After Madam Pomfrey, who would be checking on Draco in regular intervals, had handed Harry a box of medical supplies and potions, along with detailed instructions what to do, they Disapparated.

-

The Healer´s last words were still ringing in his ears when he sat down on the bed: "Mr. Malfoy has been through a terrible ordeal, my dear. He will need a lot of comfort, but don´t ask him what has happened. If he decides to tell you, he will do so in time."

Harry looked down on his arch-enemy: even in the sleep which had been forced upon him to give his body the rest it so badly needed did Draco look tense.

The dark-haired boy sighed; it looked like this was going to be long summer.

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To Be Continued

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