A/N: I'm hoping this turned out well enough... I put a lot of thought and effort into this one. Originally wrote it in past tense, then while I was running through some ideas a couple nights ago I started thinking what effect present tense would have on it. So voila. Please review, this is the first ever present tense fic I've written and I'd like to know how I did. Oh, and this was originally written as a one shot, but it kinda ran away with itself.

Summary: Caught in the act of unintentional suicide by Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy must come to terms that he isn't alone anymore. Can Hermione snog some sense into him? Or better yet, a handjob to happiness? DM/HG

Warnings: Dark themes, self-injury, sexual content, general effed-upness.

I don't look in the mirror
I don't like what I see staring back at me
Everything is clearer
I'll never see what you see
And I rot in my skin
As a piece of me dies everyday
I know I'm nothing
Because I'm ugly

- Ugly, Smashing Pumpkins

He's shaking again, but primarily from the cold. The stone and tile bathrooms of Hogwarts, though beautiful, are notorious for being frigid this late in the year.

With a deftness that overrides his shaking fingers, Draco Malfoy quickly unbuttons his cloak and school uniform, letting them fall silently to a pile at his feet. Numbly, he steps into the dry tub, cringing as his toes hit the cold porcelain and reaches forward to turn on only one of the two taps. He doesn't remember the first time he did this. Only the months, and days, and nights - almost every night - when he has done this exact same thing before.

It has become something of a routine. After a day of disgustingly ruthless Slytherin politics, hostile glares from the Gryfindors, bitting insults thrown at the Golden Trio, mind numbing classes followed by after-class meetings where the teachers warn him he must bring up his marks, cold letters of warning and reprimand from his father, monotonous Head Boy duties, and more and more wishes of an early death, he returns to the Head dorm before Granger and divulges in this bittersweet habit. It comforts him, wrapping him in a secure shell of steam, of porcelain, of heat.

He sits in the bottom of the tub, pulling his knees up to his chin and doesn't move as the spray of scalding water and steam slowly turns his pale skin into a bright angry red.

He doesn't even understand it. Why did Dumbledore choose him to be Head Boy? What the hell does Dumbledore even see in him? He stops all movement, staring at the creamy white porcelain inches in front of him. For that is it. That is the whole bloody, underlying enigma in the matter. As much as he wishes that it is he who hates them, he has to admit to himself the sickening truth; It is they who hate him. It is he who hates himself.

"Stoppit," he mutters, burying his palms in his eyes. He hits his head, once, roughly, against the tub in a strange effort to quell the thoughts trying to crawl their way into his mind. But his thoughts cannot be controlled and against his will he is forced to entertain the things he wishes most to forget.

There is no love in his fathers eyes. He can't ever remember it there, even as a child. As much as he'd obeyed him, done everything he possibly could to make his father love him - even to hear once that he was proud of him - was all in vain. Those cold cerulean eyes have never held anything but contempt for the boy.

He hits his head against the tub for a second time and feels the hot press of pain from somewhere farther away, like it is not quite part of him. Yet in the same strange way the pain seems to momentarily flush the thoughts and images from his mind. It is a release much too precious to be ignored and like so many times before he starts up a slow rhythm of physical pain to keep the other, more deadly pain from taking over.

thump ...thump... thump

When he was little, he'd made up a game. In it his father wasn't really his father, but instead an evil, inescapable foe who Draco was called upon to fight. He was little then, but he was also brave and he protected his mother from this dark man. And in his game his mother would thank him, and tell him she loved him. It was one day, as he ran around the manor, hiding in the darkened corners, and slipping out to run some more that he spotted Lucius - the villain - and he was caught. His father asked him what he was doing, and in his childlike innocence he explained his game. His father was angry and grabbed him by the arm and told him that he wasn't Harry fucking Potter - fucking, he still remembered the sound of that word, yet it wasn't the first time he'd heard it - and if he ever caught Draco playing that game again, he would kill him.

He was five at the time, but he understood and never played it again. And when he was old enough to realize it himself, he could also see how similar his imagined game was to Potter's life and was properly disgusted.

thump thump thump

Potter. Now isn't he really the source of all Draco's problems? He is the one who turned down his offer of friendship. Humiliated him in front of all his peers, chose a bloody Weasley and a mudblood over a Malfoy. It sickens him, seeing the three of them everyday all joyful and happy and caring and so god-awfully pristine. Always the perfect Golden Trio. But what sickens him more is the way they effect him. Making him feel envious, and bitter and so bloody overshadowed. And that is another thing he can't comprehend; he knows in his mind that he is a pureblood - a Malfoy - better then them, better then everyone. But then where does this feeling come from - this horrible dirty taint, all over, as if he is the mudblood. And why was he chosen to feel this way? But isn't it fitting? Isn't he the evil, selfish, uncaring son of a death eater? The horrible, ungodly, disgusting, foul creature--


Draco's mind explodes in a brilliant flash of black and white stars and he gasps, groping wildly for the edge of the tub. All the blood has rushed to his head and he can hear his heart beating noisily in his ears as he shakes his head and sits upright in the tub, all in an effort to stop the dizzy spinning in his head.

He reaches for the faucet, turning off the spray of scalding water, and stands clumsily in the tub; the edge of his vision dimming threateningly at the speed in which he stands. It takes him less then a second to conclude that it is definitely time to get out.

By the time he's dried himself, and slipped on a pair of black pants - naturally - the pain in his head has receded into a dull throb. With a sigh, he moves his way languidly towards the sink and mirror on the left side of the room, opposite the bath.

As Draco reaches it, he braces his right arm on the edge of the porcelain basin - being left handed - and uses the other arm to reach up and raise the damp silver-blond bangs from his face. The reflection in the mirror is an unhappy scowl as he inspects the damage; a large bump on his forehead is slowly spreading into a painful looking bruise. He glares at it for a minute more and then lowers his bangs back down, placing his right arm parallel to the left on the other side of the sink.

He leans forward a bit, his face coming within inches of the mirror and his eyes narrow minutely, his knuckles turning white as he clutches at the edge of the sink. He doesn't think anyone can understand how much he disgusts himself in this moment. Moreover, he can't remember feeling any differently, or when and how his thoughts have turned so bloody oppressing.

As he stares at his reflection in the mirror he tries to imagine what everyone else sees when they look at him; a tall aristocratic boy, beautifully handsome in a cold, yet undeniably intriguing way. Obviously rich, someone who has everything he ever wanted. Yet looking at himself in the mirror now, he can see the truth. He looks like nothing but a small, pathetic child, searching for something he was never destined to have; a feeling - an emotion - that he can't quite understand.

"I hate you," he whispers at the pale boy in the mirror, "I hate you! I hate you!"

With a sudden sharp crack, the glass shatters, sending deadly shards flying every which way. Oddly enough, it is his emotions alone that have been enough to break the mirror. It is a small sample of wandless magic, something he hasn't done since he was six years old and having a temper tantrum.

"Bloody mirror," he murmurs as he reaches up to touch his eyebrow where he has a sneaking suspicion he's been hit. Sure enough, his fingers come away covered in a warm crimson fluid. He rubs his bloody fingers together absentmindedly and steps back from the sink.

With a hiss of pain and a curse, the tender flesh of his foot is pierced by yet another piece of glass. After a momentary pause of self-pity for his wounded appendage, he carefully scans the floor first before he hobbles - favoring his uninjured foot - to the tiled wall. He sinks down along the wall warily, emotionally and physically drained from his outburst.

"Dammit," he swears again, for no particular reason this time, as he less then lightly bangs the back of his head against the wall in exasperation. He doesn't even want to imagine what he looks like in this moment; siting sprawled against the wall amongst a shattered mirror, broken glass, and bloody footprints.

His eyes scan the washroom absentmindedly, out of something suspiciously close to boredom and several spots of red catch his eye. He glances down at his bare chest and for the first time notices that there are several small but deep cuts spread across it; it seems that his eyebrow was not the only thing that acquired damage when the mirror exploded. He pokes at one, smearing the crimson spot into more of a streak.

From seemingly nowhere, the thought comes into his mind of what would happen if he were to cut himself. On purpose.

He scoffs out loud, shaking his head at his own stupid thoughts, but the idea won't leave his mind, and the more he mulls it over, the better it sounds. Deciding to humor himself, if only for a second, he picks up a rather large shard of the broken mirror and twists it between his fingers, watching the light glint off the sharp edges. Now, where would be the perfect place to make the first cut? Either from an odd burst of inspiration or his own cynical thoughts, Draco easily comes to the answer without more then a seconds pause.

Turning his arm, he smiles down at the impossibly pale skin of his wrist where, if his father has his way, there will be the skull and snake tattoo. He doesn't know when this will happen - months, weeks, maybe even days - his father never tells him anything.

It seems befitting that this is where he should scar first, Draco musses and with a burst of recklessness he viciously drags the glass across his wrist. The immediate shock of pain is surprising and he gasps lightly, the glass slipping from his fingers. Though he is no idiot, he expected for some reason that there would be no pain involved in self mutilation. He'd heard or perhaps read about it before; people who cut themselves and felt no pain, and in the same way, he expected the same results.

Yet as he holds up his hand in front of his face and watches the blood run down his palm and drip from between his fingers, he no longer feels disappointed. The crimson liquid is oddly mesmerizing and the pain is distracting; he cannot get enough of it.

He picks up another shard of glass from the floor - after all, there are many to choose from - and after a brief hesitation, drags it up his arm once more.

This time, instead of being in shock of the pain, he revels in it. He imagines that he can almost feel every nerve come alive, and the swift rush of blood through his veins to the small, stinging wound.

Before long he is slicing away at any exposed skin he can see. At first they are light and shallow, only experimenting with his body's reactions, but soon there is a wild, uncontrolled look in his pale gray eyes and the cuts are deep and painful. Breathing hard, adrenaline pumping through his veins - though he doesn't understand why - he stops to inspect his handy work. His chest and arms are a patchwork of deep red lines and he smiles gleefully, moving to make another cut.

Suddenly, from somewhere outside of his self induced stupor, he notices a voice on the other side of the door - from the Head common room. His arm freezes in mid-air.

"Malfoy!" comes the immensely agitated - and agitating - voice of Hermione Granger. It's obvious by her tone that she's been calling his name for sometime."It's your turn to patrol the hallways! You have two minutes and you bloody well hurry up!"

He hears the sound of footsteps, a door opening and his name being called from a seemingly father distance. Then more footsteps and he can hear her well enough again to make out words. "Get your arse out here! You're going to be late and I will not be blamed for this!"

She stops yelling long enough to mutter something that sounds suspiciously like "Bloody Slytherin. Can't be trusted to do a thing himself. Freakin baby" but the fact that he can make out what she is muttering is the first thing that alerts him to the realization that she is much too close to the bathroom door.

He instantly tries to think back to if he had remembered to lock the door or not, but he gets his answer when there is a click, the door opens, and Hermione follows.

End of first chapter.

A/N: Okay, this was supposed to be a one shot but it got waaaaaaaaay too long. I actually have most of the other bits written. So I'm going to finish the rest and then make weekly or bi-weekly updates once I've separated all the chapters. This was story was inspired by a rather effed up friend of mine that lies in the tub under scalding water when he's drunk, and there's pretty much no getting him out. Anyway, review review review! Please?