I can't stop, don't care if I lose
baby, you are the weapon I choose
these wounds are self-inflicted
I'm going down in flames for you
Self-Inflicted by Katy Perry
The first time it happened it was entirely an accident.
She was just eleven and he only thirteen, but she'd seen far too much and he was wise beyond his years. Astoria Greengrass didn't know Draco Malfoy, not really. She didn't know what made him lose his breath with laughter, she didn't know what he smelled in Amortentia, didn't know what made him smile, what made him laugh, what his middle name was. He didn't even know she existed as anything other than "that girl two years below me, Greengrass' sister, you mean?" She didn't know him by anything other than his looks and he didn't even know her by that. Still, she loved him, although he didn't see the only other person in the room that night. The diminutive, dark-haired first year was sitting on the sofa closest to the fire when he came into the common room with a black eye. He was so young that the walls he would nurse into fortresses in his later years were barely fences. Draco leaned unreservedly against the common room wall and cried as she watched. He didn't notice her even as he later fiercely wiped his tears and trod briskly up the stairs. He didn't know that she sat there for several hours, chewing her lip and staring into the fire.
It was entirely an accident when the knife slipped and slit open her palm as she was trying to dice a piece of pungous onion in Potions the next day. Professor Snape sent her to the Hospital Wing and Madame Pomfrey healed it easily, but Astoria found herself strangely attracted to touching the now non-existent line on her left palm all day.
The second time it happened it was probably an accident.
Draco had been attacked by that horrid hippogriff and she couldn't see him for the cluster of people shoving their way in to hear the story he'd been re-telling all evening from his lofty position sprawled across a loveseat. She was just barely able to see the top of Pansy Parkinson's head, perched self-importantly atop his lap, though. Astoria had seen the wound when he first came in, and though she'd only had a glance of it, it was really horrific and it must have hurt terribly and that vicious thing had attacked him and – suddenly, her quill had embedded itself in the muscle of her thumb and Astoria could feel blood drifting down her palm. Startled, she jerked the quill from her skin, tossed it to the floor, and hurried to her room. She pulled the bed-curtains tight and sat, curiously tracing the blood across her palm well into the night.
The third time it happened she knew exactly what she was doing.
Although less than a year had gone by, by the time Astoria entered her second year at Hogwarts and Draco started his fourth, they had both grown by several years. He became more introverted while she became more extroverted. He was less inclined to flaunt his successes and less likely to spin his failures. She was less likely to sit alone in the common room and actually had friends that weren't her sister. None were close enough to notice the round scar the size of a knut on the palm of her left hand.
It wasn't until the day after students returned from Christmas break that Astoria caught him hurt again. It had snowed that night and nearly every student woke early to storm the grounds and revel in the fresh snow before it all turned to grey slush. Astoria had never been particularly fond of the cold or the wet and so she sauntered down into the common room wearing nothing but a green silk dressing-robe sometime around noon, fully expecting it to be empty. It was entirely natural for her to let out the blood-curdling scream that she did when she found Draco Malfoy, crouched against a wall, nursing a bloody lip and what looked like a crudely broken arm. He startled, but she didn't wait for any reaction other than that; she turned and sprinted down the stairs back into her dormitory as fast as she could. She didn't leave for the rest of the day, but she did very carefully carve a neat line into her inner thigh.
It was only the next day that Draco approached Astoria in the common room and pulled her through the portrait hole and into a nearby classroom. This was the first time he had ever touched her, ever looked directly at her. Astoria took the opportunity to stare without risk of being caught. By now, the Prince of Slytherin looked like no one had ever laid a harsh hand on him in his life but Astoria enjoyed the quiet ache of her thigh as she leveled her chin and arched an eyebrow.
"I swear to Merlin, Greengrass, if you tell a bloody soul, you'll wish you were never born."
"You don't need to worry about me, Draco. I've nobody worth telling."
Draco only watched silently as she turned on her heel and walked away.
A connection had been made. At first it was only cold civility, then friendly glances in the corridors, and then they graduated to smiles. Eventually, Draco picked up Astoria's books for her when she dropped them one day and she went to him for help on a Transfiguration essay a few days later. Slowly but surely, by the time Astoria started her third year, they could be called friendly acquaintances, if not yet friends. With the advent of their not-quite friendship, suddenly, all of his injuries were alarmingly easy to notice. He was openly coming to her, asking for help. She became quite skilled in healing charms and listening; he would haltingly tell her everything for lack of anything else to do as she carefully healed him. She did her best to protect him, but it was useless, and her inner thighs and hips became quickly filled with neat little scars.
If she'd thought it was bad in her fourth year – which it was - her fifth was utter hell.
Then, finally, the war was over and Draco was officially excused by the Ministry because he wasn't a bad person, he'd never been a bad person. Then they were writing letters daily and then she had left Hogwarts and they were dating and suddenly they were engaged and then they were marriedand it all happened so fast. In the whirlwind that had become her life it didn't even occur to her to mention it to him, it didn't even cross her mind that she still had all those scars, because he was so happy and so pain-free these days. She really was genuinely confused when Draco stopped, kneeling in front of her, amidst slowly stripping her of her wedding gown.
"Stori," he breathed, horrified. "who did this to you?"
She only realized what he was talking about when one of his long, cool fingers traced the one lowest on her inner thigh and she looked down to him with a sincere smile.
"You did, Dragon."