Chapter 10 - Forgiveness

Harry finally managed to get his last shirt button through its hole, a feat made infinitely harder by his still shaking hands. Clenching and unclenching them he took hold of the bed sheets below him and gripped them until his knuckles turned white, his eyes screwed up against the painful memories racing through his head. After a few fruitless moments he gingerly lifted himself off the bed, wincing at the pain it caused him. He limped across the room to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror above the sink. His skin was blotchy, his hair more messy than usual, and his eyes red. Lowering his head and running the cold tap, he liberally splashed his face with water.

He felt weak, scared, unsure of what to do next. He rested his hands on the sink basin, his head bowed, and was instantly reminded of his first meeting with Draco, the blonde bleeding and in pain, leaning over a sink much as he was now. Thinking of the blonde brought up a mix of emotions that made Harry feel sick to his stomach and he once again splashed water on his face.

Leaving the bathroom he walked back into the main room to collect his shoes from the bedside. As he reached the side of the bed he felt the soles of his feet becoming wet and when he looked down he saw the remains of the broken mug on the floor, his feet in the puddle of cold tea left by the offending item. He remembered the frightened look on Draco's face when he'd first entered the room, but all too soon it changed to the smirking face of the boy who'd raped him and the sick feeling returned.

Grabbing his wand from his pocket he used a quick cleaning spell to banish the tea from his feet and the floor and then put his shoes on. He glanced at the bed, the blood stain still marking the satin sheets, and dragged his eyes away quickly, running to the bathroom and making it to the toilet just in time to throw up the contents of his stomach. Tears stung at his eyes as he pulled the flush, rose from the floor and rinsed his mouth with some tap water.

He left the bathroom, his feet a little unsteady, and headed straight for the exit, not looking back until the he was the other side of a blank stretch of wall. The stone before him hid so many memories, memories that until now had been full of laughter, fun and idle chat. He was unsure if he'd ever be able to return to that room, but for now he just wanted to get as far away from it as possible. He threw the invisibility cloak over his head, hands still shaking slightly, and made his way slowly to Gryffindor tower.

Once outside the entrance he muttered the password, much to the bemusement of the fat lady, and walked through the archway into a mostly empty common room. A few heads turned to look at the seemingly empty doorway, wondering why the fat lady had swung open, but quickly returned to their conversations. Ron and Hermione however, who were still sat on the sofa by the fireplace, kept their eyes locked on the arch, knowing all too well why the fat lady was currently ajar.

Harry took a deep breath, watching his best friends as they gave each other a knowing glance, and made his way up to his dormitory. Thankfully it appeared that Dean and Seamus were still in the common room as their beds lay empty, though a soft snoring was coming from behind the drawn curtains of Neville's bed. Harry had enough time to stow his invisibility cloak in his trunk and take his shoes off before Ron opened the door to the shared bedroom, giving him a concerned smile.

"Alright mate?" Ron asked tentatively, walking over to his own bed and plonking himself on the edge, removing his shoes and discarding them haphazardly underneath it. Harry removed his wand from his pocket and put it on his bedside table, taking a seat on his own bed before looking at Ron with a forced smile on his face. He planned on saying fine, he really did, but he just didn't have the strength or the energy to lie.

"Not really." His voice was croaky from crying and the smile slowly slipped from his mouth, his mask of composure failing. Ron's smile also fell away as he began to really worry about his friend.

"Want to talk about it?" Harry let out a half laugh and shook his head.

"Not really." Ron nodded in understanding, knowing Harry wasn't a massive sharer of his feelings, and being a little relieved because sharing feelings wasn't exactly his forte either.

"Hermione's worried about you." Ron cleared his throat, playing with a piece of thread that dangled from his robe hem, and Harry knew he meant they were both worried, Ron would just never say it. Harry smiled and pulled his pyjamas out from under his pillow and began to change, trying not to show how much it hurt for him to move.

"I know, tell her I'm sorry for worrying her, I've just got a few things on my mind, that's all." He pulled his pyjama bottoms on and wrenched his shirt off over his head, immediately wishing he hadn't.

"Harry, what are those?" The brunette turned to his friend, a puzzled expression on his face, as Ron looked at him with concern.

"What are what?" He looked down at his torso, praying Draco had left him unscathed. Ron rose from his bed and walked up to Harry, taking him by the elbow and holding his arm out so that the red imprints of Draco's hands were evident on his wrist.

"Those." Ron reiterated and Harry felt his gut sinking and his mouth dry out, visions of how he got those marks flooding his mind. His hands began to quiver once more as he pulled his arm out of Ron's grip.

"It's nothing, don't worry about it." His voice was shaky and he had to sit on the edge of his bed for fear of his legs collapsing from underneath him. Ron shook his head, his expression anxious and angry that someone could do that to his friend.

"It's not nothing Harry!" Ron took a deep breath, trying to stem the anger that was rapidly rising within him. "Who did it?" Harry turned to his friend with pleading eyes.

"Ron-"

"No Harry, tell me who did it?" Ron's hands were clenching into fists without him even realising it and Harry didn't like where this conversation was leading.

"Look, just drop it alright? I'm fine, it's sorted, you don't need to worry about it." He pulled his pyjama top over his head and swung his legs onto the bed and under the duvet, trying desperately not to show how much the action pained him. Ron was shaking his head, his fists still clenched, but he looked resigned to the fact that this conversation was going nowhere.

"But I do worry Harry, me and Hermione have done nothing but worry since we got back from holiday. Something's going on with you, something big, we're not stupid." Ron's body relaxed in defeat and he walked back to his bed, pulling out his own pyjamas and changing into them, glancing occasionally at his suffering friend. "We're your best mates Harry; you're supposed to be able to trust us with anything."

Harry could hear the hurt in Ron's voice and hated himself for putting his friends through all this trouble for something they could never help him with. "I do trust you Ron, but it's not an issue of trust, it's just something that me and... another person have got to work through."

"If those marks are this person's idea of 'working things through' then I'm going to punch them in the face, I don't care what you say." Harry sighed tiredly; now that he was in his bed and under the covers he was overcome with exhaustion and didn't have the mental capacity to continue the conversation.

"I'll be fine Ron, I promise." He watched his friend slowly nod his head before he too climbed into bed, and for once he fell asleep before the red head, Ron watching him long after he'd drifted off, too worried for fatigue to capture him and lull him to sleep.

For the next few days Harry tried to forget what happened in the Room of Requirement, only managing to go a handful of minutes at a time before the events came flooding back to the forefront of his mind and he'd find his hands shaking once again. However, as the days stretched on he was able to go longer and longer between visions, and they became less vivid, less realistic, until he could almost convince himself it was a bad dream. Only when he shared a class with Draco, or saw the blonde from across the courtyard, did the images come back in full force, his body beginning to tremble, his legs becoming weak, and that gut churning sickness returning.

Hermione and Ron noticed the change in their friend, how could they not, but as Harry wouldn't talk to them there wasn't a lot they could help him with. They still didn't understand why, though Ron had told Hermione about the bruises on Harry's wrist, but they had no idea who had put them there.

Draco was going through his own turmoil of course; he did his best to avoid the brunette, to the point of not taking any of the passages and corridors the Gryffindor frequented, sitting as far away from him as possible in the classes they shared, and making no eye contact with him at all. Having perfected the act of watching people without looking at them Draco could see how much his presence affected Harry and therefore tried to minimise it, not wanting to cause him any more pain than was necessary. He'd began skipping lunch and dinner, only going to the Great Hall for breakfast, and doing so as early as possible so he could leave before Harry arrived. A couple of times he'd catch sight of Harry entering the Great Hall before he'd had a chance to leave, but he would quickly get up from his seat and attempt to leave before the brunette noticed him.

A week after The Incident, Draco was on his way to the library, his head bowed, eyes watching his feet, mind reeling with thoughts and memories, when another student walked around the corner and straight into him. Draco lost his balance, his head colliding with the stone wall before his hands could reach out and stop it, and the other person was sent sprawling to the floor, their bag exploding its contents everywhere. Clutching his head, Draco slid to the floor, a trickle of blood running from between his fingers and down the back of his hand, his vision blurred by tiny black spots.

"Are you-" a voice began from somewhere to his right, but stopped abruptly, the question left mid sentence. Groaning faintly, Draco dragged his hands away from his eyes enough to look for the person he'd crashed into. His eyesight still fuzzy, he could just about make out the silhouette of a body lying on their back a few feet away from him, propping themselves up on their elbows so they could look at Draco. Blinking furiously to try and clear his vision, Draco only succeeded in making his growing headache worse. As it worsened he began to feel sick and before he knew what was happening he was sliding down the wall into a heap on the floor, unconscious.

A short while later he regained consciousness and screwed his eyes up against the pain in his forehead, again lifting his hand to the offending area.

"Try not to move, I think you have a concussion." Even through the haze Draco was able to recognise who the voice belonged to, and as he slowly fluttered his eyelids open and found himself gazing into those familiar emerald eyes, full of concern and a little fear, he was reminded of their first meeting.

"Harry." He whispered, noticing that his head was once again resting on the brunette's lap, cradled between his trembling hands. He pulled himself upright quickly, his head swimming as he did so, and tried to gain some balance by leaning heavily on the floor and wall. He felt a hand rest on his back, trying to help steady him, but all he could feel was it shaking, and he was the reason for that. "Let go." He murmured, attempting to stand but only managing to pull himself to his hands and knees. Harry's hands returned to his lap, clasping each other tightly in an effort to stop them from trembling.

"You shouldn't try to stand, your head-"

"Stop it, Harry." Draco interrupted the Gryffindor, unable to bare the words of sincere concern. "I don't deserve your kindness, not after-" he let the sentence die on his lips and once again tried to stand, this time managing the feat whilst leaning heavily on the wall.

Silence fell; Harry still knelt on the floor, Draco with the back of his head resting against the cool stone venturing to calm the throbbing in his temples. As his brain slowly stopped rattling around his head, he turned his gaze to Harry, the brunette staring at his lap. Draco felt a lump rising in his throat and he pushed himself away from the wall, determined not to look vulnerable, not in front of Harry of all people. Clearing his throat he began picking up the contents of Harry's bag and was quickly joined by the Gryffindor. A few moments later, with his arms full, Draco turned to Harry who held open his half filled bag so the last of his books, parchments and quills could be dropped inside.

Draco offered a tight smile which Harry returned shyly, and they both stood staring at each other, neither moving, until the words spilled from Draco's mouth before he could stop them.

"I'm sorry." Harry shook his head and held up a pardoning hand.

"No, it was my fault; I wasn't looking where I was going." Draco's eyes fell to the floor and his jaw clenched involuntarily.

"That's not what I meant." Harry's gaze dropped to the floor as well as he let out a soft 'oh' of understanding. "I know it doesn't mean much, and no amount of apologising could ever take back what I did to you, but I am truly sorry." He lifted his eyes to look at Harry once more, the brunette mirroring his actions. "I'm not looking for forgiveness, I don't expect you to ever forgive me; I just wanted you to know." Draco's hand moved towards Harry of its own accord, but when the other boy flinched slightly it dropped instantly to his side again. "I never meant to hurt you." He whispered, tears stinging just behind his eyes.

"I know." Harry whispered in return. Draco nodded slightly, clenching his hands into fists, angry at himself once again, before turning and walking as quickly as he could away from the brunette.

Draco walked and walked, his feet guiding him whilst his mind replayed his conversation with Harry. He was angry that he'd run into the boy when he'd been so careful to avoid him until now; he could see how much their encounter had upset the Gryffindor; the boy was practically vibrating with terror. At least he'd told him that he was sorry, that he'd never meant to hurt him, though he was sure it brought him more comfort than it did Harry; as they both knew, his actions could never be undone. His mind racing still, Draco turned down a seemingly empty corridor. Empty until Crabbe immerged from a classroom in front of him and blocked the way forwards; when he turned to walk back the other way he bumped into the chest of a leering Goyle. Crabbe grabbed his arms and held them tightly behind his back, dragging him into the classroom he'd exited from. As Draco had expected, Blaise was leant against a desk near the door, his arms folded and his left ankle crossed over his right, a slight smirk on his face. At the sight of Draco's indifferent face and cold eyes his smirk faltered and his arms tightened around him slightly.

"How nice of you to join us Draco." Blaise rose and walked towards the blonde as he shook his arms free from Crabbe's grasp. Draco took a step forward, stopping Blaise in his tracks, and glared fiercely at him.

"I'm not putting up with your shit today Blaise, not today." Blaise' mouth flapped uselessly as Draco sneered at him a moment longer before turning and leaving the room, Crabbe and Goyle looking as flabbergasted as Blaise. The three Slytherin's stood in shock for a minute longer before skulking off to their common room, resigned to defeat, this time at least, whilst Draco continued to pace the school.

Harry returned to the Gryffindor tower in a mixture of moods and sat himself down in a vacant chair, holding his head in his hands and pushing his palms into his eyes.

"Sickle for your thoughts." Harry lifted his head to see Hermione take the seat next to him, a frown crossing her face when she saw him. "Are you bleeding?" Harry looked at her in confusion and looked down at his hands. There was a small smear of blood across his left palm that must have come from Draco's head wound, and by the look Hermione was giving him he'd wiped it on his face.

"It's not mine." His words didn't seem to ease Hermione's mind as she leant forwards, her wand in hand, and quickly vanished the offending liquid from both his hand and face. "I knocked into someone and they cut their head on the wall." Hermione relaxed slightly, sitting back in her chair.

"I hope they're alright." Harry nodded slightly, thinking about the blonde and how unsteady he'd been on his feet.

"So do I." Hermione narrowed her eyes slightly, sensing there was something more to this exchange than a chance meeting between to random students.

"Anyone we know?" She asked, trying to sound casual but gauging Harry's every move.

"Hmm?" Harry turned to Hermione, his mind briefly lost in thought, before clearing his throat and averting his eyes to the carpet. "Oh, no, I don't think so." Hermione could instantly tell her friend was lying, but talking to Harry about personal matters required a little finesse, so she didn't press the matter without thinking about it.

They sat quietly for a while, the sounds of the noisy common room filling their ears; friends talking and laughing, quills scratching parchment, Trevor the toad croaking from some unknown hiding place. Hermione took a deep breath and leant forwards in her chair, her eyes fixed on Harry's face as he stared blankly at his hands resting in his lap.

"Harry," Hermione waited for the brunette to turn to her before she continued. "I'm going to ask you some questions and I'd like you to answer them as truthfully as possible." Harry sunk into his chair a little further, his expression anxious.

"I'm not going to like these questions am I?" Hermione touched him lightly on the knee for reassurance.

"I know you've heard this already, but Ron and I are worried about you and we just want to help. I understand that it might be a little hard for you to talk to us about a few things, but I have some theories, so just humour me, please?" After a few silent moments Harry sighed resignedly and nodded, slumping even further in his chair as Hermione took her hand from his knee and returned it to her lap.

"The reason you've been so... out of sorts lately," Hermione decided to pick her words carefully for fear of ending the conversation prematurely, "has something to do with Malfoy, doesn't it?" Harry's eyes widened slightly and his gaze slid from Hermione to the floor, and that was all the answer that she needed. "I don't expect you to tell me what happened over the holidays, but you had something to do with it, didn't you?"

"I didn't hurt Draco if that's what you mean." 'Draco', Hermione noted, not Malfoy.

"That's not what I meant." She paused, again thinking of how to ask her questions carefully. "Some students have been saying they saw you levitating Malfoy to the hospital wing." Harry's eyes snapped back to Hermione; he'd been too preoccupied trying to save the blondes life to notice if anyone had seen him, though now he thought about it, someone must have done, it was a long way from that lonely room to the hospital wing. "They also said that Malfoy was quite badly hurt." Harry took a deep breath, sitting forwards and resting his elbows on his knees.

"Yeah," Harry had to clear his throat to move the lump that had formed there, images of Draco lying naked and bleeding rising from the depths he'd tried to hide them in. "He wasn't in a good way." His voice was quiet and shaky, and once again he was fighting to stop his hands from trembling. Hermione watched him, the pain evident on his face, and thought intensely about her next few questions.

"You really like Malfoy don't you?" Harry glanced at Hermione quickly before turning his attention back to his hands as he nervously dug the dirt from under one of his finger nails.

"He's not that bad, not really." He thought long and hard about his time with Draco over the holidays, the good and the bad, and was happily surprised when a small smile crossed his face. His smile soon faded as he thought of all crap the Slytherin had been put through by the people he was supposed to trust. "He just acts like a horrible person because people have been horrible to him his whole life." Hermione nodded slowly, pausing to think about what had been said.

"And the people that hurt Mal-Draco over the holidays, do you know who they were?" Harry turned to look at his friend, his eyes beseeching.

"Please don't ask me that Hermione." His voice was close to cracking and Hermione was quick to nod her head, feeling for some illogical reason like she might cry.

"Alright," She took a steadying breath before continuing with the questions that she knew would hurt the most. "Did they give you the bruises on your wrists?" Harry shook his head, afraid to speak in case his voice failed him. Hermione opened and closed her mouth a few times before building up the courage to ask the next question. "Did Draco?" His eyes snapped to Hermione, a look of shame, fear and gratification that someone else knew on his face. "Oh Harry." Hermione was on the edge of her chair before she remembered they were still in the common room and she managed to stop herself before she jumped from her chair and gave Harry a chest crushing hug. "Shall we talk somewhere more private?" Harry opened his mouth and a strangled noise that sounded something like a 'yes' escaped it.

He and Hermione rose from their seats and headed to the boys dormitory. Before Harry had even closed the door to his empty bedroom Hermione's arms were around his neck and he could feel hot tears seeping through his shirt.

"It's alright Hermione," he finished closing the door and wrapped his arms awkwardly around Hermione's waist. "I'm ok."

"How can you say that?" She pulled her head away from Harry's shoulder, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. "How can you say he's not that bad when he's hurt you like he has?" Harry sighed, at a loss for what to say.

How did he know Draco was a nice person? If he went through what Draco had been through he'd be a little twisted, a little fucked up. He thought he had it bad living with the Dursley's, but being shut in a cupboard without dinner is one thing, being beaten and raped and locked in a cellar for a week is something entirely different. Draco had turned for a brief moment, turned into the deranged, tormented monster Lucius had always wanted him to be. It may have been brief, but he'd done it. What's to say he wouldn't do it again? What if this was exactly how Lucius had become what he was today; his father just hurt him and hurt him until he became a monster, and he was now passing on the only thing he knew how to give; abuse? What if Draco was destined to turn into a monster, just like his father?

But Harry knew that wasn't true, there was something in Draco, something good and decent, that Lucius Malfoy could never have possessed.

"It was a... lapse in judgement, a mistake, one I know Draco's going to punish himself for, for the rest of his life." Hermione stared hard into Harry's eyes, and saw nothing but honesty and hope. She nodded.

"Just be careful Harry, I can't stand the thought of you getting hurt." She pulled Harry into another crushing hug, squeezing him tightly and not letting go until he'd used up nearly all his oxygen. "I won't tell Ron about Malfoy, not that he'd believe me anyway. But if he hurts you again Harry-"

"He won't," Harry interrupted, a sad smile on his face. "We're not," he paused, trying to figure out what they were in the first place; friends? Lovers? Boyfriends? "Friends anymore, not after-" He let the words fade before he said them, his eyes going out of focus for a moment as his mind cast back to that night. Hermione returned his sad smile, staring into his face for a long time before placing a lingering kiss on his cheek.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, to you of all people, but don't let your brain do all the thinking, will you? Sometimes the heart knows what's best for a person more than the brain does. Not everything's logic and facts and straight up wrong and right." She placed a hand over Harry's heart, feeling the beat of it quickening slightly. "Listen to what's going on in here won't you?"

Harry stood bewildered for a moment, his eyes fixed on Hermione's hand on his chest, before looking into her warm, comforting eyes, and smiling. He gave a small nod and they once again embraced, Hermione's grip not quite as strong as before. Once the moment passed and Hermione left Harry to his thoughts, wishing him a good night's sleep, the brunette made his way to his bed and clambered onto it, rolling on to his back and not bothering to change.

He lay like this for a long time, his mind ablaze with thought. It was a few hours before the first of his roommates ascended the stairs into their dorm and Neville gave him a warm good night before crawling sleepily into bed and wrapping the duvet around him. Harry decided now would be a good time to change and so climbed into his pyjamas and under his own duvet before returning his thoughts to more pressing matters.

Half an hour or so later and Seamus and Dean entered the room, their voices lowered in a hushed discussion. Their conversation lasted fifteen minutes or so after they'd got into their own beds, but eventually lethargy caught up with them and they joined Neville in sleep.

Ron was the last to arrive, at least another half an hour later. He looked at Harry as soon as he entered the room, giving him a slight nod of acknowledgement, before silently dressing in his pyjamas and curling into a ball under his covers. Harry still lay on his back, his eyes on the ceiling, whilst Ron watched him worriedly, though silently. Ultimately though, sleep captured the red head and only Harry was left, wide awake and staring, his mind still reeling and whirring and far from tiredness. Just before day break, when the sky outside was still black but a slight blue tint was beginning to mar it, Harry's mind and heart were made up and a decision was made. Taking a resolute, determined breath, Harry finally turned on his side and was almost immediately asleep, and though the sleep was short lived, it was deep and full and he awoke feeling more rested than he had done in a long time.

It was just after lunch the next day and Draco had just left the Great Hall in slightly higher spirits than normal. His mind had been in a completely different place after he'd left his last lesson of Herbology, and he'd ended up following a couple of his class mates without really paying much attention to where they were headed, and before he knew it he was seating himself at the Great Hall in time for lunch. He'd been avoiding the place because of Harry and as he looked up to scan the hall for the brunette before making a hasty retreat he saw him and his two favourite Gryffindor's entering the hall. He swallowed and was about to duck down so as not to be seen when Harry's bright green eyes turned and locked with his. Time seemed to stand still, Draco's facial expression like a deer trapped in headlights and Harry's unreadable. Draco was about to break eye contact and try and drown himself in his soup when Harry smiled weakly and gave him and polite nod before turning and following his friends to their table.

Draco had sat dumbfounded by their brief interaction for a good ten minutes before another Slytherin pointed out how utterly retarded he looked staring blankly at his soup, and so he had eaten his fill and left the hall. As he left he chanced a glance at the Gryffindor table and his eyes once again locked with emerald. Draco was the first to smile this time, a sheepish, uncertain smile, and he was quickly rewarded by a sad but friendly smile from Harry. And so he left the Great Hall, his stomach full with the first lunch he'd eaten in over a week, with a wide grin on his face and made his way to the library to do some studying and stare out the window whimsically.

Harry turned back to the conversation Hermione and Ron were having about getting their homework done that night, a conversation Ron was losing badly.

"Help me out here mate." He pleaded with his friend, and Harry chuckled lightly.

"Sorry Ron, I'm not arguing with her, you know we never win." Hermione pursed her lips, trying to decide whether or not to let the comment go, when movement at the Slytherin table caught Harry's eye. The person he'd been waiting for was getting up to leave, his henchmen in tow, and Harry knew now was the time to make his move.

"Sorry guys, I've got to go." He said, rising from his seat at the table and taking one last bite of his buttered roll.

"Where are you going?" Ron asked feeling abandoned when he needed Harry's help the most.

"There's some stuff I need to do, and no it can't wait." He added when he saw Ron's mouth open, knowing his question before he asked it. "I'll see you in Charms in about an hour." He turned from the table, throwing a wave goodbye over his shoulder, and walked out the Great Hall, picking up the pace once out of view of his friends. He could just see the hem of three cloaks disappearing at the top of the stairs and rushed to catch up with them.

After flying up the last step Harry turned to his right and saw the three Slytherin's walking down the corridor, the blond in front gesturing wildly with his hands as he angrily explained something to his two larger companions. Harry took a deep breath and headed towards them; it was now or never.

"Oi, Zabini!" Harry shouted, causing the blond to turn, his arms still held out in mid gesture. He gave Harry a puzzled, slightly fearful look before he scanned the corridor for any sign of a teacher. "It's just me, I need a word." Zabini looked him up and down, still obviously confused, Crabbe and Goyle stood just behind him on either side looking as bewildered as ever.

"About?" He asked petulantly, his chin raised slightly in defiance. Harry couldn't help but snarl slightly, his hands clenching into fists at the sheer nerve of the boy. A flash of fear passed across Blaise' face, his chin lowering in submission; even he knew Harry was not one to be messed with.

"About Draco." He said the words through clenched teeth, fear once again showing briefly on Blaise' face. The blond swallowed visibly, his eyes roving over Harry and then up and down the corridor once more. As he turned away from Harry to look down the corridor behind him, an idea struck, and he was glad not to be looking at the brunette as he couldn't help the small smirk that crossed his lips. He turned back to Harry, all traces of the smirk gone and gestured to an empty classroom to his left. Harry walked in, his knuckles white from clenching his hands so tightly, but Blaise was beside himself with happiness.

He turned to Crabbe and Goyle, the pair still looking as though Dumbledore had skipped past in a pink tutu, and nodded at them leering, then tilted his head towards the classroom. Goyle caught on quicker than Crabbe, and he nudged his companion in the arm, his eyes wide like a predator about to kill his prey. You could practically see the cogs turning in Crabbe's brain but eventually it clicked and a twisted smile crossed his face.

"Are you coming or what?" Harry's angry voice carried across the thick air from deep within the classroom. Blaise, still smirking triumphantly, followed Crabbe and Goyle into the classroom, turning and closing the door behind him.

"I wouldn't miss this for the world." He turned his hungry eyes on Harry and the brunette's anger briefly gave way to confusion as the three Slytherin's made their way across the room towards him.

Draco tore his gaze from the window for the umpteenth time that afternoon and turned his attention back to Professor McGonagall with difficulty. She was blathering on about turning a platypus into a working chemistry set, something Draco could do with his wand hand tied behind his back, and he was finding it so hard to concentrate, what with images of a smiling Harry filling his head. He never thought he'd be on the receiving end of one of those smiles again, even if it was sad and a little strained; he'd cherish it for a long time to come.

The sadness in that smile still puzzled him; there could be a hundred reasons for it, all revolving around Draco, and it was something he couldn't seem to take his mind off of. Eventually the lesson ended and Draco quickly packed up his things and left. He began walking the corridors, no real destination in mind as lessons were now over and he had no desire to return to his common room. The rush of footsteps around him died down until only a few distant steps could be heard echoing behind him. He was distantly aware that something felt wrong, but then he noticed he'd wandered subconsciously to the Room of Requirement and supposed that was the reason for it. He glanced briefly at the expanse of blank wall, behind which an infinite number of rooms waited to be called upon, some of which would probably never be seen again, before quickening his pace and trying to push all thoughts of the room from his mind.

This was quite easy as when he rounded the nearest corner a pair of heavy, thick fingered hands crashed into his back sending him flying through an open classroom door and onto the cold, stone floor; face first. There was a sickening crunch and a searing pain exploded in Draco's nose causing the blond to cry out and clutch at the broken appendage, blood trickling from between his fingers and on to the classroom floor. Goyle's laugh sounded from somewhere behind him, closely followed by the sound of a door clicking closed and the muttering of locking and concealing charms.

"Ooh, did we do that?" Blaise said mockingly as he bent down at Draco's side, eyeing his bloodied face with feigned concern. "Don't worry, we'll fix you up good as new, won't we boys?" Again the laughs of Goyle and Crabbe echoed through the otherwise empty room.

Draco was unceremoniously wrenched to his feet, one of Crabbe's hands wrapped in the back of his robe, the other through his hair. He winced again in pain but this time managed to stop from crying out. He wasn't going to give them the satisfaction this time; this time he'd go quietly.

"I didn't think much of your attitude yesterday." Blaise mused almost to himself as he circled the blond. Crabbe dragged him to the nearest table and threw him on it, his back hitting the hard wood and sending a jolt of pain up his spine, his back arching as he bit down on his tongue to keep any sound from escaping his lips. Blaise loomed over him as Crabbe moved to hold the blondes hands down above his head. "In fact I thought it was quite fucking rude." Blaise's mood changed from sarcastic to pure madness within seconds. His hand shot out from his side and grasped a huge handful of Draco's hair, lifting his head and slamming it onto the hard wood of the table. "I'll not have you forget your place, Malfoy." The name was spat from his mouth with such ferocity that Draco's legs began to shake involuntarily.

Draco's trousers were round his ankles with one flick of Blaise's wand. Another flick and ropes wrapped themselves round Draco's wrists, twisting to force him onto his front and attaching themselves to the table. Draco's eyes screwed shut, blocking out the sights around him. He wanted to disappear, to be anywhere else but here. His mind instantly thought of Harry, of flying around the grounds and sitting by the lake in the snow. But his peaceful thoughts were interrupted as he felt Blaise's fingernails dig into the top of his back and gouge skin from his flesh as they travelled downwards and across his thighs.

You deserve this, a small voice in his head uttered. This is how Harry felt when you violated him, only he trusted you. You're prepared for this, you were supposed to love him and instead you put him through this. Tears welled in Draco's eyes and his body went limp. He felt Blaise pushing against his entrance but didn't care. He did deserve this, he deserved all this and worse for what he did to Harry. He wouldn't fight back this time.

Draco concentrated on every horrible moment he endured, from Blaise's first touch, to the groan of pleasure as he came over Draco's back, tears spilling down his cheeks the whole time. As Blaise pulled his own trousers up and finished doing them up, he flicked his wand and the ropes binding Draco vanished causing the blond to slump to the floor. Blaise sneered at him, disappointed.

"That was it?" Draco reached for his trousers and pulled them back up, shaking hands taking longer than usual to do them up. Blaise continued to stare at him in disgust as he did, shaking his head once he'd finished. "That was hardly worth my time." Blaise cast a cleaning charm on himself and leant against an empty desk. As he did so an idea popped into his head and an evil smirk crossed his face. "Well at least I got my satisfaction elsewhere earlier on." Draco didn't seem to be listening to what was being said as he lifted himself from the floor, trembling, and tried to rearrange his robes. "You know him actually; he's become a very close friend of yours recently," The way Blaise spat the word 'friend' from his mouth made Draco stop what he was doing to listen, much to Blaise's amusement. "He has dark hair, green eyes, and a stupid scar on his forehead." Draco froze to the spot, surely Blaise didn't mean what he thought he meant. "He was much more entertaining than you've been lately," Draco slowly turned to face Blaise, an unreadable expression on his face. Blaise was smiling maliciously at him, revelling in the attention he'd finally gained. "He put up a struggle, don't think he was keen on what was going on, but I soon broke him in and had screaming my na-"

Before Blaise could finish his sentence Draco's fist had collided with his nose, the sound of the bone breaking echoed through the room as the teen went sprawling to the floor. Blaise had enough time to roll over and stare petrified at Draco, his face covered in blood, before the blond jumped on top of him and began punching every inch of flesh he could reach.

Crabbe and Goyle ran to Blaise's aid and pulled the blond from his lap, but as Draco thrashed and punched and kicked everything he came in contact with, they very quickly lost their grip on him and he once again launched himself on top of Blaise. The other boy had managed to crawl about three feet before Draco's fist connected with his ribs, winding him and causing him to collapse to the floor once more.

"I'll fucking kill you!" Draco screamed as more punches and kicks collided with Blaise's quivering form. "If you've hurt him I'll fucking kill you!" Again Crabbe and Goyle attempted to restrain him, but this time Crabbe managed to secure his arms behind his back as Goyle put all his force into a punch to Draco's ribs. The blonde's torrent of abuse subsided as the wind left his lungs and he slumped over to try and catch his breath.

Blaise stared at him, still trembling, for a few seconds before his face clouded with anger. "Don't just stand there," He screamed at his cronies, quickly reaching boiling point. "Get him, get him!" Crabbe tightened his grip on Draco's arms, popping his left shoulder out of its socket, before Goyle began raining punches on him just as he'd done to Blaise.

As the abuse continued, Blaise regained some of his composure, and rage. "You? Kill me? Don't make me laugh!" As Draco was being held down and beaten, a renewed sense of confidence overcame Blaise and he limped towards the blond. Goyle momentarily stopped the torrent of punches as Blaise approached, reaching a hand out towards Draco and roughly grabbing his chin, bringing there eyes to the same level. Draco's breathing was laboured and his whole body hurt, but the rage still burned behind his eyes causing some of Blaise's confidence to fail him. "You could never do me any real damage, you're almost as pathetic as Scarhead. You should have heard him, whimpering and crying, it was like music to my ears."

Again there was a sickening crunch as Draco freed an arm from Goyle's grip and his fist connected with Blaise's jaw. He was like a wild animal, cornered and fighting for its life. Draco thrashed and clawed and kicked and did everything in his power to free himself from Crabbe's grip. Terror filled Blaise as he once again looked up at Draco from the floor, the blonds battered face looking as though every bone in his body wanted nothing more than to rip Blaise limb from limb. Crabbe's grip was loosening, much to Blaise's despair, and he instantly curled into a ball, his arms covering his face.

"Stop, stop!" He whimpered, feeling Draco's fingertips brushing against his hair as he scrambled to attack whatever he could reach. "Shouldn't you be worrying more about your boyfriend?" Instantly all motion from Draco stopped and the only sounds that could be heard were of four teens panting into the cold room. Draco's eyes went from Blaise to the door of the room and with a strength he didn't know he possessed he wrenched his arm free of Crabbe's grip and flew towards the door.

Without even touching his wand, Draco obliterated the charms that held the door shut and sped through the open doorway leaving the three Slytherin's in shocked silence. He had to find Harry, he had to make sure he was alright, he wasn't sure what he'd do if Harry had suffered, once again, because of him.

A/N: At last! I tried posting this chapter up about 3 days ago but my laptop was being an arse and wouldn't let me sign in for some reason. However! Here it is, probably the penultimate chapter, pretty sure the rest of the story will fit into just the one, although I may do a "sometime later" chapter after it, depends how it turns out and whether I like it or not lol. Loads of stuff is going on in my life at the moment (starting to sound like a broken record aren't I?) but I will get the next chapter done as soon as possible. And as it's the last I might be more motivated to get it done sooner but again no promises. Just bare with me and I shall, eventually finish this.

Also, thanks to everyone who's left reviews, really helps me get in a writing mood when I open my emails and seei reviews and story adds. Love you guys loads, wouldn't write without you! (I have fans, it's so awesome!)