AN: Hi there! I know it's been a while. I should really work on Three Cheers to Friendship and all, but I just don't have the mojo.

Warnings: Mature themes.

Disclaimer: Don't own any of the characters or anything even remotely related to the Harry Potter Franchise, except my own copies of the books and some merchandise, including some stolen posters.

Believe Me, I've Seen It

Darkness, in my opinion, is relative. When the lights go out in the dorm at night, everything is black; you're nyctalopic, but just for a moment. A few seconds later, your eyes grow accustomed to the lack of light, and you can distinguish shapes and shadows. When you've been sitting in the dark for a while, you can almost see.

Almost.

But not quite. I wonder how much of what I can "see" is actually the result of a visual process, or if my knowledge of what is located where in this dormitory fills in the blanks for what my eyes don't actually perceive. Does it matter? I ask myself.

The light my parents instilled in me shone through, always. Until the Sorting Hat saw a shred of something in me that indicated I should seek the dark. Seek it; savour it; rot in it. Slytherin was not my choice of house, but I have come to understand that it has been the right place for me.

Of all the things I feared about the dark, the thing I feared the most was the isolation. Six years I've been attending Hogwarts, and I have overcome that fear. But I am alone.

I am ostracized by my family. I am alienated by my peers. My teachers are all disappointed in me; the son of the famous Harry Potter… so much potential… blah blah. Such big shoes to fill. It means nothing to me. The only person who I can really have an intellectual conversation with is my Aunt Luna, and she's not even really my aunt.

They say I'm a slacker and that I'm wasting my intelligence by messing around. Intelligence, psh. Cynicism is what it is. I don't care about the bullshit they're trying to drill into my head. I care about the artistry that is all around. That is all.

I am an artist at heart, and the artist in me likes beauty; appreciates it. Aesthetics have always been of the utmost importance. I feared Slytherin because I feared the dark, and in the dark, beauty is hidden.

Or so I thought… Until I found something … someone … beautiful there.

Scorpius is a real piece of work. He is spiteful. He is devious. He is unfailingly charming and irresistibly unique. He is a fierce friend and a formidable foe.

He is evil. He is beautiful.

I want very badly to be able to run my fingers through his soft, shiny hair and to trace the contours of his Cupid's Bow lips with my tongue. That, however, is unlikely to ever happen. Not only are we not intimately acquainted enough for such behaviour to be socially acceptable, but he is way out of my league. Ironic, huh? His family, fallen from grace, mine raised on a pedestal, but to me he is the unattainable and I am just a painter, depicting that which I cannot have.

But that was a long time ago. The shame and fame of our fathers has faded. Today, we're just two teenagers who couldn't be more different, except in that we both harbour a darkness, a spirit of evil no one else will ever know.

The darkness of Scorpius Malfoy is buried deep within. Mine is not.

I am not in love with him, don't be mistaken. But the way he moves when he walks, the colour of his eyes, the shape of his face, the texture of his skin… all stir a deep desire in me. I want to know beauty.

I slip my hand under my shirt and caress my torso, imagining that the warmth beneath my fingers is from his body and not mine. I have goose bumps. My hand slides down to my hip, where I sneak it under the waistband of my pants. I bite down on one of my fingers of my other hand to stop myself from moaning aloud as I wrap my fingers around my half-hard appendage.

The door opens. I sigh as I languidly bring my hands to rest on my stomach. Scorpius spares me the slightest of glances before gracefully flopping down on to his bed. It's the furthest away from mine in the dorm.

"Malfoy" I greet.

"Potter" he replies unenthusiastically. There are several moments of silence before he speaks again. "Did you hear about your brother?" he asks. Scorpius loves to gossip.

"I haven't yet had the good fortune" I say, somewhat sarcastically. "Pray tell"

He sits up. I don't bother looking at him but I can clearly picture the look on his face: a contemplative smirk. He's deciding whether or not to divulge whatever scandalous, juicy information he has acquired. He obviously decides not to, and he replies, "I'm sure you'll know soon enough"

I don't press the matter. Instead I close my eyes and wait for sleep to take me, before the rest of our roommates arrive.

I wake up with sticky sheets. I had a good dream. I wonder if I was vocal about it.

Scorpius fascinates me. He has a dark aura, a regal energy that – I admit – is rather intimidating. But he's a nice person, I suppose.

I'm not. And I don't pretend to be. I've had a… problem, some call it, in the past with illegal potions. Mind-altering substances. I don't want to talk about it.

I have detention with some dimwit professor whose name I don't even know which I have received as punishment for falling asleep in class. Again.

Is it my fault that the lesson was so painfully tedious that I couldn't bring myself to stay awake? I think not.

Detention I can deal with. I get detentions on a weekly basis. But now I have to go see Professor Hadley, the self-appointed guidance councilor, to 'talk' about my 'problems'. She's a young, bright-eyed, newly appointed Muggle Studies teacher. I don't take such a retarded subject, so I don't interact with her much. But what I do know is that she has all these ideas about teenagers and their supposed 'issues', and that she wants to help, somehow.

Pathetic. Why does she even care? Then again, she teaches Muggle Studies, and from what I can deduce, Muggles are quite into psychoanalyzing people. What a ridiculous subject.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Muggles or anything. In fact, the opposite is true. I find them exceedingly fascinating… especially the art. The music. The pop culture. But most of all their obliviousness. Do you even know how many of them take (and are addicted to) magical substances and don't even know it? They even have their own names for some of it, such as 'Heroin', thinking they know how it really works.

I laugh at their stupidity.

Scorpius is looking my way. It's not often that I sit in the common room and sketch, but today I'm that kind of mood. You know, the one where you feel like doing something you don't often do? Yeah, that one.

He's done it twice now. Looked at me, then looked away. I think he might be burning up with curiosity as to what I'm drawing, but he's too far away to see and too proud to ask.

Or maybe he's thinking about how fucked up my hair looks – he cares about that sort of thing – and doesn't actually give a shit what I'm drawing. Who knows?

The common room is warm and pleasant, and I can actually bear to be around the people that are sitting in it. Strange. This doesn't happen often.

Coincidentally the drawing I'm busy with is quite beautiful. It's a lovely, gay scene of a summery day on a French balcony, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I've been to Paris two or three times as a child. I remember it only vaguely.

I glance over at the spot where Scorpius was sitting just a moment ago, but he is nowhere to be found. Suddenly the room doesn't feel so pleasant to sit in anymore, and I kind of want to leave. So I pack up my shit and leave. I don't know where to go now. My sketch isn't done, but most of them aren't anyway. I have this bad habit of starting a picture and never completing it. They just sit in my file, unfinished.

I find myself in my dormitory, where I throw my things under my bed and flop down onto the mattress. Without changing my clothes, I sleep even though it is early and dinner is just starting. I wake up fifteen hours later to find that I have not only missed breakfast, but I am late for Herbology. Whatever. Uncle Neville will understand.

Deciding not to bother with class at all, I head out to the lake where Hagrid is showing his class some disgusting water-specimen at its banks. I linger at the back of the class even though I look totally conspicuous among these little third-years.

Hagrid dismisses his class at the end of the lesson and comes over to where I have been standing for the past half-hour. "Albus" he greets warmly. I hate his warmth.

"Hagrid" I respond monotonously. I'm not here to chat. I'm here because I don't know where else to be.

"How are yeh?" he asks. "And what are yeh doing here?"

"Bored as per usual but otherwise healthy. I'm contemplating suicide by offering myself as a sacrifice for the Demon of the Deep that's lurking there in those dark waters" I drawl.

Hagrid nods and smiles falsely. I can see he doesn't get me, so I walk away.

"Well, bye then" he calls after me. I raise a hand in a quick display of acknowledgment without turning around.

What an oaf.

Walking back to the dungeons when the day's classes are all over, I reminisce about the feeling of not feeling. It was hard to stop abusing, and I kind of miss it most days. However I really don't miss the Comedown. When the drug wears off and your body returns to a state of fucked-upness just like the rest of your life, and everything is clear again after the beauty of the haze…

Why am I thinking about this? I shouldn't think about this.

Scorpius was filing his nails in History of Magic today. Now he's lying on his bed with his shirt off, scratching patterns into his chest and stomach with his short nails. He's leaving trails of red on his skin where he's touched himself.

I sit down on my bed and ask him what the fuck he's doing and why.

He simply looks at me before ignoring me completely. He continues his activity.

One Christmas we had the Scamanders over for dinner. I sucked the twins' cocks in the broom-shed out back in the yard. My brother caught us. He hasn't liked me ever since. I wonder vaguely what kind of trouble he's in now. Yes, it's true that the 'trouble' James gets into is petty compared to what I do (or have done), but trouble is trouble nonetheless.

It's getting darker. Everything around me seems filtered blue and I swear the ceiling is bleeding.

Maybe it isn't dark at all. Darkness is relative.