Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything affiliated with the series.

A/N: Warning: Mentions of rape and suicide. There's nothing graphic, but it is still a prevalent issue in the story. If that concept makes you uncomfortable, please don't read it.

I don't know where this came from at all. Wrote it all in one sitting with no form of outline or direction at four in the morning. Like a boss. I honestly don't know how it ended up over 5000 words of angst and rape, though… /shifty eyes

I hope you… like it?

Scorpius's bones rang with excitement as he trekked the never-ending spiral staircase to the top of the Astronomy Tower. It was the middle of the night, somewhere around two o'clock, and there was no class up there. All that awaited him was his best friend, Al, and the breezy night air of winter.

It was exciting. He was breaking the rules and sneaking out to see someone who he lived with, all for the sake of the childish little rush he got at his rebellion.

Al was already up there, but hadn't been for long, as the ink on the note he left atop Scorpius's pillow was still wet when the blond read it. It'd made the Malfoy smile from ear to ear, heart skip a beat, stomach to turn with anticipation with only two words:

"Astronomy Tower?"

To be honest, it'd been quite a while since Al had asked him to do anything like this. It was nearing the end of the first term of their Seventh Year, and it was the first time the entire duration of the months that he wanted to even be near him when they were alone.

Al had been strangely distant all year. Though he was usually the touchier of the two, he flinched at even the smallest brush of skin. Rather than sitting shoulder-to-shoulder as they'd been doing since sometime around Second Year, he always left a huge gap between their bodies, and every time Scorpius tried to close some of the gap, Al would pointedly move back away.

The small, skinny Potter seemed to have only gotten smaller and skinnier after he'd returned from summer break, and after the school year began, Scorpius noticed that he hardly ate anymore. He was constantly tired, never up for anything other than studying, not even Quidditch—he'd resigned from the team the first day of school, shocking everyone, because Al Potter was the star Seeker, the Captain of the team, and the person that was expected to go pro straight out of school—, and when Scorpius asked him why he was giving everything up, he never even gave him a straight answer.

It was strange. It was unnerving. It was… not Al.

The short seventeen-year-old wasn't the same person who Scorpius had fallen for back when he was fifteen, the little feminine boy who was all bright smiles and warm laughter, the kid who hugged him without restraint, the kid who'd grown up to be quite the tease, hanging over him one second and acting like it never happened the next. He wasn't the same Albus Severus Potter who'd introduced himself as just that when they met on the train years before, eyes red and puffy but grin never wavering as he learned that Scorpius was a shoo-in for Slytherin. He wasn't the same person who he'd roughhoused and played Quidditch with—though he was never any match for the brilliant Seeker—for years. He wasn't the same Al with messy black hair and the brightest green eyes that sparkled with happiness and the prettiest little lips that pulled up into the most breathtaking of smiles that made Scorpius's heart jump into his throat as butterflies erupt more like Cornish Pixies in his stomach. He just… wasn't Al anymore.

Now, Scorpius was anxious to find out why. He pulled his jacket closer around him (the November air was unforgiving) and opened the door at the top of the stairs.

"Al?" He tried to keep his tone from sounding too hopeful, but failed miserably as he searched for the tiny Potter.

The black-haired boy was leaned against the wall of the tower, body curled up in itself, cheeks red with the cold, messy hair windswept and looking wilder than usual. He gazed up with his bright green eyes, but didn't make to move from his spot.

Scorpius crossed to him in only a few steps, folding down into a cross-legged position close to him.

The Potter froze. Scorpius looked at him oddly.

"Scorpius, move over. Please," He sounded weak, and it sent a dagger straight through Scorpius's chest.

He had no choice but to oblige, feeling upset and lost and rejected.

"How are you?" The Potter asked, voice shaking, and Scorpius couldn't tell if it was from the cold or not.

He ignored the question, feeling desperate for an explanation to his weird behavior. He'd been asking for months, to no avail, and he really just wanted to know how he could fix it if he'd done something wrong… "Al, talk to me. Why are you like this all of a sudden?"

He stiffened again. "What are you talking about?"

His brow furrowed, but he tried to stay patient. "You know what I'm talking about, Al. Come on, I'm your best friend, and you've hardly spoken to me this entire year. You resigned from Quidditch; you don't speak during class… You hardly eat anything; when you're in the dorms your curtains are drawn and no one can get around you… What's wrong, Al?" He bored pleadingly into the green eyes that he'd known for long enough to recognize a stark emptiness in them.

The Potter's voice choked and he pulled his arms tighter around skinny legs. "I…" He couldn't even manage more than that before he started crying, burying his face in his arms.

Out of reflex more than anything, Scorpius reached his arm out to lightly pat his back.

Al winced as if he'd been burned. "Don't touch me," He whispered, and there was so much fear in place of the expected hostility in his words that Scorpius felt instant alarm. For what seemed like the billionth time that year, the thought crossed his mind that something was not right with Al.

He was at a loss. His best friend was crying, and he couldn't do anything but sit and watch him. He opened his mouth to speak a few times, but his brain shut down and no words would form in his throat.

A trembling hand came to wipe wet eyes, and the way Al sniffed as he tried to tidy himself shattered Scorpius's heart like fragile glass.

"Al, what's hurting you? Did… did I do something?" He asked feebly, still unsure of what to do or say.

The boy's head snapped up, and the way he looked into Scorpius's silver eyes sent a streak of worry through him. They held nothing but pure fright; there was no denying that the way he shook had nothing to do with the weather.

Scorpius watched him expectantly, still waiting for the answer that he'd never gotten no matter how many times he'd asked over the months.

"You didn't do anything, Scorpius," He said, his voice almost pleading for Scorpius to understand.

A wave of relief swept over him, but it was soon clouded over by the uneasiness that churned in his stomach. "Then what is it, Al? Please, tell me,"

"Scorpius, I…" His breath hitched and he paused again to let new tears flow.

Scorpius's fingers itched to reach past the distance and rub his back, to let him know without words that it was okay, that he could talk to him… They never did, though, for fear of the way Al would recoil like he was about to be beaten.

"It was… during the summer. I was walking… There was a shortcut, and I was tired… But it was dark and I was alone… I left my wand at home because I didn't think I would need it, and I didn't… I didn't see them, Scorpius," His knuckles were white as he gripped the fabric on his knees.

Scorpius's crushed heart was slowly dropping into the icy pit of his stomach. No… he couldn't have been…

"There were three of them, and I'm… I'm small, and I couldn't overpower them no matter what I tried… I… I tried to yell for help but there was no one around, and then one of them held me down and they…" He wiped at the tears trailing down his cheeks, but it didn't make any difference, because new ones started to pour as soon as he took in a breath.

The blond bit at his lips, fingernails cutting into his palms from the restraint to touch Al; he knew the next part of the story, as hard as his heart wanted it to be untrue, for it to have any different ending… He had to hear it, but he didn't want to hear it.

Al's voice wasn't above a whisper. "They raped me, Scorpius."

Every bit of blood in Scorpius's body dropped to freezing in half a millisecond, his head going blank with hatred and disbelief all at once. His mouth gaped open as he looked blankly into Al's eyes. They were still wet and only getting more so, lined with red and filled with every bit of fear as before, though now flooded with a mix of helplessness and hope.

"Al…" His brain was still sparking with the aftermath of the short-circuit, but he somehow formed a coherent thought, "Does anyone else know?"

Biting his lip hard enough to draw out little drops of crimson, the black-haired boy looked down and shook his head.

"No one found out?" He was in disbelief. Summer break or not, Al had enough people around him to notice when he'd been missing for any extended amount of time.

"It was late by the time…" He broke off, letting out a choked cough of a sob, before rephrasing, "I got home late in the night. No one saw me."

"Why didn't you tell anyone, Al? Why didn't you tell me?" His tone was less angry than pleading. If he'd known before, then he would have told someone about the obvious pain the boy was going through over this.

"I didn't want to make anyone worry about me," He said softly, still not meeting Scorpius's eyes.

Scorpius's hand moved towards the smaller boy's of its own accord; Al retracted his hand and Scorpius's heart split straight down the middle. "Al, that's a serious trauma. You could have talked to someone about it, could have…" He didn't even know what to say. He was uncertain of anything other than the fact that he felt like a horrible person for ever getting mad at the Potter's change in attitude.

The Potter didn't respond; he didn't even glance up.

"You should have—"

"Please don't tell anyone, Scorpius." Albus finally spoke, voice small and frail.

"You should at least tell—"

"Please, no," He shook his head.

"Why? Someone should know!"

"It's humiliating," The Potter wiped at his streaked face with a violently shaking hand, "I worked so hard not to let anyone know… I was too weak, too vulnerable, couldn't even fight them off or run away… I don't want anyone to know that."

"It's not your fault, Al." He said with unwavering conviction.

His throat hitched with the tears and that was pain worse than anything, because Al was trying so hard to stay strong.

"It's not your fault," He repeated just so Al knew how much he meant it.

The other boy looked up, and for the first time since the year began he saw trust laced into the green and red depths.

The Malfoy's shoulders slumped and his brows knitted together. He was completely lost. He didn't know what to do, what to say, what to even think.

"Just… thank you for listening, Scorpius. It… felt good to finally tell someone." Al stood up and left the rooftop before Scorpius even had a chance to catch up to what he said.

There were a million things going through Scorpius's mind as the freezing wind blew through his long platinum hair; hardly any of them were coherent, and most of them were distraught questions of why anyone would want to crush something so pure and beautiful.

It wasn't until after Winter Holidays that Scorpius got another note on his pillow with the same two words. Without hesitating, he wrapped himself up in a jacket and hat—he brought an extra hat in case Al didn't have one, because the boy never seemed rightly dressed for the weather—and began to sneak his way to the tower.

There was no way his feet could have carried him fast enough.

"Hey Al," He said levelly as he stepped on the roof. This time, he didn't have to search for the small form, because it was directly in front of him, precariously standing on the ledge of the wall.

His heart stopped and his veins froze and he couldn't breathe anymore, because he realized that Al was about to jump and the force of that was like a kick to the stomach.

"AL!" He yelled, running over to him as quickly as his legs could carry him.

The boy's bare shoulders tensed—he was wearing only a tank-top and his pajama bottoms—, but he didn't look back.

Suddenly uncaring of the strict no-touching rule, Scorpius wrapped his arms around whatever he could reach, somewhere just above the shorter boy's knees, and wrenched him back off the wall. Scorpius didn't care how bad it hurt when he landed flat on his back with the Potter's weight on his diaphragm, didn't care about the pain that split through his skull as it met with the stone, because his adrenaline was pumping through his body and he wasn't about to let his best friend end his life like that.

"Al," His tone was heavy and betrayed every bit of terror he felt. His throat stuck on that one syllable, unable to continue with what he honestly wasn't even sure he was going to say.

The smaller boy scrambled off his body, pressing his back against the wall, eyes wild and sparkling with tears. "Scorpius, I—"

"Al, please don't ever do that to me again," He sounded just as tired as he felt, even the mere thought of life without Al draining him of all happiness he could have possibly had. He perched himself a good meter and a half away from the black-haired boy, sitting cross-legged as before.

He bit an already-abused lip and shivered as his cheeks grew wet.

Without even consciously thinking about it, Scorpius shrugged off his jacket and extended it toward the Potter along with the hat.

"But you need—" He began to object.

"Al," He said, still tired, "Take it."

The black-haired teen made no further objection, pulling the thick jacket over his arms and stretching the knitted hat over his mussed hair.

'The cold air nipped at Scorpius's skin. Every breeze of cold wind that passed felt like pure icy torture to Scorpius, the cold seeping into his very bones and making them feel too solid for his body, but he didn't care because Al was warm and safe and he was sitting right there beside him, tangible but still somehow unreal.

"Why, Al?" The two words were enough to portray everything Scorpius was feeling, though it was too much to handle for even himself.

The blond never got a straight answer, but he was used to it by now. "Do you hate me, Scorpius?"

Scorpius felt like laughing so he wouldn't burst into tears. His heart felt like it was being compressed in his chest and it all just hurt so much. "Why would I hate you, Albus?"

"I'm… dirty. Dirty and disgusting and repulsive," He crossed his arms over his body, as if he was still too exposed, speaking softly and sounding sick.

"You're not, Al," He said, voice almost cracking in vehemence. "You're amazing. You're adorable. You're absolutely gorgeous. You're perfect; they could never take that away from you, Al."

"I feel dirty. I feel horrible and disgusting and repulsive. I'm reminded every time I look at anyone else. I can't go into the dorm until everyone is gone, because I don't want to risk seeing anyone changing, because it just brings back the memories and I end up sitting in my bed all day anyway." He paused and exhaled. "The bruises on my skin are all healed, but every time I see my body it's like they're still there… I can still see them, Scorpius, like they're there just to mock me and remind me of that night."

"Al, I—"

"And it's not even that I can just see them… I can feel them, like they're still running their hands over my body; I can hear them like they're talking and laughing right in my ear… I can feel… everything like it's that night all over again, and I just don't want it anymore. I want it to stop. I want it to stop so bad, Scorpius…" He was speaking into his knees, voice muffled but still ringing with every bit of disgust in his words. His shoulders quivered with every memory until he was shivering all over.

He was so broken, and Scorpius felt so incredibly helpless because he wanted to touch him, to hug him, to wipe the wetness away, to erase the memories, but he couldn't even get near him.

"Al, you're not dirty, disgusting, or repulsive. You're innocent and you're caring and beautiful and perfect and those bastards deserve worse than death for what they did to you." Scorpius was never particularly good at speaking his thoughts, but he never resented the fact more than when he had no other method to express himself.

Al gave the kind of laugh that's used to cover a sob. Still, the sight of even the slightest smile made Scorpius's heart jump and warm with motivation.

"Don't ever forget that you have me here, okay? I know there's not much I can do… I wish I could do more, Al, I really do. I wish I could find them and—" He trailed off, anger bubbling in his stomach, "Or I wish I could go back and stop it from ever happening, but I don't have a time-turner and I don't think it's legal to kill anyone even during time travel,"

The laugh he gave this time was genuine, and Scorpius felt moisture spring to the corners of his eyes because it'd been so long since he'd last heard the sound… Even tearful and choked as it was, it was so, so beautiful. He missed it so much.

"Don't think that there's no one you can talk to, Al. I'll always be here for you. I'll sit here for six hours in silence if it'll help you get your mind off it. I don't care what it is. As long as it'll help you, it'll be worth it for me." His words rang with honesty, his stomach clenching as he spoke.

"Scorpius, I'm sorry I've been like this," The Potter's words were tiny, dripping with every bit of remorse that he didn't express.

Scorpius's throat closed up. "Al, don't ever say that you're sorry, all right?" His voice cracked, and he reached out to encircle his thin wrist with his fingers.

Al visibly flinched; Scorpius's heart gave a twinge and he let go.

"I'm sorry, Scorpius," He whispered again.

"Don't apologize, Albus. None of this is your fault," He forced out, tears collecting. There had never been a time that he wanted to scoop the boy up in his arms and hold him more… there had never been a time where that just wasn't possible.

He nodded, green eyes still cast downward.

There was a thick, tense pause. Scorpius shivered in the cold, but it didn't matter, because Al needed him and he would stay as long as he wanted him to.

"Let's go," Al suggested, still quiet, making to stand up.

Scorpius followed him, once again on new ground, because last time Al had left him alone, and he didn't know anymore what was a safe distance to walk from him, whether or not to speak, to stay in step or drop behind… All he wanted to do was make sure he felt safe, but there was just so much to consider.

He stayed a few steps behind him on the stairs, watching his slightly-slumped little form hop down each stair; even the way he walked was different, and Scorpius couldn't have pinpointed exactly what it was, but there was definitely something about the way his steps hit the floor that just wasn't the same.

They fell into step once they were off the staircase, and Scorpius was careful to stay far enough so not even their sleeves would brush as they walked.

His plan was nullified, however, when Al hesitantly reached out and walked his fingertips across the palm of Scorpius's hand.

As expected, the blond was shocked by the contact initiated by the other boy; he was stock-still as long, thin fingers laced perfectly with his own.

Looking down unsurely at the shorter boy, the small, almost shy smile stretched across his lips gave him enough confidence to hold his hand more tightly and let a grin spread on his mouth as well.

They started walking again, and though Al's palm was a bit clammy, he never made a move to stop holding Scorpius's.

It was so reminiscent of the times before when they did nothing but flirt with each other—both interested in boys but mostly interested in each other—that Scorpius felt the sentimentality clot in the back of his throat, stopping him from speaking for the rest of the night, even as they narrowly escaped Filch's cat, had to give the Slytherin password (Al said it), and then separated to go to sleep.

That night when he laid down, Scorpius opened his curtains just enough to give a peek to Al's on the left. He smiled as he saw that Al's curtains were open just a sliver as well, and that smile was shared briefly between them until they fell asleep.

There was more improvement than Scorpius ever really hoped for over the next months. Though Al didn't tell anyone else, as would have been ideal, Scorpius was more than happy to be the person he turned to when he needed someone. The boy talked to him often, though he tried to keep the topic off that night, and usually opted for any mundane conversation to fill the time and space between them.

He was still distant, still stiffened and looked up with terrified eyes at any contact not initiated by him, and that was the hardest part for Scorpius, because old habits were hard to let die, and he'd spent most of his teen years touching Al Potter in some way, shape, or form.

It still hurt. It hurt to hear in his voice, to see in his smile and in his tears, to feel in his cautious, hesitant gestures of affection. It hurt worse than anything Scorpius had ever experienced, because this was Albus Severus Potter, the most important person in the world to him, the person who he loved the most, and no one else's hands should have ever touched him. No one should have ever touched him, scarred him in the way that they did, and it hurt so badly to know there was nothing but time that could heal him.

Time… it was so fickle. One moment, it would be speeding by too fast, like when Al would scoot closer to Scorpius to lay his head on his shoulder for those lightning-fast few seconds, and the next it would be dragging along, dripping torturously slowly with every tear the Potter shed.

It was nearing the end of the school year. Al had been dealing with the trauma for nearly an entire year, and though he was improving just a bit more every day, Scorpius wished that there was something more he could do.

He loved Al. He loved him with everything he had in him, with every bone in his body and every squishy bit of marrow in the bones. He wanted to make him feel better, wanted to hug him, to kiss him, to hold him and make that night die away. There hadn't been enough time yet to let him wash away the memories, not enough time to make the nightmares go away, not even enough time to make Al feel comfortable with Scorpius lying beside him in the bed while he was experiencing the nightmares. Though he just wanted to curl up beside him and pull him close and whisper in his ear that everything was okay, that he didn't need to feel dirty because he was so beautiful inside and out, so perfect and no one could ever take that away from him, he couldn't do anything until time allowed, until Al's heart was patched up and he was ready.

It affected everyone around them, though everyone else just chalked it up as teenage hormones and a phase of distance he was going through, because they didn't have to feel the backlash of every routine behavior anymore. Al was improving. His heart was mending and his soul was getting stronger, and Scorpius was happy beyond words that the one he loved was getting stitched up and bandaged because it meant that he was helping. It meant that even though it wasn't his fault, even though he couldn't have been there that night to walk with him, to fight off those bastards and keep their filthy hands off Al's skin, he was pulling Al back into his life.

Al was getting better. With every lingering touch, with every laugh and every nighttime visit to the Astronomy Tower, he was getting better.

"Scorpius, kiss me,"

The Malfoy's gray eyes tripled in size, breath getting knocked out of him in the suddenness of the request. "Al, I don't think that's—"

"Please," He looked tenderly into Scorpius's eyes, and it was the first time in months that Scorpius didn't see fear in the green depths, only nervousness and, if he observed closely enough, the bits of newfound trust showed through strongly.

Scorpius licked his lips and swallowed uncertainly, shifting closer to the tense boy. Every move he made was slow, cautious; he didn't want anything to be sudden to Al.

The blond lifted his hand and gently rested his palm against his cheek. He leaned in slowly, eyes flickering from Al's anxious, hopeful eyes to his slightly-parted pink lips, carefully tilting his head and being sure to keep breathing. Al's eyes closed at the last second, and Scorpius felt for the first time how he was just slightly trembling.

When he pressed their lips together it was the lightest, most featherlike of touches, but it was enough to make Scorpius's heart pound. If he was focusing on breathing before, it was all for naught, because he wasn't breathing at all anymore.

A huge relief was lifted from his shoulders as the other boy responded after a half-second, leaning his head up and pressing his lips back against Scorpius's.

It was barely another second before Scorpius pulled away, lips warmer than before, sitting back where he originally was a safe distance from Al.

The boy shivered now, and when he opened his eyes they were red-rimmed and filled with tears.

Instant guilt set over Scorpius, heavier than a soaking wet blanket. He drew his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, squeezing his hands together almost painfully in regret. "I'm sorry, Al. I won't do it again."

The Potter peeked over at him for the first time, the tears now trailing down his face. He shook his head and quietly said, "Don't apologize,"

The Malfoy coughed to clear out his thick throat. He looked at the ground, unable to meet Al's eyes without losing himself.

Al moved from beside him, and Scorpius expected that he was moving further away. He was surprised to find just the opposite was true, and Al sat right next to him, facing him with his knees touching Scorpius's thigh.

Scorpius looked up at him, confused.

Biting his lip, Al raised his arms and hesitantly looped both around Scorpius's neck.

The blond stayed rigid, unsure of what to do.

Al was still shivering, but less severely as he leaned in and rested his forehead in the crook of Scorpius's neck, breath warm against his collarbone, moisture from his eyes staining his skin.

"Thank you, Scorpius," He whispered, and Scorpius's heart squeezed tightly for a long moment.

A small smile stretched across his face; he gingerly brought a hand up and smoothed it over his back in a slow, gentle stroke.

Al flinched slightly at the first contact. The only reason that Scorpius didn't automatically retract was that Al then relaxed into the touch, sighing unsteadily into Scorpius's neck.

"Al, I love you. You know that, right?" He asked softly.

He felt a hot drop splash against his collar. "I'm sorry you have to wait for me… I love you too, Scorpius. I'm trying…"

Tears started to slip out of Scorpius's eyes, and his breathing choked in his throat. There was no reason, no reason that Al should ever apologize for something like that. He was the victim; he did nothing wrong. Scorpius hated whoever did that to him, wanted nothing more than to find them and ruin them, but at the same time never wanted to leave Al's side. They were wizards, dammit, weren't they? Why wasn't there some sort of spell that could heal the wounded boy? Why wasn't there a magical cure to his pain?

"Al, please, don't," He managed in between breaths that caught mercilessly in his throat, "Please don't ever say you're sorry, okay?" His fists clenched at his sides; he wanted nothing more than to be the stronger one in the situation, but couldn't do anything when Al was breaking his heart with his self-blame.

The grip around his neck tightened and his heart gave another harsh tug.

"I wish… I could give you more. I wish I could make you happy," His words were less than a murmur.

He coughed out another sniff and brought his fingers up slowly to thread in the soft, messy black hair, chest feeling like it was trampled by pure joy when the Potter didn't wince at his touch.

Scorpius tipped his head to the side to lightly rest against the top of Al's. His fingers stroked the back of his head, and the Potter's breath was slowly returning to normal from his broken sobs.

"This is enough, Al." He whispered reassuringly, sincerity ringing in every syllable, because he wanted Al to know how much he already gave him, how happy just sitting in his presence made him, but he knew he wouldn't be able to say it without breaking down completely. He was already crying, face contorted, lips trembling, throat burning, and there was no way he could mask it in his voice, but he tried so hard to stay strong. He pressed his lips against the boy's head so lightly that he wasn't sure that Al even felt it, and he half-hoped he didn't.

"This is enough."

A/N: It amazes me sometimes how one line can spawn into nine pages and 5.2k words…

Who knew I could be so angsty at 4 in the morning?

Rape really is serious business, though, and even if I've never personally been through anything like it, my heart sincerely extends to anyone who has. Stay strong. There's always someone who loves you. :)

Anyway. Please Review and Favorite if you'd like! Also, an Author Alert would be enough to make my day :D

Thanks for reading!

Till next time,

KitKat Pyrophobia