Disclaimer: Anything familiar to JKR's books probably comes from there and is hers not mine. Also, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, the Wizarding World, and anything else that has to do with it belongs to the lovely JK Rowling, not me. I'm just playing in her sandbox and building my own Hogwarts in it.
They Don't Know You At All
Harry sat along the edge of the Astronomy Tower, his legs hanging off the side of the balcony. His arms stung from the marks on them, small trails of blood moving down his arms even as the cuts clotted up.
It was September 1st of his fifth year, and Harry was hurting so much. Despite the couple weeks spent with the Weasleys and Sirius, Harry still felt like he had during his time at the Dursleys. A couple weeks of being with friends didn't make up for two months of being told he was a freak and worthless and shouldn't even be alive. It didn't make up for the beatings and bruises and pain he had gone through. He had been so careful about hiding hits wounds, both physical and emotional, but it was so hard to keep up his act.
As the wind blew in his face, Harry let a few of his tears fall, looking out over the dark grounds, lit up only by the moon above.
Then he heard the door open behind him, but Harry didn't move. He had been expecting her to come and find him tonight after seeing him at the welcome feast, after seeing the pain in his green eyes, hidden so carefully from those who didn't understand this side of him.
"Again?" she asked softly, moving to sit next to him before carefully lifting his right arm. She took care not to touch the fresh cuts among past scars, some due to beatings and some self-inflicted over the years.
"I couldn't help it after Seamus yelled at me, calling me a liar," he said hoarsely, tears blurring his eyes and even reaching the lenses of his glasses, dripping down the glass and his face. "It just proves that what they say is true. I'm worthless, a freak…"
"No, you're not," she told him, and he could hear her head shake back and forth. Merlin, if anyone knew they were up here together, they'd be attacked by magic and words from all sides of the school, but they did this anyway, they met up anyway. "They don't know you, don't understand you – none of them do, not even Granger and Weasley."
"Daphne…" Harry whispered, turning to face the blue-eyed blond-haired Slytherin who sat next to him yet again, seeing a couple tears on her cheeks. "I spent almost two months with them again." Harry was shaking as he thought back to his summer with his relatives, remembering how scared they had been by the reminder of Sirius Black being his godfather and how they had taken out that fear on him. "All it did was prove what they've always said. My friends can't do anything for me, won't do anything for me, not even my new-found family."
"Harry, if you would let me, I'd get you out of there before you could even return, but you won't let me," Daphne reminded him softly, still holding his arm with one hand even as the other moved to cup his cheek. "You helped me in first year when Malfoy wouldn't leave me alone, but you won't let me return the favor."
"You know that no one can know," Harry sighed, turning away from her, making her hand fall from his face. "If anyone found out about any of this…" He shook his head.
"Harry, if it's a choice between watching you suffer like this all the time, or having to defend myself from idiots like Malfoy and Granger and Weasley and the rest of them, I'd rather be able to help you," Daphne said with meaning, pain lacing her voice. "I've spent four years helping you how I could at night or the few times we meet in the day, and you need something more than that. Please, let me help you."
"Daphne…" Harry said again, turning to face her completely, his legs now on the tower rather than hanging off the edge of it. He moved so that he could grasp both her hands with his own, looking into her blue eyes carefully. Harry knew she could understand what he was thinking, what he feared, but Daphne just shook her head.
"No, Harry, I'm not going to give up on you just because He's back, no matter what you might believe," she stated, her eyes narrowing into a slight glare of defiance. "I'm tired of watching you suffer because none of your Gryffindor friends see this side of you, Harry," she told him in a softer voice. "You need me, Harry, and I'm not letting you get away from me again, not when you're in this much pain."
"Please, Daphne, I can't bear to watch you get hurt because of me," Harry begged, but he knew before he had even finished his sentence that Daphne had made her decision, and nothing he did now would change that. If he even tried to fight her, she would just manipulate his own words and actions against him, just as she had done in the past to get him out of his funks well enough for him to pretend nothing was wrong around his friends.
For three years they had been meeting here or in other places around the castle, one or the other of them hurting for some reason. Whether it was him because of his relatives or one of his adventures or flashbacks of his past, or it was Daphne because of the things the other Slytherins tried to do to her or the way her parents ignored her in favor of her sister Astoria, they were both hurting in their own ways, and only the other had ever managed to stop the pain for any real length of time. They cared for one another despite their differing Houses.
"How are we going to do this?" Harry sighed, his shoulders slumping in defeat. Daphne squeezed his hands before letting go of one to place it under his chin, raising his head so his emerald green eyes met her shining blue eyes.
"Tomorrow, after breakfast, we'll leave the Great Hall together," Daphne decided quietly. "Spend the day together by the lake."
"Daphe…" Harry said hesitantly, and she smiled slightly, obviously understanding his worry.
"You can protect me, and I'll protect you," she reminded him. "Use the Marauder's Map and your Cloak to keep me safe, and I'll warn you about anything I hear about in Slytherin. I've been using protection spells since first year to protect me from the other Slytherins, as you know since you helped me look them up. Tracey will help us as well. And if I know your friends, the Weasley twins will support you and prank anyone who dares to hurt us while Granger will be shocked but supportive. It's the other Weasley boy and his sister I'd be worried about, if anything. If you can deal with them, then I can deal with Malfoy and his cronies. We'll be fine."
Harry sighed in defeat, nodding because she wasn't wrong. Her only true friend in Slytherin, Tracey Davis, had known about their hidden friendship since second year, when Daphne had had to disappear more often to talk to him after the Chamber of Secrets opened. The other Slytherin had made alibis and misled everyone else so that no one found out about them, and they had shown her their gratitude as often as they could because there was no way they could repay her for all she had done.
Unfortunately, she was correct about Ron and Ginny. Hermione would come around quickly, and Fred and George would think of it as one huge prank on the entire school, him and the "Ice Queen of Slytherin" being friends for so long without anyone knowing. Ron, however, absolutely detested Slytherins, and Ginny wasn't that far behind him, though at least she had a reason after being possessed by Tom Riddle's diary…
Still, being able to actually talk to Daphne between classes or disappear with her without questions being asked would make things so much easier. When he was with her, the pain disappeared until they had to part. She managed to make him feel like he wasn't worthless, wasn't only alive because his mother had made a grave mistake in sacrificing her life for his. With Daphne, Harry felt as if he could actually live and not have to worry about Voldemort so much.
But for four years, he had only had Daphne for small bits of time, giving him relief before sending him right back into the ocean that was his life. To have her almost constantly would make everything so much easier.
"We'll make this work, Harry," Daphne whispered, moving forward to hug him, not caring that his arms were getting blood on her clothes. He only sighed in response, letting himself relax in her arms as he had done so many times before.
"I don't know what I'd do without you, Daphe," he admitted in a whisper, and he felt her smile against his neck.
"Then let's not find out," was all she said in response.
Just a short one-shot that I wrote in an hour today. Inspired by listening to "The Last Night" by Skillet, which is where the title comes from. It's my first time writing Harry/Daphne, though the pairing interests me quite a bit, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'll probably play around in this pairing once my Harry Potter trilogy "Rise of an Alpha" is completed. It's either this one or Harry/Astoria - maybe even both.
Let me know what you think? It might not be my best writing, but I was in the mood to write something different.