Hello everyone, I'm No Pain, No Gain, and I majorly write Hetalia. You don't care? Good, thought so. Just saying that this most probably will be my first and last Harry Potter fanfic ever xD (I might do a Sirius-based one later, though O: We'll see...)
Anyways, this was just a small idea that popped in my head when I read the Sectumsempra scene in HBP. Harry's lack of worthy emotional reaction was extremely disappointing throughout the entire series, especially during this scene, which was my favourite in all of the seven books. So I decided to tweak it a bit. That's what fanfiction is for, eh? ;D
This is also actually just an exercise on dual POV. 3rd person, but delving deep into both Draco's and Harry's minds simultaneously. You'll see what I mean. I think I made it too Draco-centered to call it dual POV, but please, give me your opinion on it~
There are also hints of Drarry to find if you are a die-hard fan of that pairing, put on your pairing glasses, do a handstand and cross your eyes. Honestly, I tried to keep the pairings neutral, but my subconscious obviously thwarted my efforts =3= Oh well, take it as you will.
Okay, enough chit-chat, onto the story! Comments and criticism always welcome and encouraged! Remember that this was an exercise, so the content might not be all that good (alibis for lazy writing? xD). Please feel free to comment anything, tough. This is my first HP fanfic, so the chars will for sure be OOC a little bit (especially since the entire point of this fic was a play on emotions, emotions that the canon chars obviously didn't have =_=").
Warnings: Violent violent violeeeent~, swearing, OOC-ness?, pale hints at shounen-ai, le teenage angst (:
Disclaimer: Do not own Harry Potter, because if I did, Harry would cry more often. He's either so emotionless or teenage-drama-angry all the time that it's honestly disappointing. Also, don't say I didn't tell you so, but the speeches in the first part of the story, all the way to when Harry casts Sectumsempra, are practically all copied down from the book (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).
Tu tuum verum hostem.
Harry only vaguely registered that he was taking a detour across the seventh floor to go down to dinner. It was like his feet were leading him, eyes on the Marauder's Map clutched in his hands. The green irises darted left and right, trying to spot the name he'd been following so obsessively for so long.
Malfoy. Malfoy. Malfoy. Where was he? The Room of Requirement, perhaps? There were so many dots on the map, though most of them were down in the dinner hall. Could Malfoy have been amongst them?
Stuck in his own world of mystery and investigation, Harry walked straight into a suit of armour, gasping as the loud clang of metal snapped him out of his trance. Perfect. Now Filch would be on his trail unless he could escape in the next few seconds.
Not feeling up to getting stuck in one of Filch's rants, Harry got up and quickly went for the stairs to the sixth floor. Once out of range, he erased his map and put it away safely in his robes. Malfoy was nowhere to be found. Might as well try and forget.
Lost in thought once again, he walked past the door to the boys' bathroom. Just a moment later, he stepped back. Was that... noise?
Harry frowned and held his breath. Sobs. Someone was crying.
Curiosity was a trait he couldn't get rid of. Instead of turning around and going to get a teacher, Harry put a hand on the door. Just a peek wouldn't hurt. If someone in there was in trouble, he had to help.
Slowly, very quietly, he pushed the door to the boys' bathroom open. The lights were dim, the air chilly, the stone floor cold and the atmosphere heavy.
And there, on the other side of the room, was the figure of the person haunting his every thought, crouched over the dirty sink, facing a cracked mirror. From the dull reflection of the smudged mirror, Harry could see tears sliding down Malfoy's pale, perfect cheeks. His shoulders shook as he swallowed a silent sob, and the most astonishing sight of all was Moaning Myrtle, floating next to him, looking conflicted.
"Don't..." she whispered, looking as if she as well was about to cry. "Don't... Tell me what's wrong... I can help you..."
"No one can help me." The blond let out a shaky breath, not making any effort to rub the tears glistening on his skin away. "I can't do it... I can't... It won't work... And unless I do it soon... he says he'll kill me..."
And Harry's throat went dry because this was the heir to the powerful family of dark wizards, feared by everyone, the toughest Slytherin around... This was Draco Malfoy breaking down under the accumulated pressure of whatever task had been put on his shoulders.
Draco Malfoy, the cold, cruel, stone-hearted blond who was sure to become just like his father, whom Harry had despised from the very first day in Hogwarts. This was his arch-enemy, his rival, finally cracking under the strain of life and truly becoming human right in front of Harry's eyes.
This wasn't supposed to be happening. Never before had Harry considered that Malfoy did have other feelings than cruel satisfaction. Malfoy, afraid? Never would he have even considered it. Not until now. Malfoy was dropping his mask, unaware that he wasn't alone.
Human... so crudely, painfully human.
Harry's heart leapt in his chest. Hurting and hating Malfoy had been so easy before. Malfoy had always been a soulless, evil figure to him, and for all the six years he'd attended Hogwarts up to now, he'd never once had qualms about facing him. Harry had hurt him, humiliated him, hated him and bothered him, under the pretext that he couldn't feel the repercussions anyways.
So wrong. So, so wrong.
Draco was human, after all. Everyone was human, somewhere inside. Harry had never considered it. He didn't want Draco to be human. Didn't want him to feel everything he'd done to him so far. Guilt flared in his heart.
If Draco had been hurting this entire time because of him... Would that make him the true enemy? Would that make him the only real evil around? What kind of twisted convictions had he been living with if he hadn't addressed any of those problems up to now?
His hand fell from the door to hang loosely at his side. His feet felt rooted to the ground. With a belated shock of realization, he finally became aware that Draco was crying –actually crying-, thin frame racked with trembles as he tried to wipe away the grimy tears so precariously positioned on his pale face. Malfoy gasped and sniffled in a way that literally pulled at Harry's heartstrings before slowly looking up into the mirror.
The first thing he saw was the pitiful sight of himself, once so proud, now reduced to a crying mess. And then, he saw Potter, just standing there, frozen in shock.
And all he registered was that he's dropped his defences in front of his greatest enemy.
His mind screamed in protest as his body worked on its own. His hand immediately went for his wand. He had to distract him. He had to do everything he could to erase what Potter had just seen. He had to be the cold, strong Draco, now. No one should remember him for who he really was inside. Terrified. Scarred. Broken.
It was as the wooden wand slipped out of Malfoy's pocket that Harry finally realized that he was required to pull his own out as well. He had to pretend he hadn't seen anything. He didn't know if he could handle a drastic change in his and Draco's relationship now. Not when they'd antagonized each other for so long. He couldn't bear to accept that Draco was hurting at the very moment, not when he'd hurt him so many times during the last six years.
The first hex came from Draco, missing Harry's head from mere inches and shattering the lamp behind him. The room teetered a bit more into darkness.
Barely finding time to take a breath, Harry raised his own wand to retaliate. Whoever weakened first would be the ultimate loser here. He had to keep up his image. He couldn't let Draco know that he... regretted.
The word sounded so foreign to him. To clear his mind of the unwanted word, he immediately concentrated on the first spell he could think of.
'Levicorpus!' he tried, futile as Draco noted the slight crease of concentration around his eyes and cancelled the wordless spell.
His mind went into overdrive, an intoxicating feeling of mixed panic, apprehension and adrenaline filling his veins. A spell. He needed a spell. Something to end this quickly so he could leave quickly and pretend he'd never seen anything as quickly as possible.
Malfoy raised his wand, with the very same intent. His barriers had been broken, and his real personality had shown. He didn't want to look weak, even if he knew he was. He had to look strong, stronger than ever, if he wanted to make up for his slip. He needed to show Potter that he was ready to do anything, anything to win. He had to become, even if only for a moment, the man his father had wished for him to become.
His wand was already raised. He just had to voice a spell. But not just any spell. He needed a well-thought-out spell that would assure him immediate victory, or at least dominance. To prove he wasn't weak. To help him lie to the world.
"No! No! Stop it! Stop!" Moaning Myrtle was crying, floating around frantically. It was as if she knew something was about to go wrong. If only they'd known. If only.
Pressure. So much pressure. He needed more time. More time.
A spell flew out of Malfoy's wand by its own accord, blowing up the bin behind Harry's head. A ripple of fear flowed through Draco's body. His wand and body were working on perfect coordination to assure him victory while a part of his mind was screaming, begging at him to stop, surrender, drop his lies, ask for help, stop the madness before someone got hurt-
The cistern beneath Moaning Myrtle exploded as Draco narrowly evaded a Leg-Locking Curse. The ghost screamed as water spurted out everywhere, slicking the cold floors, drenching the bottom of their robes. As Malfoy made a move to put his wand up again, Harry moved, his feet stepping in a shallow puddle and causing him to slip over the slick stones.
To Harry's surprise, the look in Draco's eyes didn't get any more gleeful than before as he slipped and fell at the other's mercy. Instead, it seemed to darken, apprehensive, hesitating. He could practically see the raging emotion behind the cold grey eyes. Hunger for power, regret, fear, so much fear, and a small spark of humility, begging for help, because he didn't know what was going on, he didn't know what to do or how to stop, he had to keep going now that he'd gotten so far, so close to his goal-
Harry knew what spell Malfoy would be casting next even before the boy opened his mouth.
Staring down the tip of Malfoy's wand, he saw the anguished face of Sirius as he was in his vision from last year, when he dreamed that his godfather was being tortured by Voldemort. The deep lines of pain etched onto his face, the silent screams, everything seemed so clear to him even if the vision in itself had never been real. Neville's parents had gone crazy because of the curse. Countless had been tormented because of it. Pain. So much pain.
And for a second, pure, unadulterated fear sprang up in Harry's heart. He didn't want pain. He was invincible. No one was supposed to touch him. No one.
For a moment, he saw red.
And everything became an enemy.
The spell was for enemies, right? The Half-Blood Prince had written so in his book. The spell was specially made to hurt someone's enemies. So why did Harry's heart lurch upside down as he spoke the words. Horrible apprehension filled his veins. He didn't have time to think. Next thing he saw was red.
With a sickening noise of ripping skin, twin gashes opened up on Draco's body. The larger one ripped through his clothes and sliced his chest deeply, and another, smaller one cut him across the face diagonally.
Blood, so much blood.
Harry couldn't feel himself anymore. He could only stand by and watch as Draco screamed in agony, falling backwards and splattering blood everywhere on the wet, cold stone floor on impact. Blood stained the entire expanse of his chest and flowed down his forehead. It mixed with his hot, shameful tears and ran red streaks down his pale cheeks endlessly.
And it hurt, of course it hurt, but it hurt more inside. Draco was trembling, trembling so bad he could feel himself quake even through the advancing haze of blissful unconsciousness. Where had Harry learned such a dark spell? When had he learned it? But most importantly... Why?
Why had he used it? Why him?
Bleeding seemed to open a dam for many things, obvious tears aside. His heart fell up and down rapidly, trying to pump blood into his body, only to lose it as it dripped out of the large gash on his chest. His heartstrings strained under both the pressure of rapid pumping and the heaviness of emotion.
He would never have used the Cruciatus curse. Never. Voldemort used it a lot. He saw what it did. He hated what it did. Why so much pointless suffering? What was the point of hurting others for other reasons than self-preservation?
He was expected to kill... But how, how could he accomplish that if he couldn't even hurt? For some reason, the Cruciatus curse sounded a lot less appealing when he was convincing himself to cast it on innocent people. Especially Harry Potter. Harry Potter, who was a victim as much as he was, a victim of his own popularity as much as he was.
They were so alike on so many bases. It was scary, knowing they couldn't get along despite that. Another lurch caused him to choke on his own blood, spitting it out on the ground, not finding the strength to push himself on his side to save himself from drowning.
And suddenly, there were arms around him.
"No, no, no..." Someone was saying. It sounded so close, yet so far to Draco. His vision blurred, and for a moment, all he saw was green. Hauntingly familiar, beautiful, pained green. Eyes. Harry's eyes.
Harry, who was tenderly holding him, shaking and begging for the bleeding to stop. Harry, who was crying, silent tears dripping off his cheeks and falling on Draco's face, joining with his own on their course down his bloody face. Harry, who was apologizing. Apologizing for hurting him. Why?
"I didn't know what it did, I'm sorry, s-so sorry." He kept saying, occasionally shaking his head as if to dispel the images in his head.
Draco tried saying something, but all that came out was another pathetic whimper. Harry clenched his eyes shut and clutched at his bloodstained clothes for a moment, as if fighting not to break out into sobs again.
"Goddamnit, Malfoy, stop it!" he finally choked out. "You're okay, stop bleeding, stop crying, stop hurting!" But they both knew it was impossible. It was too late. The barriers had broken and could not be erected again.
Draco wanted to scoff. All he managed to do was shut his eyes. The darkness gave him a cooling effect. His body went numb. His hearing drowned out.
And he wondered for a moment if he was dying. If this was what dying felt like, so peaceful, so calming, so soothing... he wouldn't mind. Dying sounded a lot better than living right now. What would he be living for if he kept living now? More pain? More loss? More pressure? More tears? Nothing.
If he died, he wouldn't have to kill. But if he died, he would be leaving his parents at Voldemort's mercy. They were the only reason he was trying hard and persevering and steeling himself and cracking. He had to live and die for them. He couldn't abandon them now, because he was no traitor.
"Come on, Draco, you can't die!" Harry was trying every healing charm he could think of, but all his spells were in vain. The two gashes refused to close, as if mocking him for his mistakes. "You're a fucking Malfoy, Malfoys are tougher than this." And he could barely even control what he was saying, because his heart was talking for him.
Draco smirked weakly at his words. What a shame he must have been. Such a dishonour to look so weak in front of the enemy. He must've disgraced his family so hard by now that his grandchildren would feel it. Oh well.
His body went numb.
A victim of his own name, just like Harry.
The last thing he heard before losing consciousness was the distant yell of someone who sounded infuriated and worried.
It was dark when he awoke. At first, he didn't recognize where he was, as the white walls washed over by soft moonlight told him nothing. He certainly wasn't in his dorm in the dungeons.
And then he realized as his eyes darted to the side, that he was in the infirmary. The night air was chilly and pleasant, and he blinked for a while before attempting to push himself up into a sitting position.
As he did, a hiss escaped his lips. His chest stung, and in a second's worth of time, everything rushed back to him. The bathroom. Pressure. Breakdown. Potter. Blood.
Right, he was hurt. Why did he always get hurt when he dropped his guard? Was it his destiny to hide behind a heart of cold steel and glass?
Shuddering, he drew his blanket over his lap and stared fixedly at it, as if it would give him the answers he so miserably desired to know.
And then, something warm was put on his hand.
Draco immediately stiffened and snatched his hand away from the foreign touch, glaring. Through the rays of moonlight filtering over the cold floor, he spotted Harry Potter, standing there with his hand retracted guiltily.
"Potter." Draco rasped, eyes narrowing. "Why are you here? Disappointed you couldn't finish me the first time? Come back to rectify your mistakes before it gets out?"
Neither of them spoke, letting the sharp words fade into the silence of the night. Tension was building up in Malfoy's heart, and more and more questions were popping up. It was getting harder to breathe. Harry looked inscrutable.
"I'm not a killer, Draco." Harry finally spoke, looking directly into the tired grey eyes of his Slytherin counterpart. "And you're not, either."
And if Draco said he didn't let go of a breath he'd internally been holding since forever... he would be lying.
He was not the only one who was reluctant at the idea of him being a murderer. That must have counted for something. The truth came with numbers, and one person alone couldn't prove it.
"Why are you here, then?" he asked suspiciously. Not that he minded, really, he was sure he'd choke on the solitude if he'd been left to his own devices for the night, but of all people... Harry?
"Apologizing." Harry muttered, trying hard not to look down. Keeping eye contact was the hardest part because he knew that Draco could read the humiliation and the regret in his eyes. Whilst he felt no qualms feeling them, he would once have been too proud to even consider apologizing.
Once. Once, so long ago. Had he changed? For the better, or for worse?
"I don't need your apologies." Draco bristled, body instinctively curling a bit inward, as if to protect him from any blows that might come. "You tried to kill me, I won't forgive you so easily." But he never said he wouldn't forgive him in due time.
"I said I was sorry." Harry blushed, a pale brush of moonlight falling across his reddened cheeks. "I didn't know what the spell did."
"Idiot. How could you cast a spell without knowing its effects? You're a horrible liar, you know." Because he was making efforts to stop lying as well, and if he made efforts, everyone else should.
"I'm not lying. I read it in a book. It said 'for enemies', and I just reacted when you-"
"I wasn't going to use the Cruciatus curse on you, idiot." Draco looked out the window, frowning. "I'm not the Dark Lord, nor am I an underling of his." He hissed the last part out. If it weren't for the prevailing silence, Harry would never have heard it. His heart lightened at those meaningful words immediately.
"I know, it's just that I've dreamed of my godfather being tortured and it looked like-"
"I don't want to know. I don't care." That's what he forced himself to say. "Stop talking. You're annoying."
"And you're not being yourself." Harry finished with a raised brow.
"What, you'd rather I yell and hex you? If you're that much of a masochist, then I'd make it a pleasure to hurt you!" Lie. "Go on, stand in the corner, if you're that eager for a Cruciatus curse, hand me my wand and I'll fix something for you!" Lie.
He wasn't strong enough to be able to hurt anyone.
He wasn't weak enough to resort to hurting anyone.
"You're not being yourself." Harry repeated. "Is everything okay?"
"Listen, Potter, my private life is none of your concern, so just get the fuck out." Draco growled.
"It is, considering you want to kill me." Harry replied coolly, facing Malfoy head on. He would break Draco's facade even if it became the last thing he did.
Draco's features crinkled into a tired frown, and he glared at his scratchy blanket for a second. How he longed to go back to his comfortable Slytherin dorm and sleep a dreamless sleep. Somewhere where Harry Potter and his misery wouldn't be able to bother him.
"I don't kill." He finally whispered, so low he barely heard himself over the sound of his steady breathing. "Get out." He finished, hissing in pain as he lowered himself gently back onto his pillow and turned towards the wall. His eyes practically oozed sorrow as he heard a sigh and the clattering of retreating footsteps. He didn't want him to go, but he had to let him go, lest he get attached.
"Draco..." Harry stopped in front of the door, not wanting to turn around and see his rival's broken form again, knowing he'd been the one to break him so. "Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it." He quoted, Dumbledore's gentle face shining in his mind and sending a wave of warmth racing across his skin.
Draco didn't reply, but shifted into a more comfortable position for sleep.
"Night." Harry muttered to thin air and exited the infirmary hurriedly, clicking the door shut carefully behind him.
Once outside, he tiredly sighed, dropping his mask of cool calmness and rubbing his tense forehead with trembling fingers. What a hypocrite. Telling everyone else to drop their masks while upholding his own. Shame.
He would not sleep well that night, he knew it even before he started walking towards the dorms. The dead, distant look in Draco's eyes as he lay on the warm, wet floor would most probably haunt his dreams if he dared close his eyes. The bright shapes of salty, confused tears would probably shine behind his closed eyelids and make the welcome darkness recede. At least he had made sure that he and Draco were on speaking terms despite their accident in the bathroom. He wouldn't know what he'd do if he were to lose contact with his rival and friend.
Rival and friend. Despite what they both pretended, Harry knew that their relationship went far beyond that of regular teenage rivals. Draco probably knew it too, but was afraid of admitting it. Just like him, he was probably afraid of abrupt change.
For years, they'd antagonized each other with no remorse. If things were to change so far into their cemented relationship, they'd be defying the entire balance of the society within Hogwarts. Everyone knew they 'hated' each other, and they couldn't change it now: the point of no return had long been crossed.
They would change it somehow, though. Harry was determined to make it happen.
Because he didn't hate Malfoy. He'd never hated him. Disliked, yes. But never hated. He didn't hate. He didn't hate Voldemort, either. He was angry at him for not being human enough to spare a pleading mother, heavily disliked how he treated his underlings, he was disgusted at his cruel actions, pitied his lack of humanity and emotion, but did not hate him. It sounded so wrong when he said it. It was like he was causing the entire order of the world to crumble.
And that's why he couldn't openly change his relationship with Draco now. But nobody needed to know what happened behind closed doors.
He would not give up on Draco, because they were not enemies. They'd never once been enemies. Friends on different sides. Rivals on the same side. Not enemies.
There was no enemy, and Harry only realized that too late as he walked away from where Draco was lying, hurt and broken.
The spell he had used had clearly been designed to be used on enemies only. Such violent, dark magic should not have been used on anyone else than the greatest of evil. Harry had simply wrongly understood what the spell's description had meant.
To be cut, severed, separated, slashed, hurt.
Forever, always, until the end of eternity.
The spell that would cause the victim to be cut forever.
The spell that was designed for only the greatest of enemies.
Harry finally understood what it meant as he tried forgetting the haunted look in Draco's eyes as he fell. Draco had not been an enemy, so it had not hurt him all that badly. Blood would dry. Wounds would heal. Scars would fade. Because Draco was not an enemy.
But the spell had indeed worked. It had done its job in hurting Harry's greatest enemy.
His heart felt empty and cold. As if it were hanging limp and lifeless in his chest. Draco's pained screams and tears refused to leave his head. He felt so tired and remorseful and angry at himself for hurting him so.
And Harry would not forget. His heart ached, and it would not stop. In the darkness of cold winter nights, he would watch the snowflakes float down and die on the ground and remember how Draco, too, had gracefully fallen so high and broken on the ground.
His heart would hurt forevermore.
Sectumsempra did indeed cut forever.
Harry learned this the hard way and clutched at his bleeding heart.
You are your only enemy.
Le random sentence at the end? Translation to the wonderful Googletranslate!Latin phrase at the top. I thought you'd figured that out xD
Ah, the repetitions. They're not in vain, I promise. In my head, they provided a third depth to the story apart from grammar and plot. Like... symbolism. Or images. Anyways. I felt like they were necessary (not).
Did you see what I did there? (: Harry's heart will indeed be cut forever for he will never forget about the incident, and since he is his own worst enemy (I leave this to interpretation for I have my own and you probably have yours xD), he was the one who was most hurt by the entire ordeal. Ahhh, I suck xD (Not as much as Miss Gilesbie, though. Props, girl, you have made my life with the joke that is "My Immortal").
Yeah, a lot of things are allusions and images. Like, half this story is real-time actions, and the other half is pointless images. Le spam with virtual things. Haha.
Anyways, like I said, since this is an exercise, I would appreciate any comments/criticism/insults/suggestions/flames/reviews/cookies on anything you find wrong or right in this oneshot. Thank you so much if you're still reading (why are you still reading omg? xD) and please leave a review~~~ I hope you enjoyed.
~No Pain, No Gain