Chapter 1: I
A/N: Hello! So this is a re-write of a previous version of this fic, which I wrote with a different name. I will be updating once a week on Thursdays.
• HP •
Red. Red is Gryffindor. Red is the Bulgarian quidditch team. Red is Ron’s hair. Red is the color of Ginny’s cheeks when Harry used to lightheartedly compliment her. Red is the expelliarmus charm. Red is the color of Voldemort’s eyes. Red is what Harry saw when he learned of the death of Fred. Of Lavender Brown, Colin Creevey, Moody, Dobby, Tonks, Remus, Hedwig, Cedric, Dumbledore… Sirius. Red is blood. Of which Harry has had too much of, yet can’t get enough.
Red is pouring out of Harry’s wrists.
He doesn’t care.
The blood makes Harry feel something again. He hasn’t actually felt something since the battle over a month ago. Even then he’d only felt the burning wrath of hatred deep within his soul. What he’s feeling now is different from that, refreshing. Bleeding provides a distraction for Harry. When Harry’s blood flows out of his wrist, so does his emptiness, his worthlessness, his guilt. Harry can forget that he has no purpose now that Voldemort is dead. He can forget that the wizarding world now has no use for him. He can forget the dead. And that it was his fault there were so many dead. By cutting, Harry can forget altogether. His world becomes shrouded with the relief of forgetting.
Sometimes when Harry cuts, he doesn’t want to forget. He needs to remember each and every one of the people he let die. He knows he needs to be punished, but the Wizengamot would never get anywhere close to charging him, let alone sentencing the vanquisher of Voldemort. So Harry punishes himself when he sees fit. Which is often.
Looking at any of the Weasley’s makes Harry sick. He can’t fathom how any of them can still look at him knowing that it’s his fault Fred is dead. He’s tried pulling away, for their own good, but he doesn’t really think it’s working. Molly still comes over from time to time bringing a delicious-smelling but undeserved dinner for Harry. Ron and Hermione of course won’t let Harry distance himself from them. They floo in unannounced at least twice a week. At least Ginny hasn’t tried talking to him since he broke up with her after the battle.
As if Harry had summoned her, he suddenly hears Hermione’s voice after the sound of floo travel. He spells his wounds to stop bleeding but doesn’t heal them. He needs a reminder of his punishment. And pressing down on his cuts in times of need while in public grants him a short relief. Harry loves his cuts in that way. “Coming, Hermione!” He yells, before scrambling to hide his razor and clean his bloodied bandages.
When Harry goes downstairs, he sees Hermione sitting on a couch in the living room. “’Lo, Hermione,” he says, staying where he is. He knows Hermione wants him to hug her and sit next to her and actually talk to her, but Harry can’t. He can’t deal with knowing Hermione pities him when he doesn’t even deserve that.
“Hello, Harry,” Hermione says. “Have you gotten your letter from Professor McGonagall?”
At this, Harry’s confused. He hasn’t gotten any letter from Professor McGonagall. What kind of letter? Are they finally realizing that he’s a bad person? Is Professor McGonagall the one to make sure Harry receives the punishment he deserves? Harry knows he shouldn’t be thinking these things or he’ll be disappointed when they don’t happen.
“She’s inviting us all back for an eighth year! Because no one got a proper education last year, our entire class, minus the Death Eaters in Azkaban of course, can come back and finish their seventh year! Isn’t that exiting?” While Hermione was almost bouncing out of her seat with enthusiasm, Harry’s blood ran cold when he heard the news. An eighth year? Harry used to love Hogwarts; it truly used to feel like home. But now the prospect of leaving the safety of Grimmauld Place terrifies Harry. He doesn’t know what would happen if he were to return to the place where everything happened. To be reminded even more of the deaths that happened because of him. The turmoil and stress that happened because of him. Even the school year being disrupted was because of Harry. Harry knew that going back and facing everyone and everything that happened there could be devastating, but he has to do it anyway. After all, it’s expected of the former “Golden Boy.”
“Yeah… Really exciting,” Harry replies, not at all enthused. If Hermione picks up on Harry’s wariness, she doesn’t say anything.
“We get to finish the seventh year curriculum we missed and learn new things as eighth years! In the letter, Professor McGonagall said we’d be getting a list of books and such that we need at a later date, but I can hardly wait! Do you think we’ll have privileges we didn’t before? Maybe I’ll get to use the restricted section! All of the knowledge in that section that I’m missing out on…” Harry tunes Hermione out, letting her get off on a tangent about eighth year. He presses his wrists against his side, wishing he could cut instead of feeling this lesser pain. He wishes Hermione would leave, so he could cut again.
“Harry? Harry, are you even listening to me?” Hermione asks, scrutinizing Harry’s mood.
“Sorry, Hermione… I didn’t get much sleep last night.” It wasn’t a lie. Harry had tried going to sleep from 10:30 to midnight, but couldn’t. He ended up cutting himself for an hour before falling asleep on his bathroom floor. Even then, he was plagued by nightmares.
“Nightmares, again? You know, you should really talk to Madame Pomfrey about that. She could prescribe you some dreamless sleep; you know that, Harry.” Of course Harry knows. But he also knows that he deserves the nightmares that have haunted him since that night in May. He deserves to be reminded of each and every life that was taken because of him every single night. He doesn’t deserve to take a potion that would fix everything. He deserves to suffer.
“Yeah, Hermione… Maybe I’ll go do that when we get back to Hogwarts for eighth year…” Harry says, hoping Hermione believe his lie. It seems that she does when she gets up, hugs Harry goodbye after telling him to keep his eye out for that letter, and exiting through the fireplace.
• HP •
King’s Cross station was even more crowded than it usually was, stuffed to the brim with new students and the returning eighth years. So far out of his class, Harry had seen Ron, Hermione, the Patil twins, Neville, Luna, Hannah Abbott, and, surprisingly, Draco Malfoy. Harry had thought Draco wouldn’t be returning to Hogwarts for eighth year, even after he and his mother were pardoned for their crimes. Among the returning underclassmen that he knew well, Harry had seen Dennis Creevey—that stung—and Ginny.
Ginny turns to look at Harry, and for a second they lock eyes. There’s a sadness in Ginny’s eyes that Harry knows is there because of him. He feels an immense amount of guilt as a result and presses down on his wrist, telling himself he’ll cut later when he has time. He tears his eyes away from Ginny and rushes to get on the train. He can’t bear the crowded station and the feeling of being stared at, both by Ginny and the people who think him a “hero.” Locking himself in a car by himself, Harry takes a few calming breaths and pulls up his sleeve. The most recent cuts had reopened when he pressed on them and are now bleeding profusely. Harry sighs as he feels the rush of relief along with the rush of blood. He drags his thumb along one cut, rubbing blood around on his wrist. Harry’s fascinated by the sight of his blood dripping down his arm, watching it—
Harry’s broken out of his thoughts by banging on the compartment door behind him. He jumps and quickly shoves his shirt sleeve down. He then unlocks the door and says, “C-come in.”
The door opens to reveal a disheveled looking Draco Malfoy. “Sorry, Potter, I—There are no compartments left… So I figured I might ask if it would be okay for me to stay here…” Harry didn’t reply, just nodded. Harry had more important things to worry about than his childish rivalry with Malfoy. Like how he’s going to find places to cut in privacy at Hogwarts. And how he’ll deal with the guilt of seeing the loved ones of those whose deaths he’s responsible for everyday. Draco continues, “And sorry for my… rather unkempt state. I guess people don’t like ex-death eaters going to school with their children, and—Potter, what happened to you?!”
Harry follows Malfoy’s line of sight, straight to the blood dripping off of his hand and collecting in a small pool near his feet.
• HP •
A/N: So that was the first chapter! Sorry it was so short! Pretty please with cherries on top tell me what you think with a review! Or fav/follow. Constructive criticism is always welcome! Thank you SO MUCH for reading!
Chapter 2: Chapter II
A/N: Hey, guys! So I know I’m technically getting this out on Friday, but I had a friend come over last minute tonight and couldn’t get it out until now. I know, I know, I’m sorry. Anyways, thank you so much for reading and for your comments on the first chapter! The second is a little bit longer and somewhat more introductory.
Warnings: graphic descriptions of self-harm, blood
Harry freezes in place as he watches the blood drip from his hand to the floor, trying desperately to think of a believable excuse. “I, uh… I cut my arm when I was… uh, putting my bag above the seat… I’m short so I had to, uh… Stand on the seat and… I… fell.” He knows it’s a pathetic excuse, but from the way Malfoy’s looking at him, Harry thinks he might actually believe it.
“You know you could have just used magic,” Malfoy says, shaking his head and levitating his bag. Harry fakes a laugh awkwardly and sits down, spelling his wounds to stop bleeding. He doesn’t heal them, never heals them. Malfoy sits across from him, and instead of sitting back and ignoring him like Harry thinks he’s going to do, Malfoy looks up at him as though he’s looking for conversation. Harry avoids eye contact and clears his throat uncomfortably.
When it becomes clear to Malfoy that Harry isn’t going to continue their conversation, he leans back and looks out the window, seemingly dismissing Harry altogether. Harry’s fine with this. He needs time to sort out his thoughts before he’ll be pushed back into the crowd again once the train reaches Hogwarts. Since the day Hermione came to inform him about eighth year, it didn’t seem as if Harry had any time to think. It was all a rush of preparation to go back and birthday wishes and restoring Hogwarts to its previous glory that the only things Harry had time for were self-harm and the occasional meal. He had barely slept since receiving the news, granted he had barely slept before then either.
Harry was both excited and wary to be going back to Hogwarts. In some ways, he was glad to be out of the dank Grimmauld Place and back to the place he used to think of as home, but in other ways, Grimmauld Place offered him protection from the outside world and his feelings while he has no idea how he’ll react to being back at the place where it all started for him. He has no idea how McGonagall is planning on housing the extra population of eighth years, therefore he doesn’t know how he’s going to keep his cutting habit secret. If Professor McGonagall extends the normal house dormitories, Harry knows he won’t be able to cut as much or as often as he’s used to.
Not wanting to make himself anxious over something that may not happen, Harry stops thinking about this topic. Instead, he glances over at Draco, who seems to be in deep thought as he looks out the window. Harry decides to take this moment as an opportunity to really look at Draco for the first time since his hearing.
He’s matured since the end of the war. He let his hair grow out slightly and now instead of gelling it down like he used to just leaves it be. It’s clear he hasn’t shave in a couple days; stubble riddles his jaw. He’s filled out since the end of the war and now looks as though he was chiseled by Michelangelo himself. Harry now understands why he was so popular among the Slytherin ladies before the war. ‘Wait, did I really just think that?’ Harry interrupts himself. He’d never had thoughts like that before—
“Hey, Potter,” Harry jumps when he realizes Malfoy had caught him staring. “I just, uh… I was wondering if…”
“Just spit it out, Malfoy,” Harry says, not wanting to be drawn into yet another awkward conversation.
“I was just wondering if we could start over… I know I was a prick during the war and before at school. I was blinded by making my father,”—the word is spit out with so much vitriol Harry almost flinches—“proud. I understand now that I was wrong. And I hope you’ll accept my apology.”
Surprised by Malfoy’s change of heart, Harry is speechless. He doesn’t know whether he should accept the apology or not. Yes, he’d defended Malfoy and his mother at their trials—they did save his life after all—but that doesn’t mean he likes him.
In the end, Harry decides that their childhood rivalry doesn’t mean anything anymore, not after everything that’s happened. He holds out his hand for Malfoy to shake, “Hi, I’m Harry,” he says.
After a moment, Malfoy smiles and takes Harry’s hand. “Nice to meet you, Harry. I’m Draco.”
Harry pretends that he only imagined the pleasurable shock he felt traveling up his spine when Malfoy took his hand.
• HP •
Harry and Malfoy walk into the Great Hall and find seats at the eighth year table together, much to the surprise of the rest of their peers. “We decided that keeping up old rivalries was childish and petty. After Malfoy—well, Draco, now I suppose—apologized, I found no reason not to accept.” Harry leaves it at that. If his friends can’t accept his new… alliance, then that was their decision to make.
“Yes, I realized that the decisions I made in the past were not in my best taste. I was too clouded by my need to make my father proud that I couldn’t see the right side of things. I’m sorry to everyone I may have hurt in the past,” Draco says, looking at the small group of Harry’s friends surrounding them. Most acknowledge the apology and disperse, but some—Hermione, Ron, Luna, and Neville—smile and tell Draco they accept his apology.
The group continues to have a small conversation before Professor McGonagall continues with the annual welcome back speech. It contains most of the usual topics, no going into the Forbidden Forest, no use of restricted spells, blah, blah, blah. Harry tunes most of it out until she gets to the part in her speech about the eighth years. “Now, we have some students that were technically supposed to have graduated last year. Seeing as they were restricted of a normal education last year, they have been invited back for another year to fulfill their NEWT requirements. These students will be called eighth years. They’ll have their own dormitories in different wing of the castle, which won’t be separated by house. These students should stay after the feast so that I can escort you to your dormitory.” With that, the feast began.
The house elves prepared much more than they had the last few years, but Harry found himself unable to eat anything. In that one moment, he’s thrown back to a few months ago. He doesn’t see Ron and Hermione’s smiling faces as they flirt unabashedly with each other. He doesn’t see Ginny in her happy conversation with Neville and Luna, laughing. He doesn’t hear Draco ask him to pass the salt. He only sees the destruction. He sees a bawling Mrs. Weasley crying over Fred’s dead body. He sees a slew of unidentified bodies and body parts in a pile in the corner. He’s sitting in a pool of blood instead of on a clean bench. He clenches his fingers and shuts his eyes. He doesn’t want to see, he doesn’t want to remember, god, why can’t he just forget?
“Harry? Harry!” Draco whispers, nudging him. Harry comes back to reality, where he is sitting in the clean, restored Great Hall with all—most, not all, Harry—of his friends. “Are you okay?” Harry glances around. Thankfully, only Draco noticed his slight lapse in thought.
“Y-yeah. I’m fine… just zoned out a little.” With a smile, Harry reached for a roll and a small piece of chicken to placate Draco’s watchful eye. Thankfully, it worked, and Draco went back to eating his dinner. Harry vows that he can’t let that happen again and tells himself he’ll cut later tonight.
• HP •
“So, Ron, what room do you want?” Harry asks, after Professor McGonagall led the eighth years to their separate dormitory and told them that they could choose one person to share a room with.
“Oh, uh… Sorry, mate, Neville already asked, and I said yes.” Ron says, giving Harry a sympathetic look. “I’m sure you can find someone else, right, mate?”
Harry glances around to find that everyone else has already partnered up. “Looks like we’re going to be sharing a room, huh, Harry?” Draco says, the only person left besides Harry who hasn’t been paired up yet. Harry doesn’t mind, but there’s still a little bit of him that feels upset that Ron preferred rooming with Neville instead of him.
Once he and Draco find their room, a spacious room with two four-poster beds on each side and a window in between, Harry excuses himself to go to the bathroom. He’s exhausted from the long day he’s had and just wants to get in bed, but he also needs to freshen up before going to bed. And he needs to cut.
He makes sure Draco knows he’ll be in the shower and won’t be out for at least twenty minutes before locking the door behind him with the strongest locking charm he knows. He also casts a silencing charm just in case. It seems as though his razor blade is calling to him, and Harry can’t wait until he can slide the metal through his skin again. He showers first before getting out and preparing his tools for cutting.
The metal blade glints in the light of the room. It’s small and flimsy, hard for Harry to pick up off the marble countertop. But he does, and when he slices it through his skin, he heaves a sigh of relief. The stress and anxiety that built up throughout the day bleeds out with the blood that flows from his forearm. Harry cuts again, and it’s like something else has taken over him. He slices again and again, pulling this way and that, until his entire forearm is nothing but cut up skin and blood. Only a few, three or four maybe, are deep enough that Harry can see that cutaneous layer of white that makes him feel so accomplished. Seeing that cutaneous layer lets Harry know that he didn’t go too deep, to the point where he’d need to seek medical attention, but they’re deep enough that he can see those layers beneath his skin. He sits on the bathroom floor, laying back and letting the blood flow out of him. Once again he was sitting in a pool of blood, but this time he welcomes it. All of his worries and stresses leave his body with his blood.
A banging on the door surprises Harry. “Harry! You done in there, yet?” Draco calls from the other side of the door. Harry jumps, spelling away the silencing charm he’d had around him. He uses a cleaning charm to clear away the blood and spells his wounds to stop bleeding.
“J-just a minute, Draco!” He scrambles to get his pajamas on and then stashes away his blades before opening the door to Draco. “I was just finishing up. I’ll be in bed if you need me, okay?” Draco nods and leaves Harry to himself.
Harry climbs into bed and pulls up his sleeve, examining his newest cuts. He rubs a finger over one of the deeper ones, hissing at the sting he feels when he pulls back at it. It starts bleeding slowly again, and Harry smiles slightly. He rubs the blood around in circles on his arm, fascinated. Harry’s glad that the eighth years have their own dormitories—that means he can cut virtually whenever he needs to.
He pulls down his sleeve and gets into bed. Almost immediately, he falls into a fitful sleep.
The first thing he notices is the searing pain in his scar. He looks around, clutching his forehead, looking for the source of the pain. He can’t see anything though; everything around him is pitch black. Suddenly, he hears a voice. “Harry.” It’s his.
“No. It can’t be you. Y-you’re dead.” Harry says, terrified. Voldemort can’t be back. A laugh sounds in the darkness, a sound that makes Harry’s blood run cold.
The voice doesn’t listen to him. “I’m here to remind you of everything you’ve done Harry, everyone you’ve killed. All of your friends, your family! It’s all your fault!” The horrible laugh again.
“No! I didn’t kill them! You did! Your followers did! I didn’t do anything!” Tears stream down Harry’s face. He’s pleading desperately, but he doesn’t even believe his own words. He knows he’s at fault for everything.
Fred shows up first. “Hello, Harry.” His voice is chilling and dead. “I hope you’re happy now, Harry. I hope you can see what you’ve done to my family, to George. You left holes in their hearts. You left George without a second half. You’re a terrible person Harry. I hope you die, so you can pay for what you’ve done…”
Dumbledore is next. “I shouldn’t have trusted you, Harry. You’ve only let me down. Everything I did for you, you wasted! All you are is worthless, Harry. Look at all of the people you let die for you! You got me killed!”
“No! Professor, Fred, I promise I never meant for any of this to happen—”
Remus and Tonks come after Dumbledore. “You left Teddy without parents! You should have known better, Harry! How do you feel now that you’ve left children—your own godchild, nonetheless—parentless! Orphaned, just like you were! You should feel ashamed, Harry.”
Sirius shows up. “I was ready to welcome you into my life, Harry. I offered you everything. I loved you like the son I never had, and you betrayed that! You might as well have killed me yourself, Harry!”
“Sirius, no! Please, Sirius, you have to know that I didn’t want any of you to die. I’m so sorry!”
“Save it for someone who cares, Harry,” Sirius spat, dismissing him altogether.
“Harry,” the voices of his parents sounded. “We expected so much of you, Harry. We thought we were going to be proud of you. But you let us down. You let the entirety of the wizarding world down, Harry. We should have never had you! We hate you, Harry!”
“No! Please, no, I’m sorry!”
“Wha-what?!” Harry jumps awake when he hears his name being yelled and feels himself being shook.
He rubs his eyes and looks into the face of a very concerned Draco Malfoy.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading! I hoped you enjoyed that chapter! The third will be up next Thursday! Please review, favorite, etc.!
Chapter 3: III
A/N: I am honestly the worst type of fanfiction writer because I’m such a procrastinator!! I am SO sorry!! I was supposed to have this chapter out yesterday, but I have been so busy! That’s no excuse, though. Anyways, I’m not really that happy with this chapter; it’s short and sort of a filler, but we get a little more insight to the dangers of Harry’s thoughts. I hope you enjoy it!
Warnings: self-harm, suicidal ideation
“Are you okay?” Draco asks, noticing the tear streaks on Harry’s face. “You were having a nightmare or something…I… I get them, too, and it always helps if someone stays with me…” Draco’s asking more for his benefit than Harry’s, not having been able to get to sleep earlier. Harry mumbles something incoherent and pulls Draco into the bed with him, falling asleep once again in seconds.
Harry wakes up slowly the next day. He’s wrapped in something warm and comfortable and doesn’t want to get up just yet. When that something moves however, Harry is abruptly pulled to attention. He looks to his side to find a still-asleep Draco Malfoy. Harry jumps and pushes Draco off the bed. “What the fuck!?” He yells, angrily. Why was Draco Malfoy cuddling with him in bed?
“Jesus, Harry, I was sleeping,” Draco says, annoyed at being woken up so soon. Harry doesn’t understand why Draco is being so calm about this.
“Yeah, in my bed! What gave you the right to do that?” Harry asks, even more confused. He doesn’t remember waking up, although he does remember having a horrible nightmare and it suddenly ceasing.
“You did! You were having a nightmare, so I woke you up. I get them, too, and it always helps if someone stays with me. When I told you that, you kind of just pulled me on top of you,” Draco explains, calmly.
“No! I wouldn’t have done that! We hate each other, remember!? I wouldn’t have let you cuddle with me in my sleep, Malfoy! You were just trying to take advantage of me, I bet!” Harry yells, getting out of bed and standing over Malfoy.
“I wouldn’t do that, Harry. Besides, we’re friends now, right? Friends take care of each other when they’re upset.” Draco gets up as well. He doesn’t understand why Harry is so angry. He was the one who pulled Draco onto the bed, after all.
“We are not friends, Malfoy. I can’t believe I let you talk me into forgiving you! You’re still the sneaky ferret you were before the war. You better stay out of my way this year, Malfoy, or else you won’t know what hit you.”
“Fine!” Malfoy says, grabbing his robes and leaving the room with a slam of the door.
Harry rushes into the bathroom and grabs his razor blade. He slashes twice on his arm and sighs in relief. He watches the blood flow down his arm with morbid fascination. He knows that Malfoy was probably telling the truth. In Harry’s sleepy haze, he’d probably pulled Malfoy down to his bed to cuddle with him all night. But it’s better this way. It’s better that Harry doesn’t get close to Malfoy. That would risk his secret being found out, and it would lead to him getting hurt.
Harry lines the blade up with his arm again and pushes down hard. He drags the blade through his skin and creates the deepest cut he’s ever made. He smiles, watching the blood bubble up and pour out of the wound. He makes another cut. And another. Until his arm is no longer recognizable.
He gets lost in a sea of red.
When Harry gets to the eighth year table he finds Hermione and Ron in a casual conversation with Malfoy. He sits far enough away that he won’t have to listen to their conversation but close enough that it looks like he’s not avoiding them. He can’t have them find out about his cutting. If they do, they’ll make him stop, and he can’t have that. Cutting is the only thing that feels right in this world. Harry can’t have it taken away from him.
Schedules are distributed and to his dismay, Harry finds that he has potions first. Could this day get any worse?, he thinks to himself as he walks slowly to potions class.
Snape’s acting weird. When class begins, Snape simply tells them which potion they should brewing. There are no scathing remarks, no points taken away, no insults flung at the Gryffindors. He’s not being nice, but he’s certainly not being the greasy git he used to be.
After class, Harry walks with Ron and Hermione. Hermione explains to Ron that maybe Professor Snape just couldn’t be himself and risk compromising his place among Voldemort’s ranks in their previous seven years at Hogwarts after Ron remarks about the teacher’s confusing actions. “What do you think, Harry?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Hermione. It makes sense that his entire demeanor was a façade last year, but it’s just so odd to see him acting so… different. I don’t really think it’s worth gossiping about, though,” Harry replies, effectively cutting himself off from the conversation. All he can think about is his fight with Malfoy. He doesn’t know why, but he feels incredibly guilty. Every time he sees Draco in the halls, he feels horrid for accusing him of trying to take advantage of him. Every time he sees him, he’s reminded of the fresh new cuts on his wrist and presses them to his side. He’s already reopened the deepest one twice today, and he’s a little worried that someone observant like Hermione is going to notice. Of course they’ll probably know he deserved the pain, the punishment. Who wouldn’t? Harry Potter, the boy responsible for the greatest and most destructive wizarding war in a century! Harry Potter, the boy who single-handedly killed over ten percent of the wizarding population! Harry Potter, the boy who just wouldn’t fucking die!
Maybe that was the solution. Death. It would be easy. He could cut in the privacy of his and Draco’s bathroom. Straight down his arm. One quick slice. Draco may be the one to find him, though, and Harry doesn’t wish that on him at all. Too much blood. Perhaps he could take a potion. He knows that there are potions out there that give someone an easy, painless death. Harry doesn’t think there are any potions of the sort at Hogwarts, though, and he knows that he can’t brew one himself. Harry also knows that he doesn’t deserve a painless death. He deserves to die suffering for all that he’s done, for all the grief that he’s caused. Jumping off the astronomy tower would have to do, then. Maybe he could even cut then, too. There’s bound to be blood either way. Maybe cutting and then jumping will make him die faster. He doesn’t deserve a quick, easy death. But that’s the only way his death could be guaranteed. Yes, that’s what he will do. Slice up his wrists before jumping off the astronomy tower. It will be better for everyone involved if he kills himself before anyone else gets hurt. Including himself. Now, he just needs to figure out a date.
Later that night, Harry gets out of the shower with fresh new cuts littering his thighs. He realized that he would have to let his arm heal slightly before cutting there again so that no one finds out. His thighs are the second best place. Not as good as the arm, but his thighs will have to do for now.
He crawls into bed, exhausted from his first full day back at Hogwarts. He’d forgotten how draining a day full of classes could be. He turns on his side, thinking of the revelations he’d made today regarding his death, and he smiles.
When Draco calls a meaningful and honest “Goodnight” from the other side of the room even though they haven’t made up yet, Harry’s heart constricts. He doesn’t deserve Draco’s niceties. He doesn’t deserve anyone’s niceties. He deserves to die.
He’ll be dead before the end of the month.
A/N: I promise I’ll be better with getting the next chapter out on time!! I hope you enjoyed this one! Thank you so much for reading; please review, fave, etc!
Chapter 4: IV
Hey! First off, I am so, so sorry I took so long to update this. I had some writer's block and then was super busy with school and everything, and took way too long to get back to this. I now have a general plot that I want this fic to follow, so hopefully I update a little more regularly!
Warnings: mentions of self-harm, suicide
The next two weeks go by in a blur for Harry. Every day he wakes up, takes a shower, cuts, eats what little he can for breakfast, goes to his morning classes, skips lunch to cut more, goes to his afternoon classes, eats dinner for the sake of not worrying his friends before working on homework with them, and then tries to fall asleep, unsuccessfully most of the time. He doesn’t talk to Draco, aside from a ‘goodnight’ every so often. He doesn’t want to talk to Draco, or anyone for that matter. He wishes he was still at Grimmauld Place; it’s dark and lonely, but at least there he doesn’t have to pretend to be something he isn’t. At least there, Harry doesn’t have to put on a show for everyone; he can cut whenever necessary and he doesn’t have to get out of bed. He can mourn the deaths he caused and avenge them. He doesn’t want to be at Hogwarts. There are too many bad memories plaguing Harry at school. He can’t walk to class without remembering Fred, Dobby, Colin Creevey, Lupin, even Lavender Brown. Hogwarts is a constant reminder of his role in the war, and subsequently in the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.
His only relief is cutting, feeling the cool metal of his blade slice through his fragile skin, blossoming in red. Red encompasses his life. He feels red when he walks through the corridor where Fred died, when Ron and Hermione and everyone else act like nothing has happened , as if Voldemort, the war, the horcruxes had never existed. He feels red when he sees Ginny, and she still looks as if she hopes he’ll change his mind and fall in love with her, and when first years look at him as if he’s a god, as if he’s something or someone that deserves respect and honor. He feels red when he wakes up in a cold sweat from another nightmare, when the owls bring in the daily post and he feels the icy reminder that Hedwig is dead, when he walks into the Defense classroom and is reminded of Lupin and subsequently Tonks and remembers it’s his fault their child is left parentless. He feels red when Sirius’ favorite food is served at dinner, when he walks past the lake and sees Dumbledore’s tomb, when he looks out into the Forbidden Forest and wishes he hadn’t come back when he died there . He feels red all the time . And that makes him need to see red, too.
And see it, he does.
- HP -
Harry’s ready to be dead. There’s nothing left for him to live for; his duty is done, the prophecy fulfilled, Voldemort dead. That’s why he’s decided to kill himself. During the monotonous past weeks, Harry has formulated a plan. The upcoming weekend is the first Hogsmeade weekend, meaning most, if not all, of the upperclassmen will be gone. It’s the only time before Christmas break that most of the school will be gone. Harry’s decided that he’s going to do it, then. He’ll have the privacy needed to say goodbye, to leave everything behind. He’ll do it the quick and easy way, straight off of the Astronomy Tower. He’s already written letters to those he cares about. He’s ready; now all he has to do is wait for the day to come.
- HP -
“Hey, Harry?” Draco asks, walking out of the bathroom. It’s 8:00 PM the Thursday before the Hogsmeade weekend, and Harry is sitting on his bed, trying to read a quidditch book Ron had gotten him for his last birthday.
“Yeah?” Harry says, looking up from his book.
Draco sighs. “May I?” He gestures to Harry’s bed and, after receiving a slight nod, sits down next to him. “Look, I’m sorry. I should have known not to fall asleep in your bed after your nightmare. You were clearly distraught and tired and didn’t know what you were doing. Honestly, I just wanted to help, but I understand your reaction. Is it too late to try this ‘friends’ thing again?”
Surprised, Harry sits up and looks pensively at Draco. He hadn’t expected this at all. Harry had fully expected not to talk to Draco, not to ‘make up,’ at all. Now that it’s happening, Harry doesn’t know what to feel. Unexpectedly, the Boy Who Lived feels his emotions lighten up at the prospect of a new friendship with Draco. He tries to reign in his feelings, for there’s no point in feeling this way with only two days left to live. Nevertheless, he replies, “I’d like that, Draco. And I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did.”
“I understand, Harry.” Draco looks at Harry with obvious nervousness and says, “What do you say we try to get to know each other a little better at Hogsmeade this weekend? We could head down to the Three Broomsticks and talk over some butterbeer.”
Harry’s conflicted. If he goes to Hogsmeade with Draco, he won’t be able to go through with his plan. But at the same time, Harry doesn’t want to turn down Draco, who’s so clearly worried about Harry’s rejection. Even though their friendship is going to be short-lived, Harry doesn’t want to hurt Draco. He doesn’t want to hurt any more people. He’s already hurt too many people in his life.
“Sure, Draco. I think that’s a great idea.”
He can always go through with his plan during the next Hogsmeade weekend.
- HP -
Saturday proves to be very busy for Harry. He gets up early and makes sure to wash himself and prepare himself with extra care. He doesn’t fully understand why he feels the need to look his best for Draco, but Harry finds himself wanting this new friendship to work out. His feelings confuse him; he’s still buried in sadness and desperation, but now there’s something there that Harry hasn’t let himself feel in a long time. Something akin to hope.
Harry doesn’t let himself focus on the emotion for too long, instead turning to his bathroom mirror to fix, or attempt to fix, his hair. He wrestles with it for a good twenty minutes before giving up. His hair has always had a mind of its own. Harry walks into his and Draco’s shared room and puts on a pair of dark jeans and a black, fitted t-shirt before pulling on a light jacket. He doesn’t zip it, as it’s still September and warm enough to be comfortable in just that. Most of the students at Hogwarts just wear their robes to Hogsmeade, but Harry prefers his casual clothes. Lately, his robes have been making him feel claustrophobic, only adding to his discomfort being back at school.
When Harry and Draco are ready to go, they embark on the quick walk down to the small village of Hogsmeade. The slight breeze cools Harry’s body, setting goosebumps to appear on his arms, but the sun warms his face. During the walk, he and Draco are quiet, moving in companionable silence. When they get to Hogsmeade, they decide to go into Honeydukes first and get their fill of delicious sweets.
“What do you like?” Harry asks Draco, looking over the colorful array of candies. “I know you have a sweet tooth. Your mum always used to send you candy when we were younger, but do you have a favorite?”
“You noticed that, did you?” Draco says, blushing. “I like sugar quills and chocolate frogs the best.”
Harry picks up a box of each and takes them to the counter to buy them. “Whoa, Harry, hang on. You don’t have to do that,” Draco protests, following his roommate.
“I know I don’t have to, but I want to,” Harry says. “We’re friends now, right? What are friends for?” Harry doesn’t know what made him want to buy Draco the sweets, but after doing so, he knows that he’s happy he did. For some reason, seeing Draco happy makes Harry happy, too.
The boys leave the sweets shop and opt to go to the Three Broomsticks for some butterbeer. Harry finds them a booth in the corner while Draco orders their drinks at the bar. For some reason, Harry’s nervous. He hasn’t had to make a friend since he was a first-year and after everything that’s happened, he doesn’t know exactly what he should be doing.
Draco sits opposite Harry and hands him his butterbeer. “So, what Quidditch team do you support?” Draco breaks the ice.
“I think the Puddlemere United are set for a great season this year,” Harry says. “What about you?”
“I’ve always been a fan of the Falmouth Falcons. I had a cousin who played for them before the war… He’s in hiding now or… Well, he doesn’t play for the Falcons anymore,” Draco says. Harry tenses. Draco didn’t need to finish his thought for Harry to know what he was going to say. His cousin is in hiding or he’s dead . Another death, or at least another life ruined, that’s Harry’s fault.
“Draco, I’m so sorry…” Harry says before he’s cut off by the wizard across from him.
“It’s fine, Harry, I shouldn’t have mentioned it,” Draco says.
“No, it isn’t, Draco! It’s not fine! This damn war took so much from so many people! And you should be able to talk about it! Merlin, everyone acts like nothing happened, no one talks about it ! How are we supposed to move on from this shit if no one talks about it?!” By the time Harry finishes, he’s out of breath, and Draco’s eyes are wide. Harry knows he’s being hypocritical; he himself never talks about it, of course, instead finding solace in his blade. He has a release, though–others don’t. People like Draco, who’ve lost so much, don’t have a release. Harry looks at Draco, wide-eyed in surprise at Harry’s outburst, and instantly regrets saying anything. “I’m sorry, Draco, I shouldn’t have said anything. Today was supposed to be a good day for us to get to know each other, and I’ve gone and made it about the war.” Harry presses his arm against his side, hard. He cut yesterday, deeper than he usually does, and the pressure on the wounds gives him relief.
“Don’t apologize,” Draco says. “You’re right. People should talk about it. And… if you ever need to talk about it, you can come to me. You know that, right?”
Harry nods. “Thanks, Draco. The same goes for you…” As Draco smiles from across the table, Harry is happy he decided to come to Hogsmeade today, instead of going through with what else he had planned.