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A Habit

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It’s the same every night. At eight minutes to twelve, Draco Malfoy sits up in bed and checks that the other occupants of the room are asleep. Upon finding that they are, he slips out of the covers and puts on his shoes, which have been left by the side of the bed. His cloak is draped over a chair by the door, and he puts this on too. After precisely two minutes, he is ready to leave. He quietly makes his way out of the dorm room and down the stairs into the common room. He avoids the second to last step, which despite being made of stone, likes to squeak.

At one minute past twelve, Draco is standing at the bottom of the Astronomy tower. It will take him two and a half minutes to climb the 127 stairs to the observation room at the top, and he manages to do this without getting out of breath. When at the top, he walks over to the window facing east. There is no particular reason why it is always this window – east does not mean anything significant to him and it’s not a particularly wonderful view compared to the other windows. In fact due to the darkness, you can barely see anything.

Six minutes later, at 12:07, the door to the observation room opens. Draco doesn’t bother to turn around. He knows who it is. He counts the footsteps… one…two…three…four…five… There’s a pause. That’s when Draco turns around to face the intruder. He doesn’t know what draws Harry Potter here in his sleep, only that he comes every single night.

When Harry steps closer and forces Draco back against the wall, he resists. Of course he resists. Nobody pushes a Malfoy around. But he doesn’t struggle too much. You’re not meant to wake sleepwalkers. Draco doesn’t know why, but he doesn’t want to find out. When Harry pulls a small silver knife from his pocket, Draco’s eyes widen. This is not part of the routine. This is new.

Draco feels tiny beads of sweat begin to form on his forehead as the knife comes closer and closer, until it rests gently against his cheek. He whimpers, and closes his eyes as a hand gently strokes the other side of his face. Suddenly the hands are gone, and he feels his shirt being pulled up and torn open. He struggles, he doesn’t want this, but the knife is still awfully close and… he doesn’t want to wake Harry.

The shirt is pushed roughly off Draco’s shoulders and ends up binding Draco’s hands behind his back. He knows that with just a few shakes it will fall and he’ll regain use of his hands, but the knife has been brought close to his skin now and he doesn’t want to risk moving. Then Harry’s hand moves, and the skin above his heart is nicked. At first, it doesn’t hurt. Draco can only stare at the thin red line in amazement whilst Harry strokes a finger gently over the cut. Then it starts to sting.

Draco hisses, and Harry seems to take this as permission to cut Draco again, this time a little lower on his chest, and on the opposite side. Draco twists, trying to move away, but Harry has him pinned against the wall and he still hasn’t managed to shake off the shirt binding his hands. So he looks up at Harry with fear in his eyes. Harry whose eyes are still closed, who is still dead to the world. At the next flash of the blade, he thinks of shouting, wants to scream and push Potter away but… he still doesn’t want to wake Harry.

Harry makes a series of nicks across Draco’s chest, a line going from one nipple to the other. Draco’s eyes are squeezed tightly shut, trying not to cry out from the pain. But when Harry licks a finger and runs it across them, he can’t help making a noise… he moans. Draco’s eyes shoot open at the realisation that he made the noise out loud, and he shoots a glance at Harry to make sure he’s still asleep. Draco can’t take this… it’s too much. He starts struggling again, harder than last time, doing almost anything he can to leave.

In his sleep, Harry makes a shushing noise, moving a hand to stroke Draco’s cheek again, calming him down. He is almost finished. Draco’s breathing is shaky, he’s trembling, but eventually he relaxes, lulled into a false sense of security by the systematic movement of the hand. But eventually the hand moves on, as all things do, and Harry moves to grab hold of Draco’s wrists behind his back. He pushes his knee between Draco’s legs and moves closer. Draco is more trapped than ever. He can’t move. And at the moment, he’s not sure he wants to.

That’s until he sees the knife again, moving to just under the line of cuts going from nipple to nipple. The line is no longer straight to look at – little drips of blood have ran from the cuts and decorated Draco’s chest in such a pretty shade of red. There’s a hitch in Draco’s breath as the knife presses against his body, not yet piercing the skin. Then Harry presses forward, and there’s a flurry of hand movements. Draco has to grit his teeth to stop himself from screaming at the sudden onslaught of pain, and tears leak out of the corners of his eyes, which have screwed shut.

And then he’s free. There’s no one pressed against him, no metal cutting into his skin, and he can move. He doesn’t though, not yet. His eyes remain closed, and he tries to let his breathing go back to normal. He hears footsteps… one…two…three…four…five…and the door to the observation room open. It’s 12:21, not that Draco knows that. But it’s always 12:21. The door closes with a click, and Draco finally opens his eyes.

Taking a deep breath, Draco turns to look out of the window that faces east. He pulls the last of his shirt off without looking at it and tosses it to the floor, pulling the cloak around himself tightly. But he can’t contain his curiosity. He has to look.

MORE.

There it is, carved in his chest for the world to see. MORE. Draco shudders to think of what that might mean. He doesn’t want more. He doesn’t even want this. But he can’t stop coming to the tower; nobody moves a Malfoy when the Malfoy is there first. Next time he should struggle more… shout, scream.

But for some reason, Draco doesn’t like that idea much. So much noise in such a quiet place, so late at night – it’s not right. And besides which, for fourteen minutes every night whilst Harry Potter is dead to the world Draco Malfoy feels alive. It’s a habit. And so he doesn’t want to wake Harry.