He bled, and the blood was acid, but it was red. He had half expected it to be clear; he felt so white, so drained, as if nothing bright or coloured could ever come from him. But it was red, and it spilled over his skin, welling up like the tears he couldn't cry and trickling down the sides of his arm, far, far too slowly.
Now that he knew what it felt like, to slice slowly and deliberately into one's skin, he was glad he hadn't tried to cut an artery. Once he'd thought it would be easier if the blood gushed out of him all in one go, but just this little teasing gash was making him feel faint. For a moment he had a vision of fountains of blood staining the walls of the room. No.
He didn't want to die, he had that very clear in his mind. And it wasn't that he wanted a way to let sadness or loneliness out. But the space inside him, the huge, terrifying, hollow nothing where he knew something should be...that was what he wanted to rid himself of.
Quite how wanting to lose that hollow feeling had led to him bleeding himself like a radiator over one of his mother's towels - not that one dear that's for guests - he wasn't sure. But he had a feeling this was right.
Oh, it hurt, like the time when he was seven and he'd reached up and touched the - the thing on his father's desk, and a bitter, raking, sour, hurting had run through his skin and over his veins and he'd cried and been to bed for a week. But he knew that it was supposed to hurt, and it was no worse than, though different from, the pain when his father whipped him. Or when he -
no no not going to think about it no couldn't have happened no no NO
He hissed, jaw clenching reflexively. He'd cut deeper than he meant to and the blood seemed to have been waiting, dying to escape, so fast was it running down onto the towel -
we'll just put this underneath you don't want you bleeding on your mother's sheets don't look at me like that you little
Blood was drying on the knife blade, spoiling its gleaming perfection, the perfection that had led Draco to thinking about what it could do to his own, personal perfection. He allowed himself to imagine his mother walking in -
not that one dear that's for guests
and shrieking "Draco, darling, don't!" and sweeping him into her arms and not minding about the blood getting on her dress and smelling of perfume the way she used to
sometimes I think we're going to be stuck with that boy forever
He imagined his father coming in and
there now it's all all right and you'll grow up a real man
telling him that he was proud of him and
never happened never happened never happened mother mother mother
He looked down. Somehow, while he was thinking, twenty, thirty little red lines had appeared on his arm, angry, throbbing lines that seemed to be desperate to let blood out, but couldn't because he couldn't run the blade over them again because it hurt too much.
His skin looked like a street map. It made him smile, the Malfoy smile, half a sneer and half a cynical smirk, and he felt sick to his stomach.
i hate it when you smile like that -
- it's the only way i know to smile
The next cut was deep enough to bleed, steadily enough, and his breathing, which he now realised had been suspended for a moment, evened out. He closed his eyes. The pain was really starting to spread now, like a poison, like a draught of something deadly -
who did this to you?
like a poison -
was it Snape?
no no no it was my father my fucking FATHER
lightning must feel when it strikes you.
Only the voices in the hall stopped him; his mother had friends over and he knew he would be expected to sit and be shown off. He pulled the sleeve of his robe down, pleased to see it hid the cuts completely, and whispered a spell to stop the worst of them bleeding on the sandwiches. And then, putting his wand back in his pocket, he left his room and closed the door on it all.