A Serpent and His Rose [Branded]

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You felt like you could barely hear anything, every sound was distorted like you were underwater. The darkness pressed in on you. Then Adam’s maniacal face came to the front of your mind. You gasped and bolted upright, and you felt someone grab your arms. You shrunk away from the strangers arms instinctually.

“It’s okay!” Draco said, shushing you. Your breathing slowed, and you opened your eyes allowing the world around you to come into focus. You were in the Hospital Wing, and Draco was still holding your arm.

“What happened?” you winced, looking down at your stomach, which was completely bandaged. Draco got up and pulled the curtains around your bed.

“You don’t remember?” he asked seriously. You thought back to this morning. You remembered being with Adam. Then flashes of memories seemed to play, like a movie. Adam with a chocolate frog, you at Draco’s bedpost, Adam on top of you, a knife… You began to breathe quickly, and tears filled your eyes. You grabbed the bandage on your stomach and began to pull it, even though pain shot throughout your entire body as you did.

“Stop it Andrea!” Draco said, taking your hands. You cried harder and kept trying to rip the bandages. Draco grabbed your wrists to keep you from pulling at them more. You just sat there, sobbing. When you stopped struggling Draco let go and your arms fell limply to your sides. Then he sat on the bed next to you. You shrunk away from him at first when he leaned toward you. He looked hurt, but continued to pull you to his chest, hugging you as you quietly cried on his shoulder.

“W-where is h-h-he?” you asked through your tears. Then you remembered Adam bleeding before you passed out. “Is he here?!” you asked, pulling away quickly and reaching for your wand before realizing you didn’t have it.

“No, Adam isn’t here.” Draco said. You waited, staring at Draco expectantly. “He’s dead.”

“W-what?” you asked, shocked. Draco just sat there quietly, looking at you. “Y-you… killed him?”

“I… I couldn’t stop myself.” Draco said solemnly. “It was the first spell that came to my mind. When I opened that door and saw him… saw what he had done to you…” his fists clenched, his knuckles turning white, and his eyes went dark. “I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to… to…” He let his head fall in his hands. You pulled him to you.

“It’s okay…” you said soothingly.

“Can I ask you something?” he asked, looking you straight in the eyes. You nodded, taking his hand. “Did he… I mean, what he tried to do to you before? Did he… make you… or, uh, force you to…?” he couldn’t get himself to say the words. And neither could you. You just let your tears do the talking for you. His faced crumpled, and you held him as you both cried. “Oh God… Fucking bastard…” he was shaking.

“Don’t Draco… you couldn’t have protected me. It’s my fault for trusting him. I was stupid.”

“It’s my fault!” He burst out, standing up angrily. “I knew about him! I knew it the whole time! FUCKER!!!” he knocked over a side table in anger, the contents spilling across the floor.

“It isn’t your fault…”

“You don’t get it!” he said turning to you. Then his expression changed from angry to sad as he looked at you laying in the hospital bed. “Andrea… Felicia told me he was messed up. She told me he was after you! I just didn’t think he would…” his words drifted off. He kneeled next to your bed and took your hand. “This isn’t your fault Andrea. You know that right? You were being the good person you are, you wanted to see the good in him. It wasn’t your fault! Nobody noticed how much of a psycho he was. You have to believe that.” he said softly.

You wanted to believe that. But you just felt dirty. But you smiled at Draco and nodded before turning away from him, laying on your side.

“Why did you come back anyway?” you asked quickly.

“I noticed you weren’t with Tammy and Kasey, so I doubled back. I thought it would be a good time to get you to talk to me, since you avoided me after that night we spent together. Then in the common room I heard you screaming and…” he trailed off. You turned back to look at him.

“And what?”

“Well… I was probably the most terrified I think I’ve ever been in my entire life. Hearing you scream like that. I never wanted anyone to hurt you like that. I told myself… I would never let anything happen to y-you.”

You wanted to hug him, and kiss him. You wanted to tell him you loved him. But no matter what the circumstances, this didn’t change anything between you. Draco was still going to get married. You squeezed his hand.

“Draco, you saved my life. Thank you.”

“Andrea, I love you so much.” your smiled faltered. But you couldn’t get into this right now.

“I should sleep. I’m so tired.” you said quietly. Draco stood and kissed your forehead, then pulled the blankets up over you. He took one last look before pulling the curtains open and walking out.

*    *    *    *

You woke up the next day to a vase filled with red roses.

I love you. - Draco

You sat up slowly, and your stomach seemed to have healed tremendously overnight. Madam Pomfrey didn’t think you were ready to leave the Hospital Wing. Even though you were healed physically, she felt you were mentally and emotionally unsound. You told her that was probably true, and then walked out. You didn’t want to see a shrink or do whatever it is they would have you do. It would just be more painful to rehash the details of that day. You preferred to try and forget, block it out. A kind of voluntary amnesia. It probably wasn’t the healthiest thing to do but you couldn’t stand being in the Hospital Wing a second longer. You arrived at the dungeons late that night, having taken a detour on the grounds to try and clear your head. By the time you entered the Slytherin common room, it was quiet and empty. Except for the couch in front of the fire. Draco slept there, a book open and laying on his chest and a green blanket over him. You crept quietly past him, and made your way upstairs. You entered the girls’ dormitories’ bathroom and shut the door quietly. You lifted your shirt to see the bandage underneath. You still haven’t seen underneath it. You slowly undid the wrappings, letting them fall to the floor. You gasped and the ugly scars that the knife left behind, a giant A on your stomach and a nasty slit along your side. You burst into tears, covering your stomach and sinking to the ground. There was a sudden knock on the door.

“FUCK OFF!” you yelled, kicking a waste basket angrily. You laid on the floor, feeling the cold stone against your body. You wanted to burn Adam’s mark off your stomach, the thought of it on you forever disgusted you. You felt a dry heave and you crawled toward the waste basket you kicked, barely making it in time before watery vomit projected out of your mouth forcefully.

“Alohamora!” the door swung open and Tammy ran in when she saw you laying on the floor. She pulled you into her arms.

“Why?” was all you could manage to get out.

“I don’t know.” Tammy said sadly.

She pulled you up and walked with you to your bed slowly. She took off your shoes for you as you fell into bed, and tucked you in. You curled into a ball and buried your head in your pillow, not wanting her to look at you like this. She didn’t say a thing, just went back to her bed and turned out the lights.

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