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Cutting/Self-Harm Tutorial by Staff

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 1,511

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Angst
Characters: Draco

First Published: 06/28/2006
Last Chapter: 06/28/2006
Last Updated: 03/24/2012

This tutorial was written by staff to assist in complying with the Site Rules related to the inclusion of cutting/self-harm in a story. This story may also be used as a guideline for stories containing suicide, eating disorders, and other sensitive topics.

Chapter 1: Cutting/Self-Harm Tutorial

Cutting/Self-Harm Tutorial

The following is an example of a story containing self-harm/self-mutilation that would be acceptable for validation. Please note that depictions of suicide, self-mutilation, eating disorders and other sensitive topics are very closely monitored on this archive, and the final decisions regarding the suitability of any story containing such topics falls to the staff. Depictions may not be considered graphic or at all glorifying of the act involved, and any story containing any descriptions or conversations regarding said acts must be rated Mature with warnings for Strong Violence and Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme.

If you have questions regarding your particular story, please contact the staff directly via the forums, email, or our trouble ticket system. Questions posted as reviews to this story will not be answered.

Draco felt numb: his head was spinning and he was drained beyond belief. And to think he had only just arrived home for the summer made him feel only wearier.

He loathed being at school among the typical Mudblood filth only second to being at his own place of residence. Things were fine when his father was away on business. His mother coddled him more than he certainly would have liked but that could be tolerated. It was when his father was at home when things took on the frigid air of walking around decorously on eggshells.

Meals were the worst. They usually consisted of his father lording over the head of the table with the presence of holding a godly court, his mother just off to the left and rigid as a stone statue, and himself to the right, sour and surly on the inside but neutral and unaffected in appearance. Minutes after the meal was served by their new penitent house elf his father would strike up a conversation with seemingly no one in particular, taking stabs at everything from the Ministry to those scourges of the earth Mudbloods. His mother would always smile politely in agreement and throw in a witty remark of her own to which his father would return her smile, and Draco would reinforce the sentiment.

It really was quite a boring game but a failure to play would result in it being turned upon him: his grades, his Quidditch abilities, and even his choice of girlfriends would be up for deliberation without his participation in the “game.” So around and around the table the comments and remarks went, and Draco rolled his eyes to himself.

Ever since his father’s release from Azkaban, he had been particularly surly and fuming. Any mention of Dumbledore, even in the most negative of ways, would send his temper flaring to such heights that it took hours for him to return to calm. Worse yet, his business dealings were all but dead and his attendance at the manor was practically permanent, making Draco more and more edgy.

He did his best to avoid his leering father and spent a great amount of time in his room. He was forbidden to travel outside the grounds of the manor because of the “delicate” position his family was in publicly, and wandering around increased his chances of running into Lucius.

As the days drew on, he actually began figuring how many more days it would be before he could return to Hogwarts. It was June 16: seventy-six more days of summer vacation and imprisonment in his home hellhole. Farther and farther, he slipped into lonely depression, growing more resentful and angry of his circumstances.

One afternoon a few days later, he stormed up to his room full to bursting with seething rage. He had been walking back to his room from eating lunch with his mother, and his father slinked into the kitchen, silent and in the stormiest mood Draco had seen him in all summer. Apparently, there had been some article in the Prophet about the Malfoy family.

He had hurried to finish his soup as quickly as possible, trying to find the right balance of concern, outrage, and pity to express to his father over the article without even knowing its contents. As he was making a move to leave the kitchen, it happened. His father exploded, and all of a sudden, his pent up fury found its way to the table. His father bellowed and roared and when Draco stood there and shrugged he advanced on his son and pulled his hand back. Both he and Draco had frozen where they were: his father had been a lot of things, but a child abuser he had never been. Draco’s eyes narrowed menacingly and his father’s widened slightly almost as if in horror and Draco stormed from the kitchen, hearing the sounds of his father’s noticeable silence and his mother’s voice shouting.

Upon reaching his room, he let out a cry, pulled his right hand around, and punched the mirror above the dresser as he slammed the door shut. The mirror splintered into a thousand tiny shards, which pierced at his skin and drew tiny droplets of blood. He recoiled in pain and felt blood pulsing from his knuckles and the stinging of glass. The remains of the mirror covered the floor, his robes, and the dresser.

He took a step back, shaking and breathing hard, squinting at the glass that had splintered in seemingly a million directions. The blood began to drip freely from his hand, dripping onto the floor and staining his carpet, with big, fat, crimson drops. If he squinted, they looked almost like roses. He ripped the top drawer open and ripped out a pair of socks and bound his bloody hand in them, twisting them around and around. The sight of blood made him feel a bit queasy, especially his own.

“Young Master? Master Sir?” he heard a tiny voice squeak from behind the door.

“What?!” he snarled.

“Is Master alright?” the voice asked, growing softer and softer with each word.

“Fuck off!” he screamed. His hand continued to bleed, the blood seeping through the woven cotton fabric, forming a bright red stain that reminded him of the ink-blot tests he had once seen in a book about Muggles. He stared at the growing stain, trying to decide if it resembled a Bludger or a Hippogriff. But the sight of his own blood, even through the thick, makeshift bandage, made his stomach lurch and he began to feel dizzy. He wished he had an anti-nausea potion, wished he dared leave the relative safety of his bedroom to find one, but he was afraid. Better to remain behind the locked door than to risk the further wrath of Lucius Malfoy. He’d much rather throw up, or even bleed to death, than ever see his father again.

With a squeal and the shuffling of feet, Draco was again alone. He sat down on the edge of his bed, trembling and not daring to look at his bleeding mess of a hand. Seventy-one more days until Hogwarts: seventy-one.

The pain gave him something to focus on other than his dysfunctional family, it let him know that he was still alive, could still feel and hurt and bleed, just like a normal boy. But the bleeding would stop, eventually, and his hand would heal. If he was lucky, there might be a scar to help him remember, but he didn’t know what he would do when he didn’t have the pain to distract him from the misery of his wretched, stupid, spoiled life. No one would believe him, that life in Malfoy Manor was actually quite shitty. Perhaps if he flexed his fingers into a fist, the pain would last longer?

He looked at the bloodied glass shards about him and began to sob. He felt so childish and furious at his father, himself, the mirror, the elf, and even his own raspy breathing. Sixteen years worth of insults and derogation streamed down his cheeks and choked him. He looked back at the broken glass bits on his floor, feeling the urge to do something awful and desperately crazy. The harder he cried the more he seriously considered it. He could do it; it wouldn’t be so bad. But why cut himself on purpose? He continued to look at the shattered mirror pieces as if in a trance and cried harder, with more agony and confusion than he could have ever imagined.

Draco took a deep breath and picked up a shard of glass. It was long and sharp, and felt cool in his fingertips. His hands began to shake as he slowly traced the pointy tip down his arm, scratching the surface of the skin. It was a strange sensation that made the hairs on the back of his neck prickle. He slowly dragged the glass back up his arm and shut his eyes tightly before forcefully pricking the tender skin of his forearm. A tiny drop of blood appeared and he stared at it, wondering if he could survive 71 more days . . . 70 more drops of blood.

He dropped the glass shard. There had to be another way.