Harry threw himself about the room. He was going mad, he thought. He was going nuts. Anything that reminded him of Draco had been consigned to the waste bin and turned to ash. Oddly, though, his initial anger and pain was dissipating. He felt a sort of relief, now. God knew his life would be easier without Draco. No more being bossed about. No more hurt. No more need for tantrums.
Except – Harry rather liked being told what to do. And in way, he'd miss the agony of Draco's teasing, too. He knew Draco only did it for amusement, anyway – it wasn't real, nothing about Draco was real except those few minutes when he'd roll over in the night and curl up against Harry's side, burrowing himself against Harry's body. Everything else was a facade, a tough, bullying act Draco liked to put on for show. Who knew what Draco was trying to prove.
Harry wrapped his blankets about himself, and stared at the wall. But – Ron. His best friend, Ron. Or his ex-best friend, depending on how you wanted to look at it. Ron and Draco had been doing something in that tent – Harry wasn't sure, but he from the silhouettes he'd seen against the canvas, he could hazard a guess. Wasn't he good enough for Draco, anymore? Wasn't he an adequate lover? Wasn't he good-looking enough.. well. Harry frowned. Ron had that over him. But looks weren't everything. Were they?
My boyfriend, thought Harry, clearly – his thoughts were a mess, all over the place, but he forced himself now to stick to the facts, to concentrate. My boyfriend has cheated on me.
How do I feel about that?
Harry hugged the blankets tighter. I feel lonely, he answered himself.
What are you doing to do about it?
Don't know. Get over it, I guess. Find a new boyfriend.
Why aren't you out doing that now, then?
Because I'm in mourning. For my relationship. And I don't look my best. I need a haircut.
Are you really planning to leave him, Harry Potter?
Yes. No. Yes. He cheated on me. He's a bastard. I hate him.
No you don't.
Yes I do.
No you – Harry grunted. No, he thought. I don't hate him. I hate what he did, but I don't hate him. I don't think I can hate him. Like I told Hermione – he has a grip over me, this hold. And it's not that I can't break it. It's that I don't want to break it. Draco's right, he's always called me a masochist. I am. I like it that he hurts me. I like feeling sorry for myself.
Just – this hurt took me by surprise.
But you're going to go back, right, Harry.
Yes. I want to – talk to him about it.
Good boy, Harry. His internal monologue sounded somewhat relieved. Good boy.
Something banged against Harry's window. He started from the bed, trying to pull himself together.
Of all the faces he hadn't wanted to see. Ron was hammering his fist against the window, perched percariously on – something. Harry moved closer, not specifically to open the window, just to see what it was Ron was balanced upon. His window was on the fourth floor, after all.
It was a dragon. Giant, bright green, it hovered in the air, like some overgrown bird. Ron was clinging to the tip of one wing, and Harry saw another redhead sitting on the shoulders of the beast – Charlie, he guessed, though he hadn't seen the man in years, not since the Triwizard contest.
"Let me in," Ron was mouthing. "Open the window."
Harry shook his head no, and Ron mouthed something naughty, and slammed a fist against the glass. It shattered inwards, a pellucid shower, the shards narrowly missing Harry's feet. Ron recoiled, sucking his hand into his mouth.
"You git. Are you coming? We're going to deal with the medallion, now. Charlie told me all about it."
Harry couldn't believe his ex-friend's insensitivity. "I don't want to talk to you, Ron," he said, sharply.
"Why not?" Ron looked surprised.
"You know why."
"Oh, that," said Ron. He shrugged, disarmingly. "Nothing happened. Your boyfriend just pinned me down and tried to kiss me. I pushed him off. If you've got issues, you should have them with him. Not me."
"You expect me to believe that?" Harry snorted.
"Yeah. Actually, I do."
Harry felt himself tense – every tendon in his body strung tight to the bone. He started to babble then, screaming out every curse word he'd ever heard Draco use, and a few more he'd picked up from the students. His fingernails pricked blood from his palms – at one point he even stamped his foot. He vented, he kicked the side of his bed, he threw himself against the wall.
When he'd finished, Ron – who'd been sitting patiently through it all – patted the wing of the dragon.
"I spoke to Hermione earlier. She said you were leaving Draco, or some nonsense. She was barely ready to speak to me, even. I told her she was being an idiot. Harry Potter doesn't give up things like that. A tenacious bugger, you are. So I figured that before we swung by the manor we'd pick you up, too. Are you coming?"
He extended his hand through the broken window. In some out-of-body state, Harry watched himself take it, and let himself be hauled through the glass pieces onto the wing. Ron helped him sit on the dragon's back, and Charlie turned around and said something, cheerily – Harry couldn't really hear him. He couldn't really hear anything as they pulled away, the strain of each wingbeat causing him to shudder in his seat.
He felt as if everything was spiralling out of his control, and he wondered if it always had been this way, if he'd never really had any choice in anything. He hadn't asked to be born Harry Potter, he hadn't asked for his scar, or Voldemort's legacy. He was always being told what to do, by everyone – and he always accepted it in good grace. He was a non-person, really, despite the fuss people made of him. Just a pawn, a puppet in someone else's game.
A predictable puppet. He looked daggers at the back of Ron's neck. That was the worst part.
But you're going to have a talk with Draco, he told himself, reassuringly. You're going to lay down the law. You're going to have to set boundaries. And maybe make a few ultimatums of your own.
"Sorry you had to see it, anyway," Ron was saying, in a far off place. "I'd have told you later – maybe. If Draco didn't, first."
"Uhuh," said Harry, clamping his thighs tighter about the dragon's scales.
"No hard feelings then?" Ron was terribly offhand about the whole affair. Harry didn't know if this made it worse or better.
"I have to think about it," said Harry, quietly.
"Right-o. It's up to you, you know. Whatever."
Ron turned back, with another of his couldn't-care-less shrugs. Harry felt like hitting him, but getting into a fight with someone when two hundred feet in the air on the back of a dragon wasn't a particulary good idea. He leant down against the dragon's cool back, instead, and put his hands over his ears to block out the rush of air.
"Nifty little runner, that boy of yours, Harry," said Charlie.
"Never seen him run quite like that before," Ron agreed.
"Well, I suppose having a Black Feathertail on heat after you gives you an added turn of speed," said Charlie.
They watched Draco shriek past again, on his fifth lap of the Malfoy grounds, with the black dragon in hot and lumbering pursuit.
"Any other man would have given up by now," said Charlie. "Boy's stubborn, I'll give him that."
"You'd think it could tell he wasn't a dragon," said Ron.
"Black Feathertails are remarkably short sighted. Anything that moves is prey – or, alternately, a possible love interest." Charlie sighed. "We had awful trouble when one of them got into our chicken pen."
Draco ran past again, still screaming.
"We should help him, I suppose," said Charlie.
"No," said Harry, suddenly.
The two brothers looked at him.
"Let him do another few laps," said Harry, bitterly. "I'm enjoying this."
"You sick bastard," said Charlie, cheerfully. "Another few laps it is."
On his nineth lap, Draco stumbling by this stage, and the dragon in equally bad shape bringing up the rear, Charlie put his fingers into his mouth and whistled, sharply. The Black Feathertail paused, as if stunned, and then fell over. Charlie swung himself off the back of the green dragon, and helped Ron and Harry down.
"They respond to high pitched noises like that," said Charlie. "Makes them sleep. Surprising that it didn't just keel over the first time Draco yelped. Still, dragons are always unpredictable." He took a quick look around the grounds, and ran his hands through his hair. "You know, I can't remember seeing so many dragons in one place since the annual Dragon Breeders Festival in Norway last year. Marvellous time we had then. Pity you weren't there, Ron."
Draco had run on a little way after Charlie's whistle, but he stopped when he realised he could no longer hear the dragon's heavy footfalls behind him. Confused, he turned around to see Harry jumping off another dragon's back, along with Ron and another man. He wanted to gasp out a greeting, but the words wouldn't come – his lungs were beating too hard in his chest.
Now that he saw Harry, Draco realised he hadn't paid much thought to the man's departure. Perhaps he'd always known that Harry would return, which was why he'd dismissed the whole affair from his mind. Harry was too damn predictable. And Draco felt that he was pretty much unleaveable, to coin a term. You couldn't get it any better than Draco Malfoy, that was certain.
He stumbled, woozy-legged as a drunk, toward the trio. Harry moved forwards – probably to apologise for his behaviour, Draco guessed. His familiar smirk curled his lips – he couldn't wait to hear Harry apologise for reacting badly to something Draco had done.
But instead of putting his arms around him, or looking guilty, Harry raised a hand and hit Draco hard, across the cheek.
Then Harry stepped straight past him, moving through the dragons as if they weren't even there, and made for the steps of the manor. He disappeared inside.
"That was so gay," said Ron, unhelpfully, into the silence.
"You're telling me," Charlie grinned. "So where's that medallion, Mr. Malfoy?"
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