Epilogue : Part Two
Harry tossed the snitch in the air as he waited outside the Slytherin dormitory. A couple of Slytherins passed him by, carrying their suitcases – few smiled at him, but Harry hadn't expected them to. He guessed that even Draco's firm conviction in Harry's character wasn't enough to civilise his more stubborn house members. He sighed, leaning against the wall.
Presently Draco wandered out, dressed in his robes. He wasn't carrying any suitcases – all he held was his wand and his broom. Interpreting Harry's inquisitive eye-brow raise, he explained: "Vincent and Gregory were nice enough to give me a hand with my things. Marvellous, aren't they?"
"Marvellous," Harry echoed, as they made off down the stairs.
"I was wonderful," said Draco, smugly. "Tell me I was wonderful. Did you see their faces? My stars, a hundred Malfoys will be rolling over in their graves tonight. I am so utterly – incredibly – perfect." And he did an impromptu dance step in the middle of the hall, a shuffle of dragon-leather boots and a twirl of his wand.
"So what was this all about?" Harry inquired, when Draco had ceased his strutting, and they were walking again. He shook the snitch a little infront of Draco's face, for emphasis.
Draco looked slightly unimpressed. "What do you think? I'm simply reminding you of our not-so-lovely beginnings. A snitch, a spell – and bam. Potter and Malfoy together." Another dance step – he was still high on the victory he'd made out there in the crowd, under the glaze of the lights. "I think it'd make a nice little piece for the mantle – of course, we'd have to cut the wings off, first." He frowned, as if he was really considering doing so.
"Isn't it also a reminder of the first time you ever beat me at anything?" Harry murmured.
"Picky, picky. My stars, Potter – quit looking the gift horse in the mouth. We've finished school, you've already been hooked up with a job at Hogwarts, and I've had three offers from the Ministry of Magic. So this here is a moment, for both of us, Potter – and it'll be a memory held forever in that little golden ball you're so carelessly tossing about. This is a present, a souvenir – from me to you. It's something you're going to treasure when you're bumbling away at the front of a class infront of a rowdy bunch of young wizards. Something you'll treasure when you're as old and ugly as Dumbledore. You should thank me."
Draco stood there, thin and pretty, his hands on his hips, one foot tapping a staccato at the cobbles outside the school. Harry sighed, and looked toward the sky. Some students were already leaving – their bent figures on their broomsticks breifly obscuring the stars overhead.
"You think we won't last, then?" he asked Draco.
"I think we'd be lucky if we did, don't you?" said Draco. "Then again, we've been lucky so far."
Harry juggled the snitch from one hand to the other, the wings battering to be free of him.
"Funny that you should call it luck. I was thinking of another word beginning with L – but maybe that's just me."
"Always the romantic," said Draco, making a face.
"You used to like it," said Harry.
"I used to like wearing my wizard's hat backwards, but that went out of vogue very damn fast."
Something about Draco's offhandedness tonight nettled Harry. Looking for a break in the passage of the broomsticks overhead, Harry brought back the arm which held the snitch, weighing the ball thoughtfully in his palm. Draco wasn't watching him – he was too busy scanning the grounds for signs of Crabbe and Goyle.
Looking askance at Draco's frustrated expression, Harry wondered to himself. Was it really luck that had kept them together two full years? Harry certainly didn't think so. It wasn't luck he kept crawling back, chasing Draco and his ridiculous dreams, wintering out his tantrums, his fitful tyranny. It wasn't even lust – these days the sex, despite all Draco's growling and cavorting, had lost its novelty. Like slipping back into a comfortable pair of pajamas, it brought with it no sparks, just a homely sense of security. No, it was that other L word, the elusive and much abused Love which had Harry torn in two – too scared to lose everything if he left, too scared to lose himself if he stayed.
When the most part of the students had vanished, Harry flung the snitch away from him. It dazzled off into the night, before its tiny golden light was eclipsed by the moon's brilliance. Draco turned back, and caught only the thrust of Harry's arm, the blurred motion of release. A shocked scream escaped his lips – causing more than a few students to stare at him – and he leapt at Harry, his features stricken in horror. But even has his fingers made for Harry's face, he withdrew, and a second later had jumped onto his broomstick, and was shooting off into the night sky in pursuit of the ball.
"Draco!" Harry yelled from the ground, but Draco didn't even look back.
There was only one thing for it. Harry tugged a broom from the nearest student ( Lavender, who only made a faint "Oh!" protest as he snatched it away ) and flew off after Draco.
Draco was zigzagging back and forth, and had conjured a light to assist his search – but the spell could only penetrate the inky darkness ten feet from his body before fading. He seemed like some giant firefly, shrouded in phosphorescence – an easy spectacle to pick, even from the ground. Harry zoomed in closer, feeling the broom buck a little beneath him – it wasn't used to be ridden so fast by Lavender, and was rebelling slightly beneath the heavier boy's command.
"Go away and die, Potter."
"Oh, come on," Harry protested miserably. He knew he was in the wrong, but hadn't the inkling of how to make it better. "Get down. It was only a snitch."
"Only a snitch," Draco spat. "Do you want for me to jump now, or should I climb another twenty feet first?"
"Be serious, Draco."
"I was being serious," Draco hissed. "Don't you understand? I was being so damn serious it hurt me to say it. Why, Potter, can't you accept anything without questioning it? Why can't you keep anything without breaking it? Why can't you hold anything without losing it?"
Harry swallowed thickly. "Draco – I'm sorry."
"I'm going to find that damn snitch if its the last thing I bloody do," said Draco, turning away. "And given that it could be anywhere by now, I rather think it might be."
Draco sailed away – at a speed far too fast for Harry's second-rate broom to keep up with. Harry followed for a short way, but soon realised that if he continued at the same pace the bristles would begin to fray away. At least he'd be able to keep an eye on Draco from the ground.. He turned his broom downward, and soon landed on the steps below.
Lavender rushed over, agast. "What happened?" she demanded. "Did you two have a fight? Why is he still up there?"
"He's looking for something," said Harry, answering only the latter of her questions. He passed back the broom, and said a gruff, "Sorry," as he walked out into the grounds.
He could make out Draco there, whirling over head in all his fire-fly glory, like a star which had come unstuck from the canopy of the sky and dithered uncertainly now between heaven and earth. Like the snitch too – a golden ball always bobbing tantalisingly out of reach..
Harry sighed, and laid himself down on the grass, the moist pre-dawn dew seeping surreptitiously through the thick mettle of his graduation robe. He knew that Draco would have to come down some time – and whether Draco managed to catch the snitch, or simply fell asleep on his broom, Harry Potter would be there on the ground, waiting, with apologies and pleas at the ready.
It always happened this way. Harry resigned to voyeurism, watching Draco from a distance, the youth's form still cast in the surreal light of a fantasy – and Draco strained and grasping at nothing at all, searching blindly for the treasure he refused to see.
[ just because no one likes a happy ending ]
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