Tease ~ D.M

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Sunrise

There was a bird poking at the window. The small jabs of its beak against the glass felt like my own alarm.

The floor was cold and rough. My hands untangle from above my chest where they were curled, and they placed on each of my sides, trying to differentiate where I was.

My room was never this open? How come the entire sun is visible. The hues of the sunset made it feel like a painting. It was like watercolors layering effortlessly above one another. Orange so bright together with yellow so lemon. There was a splatter of red so intense at the bottom, it filled the forest beneath it with soft light. The sun began to rise, a timed clock, when it goes down again, we restart. Magical, isn’t it?

My surroundings came into check now, the much familiar metal bars along with the bricked walls surrounding me. My eyes felt tired with sleep, they were slowly closing with each breath. Noise wasn’t a thing for once, it was peaceful. The sun rose while the only song you could hear were the trees dancing with the wind. The air was refreshing, with no certain smells to overtake your senses. It was a free smell, the simple feel of fresh air refreshing your face, and the occasional hints of water from the river below.

My legs felt numb with sleep. Then I realized how I slept curled up on the astronomy tower ground, luckily I had my robe on, maybe even without it, I would be shivering to death.

The halls were empty. Everyone was still asleep lightless in their dorms. It must be too early for class. My stomach was growling, some food would be the perfect addition to such a gentle morning. I pulled my wand from my robe and flicked it effortlessly, casting a quick refreshing spell.

There are usually cleaners who come wipe the great hall tables before breakfast, they could be coming any minute, or not at all. Deciding to go into the room, I picked up fresh fruit placed at the side table in a bowl. I picked at each grape while roaming the halls.

The paintings were starting to wake up- slightly. They would wave a hand in the air implying good morning anytime I walked past, then their eyes shut close again.

While picking at my shoelace, the sound of footsteps coming from the hallway opposing me was not to be missed. I muttered under my breath when a grape fell from my hand at the thought I might get caught too early. Quickly, I scurried to hide behind a Greek column.

“Well, the Aurors could simply-”

“Have you questioned them all?”

That voice was familiar, it was Professor Slughorn.

Their steps were getting much closer, then they suddenly stopped. Oh, the luck I have is truly faultless sometimes.

They had stopped right beside where I stayed. Their voices now clear and their silhouettes now visible.

“Whoever cast it must have meant no harm, I believe the punishment you are requiring is much too naive, they are just children,” McGonagall spoke calmly.

This time Dolores Umbridge spoke, her voice was high-pitched, trying to make the others listen intently at her screaming tone. “Casting the crucify curse is prohibited! The student belongs in Azkaban!”

There was a silencing quiet. “We will tolerate none of this behavior, I can assure you. But we will keep on searching and give them school punishments, that is all.” I couldn’t identify that voice nor could I see its source.

Then the noises were gone, the teachers walked away, and I was left to my thoughts.

The other day in class there were Slytherin students missing, they are searching for someone. Someone who cast a the crucios spell. Of course, they would accuse any Slytherin first. It’s our house trait.

I peek out from behind the column to make sure no one was left, all I see is Snape noticing the grape that slipped from my hand. He lifts his gaze from the ground and takes a quick inspection of the hallway. Even I think holding my breath would be effective. I hide again behind the beige structure.

I assumed his steps meant he was leaving, but when they suddenly stopped, I felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach.

I look down trying to find if his figure shadow was anywhere near, he was taking slow steps my way.

That’s when I realized there was another lone grape on the ground, mere inches from where I stood. Fuck. My head leans back onto the column, trying not to make any noise.

If there was any other situation -absolutely anything else- I would take it.

Like a timed response, someone else’s footsteps were heard. Then a loud thud against the ground. “Clumsy me.” They spoke, voice raspy from sleep. It was such a simple sentence, yet anyone could feel the sarcasticness in their tone.

Snape’s shadow did not show anymore, this time it was shrinking. “Mr. Malfoy.” He greeted, “Pick up those books immediately.” The last of his steps were heard.

I stayed behind the column, staring at the wall in front of me. He spoke, “I was a much better excuse than aiming to explain that you were leaving the mice a grape trail.” And those were the last steps, leaving me in the hallway alone.

~

I snook back into my dorm, Pansy was already up and in the bathroom. Once she came out her face dropped all its tension. “Merlin Nyla I was wondering where you were when I woke up.”

I drop face forward onto my bed, feeling my body sink into the soft mattress. “Sorry-” I wasn’t about to tell her I slept in the awkwardest of places, maybe I could say I stayed with Ashton-

“-I just got up early for some last-minute studying at the library. Didn’t mean to worry you.”

She quirked a brow then sighed, “Alright I’m sure you’ll pass whatever it is. I’m going to get breakfast, tag along?”

Ashton- I should go find him. After everything said last night. It’s just the need for reassurance, it’s all false. But I couldn’t leave Pansy either. I nodded in agreement.

The great hall was filled. We walked over to the Slytherin table and found our spot with Theo. “Morning-”

Theo crossed his arms above the table, a straight face Pansy and I could never stay serious with. “Did you guys know about the ‘muggle American burgers’ and never mention them to me?”

Pansy reached for the apple set on Theo’s plate. He gave a dramatic gasp at her actions. She was innocently eating the fruit while looking at him. I couldn’t help but laugh. Theo looked back at me and placed a hand above his heart, “The demolishing of my feelings is hurtful.”

“We should introduce him to burgers,” I suggested.

Pansy wiped her mouth with a napkin, “And beg us to buy him the same food for weeks? Good idea, but no.”

Theo rolled his eyes and reached for his cup.

Blaise tapped his shoulder. “Oliver was eating burgers the other day, might as well ask him mate.”

Theo choked on his drink. Before Blaise could notice, he wiped his mouth on his hand.

Was Theo- were his cheeks pink?

Pansy was staring dead at him, her mouth dropped open.

Blaise was picking up bread and spreading jam above it.

Theo cleared his throat, “So burgers?”

I hid the smile that wanted to so badly show on my face. Under the table, Pansy kicked her foot gently against mine.

Blaise’s eyes widened. No one else seems to notice his expression as he watched past my shoulder. There was a fear in the pit of my stomach. I turn my view and look for what put that questionable look on his face.

Flint was limping his way over to the breakfast table. When he reached for a plate, his entire hand vibrated. With his free hand, he picked up an apple to place on his plate. His arm fell limp to his side, making the apple roll from his grip. He put his mind to shaking off his hand, in must of wanting to feel something, then he was able to move and pick up a new fruit. When his plate was filled, he started limping towards the Slytherin table. He was getting looks from a few people. Confused stares at his frail stance. When he sat down on a seat, his body twitched. He yelled between his teeth and stabbed his fork once, aggressively onto the table.

That’s how Pansy and Theo finally placed their attention on him. “He should be a table, and I’ll be the one holding the fork next time,” Blaise muttered.

Pansy rolled her eyes, “We could always use a transfiguration spell.”

We all tried to hide the laughter. While everyone ate, my eyes scanned the hall, purposely landing on the Hufflepuff Table. Ashton’s back was all I saw. I knew it was him, the yellow sweatshirt with the number eight. Does a simple ‘good morning’ not work anymore?

Maybe he just forgot.

~

We were on our way to class. Most teachers are annoyed at the fact that every year they always have the same five students in their room. We do not tell them it’s not a coincidence though. Since third year, students have the ‘free choice’ to choose any extracurricular class they want. So for us, we play a game called rock paper scissors, and whoever wins can choose the class.

In the third year, Blaise chose divination. Since it was our first class shared together with everyone, it was our loudest year. We got kicked out of class almost twelve times in total.

In fourth year, Theo had won, so he chose Care of Magical Creatures. This turned out terrible once Draco thought he was capable enough to go after Buck beak. Ever since then, Pansy has always reminded him about it.

When I won in the fifth year, I choose Alchemy. This was a class meant for sixth years, but since not many students were attending it, the spots were open. But it was a massive mistake. Combining muggle chemistry with Pansy is not recommended.

Blaise then won again for the fifth year, and he got to make us all join Xylomancy. This was his big ‘joke,’ thinking we would be able to get removed from the class and join another one, but lucky for us that wasn’t the case. A new form of divination revolving sticks was the most useless thing we all had to do. After that, we do not plan on letting him choose anything else.

Pansy won in the sixth year, she was excited to say she chose apparation. We were all confused on why exactly, but she said it becomes an option to attend the class after receiving your apparation license. Meaning, after the first week that she got her license, she left the class on choice while we were struggling to apparate correctly and had to stay in the class the entire year.

This year, Draco had to choose. He used his simple and rehearsed excuse that this was the only simple class left. Even though, we have always seen him sketching something onto parchment, so we are mostly sure this was his personal choice.

~

We took our seats in the art classroom.

The seats are divided by three’s, and they are not assigned. So, Pansy and I choose to sit together, while Theo sat with us. Draco and Blaise were left at the table behind us, with one seat free for anyone.

Most times, Daphne Greengrass would take that seat. Today, weirdly, she was not here. So, while the students kept entering the classroom, no one has yet taken that seat. When the last person came in, they would take that chair.

“Are we set, class?” Professor Charity spoke.

Flint walked through the doors. He must have taken longer to get here because of his fragile condition.

“Oh fuck no-” He muttered as he noticed the last seat open.

“Language Mr.Flint. Now take a seat, you’re late.”

He stayed frozen in the room entrance for what seemed like minutes before opening the wooden door to leave again.

“Young sir where do you think you’re going?” The professor’s tone was authoritative. “Take a seat this instant.”

Marcus gripped his wand in his pocket while moving cautiously towards Draco and Blaise’s table.

Draco crossed his hands above the desk and dropped his head, he laughed under his breath. Blaise was writing something down on parchment, looking unbothered.

Flint took a seat. Class began.

His presence behind me was raging. It was like an energy mass of memories. If I looked back, everything would happen all over again.

Pansy and Theo sat awkwardly now. She clicked her tongue and Theo nodded. They had some kind of unspoken understanding.

“Well look at what the cat dragged in today.” Pansy turned around and sat facing Flint.

Theo rubbed his nose and I caught the moment he looked up at Draco. He closed his eyes shut for a second, processing thoughts, then he spoke to Flint. “Were you not expelled yet?” He waited but Flint didn’t answer. Theo wanted to say something else but it was obvious that he closed his mouth sealed before anything escaped.

Blaise twisted his seat to face Marcus, “I guess I’ll just do everything myself-” before he could do anything, my arm was above his chest, shoving him back onto his chair.

I spoke, “Why don’t we focus-”

My body jumped when the door of the classroom burst open. Professor Charity stopped her discussion and the entire class shifted their attention.

Umbridge had opened the door to allow a group of people to walk through. They all had similar suits, wands gripped tight in their hands. Dolores announced herself before signaling the Aurors to entirely walk into the room.

They caught them.

Whoever cast the spell-

I forgot to warn them, what if one of us cast it and have not said anything-

They can’t just get sent to Azkaban-

The Aurors stormed into the room. Their visions focused straight onto the table behind us. Pointing at one student.

Blaise was not moving. He might be thinking they could’ve made a mistake, he seemed worried that they were going to make him stand up.

Draco was leaning back onto his chair, knees separated. His eyes locked onto Flint. He seemed certain nothing was going to happen to him, almost too certain.

Professor Umbridge smiled in triumph, “Interrogations got us nowhere, might as well do it the hard way.” She pointed a finger in the air, a sign of permission for the Aurors.

One man walked forward and pointed his wand towards Flint.

Flint’s eyes said nothing, they only flickered once when the man started mentioning his crimes.

“Marcus Flint you have been accused of underage magic and usage of one unforgivable curse.” The Aurors kept talking, but my mind was focused on how flint reacted.

He did not shake at any one of their words.

For him to be accused, the magic came from his wand. But he seemed- well he seemed fragile.

Crucio has after-effects, that is shaking, nauseousness, numbness, twitching- Flint showed those effects. He was calm about this situation because he knew-

My thoughts clicked. He did not cast the cruciatus spell himself, but his wand was used to name it.

I questioned if he was going to say anything, who wouldn’t. While the Aurors spoke, he raised his middle finger towards the class before looking at Draco. “Why would I ever cast the spell on myself?” His voice was sneering, tempting Draco to contradict.

Draco eyed Flint with his head quirked, “I’m not sure either.”

Flint’s nostrils flared and he took a step towards Draco. The Aurors grabbed him by his elbows and started to pull him towards the classroom door.

“This is insane! Can’t you see! Draco cast the curse! I had nothing to do with it!"

Professor Umbridge laughed- almost with delight. “Take the boy outside.”

While the Aurors escorted him outside the room, possibly outside Hogwarts, he kept accusing Draco.

“Fucking bastard-”

“Torturous bitch cast it himself-”

“You have to believe me-!”

Draco continued sketching on his journal. Blaise’s eyes were wide open. Theo seemed unphased. Pansy was processing, it seemed, but then she spoke, “You did what?”

Our professor was shocked. She stood in front of the class and tried to answer students’ questions. When she realized she knew nothing about the situation, she let the class leave early while she went to find out everything she could. She always gets information wrong though, never trust Charity with her adult friends gossip.

All the students left the classroom, leaving a few behind while they stacked back their paints and brushes.

Draco was standing up and placing his belongings in his bag. When he realized no one was moving, he groaned. “What?”

Theo seemed to snap back into reality and shoved a quill in his robe pocket. He passed a hand through his hair and shut his eyes while shaking his head.

Blaise was looking at me, asking with his eyes if I knew anything about this. I did not. If Draco cast the curse, he used Flint’s wand so he wouldn’t get caught. Flint was limping because of Draco. And Theo was unphased since he knew.

I wanted to make Draco say it. I wanted him to confirm what he did. I wanted to have a reason to punch him. Let him not even question why I do not tell him things, he acts out. If he wouldn’t have known, this would be a simpler situation. No, but he had to go and cast an unforgivable. Yes, I hated flint. But putting him in Azkaban was not the solution.

I looked over at Theo, he didn’t want to raise his head to face me. “You can’t be serious.” My voice came out harsh. I didn’t mind. “You just let him?”

He didn’t say anything, only bit his lip. Draco cleared his throat, all our attention landing on him. “Let him what?” He quirked his head.

“Fucking bastard. You can’t-” I lowered my voice, only hearable for the small circle we created, “-you can’t just crucify him for a minor inconvenience which didn’t even include you.”

He wiped his lip with his thumb, looking around the room before daring me to lose his eye contact. “A minor inconvenience? Do you hear yourself?”

Pansy shook her head and then stated the obvious, almost to make herself believe it. “So you tortured him and then sent him to Azkaban?”

Draco laughed under his breath, ”I didn’t send him anywhere. He did this to himself.”

Theo began to speak, “We should go before some-”

I turned to him, “You didn’t speak before, so don’t do it now.”

Blaise placed his hand above my shoulder, turning me slightly his way, “Nyla- I can’t say Flint doesn’t deserve this.”

Pansy nodded, a nod almost missed. Draco was watching everything unfold. Sitting there like he planned the story out. For him, the next words would be predictable. I imagined he wanted a thank you, maybe even praise. But I didn’t want to give him that. I know I should, Flint deserves it. He deserved all of it. So why did the entire situation feel unsettling?

If Draco messed up- anything- he could’ve been caught.

I shook the thought from my head. I cared, I always care for everyone. It’s an instinct.

And I hate how he is making me question my own thoughts.

Because for him, yes if he messed up, he would have been the one with the life sentence dangling above his head.

But then I reminded myself, what caused this was you.

His jaw was clenched, his words sleek and sharp once he spoke, “You know now. Happy?”

“I implied for you not to do anything. No matter what it was.” He rolled his eyes, he seemed uncomfortable. “And what did you do?”

He spoke before I could, “The exact opposite.”

He should mind his own business. Just like everyone else should. I am capable of making my own decisions, he should stop acting for me.

Pansy, Blaise, and Theo were making their way out. I heard Pansy mumble something near my ear, asking to meet up at the common room later.

Draco waited. It’s almost as if he was discouraged to leave. Not because something would disturb him, but because he did not want me to find out in the first place. Why?

He was waiting for any response, I’m not sure which one. But maybe not the one I gave.

“How stupid are you?”

His jaw tensed, “Not stupid enough to let him get away with it.”

I stood watching him. Confusion still overtook my thoughts. Questions on why he would do this about my situation. “And am I supposed to believe we are talking about the same reason?”

“You believe what you want.” It was simple, not wanting to give anything away. Maybe because it was for a different reason. Maybe not.

Before the argument could continue, he left. The door shutting close and echoing its noise into the room. He’s probably off to the common room with Blaise, Theo, and Pansy, I assumed. Would they bring up what he did? Or would they let it fly by like another simple one of his actions? If I went, it would just be for Pansy. But I felt like I needed to go find someone.

False, I want to go find someone. It felt much too long to go a day without even speaking.

Draco’s words from yesterday were twisting with my head. If I were to go and find him, it’s for simple reassurance.

But Pansy is hoping for me to be there, I sighed and walked towards the dorms. I guess I’ll wait till tomorrow to find Ashton.

I walked into the cold common room. Space was filled with students, mostly murmurs going around about Flint. I couldn’t spot Pansy anywhere. Maybe they ended up going to our dorm. This time I made my way towards our room, opening the door. She was not there either.

Bloody hell. I would have to walk into the guy’s dorm. Alright, it’s alright. If they do not want me there it’s alright. I repeated the words in my head, hoping it would feel like it’s true.

I made my steps short and slow while walking. Turning the nob, everyone was there. Except for Draco. I felt relief fill my lungs.

Blaise was dropped down on his bed, so was Theo. Pansy was sitting on a single couch near the fireplace.

Pansy threw a pillow at me, “Took you long enough.”

“I would have gone to find Ashton, but look where I’m at.” I joked.

Theo waved his hand in the air, motioning for me to sit on the open bed. “I can confirm we are more important.”

Draco must have told Theo not to say anything, if he would have, then Draco would have outraged like he did today. I could never stay mad at him, It’s Theo.

I took upon his untold offer. I walked over to the bed on the right of the room, gripping onto the pillow. It was Draco’s bed. But he wasn’t here, and I would be back in my dorm once he was. Just by sitting down, his presence was sensable more than anything. The scent of his daily cologne soaked the bedsheets. The silk under my skin was cold, neatly placed.

Blaise was standing up and reaching for his night-stand drawer. He pulled out a fire-whiskey bottle.

Theo sighed and reached his hand in the air, “Are you willing to share?”

Blaise threw himself on the mattress again, popping the bottle cork open. “Depends.”

Pansy groaned and stood up from her seat. She made her way towards Blaise and took the bottle from his hand, she smiled while walking back towards her seat on the couch. “It’s delicious Theo.”

Theo murmured under his breath with annoyance.

For the rest of the night, no one brought up Draco or Flint. The conversations revolved around spontaneous topics. After Blaise hadn’t spoken for a while, I look his way and his eyes were shut and his face soft with sleep.

Everyone’s eyes were slowly closing with each phrase passed. Not realizing how, Pansy ended up curled on Blaise’s bed. Dreaming of merlin knows what. Theo was splayed on his bed, the fire whiskey bottle lose in his hand. I hugged onto the single pillow in my arms, the cold dark green silk sheets soothing my body into sleep.

My body shivered with a bad dream. I sat up straight on the bed, I couldn’t remember what it was, maybe just a bad feeling. I read the clock on the wall, three hours past eleven. There was a need in my body, a feeling that has been needing to be comforted since yesterday. Ashton.

I was acting without thinking, but I was out of the guy’s dorm room before I could change my mind.

In order to reach the main common room, we have to walk past the girl’s dormitory. There was a lot of commotion coming from that hall, I couldn’t be sure of what. Almost passing all the dorms, a hand reached out to grab my wrist.

“I was looking for you.” Ashton smiled and surfaced his lips on mine.

I was surely not expecting him here. Did he decide to show up out of nowhere because he thought it was beneficial? The questions must have spoken through my facial expressions. Ashton embraced me in his arms, “I was extremely busy today, no need for worries.”

Making a scene in the hallway would send our voices echoing throughout the entire place. I decided to shrug my shoulders. “Glad you’re here now.”

He started walking us down the hall towards my room. I was planning on taking ourselves elsewhere, somewhere calming to recollect thoughts. But instead, we entered my room and sat down on the couches.

“I missed you today.” He played with strands of my hair.

My cheeks turned pink, “As did I.” Tasting his lips one more time would do no harm. I pushed my lips onto him, his mouth going open.

The taste I was looking for was gone. I was worried for no reason. Everything was normal.

I lay my back against the couch, staring out the window and into the night-black curtain draped over the sky. I pointed a finger at a constellation and nudged my head towards it, “That one is Orion’s Belt, beautiful if you ask me.”

Ashton placed a hand above my thigh, such a sudden movement startled me. “I didn’t know that.”

Nodding, I started to shift my legs onto the couch. My head on his lap. His hands away from my thighs. “I’m slightly tired, are you?” I was not tired. I wanted to ask him about everything.

His hand neared my face, stroking my cheek softly. “Not at all. I want to stay up with you.”

I turned my head to look at the roof above. He wanted something.

His hand began to stroke my arm softly, running his gentle fingers over my skin. When he came down to my wrist, the weight of his hand shifted minor inches to the right, landing above my waist. “It’s somewhat cold, should I bring you a blanket?”

Yes. He would have to use his hands to get the blanket. They wouldn’t be on me- and I would be able to talk. I convinced myself that I just did not need any distractions from my questions.

“Please,” I grinned, moving my head from his lap.

He walked over to the bed, his hands in-taking the softness of the blanket. “It’s much cozier here,”

I spoke, “The fireplace is my favorite warmth, truly.”

He sighed and walked over to the couch. Extending both his hands in front of him, he asked for my hands in his. He had a small smile on his face, waiting for his gesture to be accepted. I rolled my eyes and let him take my hands in his. The blanket dropping onto the ground as I stood. He walked us over to the bed and gently lay beside me.

“Told you it was snug here.” He said.

My eyes started closing with sleep, feeling like there was a brick weight above my eyelashes. It was a moment where you walk through a bridge, leaving reality and entering large gold gates, your next dream awaiting you on the other side. So close to resting with sleep.

Ashton’s hand reached out to fiddle with the hem of my shirt, maybe thinking I was asleep. Now I was not.

I look his way, his eyes were closed. “Ashton, I forgot to tell you about Pansy, she’ll be here soon.”

His fingers kept skillfully playing with my shirt, “You said it yourself the other day, she won’t mind.”

Looking around the room, the window was closed. When did it close? I couldn’t remember. The stars were missing. The moon’s pale light. Where was it all? It’s missing.

“I should go make sure she’s alright then, she’s been gone for a while.” I stood, the mattress’s weight shifting.

Ashton stood up from his place. “The question is, are you alright?”

I gave him a false smile, putting my robes over my shoulder. “Not until I know she is.” He stayed on the bed, his face had paused, no emotions which I could recognize. Turning the door open, I knew he wasn’t leaving the room. There was no noise being made.

Pansy was alright. I knew that. She was with Blaise and Theo, all in the depths of dreams. She wouldn’t wake up soon, she would stay the night there. She was alright. So why the rush to leave Ashton there?

I was in the hall. Still, no luminous white lights from open windows. I wanted to go outside, missing the same fresh open air from today’s morning. So beautiful it was, all quiet. Yet that was in the morning, the sun rising, birds chirping. Now, it was night, the moon flickering, stars listening.

Was my chest heaving? I’m not sure. Did something happen? Maybe. My hands were shaking, instinct it was, to run them over my skirt, flattening it out. There was no light in the empty hallway. Maybe I did need the paintings that hung on the wall. Where were they now? My eyes were looking around, in search. Was there someone here, someone who might spend one minute with me? Such a small offer I make, requesting the smallest presence.

My feet must have done thinking of their own. A memorized path I knew, no paintings, no people, so how come they chose this place? Something unique maybe. A sense no other place could replace. It was because it felt safe.

I was climbing the stairs, passing the metal bars I once stumbled over.

My eyes had the perfect painting now. The moon hovering above Hogwarts, its light seemed so bright that it hued blue with each blink. The stars were like wholes in the universe, accompanying the moon. They’re at each other’s sides, always. People always say the moon and sun are the history pair, but I believe there was a hidden story. The moon fell in love with the stars, the dust filling the vacancy of space. The sun only came to deliver its light. Sibling bond with the moon. Because who could deny those that stuck with them side by side every night?

I climbed the last pair of stairs. The Astronomy tower was still filled with darkness like the previous day. Yet this time it didn’t bother me, a sense of relief came from starring into the shadows, almost as if the sense of safeness grew from the center.

The most comfortable place would be at the back of the tower, where the greatest landscape was. So I made my way.

He was sitting there, slumped against the wall. His brown leather sketchbook above his thighs, a quill moving lightlessly above the parchment. The wind must have caused his hair to be messily placed above his brows like it was. When he sensed a presence, he lifted his head. “Didn’t bump into anything this time?”

For some reason, I did not feel like saying anything back. He could spit another offense and I would be alright with it. Rolling my eyes was my only response. He opened his mouth to say something, but abruptly he stayed silent, eyeing me with an eyebrow quirked. He must have felt as if wasting his time talking to me was not necessary.

I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay. I hadn’t hoped he would be here, I was meant to come and be quiet with the stars for once.

His eyes darted before speaking, “All you do is cry now?”

If he would not have mentioned it, I wouldn’t have realized. It was not much, but my cheeks did feel lightly soaked. My eyelashes might have felt heavier than normal. Now I felt embarrassed. “I’m-” Was my throat tightening?

Maybe I just need more space, his presence felt somewhat alright, or was it just the need for any presence that made him so tolerable? I could tell him, maybe, that he just needed to talk and I would snap out of it soon.

The stars were bright. Glimmering. So different from the sun’s light.

Draco was reading each action I portrayed. “Moore,” He cautioned.

My chest felt heavier again. My heart was tapping to its own song, a rapid beat. I enjoyed listening to the songs created by birds, I almost questioned where they were. Foolish me, its night time. I’ll wait for the morning. I could almost understand a marathon runner, I assume it was hard to breathe, like now similarly.

Like a distraction, he spoke. “That constellation-” he raised a hand in the air, pointing at stars, “-looks like a butterfly.” He sounded shocked at his own words.

I looked up at the group of stars his hand was signaling. From my point of view, the stars did not look any similar to a butterfly. But then I saw him quirk his head to the side, so I followed. With the change in angle, I saw it. The bright diamond butterfly in the sky full of shining fireflies. There were plenty of other constellations, coincidence he pointed out my favorite animal.

Draco was then by my side, sitting me down on the ground. His hands were on my shoulder, harsher than I meant it, I nudged his touch off. I didn’t want to feel it.

Draco placed his sketchbook above my thighs. I stared at the book on my legs through blurred eyes. He gently opened my hands, I had not realized they were in fists. He was looking at my palm for a few seconds, the crescent-formed marks created with my bare nails. But then the feel of his quill in my hand made me question what I was doing. “What- I’m- sor-”

He nudged my hand holding the quill. He wanted me to draw I understood. “Lines if you want, shapes, not difficult.”

My hands began to move above the parchment. Forced ragged lines filling the paper. Incoherent shapes portraying emotions I could not place into words. It felt like I was painting myself, something I could never understand. It was my feelings drawn up in lines. Yet if you looked closely into every line, you could read rage and pain.

At the moment, I did not realize how I should thank him for not speaking as much, a presence was only needed.

I dropped the quill into the spine of the book. Draco clicked his tongue, “I’m surprised that the quill did not break.”

A light laugh escaped my throat, like a bright light that suddenly made Draco feel relief. His face lost all its tension and his shoulders loosened. Then he lay slump against the wall, starring through the depths of the sky. I dropped my head against the brick wall and inhaled deeply, a difference in the level of easiness it was.

I couldn’t describe what I was feeling. But I did know I lied to myself. I’m the only one who keeps hurting myself for the sake of other people’s role in my life. If I would have admitted that I did taste the same candy flavor on his lips today, I would have not landed here. Next to Draco pretending like not a thing is wrong in the world. When truly, the only thing right is how I yet, believe there can still be good in people.

Because like the sunrise, the day has restarted. With me in the same place that I began this morning.

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