At the end of a practice session, Draco landed, dragging his wrist across his forehead. His father would have hissed at him, infuriated, if he had seen his son do something as indecently common as work up a sweat.
He had to. His pride would let him do no less. Potter had more natural talent, but Draco had spent more hours on a broom than that ignorant git. Next match, he’d show them how normal Potter truly was.
He was so engrossed in his thoughts, he didn’t see the boy until he had the audacity to reach out and grab his arm. “Hey,” he said with a brief grin, dropping his hand when he saw Draco’s disgusted face. It was the captain of the Gryffindor squad, something Wood.
“What do you think you’re doing? Spying on us?” Draco snorted derisively and began to turn away. “Yeah, that’s the only way you can expect to win. You just wait until I inform Professor Snape about this –”
“What – uh, no. I’ve left, I’m not a student here any more. I was just taking a walk about after I got a letter of reference from Dumbledor. I saw you. I think… I think Gryffindor had better keep on its toes. You’re really good.”
This stunned Draco. The boy – man – licked his lower lip and ducked his head, then scrubbed a hand through his mousy brown hair, glancing up at him in a nervous, shy way.
Draco nodded stiffly. “Thanks.” Wood flashed a grin again, and the silence was awkward. Draco lifted his shoulder in a half-shrug and asked, “See anything I need to improve on?”
“Well,” said the ex-student. “I’d say you rely too much on that broom’s speed. It’s not enough with Potter’s Firebolt. You’re a Slytherin, go for the subterfuge approach.”
“Right.” He tilted his head, feeling his blonde hair move in the breeze. “Won’t your friends complain, if they knew you’d been coaching the enemy?”
Wood snorted. “Probably. But, you know, there’s more to life than Hogwarts. It might feel like the hub of the world while your in, but out it is just…” Wood gave another shrug, unable to articulate.
Draco thought he understood.