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to discover the boy you lost

Chapter Text

 From the time he was born his parents had told him that Jewish and gay people and black people were bad. Dirty.

 

Wrong.

 

From the time he was born, he believed them.

 

Now he was 12 years old. A first year at the boarding school he'd just started at, Hogwarts. (He'd been an online school student: his parents didn't trust him enough to put him in public school but didn't love him enough to homeschool him.)

 

They were learning about the Holocaust in Muggle Studies.

 

He clicked from website to website on his bed, way past lights out.

 

"Jesus," he whispered.

 

His dad had been so wrong.

 

His dad had been so cruel.

 

Every protest he'd gone to - oh god, he could be condemning the people who were atheists or gay or pro-choice or muggleborn or Jewish or black or Muslim to the same kind of thing - he had been so wrong-

 

He was up until three in the morning.

 

••

 

He woke up at 6am.

 

Saturday.

 

He turned on the computer he used to do schoolwork and looked at the last page he'd been on. "Persecution Of Homosexuals In Nazi Germany"

 

He typed in gay discrimination.

 

"Concentration Camps For Gay Russians Set Up By Putin"

 

"Boy, 15, Commits Suicide Over Homophobic Bullying"

 

"Gay rights: a World of Inequality"

 

"Why Are Those Men Kissing? Explaining Homosexuality From A Christian Viewpoint"

 

"Are Bisexuals Part Of The Queer Community?"

 

That's stupid, thought Draco, seeing as the acronym is LGBT...

 

"Transgender Girl Killed For Her Identity"

 

"Queer Identities You Probably Haven't Heard Of"

 

Although he wanted to read them all, he clicked on that one.

 

 

 

 

Queer Identities You Probably Haven't Heard Of

By Mae Aarnolde

 

You've probably heard of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and you probably know what they mean.

 

But have you heard of non-binary, pansexual, agender, asexual, gender-fluid, gender-flux, demisexual, bigender, or aromantic? In this article, we'll decode these terms and more.

 

Non-binary: A gender identity that is not strictly, completely, and always either male or female.

Agender: A lack of gender, neither male nor female

Genderfluid: A gender identity that changes fluidly

Genderflux: a gender identity that fluctuates; eg, one could be a genderflux girl and go between agender, female, and anything in between.

Bigender: having two genders, most commonly male and female

Demigender: a gender that is only partially; eg, a demiboy is part boy

Genderfire: like genderfluid, but the gender behaves more as a fire than a fluid

Jurega: like female, but on a different plane of existence

Proxvir: like male, but on a different plane of existence

Pansexual: attracted to people of any gender equally

(Many people will ask, how is this different from bisexuality?

Bisexuality is the attraction to two. Two groups of people: people of your gender, and people of other genders. Pansexuality is attraction regardless of gender)

Asexual: not feeling sexual attraction. Asexual people can still have sex or be aroused, but they cannot feel attraction to others.

Demisexual: can only feel sexual attraction to people after becoming close to them; a subset of asexual.

Autochorrisexual: cannot feel attraction without a disconnect; eg, can imagine sex with someone only if it's not them the person is having sex with.

Aromantic: Not feeling romantic attraction.

Demiromantic: only feeling romantic attraction after getting to know someone

 

If you have any questions or comments, please comment below!!

 

by Mae A

 

Draco reflected on this. He'd never heard of most of those terms before. None of them really seemed to fit, but then again, he didn't really understand most of them.

 

He scrolled down to where the comment box was.

 

* means required

 

Name:* Mira

Email or twitter:* miraisontwitter

Website:

Comment:* hi, i was just wondering if you could explain more about the gender identities? I don't understand how you could be more than one gender at a time, sorry. Thank you for your article, i learned a lot from it :)

 

That would have to be good enough for now.

 

••

 

Some time later, he found himself on a website for transgender boys and men.

 

FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

Need a chest binder?

 

Passing tips from real trans men

 

How do I know if I'm trans?

 

How to naturally masculinise your body

 

Voice deepening exercise

 

Need a new name? Check here

 

He clicked on "how do I know if I'm trans?"

 

It turned out to be a survey. When he checked off a statement, it was bolded. 

 

 

 

 

I was born female but I identify as male.

I am unhappy with my breasts.

Isn't everyone? mused Draco.

 

 

 

Femininity is stifling.

I lean towards typical 'boyish' things to do (eg: weightlifting, biking)

I am nonbinary

I do not feel particularly connected to womanhood

I do not feel connected to manhood or womanhood

Because I'm still a kid...

 

 

 

I am unhappy with my body

I would like having a deeper voice

I am taking this survey right now

He debated being a smartass but ultimately decided to leave it bolded.

 

 

 

As a child, I enjoyed superheroes more than princesses

I would not be unhappy if someone referred to me as "sir"

Going through puberty felt like a betrayal from my body

You try getting boobs at age 8.

 

 

 

I have contemplated suicide

I don't like being referred to as "she"

I avoid using public restrooms

I feel uncomfortable in groups of girls

I have friends who are boys

It feels "wrong" when I get my period

I wish I were more muscular

I am a boy

I don't feel girly

My gender changes

Gender roles are dumb

I'd rather be a brother than a sister

I'd rather be a dad than a mom

 

Get results

 

He clicked.

 

24 of 32 of your answers suggest that you could fall on the transgender spectrum.

 

This test cannot tell you your true gender; it can only suggest what you look into.

 

Draco contemplated this. Sure, he'd never been particularly "girly."

 

But that didn't mean he was a boy.

 

Right?

 

He closed out of the tab and found himself back on the Google Doc he'd been typing up about the Holocaust and how it compared to the witch burning trials of the 14th century.

 

Because no matter how much his world was shaking, homework would always be there to haunt him.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Draco sat alone in his dorm room.

 

The other first-year girls weren't back yet.

 

On the website for trans boys and men, it recommended dressing and acting as a boy for a while. If you liked it and didn't want to go back to living as a girl, you were probably trans.

 

Draco had dug through his suitcase until he'd found a sports bra, ace bandages, a hat to tuck his hair into, masculine running shorts, and a plain red t-shirt. He'd also stolen one of Pansy's eyebrow pencils. On a whim, he also grabbed the book about astrology from the library. Maybe it would give him an idea for a name.

 

He carried all his stuff into the girls' bathroom, wearing just shorts and a tank top.

 

He took the handicap stall on the far left and dropped all his stuff.

 

First, to get undressed. He pulled off his shorts and his tank top, under which he was wearing a sports bra. He layered the second over that one and wrapped the ace around his chest as tight as it would go. It was painful. All of the websites he'd been on said not to do this, but it was just an experiment. If he liked it, he'd do something safer.

 

He pulled on the running shorts and then his shirt. The ace rumpled the shirt over his chest area, but it was the flattest his D-cup breasts had been since age 9, and he had started growing them at 8. He pulled his waist-length hair into a bun and stuffed it into the beanie he'd found. He leaned close to the mirror to fill in his eyebrows. He wasn't very good at it, but he managed to get them close to similar.

 

He took a few steps back and looked in the full length mirror on the side of the stall (because everyone wants to watch themselves take a piss! Someone should seriously take it down.)

 

He looked like a boy.

 

It felt oddly, weirdly right.

 

But even if he was a boy, he probably wouldn't wear this. He'd be more preppy, or maybe punk. Or both.

 

It felt right, having short hair and no chest.

 

It felt wrong, wearing running shorts. That's not who he was.

 

But why did it feel so right to act like a boy?

 

He pulled off the ace and put his tank top and normal shorts back on.

 

He left his hair in the beanie.

 

••

 

"Mira, I love your eyebrows. They're so, like... different. It really makes a statement," said Millicent.

 

"Thanks, I think," said Draco.

 

"Yeah, of course. I didn't know you were into makeup."

 

"I'm not, really. I just felt like trying it out. I stole Pansy's pencil; don't tell."

 

"You can have one of mine. What shade did you use?" asked Millicent.

 

"It was like a medium brown, I think," said Draco.

 

Millicent dug through a pink bag for a couple seconds before pulling something out. "Here ya go," she said.

 

"Thank you," said Draco.

 

"It's no problem. You ever need any more makeup, just come to me."

 

"Thanks. I'll keep that in mind."

 

"No problem. Hey, don't we have Potions soon?"

 

Draco glanced at the clock. "In ten minutes. I'm not prepared."

 

"Me neither," said Millicent. "I'll walk with you when you're ready."

 

"Okay," said Draco, "thanks."

 

••

 

Draco put the crossdressing incident in the back of his mind, or at least tried to.

 

It kept coming up. When he took Neville's Remembrall (it was obviously a stupid invention anyway, thing didn't even tell you what you forgot), Neville glared at him as he told McGonagall that "Mira's got my Remembrall." The name Mira felt wrong. When Neville fell off his broom, Draco, bitter over the fact that he'd been shamed in front of the class, began to laugh at him. When that Harry Potter tried to insist "Mira" had done it, that "she" had started it, he flinched. He remembered what the test had said about not liking to be referred to as "she."

 

No.

 

He couldn't think about this anymore.

 

••

 

It was a Hogsmeade weekend. Most students couldn't go until their third year, but Draco's dad had enough pull in the government to let him go.

 

Draco packed his "boy clothes" and swung his bag over his shoulder. He kept his money in his pocket.

 

He was going shopping.

 

••

 

The town was swimming with older teens and adults. Draco navigated his way through the crowd and slid into a bathroom. Instantly, he felt himself relax.

 

It was a family restroom, so there was a toilet, a sink, and a mirror- no stalls.

 

He wrapped the ace around his chest again - it was only for the afternoon; he'd be okay - and pulled on his grey sweatpants and the same red shirt he'd worn before. He tucked his hair into his beanie and quickly filled in his eyebrows. He slipped his feet into his sneakers.

 

He was ready.

 

He stepped out of the bathroom and hurried down the streets to the clothing store. It was usually deserted, but that was good: he wouldn't run into anyone from school. The only people who were there were three emo twenty-somethings with blue hair and piercings.

 

Draco wandered into the men's section nervously. He dragged a hand along rows of khakis and polo shirts before deciding to explore the punk look. He went over to that side of the store, where they sold Weird Sisters and Nirvana t-shirts in black, black, red and black, black, and, you guessed it, black. He examined the shirts before moving on to ones without logos. He debated getting a plain black shirt but ultimately decided against it. When all was said and done he bought a MCR tee, black sweatpants, a chain necklace, black skinny jeans, and a red Panic! At The Disco shirt.

 

The receptionist smiled at him. "Here you go," she said.

 

Draco smiled. "Thanks."

 

••

 

Draco slipped into a bathroom to change.

 

••

 

It was time to go back to Hogwarts.

 

Draco was oddly upset about having to change back.

 

 

Chapter Text

Draco had done his research.

 

My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco were Muggle emo bands. He listened to a few of their songs and liked them, and devoted much of his free time to downloading all their songs. 

 

Pansy noticed his new music collection and made it her passion to mock him. "What, are you emo now? Are you secretly a mudblood? I never thought a pureblood would stoop to that level. I expected more of you, Mira."

 

Millicent tried to stand up for him but ended up with a broken nose.

 

Draco didn't ask.

 

••

 

He wandered through the halls with his head down and bumped into someone. Without even looking up, he mumbled, "sorry, dude," and kept walking.

 

Later, he heard Harry Potter talking about him.

 

"Mira Malfoy said sorry?"

 

"Yeah," said a feminine voice he knew was Hermione's.

 

"I didn't know she was capable of basic human decency. This is a breakthrough. We need to perform tests. Let's go to the library," said Harry. He was obviously mocking Hermione's goody-two-shoes act. He felt a slight pang in his chest. She'd grown up in a Muggle family; this was probably fascinating to her.

 

"Hey, I never said she was really a good person. I just said it wasn't like her to apologise." Well... okay, that was true.

 

"Yeah, whatever," said Harry. "I still think we should run tests."

 

Another voice chimed in, and Draco angled a spoon to look in the reflection. Ron Weasley, of course. 

 

"Yeah. Maybe she was under Polyjuice?"

 

Do people really think I'm that bad of a person?

 

"Maybe," said Harry.

 

"Or maybe she was just being nice, Ron, Harry."

 

"'Nice' and 'Mira' aren't words you hear in the same sentence." This from Ron.

 

"Why are you guys so mean to her? She's only been a jerk... a few times. And she was raised in a bad environment anyway. Give her a chance."

 

Harry scowled but said nothing. Ron snorted. "As if. According to her I'm the 'wrong type of person.'"

 

"Her dad is Lucius Malfoy, Ronald. She knows nothing else but prejudice."

 

Draco put his earbuds in. He didn't need to hear any more.

 

••

 

He found Hermione outside of the Potions classroom the next day and said, "can I talk to you?"

 

Hermione looked incredulous. "Uh, okay? Away from here, I presume."

 

Draco nodded. "Yeah. If that's okay."

 

"Yeah. Uh, yeah, okay."

 

People really did think he was that bad.

 

They wandered a bit away from the door so they wouldn't be overheard.

 

"Yes?" Asked Hermione.

 

"Um, yesterday I heard what Ron and Harry were saying about me and um, I just wanted to say thank you," said Draco. "For sticking up for me, I mean."

 

"Oh!" Said Hermione. "Um, it's no problem really. They've both got the same capacity for sympathy as a rubber duck. Ron more so. I thought you deserved a second chance."

 

"Well. Thank you." Draco cleared his throat.  "Um, and I've been doing a lot of research about the Holocaust because of History of Magic and, um, you were right about my dad. I was raised blind to people who aren't as privileged as me."

 

"As a middle-class black transgender Jewish girl I'd like to say thank you."

 

"You're Jewish? And trans?"

 

"Yeah. Well, I was raised Jewish anyway. And yeah, I'm trans. I already started on hormone therapy, in case you were wondering."

 

Here was someone like the girls he'd been reading about. "What's HRT like? Do you have pills or shots? How did you choose your name? Sorry," he added as an afterthought. "That was probably rude of me."

 

"No, it's okay. I take pills - my parents don't like the idea of their little girl stabbing herself in the leg once a week. And it's amazing. Sucks that I need chemicals for things that just happen to other girls. But I'm glad I have E anyway. I chose my name really based on what they'd have named me if I was born a girl. Boring, I know. I also considered Victoria because it has the same meaning as my dead name, but ultimately I went with Hermione."

 

"Sorry, I've just never knowingly met ano- a trans person before. I just got excited; sorry." What the hell, Mira? Another trans person? What were you thinking?

 

But Mira didn't feel right.

 

"It's totally fine."

 

"On another note, do you speak Hebrew?"

 

"Not fluently, but yes. Are you Christian, or...?"

 

"I was raised Christian, but... I'm wondering now."

 

"Ah, okay. Just out of curiosity, I know there's not a lot on the subject online, but have you done any reading up on muggleborn prejudice for History?"

 

"I've not been able to find anything, but I do find the concept interesting, if also terrible."

 

"I could lend you some books if you want. It's okay if you say no, I'm just-"

 

"No, that would be great. Thank you."

 

"Okay. I can bring you them at dinner if you want?"

 

"Okay," said Draco. He noticed that the hallways were emptier now and said, almost as a question, "I think it's time for Potions?"

 

"Yeah," said Hermione. "It is."

 

••

 

As promised, Hermione dropped off the books at dinnertime, saying quietly, "the one with Ministry in the title is technically illegal, so be careful." 

 

"Thanks, Hermione," said Draco through a mouthful of the green Jell-O he was calling a dinner.

 

"No problem," she said as she walked back across the room to the Gryffindor table.

 

Draco immediately read through the titles: Laws In The Ministry Of Magic (And How They Discriminate Against Muggleborns), Pure Bloods Are No Different From Half Bloods or Muggle Borns, and Muggleborn Discrimination Through The Ages.

 

Pansy sat down by Draco.

 

"I didn't know you were a lesbian."

 

"What?"

 

"Why else would you be talking to that disgusting Granger girl?"

 

"She was giving me books. Shove off," said Draco.

 

Pansy raised her voice. "Mira's a lesbian! Mira's a lesbian!"

 

Draco flipped open Muggleborn Discrimination Through The Ages and began to read.

 

"What, too ashamed to admit the truth? You're obviously a dyke."

 

Draco flipped the page, and then flipped his shit.

 

"Pansy, leave me the hell alone. Just go back to your little group and leave me alone. I'm trying to study."

 

Pansy snorted. "Dyke," she muttered before sitting back down.

 

Draco had a feeling this wasn't the end of the fight.

 

••

 

He stayed up reading that night, wand clutched in his mouth as a flashlight, curtains drawn so he wouldn't wake up the others.

 

He'd never thought about the underage magic rule as being discriminatory, but the book's explanation made sense: When you're born, the Trace is put on you. It is removed when you become of age at 17. Now, the Trace tracks the magic done around you: it tells the government if you're doing magic under 17. If you're from a wizarding family, they just assume it's from your parents. But Muggleborns are actually tracked, unlike pure- or half-bloods.

 

The ways muggleborn discrimination was deeply rooted in the Ministry appalled him. How could people be so cruel to each other based on their blood status?

 

Draco stumbled up to the Great Hall in the sweatpants and green t-shirt he slept in and collapsed on the Slytherin bench, book in hand, blurry eyes scanning the words.

 

He heard a cough behind him and turned. Hermione stood there, dressed in her uniform. "I see you're liking the books."

 

Draco nodded. "They're fascinating. I was up all night reading them."

 

"Which ones have you read?"

 

"The one about Laws I finished, and I'm working on Pure-bloods are no different."

 

"Wow. How late were you up?"

 

"Until one or two."

 

"Wow. You must read fast." Hermione swung her legs over the bench and leaned, elbows on the table.

 

"Yeah. Plus, it's seriously interesting. I've been taking notes, too."

 

"Hey," grunted Gregory Goyle, another first year. "Why there a Gryffindor at our table?"

 

"No table divisions at Breakfast. It's rule 39 of the Great Hall," said Hermione.

 

Goyle scowled but said nothing.

 

Hermione sighed. "Anyway. It's really cool that you're interested in this. As a white pure-blood Slytherin with your dad being, uh, who he is."

 

"Hey, not all Slytherins are bad. We're just ambitious."

 

"But then, no offence, why are you all such jerks to non-Slytherins?"

 

"I dunno, maybe cause everyone hates us? Like, those Weasley twins booed at some kid who got sorted here. We're bitter. Besides, why bother trying to be different if we don't have a chance to show them we aren't all jerks?"

 

Hermione nodded slowly. "That actually makes sense."

 

Draco vaguely noticed Ron and Harry coming towards them but ignored it. Hermione either didn't see or didn't care.

 

The first, he thought, as Ron slammed his hands down on the table and Hermione jumped. "What're you doing over here?" asked Ron.

 

"Eating and discussing blood supremacy with Mira. Wanna join?"

 

"Why... Mira?" Asked Harry, slightly more tactfully than Ron.

 

"Because we started talking the other day and she showed interest so I lent her some books."

 

Draco stayed quiet throughout this exchange.

 

"Why are you at the Slytherin table?" Asked Harry.

 

"There're no house divisions at Breakfast. It's rule 39 of the Great Hall."

 

"Really?"

 

"Mhm. So are you joining, or not? They have green Jell-O." This seemed to be directed at Ron.

 

"Okay," he said incredulously.

 

The tension was so thick it needed to be diluted with four cups of water per one cup of oatmeal.

 

"Anyway," said Hermione, over-enunciating as always, "we were just talking about the stigma between Slytherins and the rest of Hogwarts. Mira, you want to tell them?"

 

"Okay," said Draco, taking one last bite of Jell-O. "Okay, so us Slytherins kind of have an us-against-them mentality. You guys treat us like demons, so we act the part. For instance, uh, no offence Ron, but your brothers were kinda jerks boo-ing at that first year, I can't remember who, when they got sorted into Slytherin. It's things like that. We aren't the evil house. We're just ambitious. It's a stereotype- and I'm sure all of you are familiar with those." He added this because Hermione and Harry were black, and Ron poor. "It sucks, and we can't change it, so we just live up to it, because why not?"

 

Harry was nodding along to this, but Ron had his face scrunched up. "Why not try to fix it, though?"

 

"Fix years of prejudice? Doesn't happen overnight."

 

Ron seemed stumped by this. Harry had another thought. "But you guys do discriminate against Muggleborns."

 

Draco flipped open his book and found the page he was looking for. "So, Hogwarts was formed during the witch-burning trials, right? So naturally a lot of wixen were suspicious of Muggles. Slytherin advocated for not letting Muggles in for fear they'd tell the Inquisition. It's an old-fashioned belief based in truth, but that doesn't change the fact that it's outdated and wrong at this point. And for the record, Merlin was muggle-born, and he was a Slytherin."

 

"I think you'd've done well in Ravenclaw," said Hermione."

 

"Thanks. I do like learning and knowledge in general, so I learn when I can. I just value ambition more."

 

"How are you a Slytherin if you like learning though?" Asked Ron.

 

"It's about your values, not your actual strengths. Someone who values bravery could be a Gryffindor, even if they had a panic disorder so bad they couldn't leave their dorm most days."

 

Hermione nodded rapidly. "The best people have a balance of the traits of all the houses. Intelligence is nothing if you haven't the ambition to use it. Ambition is nothing if you don't put in any work. Hard work is nothing if you are working for the wrong thing. Bravery counts for nothing if you're brave going into the wrong thing. See?"

 

Ron sighed. "It's the morning and I've only had Jell-O, Hermione, I understood about 3% of that."

 

"Hence the reason you aren't a Ravenclaw," said Hermione. 

 

"Or a Hufflepuff, I don't feel he tried very hard to understand," said Draco.

 

Hermione laughed, and Harry found the grace to smile. Ron took a piece of bacon and began to gnaw on it.

 

"Why do we even have Houses?" Asked Harry.

 

"So you're around people who think like you." Hermione took a bite of the ham-and-cheese sandwich she'd bafflingly chosen as a breakfast.

 

"Isn't it good to have people who think differently, though?" Harry inquired, smearing butter on his bagel.

 

Hermione frowned. "Well, when the school was made, they sorted us based on a certain trait. But we have classes with all the other houses... I honestly don't know. I'll ask McGonagall. Or go to the library."

 

"Of course you will," said Ron.

 

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Oh, shove off. Learning is cool."

 

"Nerd," said Harry. "Hey, wait. Mira, I see you with headphones on a lot. I thought electronics didn't work here."

 

"They do. They just tell people that to get rid of the temptation. It's been mostly Slytherins and Hufflepuffs who figure it out. The WiFi password is L3m0nDr0p2o11."

 

"Thanks, Mira," said Harry.

 

"No problem."

 

Ron chimed in then, mouth stuffed with eggs. "What's WiFi?"

Chapter Text

 

Draco opened his email (mira.malfoy@malfoymanor.org) to see Reply To Your Comment hi, i was just wondering...

 

He clicked, remembering the website he'd found.

 

 

Hello Mira! Thank you for your comment. I understand how it could be confusing.

 

Think of it this way. Could one be a wife and a mother? If they are a mother, are they less of a wife? They co-exist, see? She would not be 50% mother and 50% wife, she is 100% of both. Does that make sense?

 

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them for you.

 

Sincerely, Mae

 

Draco nodded along as he read.

 

 

That does make sense, thank you for answering! i actually have a lot of questions, but I think my main one is this, how do you figure out if you're trans? Ive kind of been questioning but I was raised in a transphobic environment so i didn't have access to information, now that im at school I've been learning a lot about this so im just wondering, sorry

 

Sincerely, mira

 

He hit 'Reply' and then clicked back over to his schoolwork.

 

He had an essay to write.

 

••

 

Harry found him outside of the Care of Magical Creatures greenhouse, the two of them covered in dirt already.

 

"So I've been thinking. Hermione seems to think you've changed. And I trust her judgement. Do you want to just... start again?"

 

"Sure," said Draco. "Hi. I'm Mira Malfoy."

 

"Hi," said Harry, "I'm Harry Potter."

 

••

 

Ron would take more convincing. That was okay.

 

He'd been a jerk. He understood.

 

Millicent seemed to notice a change in him. They started hanging out more often, and soon had a full blown multi-round game of Wizard's chess going.

 

At one point, she nodded over to a fifth year who was curling her hair in the corner. "She's pretty."

 

Draco nodded absently. "Yeah, definitely. You swing that way? Or just observing?"

 

"Both."

 

"Oh. If I move my Queen to D3, your Knight would be able to get her, right?"

 

"Yeah. Do it. I'm losing this round and we both know it."

 

Obviously, Draco didn't do it.

 

••

 

School was going pretty good. He had a steady correspondence with Mae from that website going, Harry was warming up to him, his lowest grade was an A, and Pansy hadn't called him a dyke in a while. Christmas break was coming up, too, meaning that he'd get most of the castle to himself. He wasn't going home if he had the choice. But all in all, things were going smoothly.

 

So naturally, something bad was going to happen.

 

And it did. In the form of Pansy Parkinson stealing his clothes while he bathed.

 

Under his breath, he mumbled swears that could have curdled milk. He was completely naked, incredibly cold, uncomfortable, and on the second floor. The Slyherin dorms were in the dungeons.

 

What could he do? Draco mentally sorted through the options.

  1. Stay in the showers overnight and wait for someone to come in. When they do, steal their clothes, sprint down to the dorms, change, and bring their clothes back.
  2. Wait for lights out and sprint naked back to the dungeons.
  3. Go through the lockers and find a towel.
  4. Drown himself in the tub.
  5. Tear down a shower curtain and use it as a towel.
  6. Wait until morning, when Millicent said she'd shower, and ask her to help.

 

Waiting overnight did not sound like a good option, so 1 and 6 weren't options. Suicide wasn't the best idea either, so scratch 4. Sprinting around Hogwarts naked would not end well, so 2 was out.

 

3 seemed more logical than 5, so he dug through the lockers and found nothing. Of course.

 

He was about to tear down the shower curtain when he thought of a seventh idea. He took out his phone.

 

Mira: Hermione i need help

Mira: This is super embarrassing but

Mira: Pansy stole my clothes and towel and theres nothing here but the shower curtain

Mira: so could u maybe bring me something??

Mira: im so sorry.

 

As he was beginning to lose hope, Hermione texted back.

 

Hermione: Pansy is a jerk. I can do that, I'll bring some clothes down for you. hope ur okay with boxers though, it's the only clean thing I've got. i'll bring a towel too

Hermione: which stall?

Mira: the last one.

 

He felt a surge of relief that duplicated when he heard the door open.

 

"Okay," said Hermione's voice. "I'm leaving this right in front of your curtain. Um, I didn't bring a bra because I'm an A-cup and you are significantly larger than that, sorry. I'll be over by the sinks when you're done."

 

"I can't ever repay you."

 

"You don't have to. I'm gone now," she added.

 

Draco pushed aside the curtain and wrapped the towel around himself. It was so warm. He was so glad.

 

After he was dried off enough, he pulled on Hermione's boxers and sweatpants, then the shirt she'd brought. He quickly towelled his hair so it was slightly drier and draped the towel across his neck before finally going over to the sinks where Hermione was sitting on the counter.

 

"Thank you so much, really," said Draco.

 

"Seriously, it's no problem. I kind of want to slap Pansy, though."

 

The door creaked open and a ray of light shone through. "Mira, I know you're in here. You gonna come out?"

 

It was unmistakably Pansy's voice.

 

Draco's eyes widened and he pressed himself against the wall between the bathroom stall and the sink. Hermione slipped down and joined him in the corner. They stayed perfectly still as Pansy pranced by - but there were two more people...

 

"I brought some guys to show you how to stop being a dyke," said Pansy.

 

Hermione shoved herself out of her corner. "No you didn't," she said. In the dim light, Draco could see her jaw clenched and fists balled up.

 

"Oh. It's just Granger. Where is Mira?"

 

"I dunno. But it sounds like you brought these two guys in to rape her. Or assault her. Or something, I don't know what, but Dumbledore is going to hear about this. I hope you burn in Hell."

 

Pansy spluttered before spitting out, "I don't care what an ugly know-it-all has to say."

 

"Dumbledore will care."

 

Pansy continued to splutter.

 

Draco could see Hermione inching towards the light switch and crouched down. He had almost been raped.

 

She flicked the light on and two seventh-year boys stood there. He didn't even know their names.

 

"It was just a joke-" stuttered Pansy, "I just wanted to scare her a little- I wasn't actually going to-"

 

"Shut up," said Hermione.

 

The seventh years remained silent. Draco wondered if they were deaf.

 

"Fine- I'll go now- whatever- this isn't the end-" mumbled Pansy as she backed her way out the door.

 

Hermione waved a hand at the boys and they left too.

 

"God gave me strength," said Hermione once they had left. "And we should go see Dumbledore."

 

"Can we wait?" Asked Draco. "I know I'm kind of letting her win. But I'm scared."

 

"Okay."

 

Hermione sat down next to him on the tile.

 

"I'm so glad you got here when you did."

 

"I am too. I think it was a fake. But it was cruel."

 

"Thanks for letting me wear your clothes."

 

"No problem. I own about twelve pairs of sweats."

 

Draco acknowledged this with a nod but stayed stuck in his own thoughts.

 

"Hey," said Hermione. "If you need to talk, I'm here."

 

Tell her. Tell her you think you're a boy.

 

"Thanks."

 

"I mean it. Anytime. Wake me up in the middle of the night. I'll give you the Gryffindor password tomorrow."

 

"Thanks," said Draco again. "Um. I. Um. Nevermind." He was going to tell her that he didn't feel safe in the Slytherin dorms, but the words got stuck.

 

"Do you feel up to telling Dumbledore now?" Asked Hermione.

 

"Yeah. Yeah, I think so."

 

Hermione walked with him up to the statue and whispered the password, Lemon Drops, to it. It opened and they swirled upstairs. Hermione rang the doorbell and in a couple of moments Dumbledore answered, dressed in daytime robes and sipping tea.

 

"Come in," he said.

 

The two of them did. The smell of peppermint tea saturated the air. "Would either of you like tea? Oh, you can sit down." He gestured to the couches in one corner of the large, crowded room. "Sure, thank you, sir," said Hermione. "Me too. Thank you,"' said Draco.

 

The tea was ready in an instant and Dumbledore brought it to them. Hermione took a sip. Draco took one too.

 

"So," said Dumbledore. "What is it?"

 

"Well," said Hermione nervously. Her black afro bounced as she tilted her head. "Well, Mira was taking a shower, as most healthy and clean teenagers do. Now her and Pansy have been having a disagreement for a while now, right?" She looked to Draco, who agreed, "About a month, yes. She keeps calling me a homophobic slur and spreading rumours about me."

 

Hermione nodded. "I've seen this happen. So today, around 9pm, Mira was taking a shower on the second floor. When she stepped out her clothes and towels were gone. It was Pansy. I don't know how Mira knew at that point in time, probably just instinct?" She glanced at Draco for confirmation, and he nodded. "Well she texted me and I brought her clothes. But after she had changed we were about to walk back to our dorms when Pansy came in, accompanied by two boys. She told Mira she had brought the boys to 'teach her to be straight.' I confronted her, and she said she was only faking, which I believe - she's too much of a wimp to follow through with that. But nonetheless Pansy was cruel and we thought you should be informed."

 

Dumbledore nodded wisely throughout this. (Draco wasn't sure how wise nodding worked, but Dumbledore was doing it and he vowed to attempt it at some point)

 

"I will be sure that Pansy Parkinson gets what she deserves. Thank you for bringing this to my attention."

 

Draco and Hermione both nodded as though they knew how to respond to this. "Thank you for the tea, sir, and for listening," Draco said finally.

 

"It is no problem, Mira."

 

Mira. There it was again. That weird feeling of the name not fitting, as though it were a left mitten on a right hand.

 

"Thank you, sir," said Hermione.

 

"You may leave at your leisure. Unless there is something else you needed to discuss?" They both shook their heads. "Well, goodnight to you both, then."

 

"Goodnight, sir," they echoed.

 

On the walk back, Draco noted a single-person toilet and knew that's where he'd be sleeping.

 

••

 

He came back to it after saying goodnight to Hermione. However, when he stepped in, it was not a bathroom, but an entire apartment, basically. Although now it was well past midnight and he gave it no more thought as he collapsed on the bed with the blue sheets and fluffed pillows.

 

••

 

Draco woke up and a spare change of clothes was there; black sweatpants, Hogwarts robes, a white shirt, and a Slytherin tie, along with fresh underwear.

 

I don't know what this room is, he thought, but I like it.

 

••

 

Pansy didn't appear at breakfast, or in any of his classes, and he wandered into the lunchroom considerably happier. Lunches had house divides, so he sat by Millicent and told her about what had happened the night before. She, like anyone else would be, was horrified.

 

"You told someone, right?" She asked.

 

"Yeah. Dumbledore."

 

"So that's why I haven't seen her all day," speculated Millicent. She stabbed at her salad and took a huge bite.

 

"I don't know where she went. Hopefully she's been expelled."

 

He found out after lunch, though, that she had only been suspended for two weeks after the start of the next semester, not expelled.

 

"Damn," said Millicent. "Only two weeks of freedom?"

 

"Watch your mouth, young lady," joked Draco.

 

She smiled. "Yeah, yeah, whatever." 

Chapter Text

The rest of Christmas break came and went with little fanfare. The Christmas Feast was good, sure, but not amazing. The first day of the second semester was what clued him in to the fact that this was not going to be as easy academically as the first  semester. With three feet of essays from Snape, two from McGonagall, and five from Binns, Draco enlisted the help of the smartest person he knew: Hermione.

 

"First," said Hermione, tapping a quill against her nose, "you decide what project you want to do." 

 

"The easiest one?"

 

"Actually, I'd recommend starting with the harder one."

 

"So, Binns'?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"I don't even know what it's on."

 

"Don't you ever listen in class?"

 

"No?"

 

Hermione groaned. "Wendelin the Weird ring a bell?"

 

"...vaguely?"

 

"Ughhhhh. Okay. I'll at least teach you how to plot this. I'm not going to write it for you. This is important, Mira."

 

Draco rolled his eyes.

 

"So to start. The topic of conversation is 'was Wendelin the weird an important part of wizarding history?' Obviously Binns wants you to say yes. So-"

 

"What if I don't think she was?" Asked Draco. 

 

"Well you can say that if you want, but your grade might suffer..."

 

"I'm not gonna lie to get good grades."

 

"Okay..." said Hermione. "Well, you have to think of three reasons why you think she wasn't important and write them down. Those would be your body paragraphs. Then you just gotta explain your arguments and add an introduction and closing. Oh, and make sure each paragraph is a page. It's not as hard as it looks. 3 feet is like 3 pages in the muggle world, and this is handwritten."

 

Draco scowled. "It still isn't very fun."

 

"How is this not fun? Learning about magic? Finding out when spells are created?"

 

"I grew up with this stuff, Hermione. It's like you learning about, I dunno, the water cycle."

 

Hermione was pretty obviously stumped by this. Finally she said, "so like. If I taught you magic but made it... like, connected to the Muggle world... would you find that more interesting?"

 

"Yeah. Definitely. Or like, doing something hands on. Like if I could re-enact some of it or build it or something other than just listen to lectures, that would be great."

 

"Honestly, I learn by reading and listening, but Professor Binns lectures too much for even me. But I do think that would be a good idea. We could start it and then maybe make a club? Like I could find my syllabus and read up on the things we'll be studying, and figure out what to re-enact. It would be really cool. Some of the older kids could join, but they'd have different classes..." Hermione rambled. "Maybe there could even be an art station where you could draw out the lesson? I think we should do this. Maybe even make posters!" Hermione gesticulated wildly as she spoke, a grin beginning to form. At this point, she had completely neglected her homework and shoved it off to the side, along with the red Jell-O they were having for a snack at the Gryffindor table. "What should we call it?" Here she stopped, and Draco realised it wasn't a rhetorical question.

 

"Uh, History Of Magic Interactive Study Club? No, that's dumb. Magical History, Re-Enacted? Hands-On History?"

 

"I love that," said Hermione. "Hands-On History." She reached into her bookbag, shoving her entire arm and shoulder inside, before pulling out posterboard and markers.

 

"Holy hell."

 

"Undetectable extension charm." She pulled a wooden stick with a grey tip out of the side pocket of her book-bag. When she saw Draco's confused stare, she sighed and started to explain.

 

"Hi," said Harry, who had appeared in the middle of Hermione explaining the pencil. "Me and Ron saw you guys looking really excited. What's going on?"

 

Millicent was obviously eavesdropping at this point, so Draco beckoned her over. "Okay, okay, so Mira and I had this idea, right? Well, Mira started it. We were thinking, you know how boring Binns can be?"

 

"Incredible," said Ron, "Hermione saying school can be boring? It's a miracle."

 

"Well," said Hermione, "what if we made a group for the first years, to make it actually fun to learn? I'd study the syllabus and explain it to everyone. It would be like twice a week and we would go over the lessons. We could re-enact it and do art based around it to make it interesting."

 

"You know," said Draco, "I found this room that whenever I thought I needed something, like a bed or a change of clothes, it would give it to me. I could maybe try to find it again...?"

 

"That would be awesome," said Harry. "I think this could actually work, if you get people involved. I'll invite Neville."

 

"I'd come," said Millicent.

 

Blaise Zabini looked over from a couple yards away. "I heard you talking. I would maybe come. I have a bet with Pansy that I'll get better grades than her."

 

Hermione nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, of course, everyone but Pansy is invited anyway."

 

"Pansy's an arse," said Blaise. "I'm coming."

 

"I know Ernie MacMillan would join, and he would probably get the Hufflepuffs into it. Eloise might. Uh, I don't know many of the Ravenclaws, but that Mandy Brocklehurst might come?" Hermione said all this very quickly.

 

"Dean and Seamus might come," said Ron. "Maybe Lavender and Parvati."

 

"Let's start on the poster," said Hermione. "I'll duplicate it. So, Hands-On History is our name?"

 

Everyone nodded. Blaise even found it in him to join them on the bench.

 

Hermione began to write that out, while also delegating tasks, which Draco found to be quite impressive.

 

"Ron, Harry, can you guys go talk to people? Wait, when should we meet?"

 

"Tuesdays and Fridays, seven to nine pm," said Blaise. "It doesn't interfere with Quidditch; Hufflepuff's anyway. I always go watch my brother's practices."

 

"Okay," said Harry, and the two of them were off.

 

"All right. Blaise, you seem to be good at planning."

 

Blaise nodded.

 

"Okay. Could you figure out what lessons to do when? We have to get an entire school year's worth of lessons into one semester."

 

"Can do," he said, digging through his bag.

 

"Okay, Millicent, what stuff are you good at? I know you're logical, but..."

 

"I like art. And planning."

 

"Okay. You can help with the poster, and Mira, you could criticise, but mainly work with Blaise to figure out a schedule. That okay?" 

 

Draco nodded.

 

"All right."

 

Draco slid over by Blaise. "I've been delegated over here."

 

"Okay," said Blaise. "Okay, could you figure out a schedule for just in general what happens when, and then specifically for the first meeting?"

 

"Okay," said Draco. He pulled out a roll of parchment and the two of them got to work.

Chapter Text

At five thirty pm, armed with chicken sandwiches (except Hermione, who didn't like chicken) and soda, Hermione, Ron, Harry, Millicent, Blaise, and Draco himself travelled up the winding stairs.

 

Draco led them to the room, which now had columns in front of it that reminded him of Ancient Greece.

 

They all stepped in to the room, which was large and empty, and two bathrooms, one marked public and the other private.

 

Blaise was already tacking up an enlarged version of the meeting schedule and an equally huge version of the overall syllabus. They had started with one of Wizarding history's greatest wars as the theme.

 

"We need a table," said Hermione thoughtfully.

 

One appeared on the wall across from Blaise's signs.

 

"Oh," said Hermione, surprised. "Uh, we should have a table covering-" a clear one appeared- "maybe with the Greek flag?" The tablecloth morphed in front of their eyes.

 

"Okay. That's cool," said Harry."

 

"Hey, Room. Could we have a House-Elf?" Asked Draco.

 

One appeared in the room with a loud crack. "Hello, how may I be of service?"

 

It was Dobby, his family's house-elf. Confused, it took him a minute to say, "go down to the kitchens and bring us soda, punch, and water. Maybe some cupcakes."

 

"Will do, miss," said the House-Elf, disapparating.

 

"That's horrible!" hissed Hermione.

 

"What?" Asked Ron.

 

"It's like slavery!"

 

"It woud be best if you drop it," said Harry wisely as Dobby appeared with food.

 

"Right on that table," said Blaise.

 

"Thank you," added Harry.

 

The House-Elf stopped. "T-thank you? Who is saying this?"

 

"Me," said Harry. "Harry Potter."

 

The House-Elf gasped. "No one is ever treating Dobby as an equal, sir. You is even greater than they said?" He promptly fell into tears. "Dobby has heard of your greatness, sir, thank you!"

 

"I'm not that great," said Harry, as a blush grew on Draco's cheeks. Okay, maybe he had said one or two things to Dobby when his family had visited that one time over Christmas break... but he hadn't been beaming about Harry's greatness or anything...

 

"Yes you is! You is treating Dobby like an equal, sir!"

 

"Dobby," said Draco quietly.

 

"Yes, Mistress?"

 

"Could you get us some, like, carrot arrangements or something? Please?"

 

Dobby seemed stunned, enough that he didn't even bother to say 'miss' when he stuttered, "Of- of course..."

 

I really have been terrible, Draco reflected.

 

"What's he- she? mean about hearing of my greatness?" asked Harry.

 

"I call him he, but I mean, I never really thought to ask Dobby for pronouns..." he stuttered.

 

"Understandable," said Hermione, "given... well, all this."

 

"And um, my family came to... to visit me? My mom and dad?"

 

"Yes, that's your family," said Ron, who hadn't quite warmed up to him.

 

"And I was... telling them about you? But I wasn't saying you were like, a god or something... I just mentioned you..." Draco mumbled, growing redder by the second.

 

Hermione came to his rescue. "Have you memorised the main points of the war? I need help," she said, looking visibly stressed, but Draco knew what she was up to.

 

"Yes! Yes, I have. Yes."

 

Hermione grabbed his hand and led him away from the group, hiding the two of them behind a large book before breaking into laughter. "That was actually hilarious. You looked like someone had caught you, I dunno, swearing in church or stealing a shower curtain."

 

"I just-" he started.

 

"Nope. No. I'm putting you out of your misery. Have you ever had lemon drops? They're quite good."

 

Draco groaned.

 

++

 

The preparation continued with no more embarrassment on Draco's side, although Blaise dropping his cup of water, slipping in it, and ending up looking like he peed his pants caused quite enough secondhand embarrassment for the Slytherins and enough laughter for the Gryffindors.

 

Millicent was diligently smoothing out the fake dirt the Room had supplied them with, making the brown carpet and rocks look even, but also natural. It was a process, and Draco was glad he wasn't in her position.

 

The first people in the room were Dean and Seamus, both laughing and hitting each other with their History books.

 

"Ooh, you got food!" said Dean.

 

"Help yourself," Harry said proudly.

 

Soon after came Ernie and his band of Hufflepuffs, namely Justin, Hannah, and Susan; and Ravenclaw Terry Boot with Anthony, Padma, and Si. Crabbe, who Draco knew only by last name, showed up, but his other half Goyle didn't. Tracey Davis and Daphene Greengrass, from Slytherin, showed up too. 

 

Eloise, Parvati, Neville, and Fay came too, fashionably late, seeking attention like most Gryffindors do.

 

Well, maybe not Neville.

 

Once they were all there, there were 23 people there, including the main six who had helped set it up.

 

After they were sure everyone was there, Harry picked up a whistle and got everyone to get in a circle.

 

Hermione took the whistle from him. "Welcome to our much-needed Hands-On History club. Um, we're going to be talking about the Wizarding war back in 1711. So, um, left side of the room - my left - you're Europe. Right side of the room, you're Asia and South America."

 

Everyone nodded. Hermione bit her lip. "Okay, so basically-" she froze up.

 

"There was a wizard named Galathynius," prompted Draco.

 

"Yes, thank you," she said, visibly relieved. She waved her wand in the air, drawing a picture. "So. This guy Galathynius? He was like, a major jerk. European guy. Liked killing people. You know the type."

 

There were scattered giggles.

 

"So this guy, he had a thing about the number of wixen in any given place. Said it should be limited. Of course, people didn't like that. He wanted to tear people away from their family and culture. Tried to get the idea to South America, because in Brazil the concentration of wixen was so large the Muggles were getting suspicious. Again, some people agreed. But most were super mad so basically they started a war about it and hit each other with curses and Galathynius went over to Brazil and started killing people and since Europeans were jerks they picked up on it and started killing people too. Asia tried to tell us to stop being dumb but, you know, wixen are dumb. Then everyone had this huge battle in 1713 in the middle of Brazil that was creatively named the 1713 Battle of Brazil. And that's what we're acting out today. Blaise, hit the lights."

 

Draco glanced around but didn't see Blaise, and suddenly the lights turned from florescent to blue-grey. He could sense the colours shifting. At its darkest, it was midnight blue and stars dotted the sky. At its lightest, it was near its normal shade, but greener.

 

"All right, everyone gets a foam sword. After your fifth hit, you die. I've got a sticker all of you have to wear to keep you honest. So, um, line up. Harry's helping."

 

Draco got in a line with Millicent, who was bouncing on her toes. "This is gonna be great."

 

"I know," said Draco.

 

After everyone had gotten their stuff, Hermione separated them back into their teams and pointed at Seamus, telling him he was Galathynius. She yelled out to make sure the Brazil/Asia team won, like they did in history.

 

"And we're ready in five, four, three, two-"

 

A loud horn sounded and everyone pounced. Draco headed straight for Dean, who was protecting Seamus by standing right in front of him, practically grinding on him, and taking three hits before darting out of the way, yelling apologies. 

 

Someone bumped into him, and he could see in the brightening light that it was Su Li, dark hair falling out of its braid and a rather pretty face.

 

"Sorry," she said. 

 

"Aren't we supposed to be violent?"

 

"True." And with that, she whacked him with her sword.

 

Draco cursed himself for falling for it and chased her, laughing.

 

The game ended when the last of the Brazil/Asia team (Anthony) was knocked down.

 

"Okay," said Hermione, wiping hair out of her face and grinning. The lights returned to their normal shade. "That was good. That was really good. Next week I'll try to have outfits for you guys. But yeah, that was great."

 

Draco nodded enthusiastically. "Okay, let Hermione rest and go eat."

 

The hungry throng of pre-teens didn't need to be told twice. They raced towards the food tables, shoving each other and laughing.

 

Draco grinned at Hermione. "That was amazing. I can't believe I actually enjoyed learning History of Magic."

 

Hermione shrugged. "I'd like to say thanks, but it was really your idea."

 

"It was, wasn't it?"

 

Hermione nodded. "And a very good one. This is going to go beautifully, I can tell."

 

Su Li and Hannah Abbot came up to them, rambling about how cool they thought it was. Draco and Hermione beamed.

 

Someone tapped him on the shoulder and he turned. Crabbe.

 

"It was cool. I hit people. And learned."

 

"Thanks."

 

Justin came up to them and saved him. "Hey, I think this is really cool. Binns is the most boring teacher ever, but you guys made his lessons actually fun."

 

"Thank you," said Draco, grinning. "For the record, I had fun too."

 

"I think I actually have a chance of passing," said Justin. "That class was literally the only thing I'd ever given up on, and it sucked."

 

"Spoken like a true Hufflepuff."

 

"Thanks, I think."

 

"You're welcome."

 

When all was done and Draco had crawled into bed at the end of the day, he knew it had been a very, very good day.

 

Maybe even one of his best.

 

++

 

Except the part where he accidentally sounded like he was hitting on Harry Potter.

 

++

 

It was still a good day.

Chapter Text

In the middle of planning the activity for the fourth meeting, Draco realised what was really going on and slammed his book down.

"Damn it, Hermione!"

"What?" she asked, looking mildly alarmed.

"You tricked me into studying!"

Hermione smirked. "What do you mean? Our little group has been hitting each other with foam for two weeks."

"No, I mean outside of the group! You're getting me to study right now! This is a conspiracy! My father will hear about this! Where's my lawyer? Someone give me a microphone!"

Hermione just kept smirking. "Keep drawing up the plans. I think we could use fabric for the snow... but then how would we make snowballs... STYROFOAM! Styrofoam snowballs and fabric snow!"

"Hermione, I can't believe this. You got me to study. To study!" In his rage, he almost toppled his Diet Coke bottle.

Hermione kept drawing out her diagrams. "D'you think we should have more people on the French side? So it's more realistic? And how are we gonna track who gets hit? Honour system? Wait, no: paintball!"

Her distraction worked. "What's paintball?"

"You shoot these little condensed paint bullets at each other and try to win - we'll have like a flag or something to capture - wait, no - a person! You reach the person and somehow prove you were there... maybe a flag would be better... I dunno. But it's painful and fun. We'll have stuff there for people to wear and I'll turn the temperature down to... I dunno, two Celsius? It'll be so fun. Guns AND history! We could even have it staggered... no, wait, hang on, only the French would be staggered... Spain just went for it. Whichever team has less paint on them wins. We could do like, a weighing? A before and after of... what about sweat, would that factor into it?"

"Not if we had them have an under layer too."

Hermione seemed surprised, as though she'd forgotten he was there. "Yeah, makes sense. Yeah. Let's do that. Okay. So we should probably make teams beforehand and anyone who's not on the lists can pick a team."

"Okay. Well, let's start with the Six." That's what they'd started calling Hermione, Ron, Harry, Blaise, Millicent, and him. "Ron and I should not be on the same team. Nor Ron and Blaise. Maybe not even me. So the Golden Trio and me with the Slytherins?"

"The Golden Trio?" asked Hermione.

"You, Harry, and Ron...?"

"Why are we the golden trio?"

Draco thought that was obvious. "You guys are the important ones. Teachers love you. History books love Harry. Everyone gawks at you. You're gold. You're the perfect kids with perfect grades and perfect reputations." This last sentence was said so bitterly he could taste it on his tongue.

"Are you legitimately saying this right now? Mira, please. Snape practically stabs Harry whenever he looks at him. Me and Ron, too. And since that run-in with Fluffy and Quirrell and Snape, Quirrell hates us too. And I'm far from perfect. I'm a know it all and I'm bossy. Harry's oblivious and obnoxiously noble. Ron's got the emotional range of a teaspoon. He's also failing History of Magic, disproving your weird grades thing. And reputations? I wish. But no. Uh, what was the other thing you said?"

"The gawking?" said Draco meekly.

"Oh. Yeah. You can't honestly think we enjoy that?" Hermione seemed to have noticed she was a little harsh, because her words lacked the anger she'd had before.

Draco shrugged.

"I'm sorry," said Hermione, quieter now. "I didn't mean to snap."

"Sorry. I assumed stuff. You guys just seem so perfect from the outside looking in."

"'The outside looking in?'"

"Well, yeah? I mean, Ron hates me, and Harry's pretty indifferent. You're the only one who really actually likes me. I mean, I have my Slytherin friends, and study club friends, but it's not like you guys have; Millicent and I are pretty close, and Blaise is cool, but it's not really meaningful, it's not something that leaves me smiling whenever we hang out, even if we were just doing homework, but every time I see you walk away from your not-so-golden trio you're so jubilant and energised and I never have that with anyone and... I'm just jealous. You're so tight knit and I don't have anyone like that. Does that make sense?"

Hermione nodded slowly. "Yeah... I guess so. But - no offence, but... you can appear really - I don't know - cold? I know that's just how you are, and you shouldn't change yourself. But... it's almost like..." she lowered her voice. "It's like when I was still living as a boy. I wouldn't admit it to even myself once I realised it wasn't 'normal.' I was carrying around this thing and I felt like no one could know about it or understand. And when I look at you I see that. I see the exact same kind of locked up that I used to be. So I don't know what it is; maybe you don't even know. But if you ever want to talk about it, I'm here." She paused. Draco worked on controlling his emotions and keeping his tears in his tear ducts. "What was the next part of your argument?"

"Ron and Harry?" suggested Draco, voice cracking.

Hermione nodded, and, bless her soul and may she be elevated to whatever the Jewish version of an angel or saint or whatever, ignored his tears. "Yeah. Ron hates you? I'm... not going to argue with that. But I'm trying to get him to think. And Harry can be kinda... I don't know. He's an introvert. Try getting him to talk about Quiddich. No one's supposed to know, but he's gonna be the Seeker."

"What happened to the old Seeker?"

"Transfer," said Hermione, waving a hand. "Um, next main point - I really wish I'd written this down - I think - oh! Yeah, it goes along with the whole weighed-down thing. Just be yourself. Friendships are two sided, you have to try to make friends instead of expecting them to come to you. No offence."

Draco nodded.

"And again. Your whole argument is basically about not having close friends. But I see you with Millicent. Even if she beats you at chess, you're glad to be around her.

"And, by the way, I do consider us friends. I enjoy your company and demonstrate it by skipping out on some party the Gryffindor third years invited me to to come hang out and talk and plan with you. And by sitting with you at breakfast." She said this last part as though she were talking to two year old.

Draco opened his mouth. Closed it again. Opened it. "You should be a therapist."

"Thanks. I've thought of being one."

"You'd be good at it. You remembered, dissected, and rebuked my argument very nicely. I'm impressed. I'll give you a 9 out of 10, one point off for needing a reminder of what I said."

"I'll take it," said Hermione. "And don't you dare turn that into a that's-what-she-said joke."

"She knows me well," said Draco.

He could get used to their friendly banter.

"We'll let people pick their own teams, no time for that, we need to get to the serious questions: should Spain have cool colours and France warm, or vice versa?"

It took him an embarrassing amount of time to figure out what she was on about, but when he finally did: "France has cool, Spain has warm."

"Okay. I'll just ask the Room, I'm pretty sure I've figured out how it works. You can't summon food because it's against one of the five laws of elemental transfiguration."

"You're a nerd."

"I know. So I was thinking. When we study things that aren't wars, like the discovery of the aforementioned laws, we could do skits. Just grab a couple people and put them in costumes and go 'here, go.'"

"Make sure to grab, like, Ron and Blaise."

"Oh, I dunno, I think Crabbe and Harry would be great for the scene."

Draco laughed.

--

The paintball game turned out to be a total success, with everyone from both teams covered in paint. Draco himself was absolutely coated in red, orange, and yellow paint. His hair stuck to his face with sweat and he had paint streaks on his face. He peeled off his uniform hoodie and sweats, then his jeans so he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Harry whistled. "Never thought I'd get to see Mira undress. It must be because she thinks I'm great."

"Harry I-don't-know-your-middle-name Potter!" He shrieked. "I've been trying my best to forget that!"

"It's James," said Ron as Hermione took his uniform from him and put it on the scale.

"HARRY JAMES POTTER," shouted Draco.

Harry just laughed, and Ron said, "you know, you're not so bad when you're not, you know, sulking in a corner and glowering at everyone."

"I assume that's a compliment. Thank you."

"You're welcome. But Spain is totally gonna win."

"Oi, I saw a whole lot of paint on you too, I might remind you."

The win would be determined by the team who both had caught the flag most and who had less paint on their clothes. In history, the French had won.

"I can't believe Hermione tricked me into studying," said Draco.

"She's talented. You should see her, in the common room in the middle of the night, hair undone, cursing at her homework... and she's still got great grades. It's amazing."

"The first part of that sentence sounded rather sexual, Ron, is there anything you'd like to tell us?"

Too late, he remembered that Ron saw him as a girl.

Why does he think of that as a bad thing?

But Ron deflected the conversational ping-pong ball. "I dunno, man, depends on if there's anything you want to hear."

"So did that."

"Maybe you just have a dirty mind."

"Maybe. Okay, most likely."

"And that's coming from me."

"Ron," called Hermione, "stop harassing Mira and go entertain our guests."

"They aren't guests- okay, going."

Draco laughed to himself, but was still a little bewildered by his reaction to realising Ron saw him as a girl.

Oh well.

He'd do some serious self evaluation later. After the scores were announced.

Chapter Text

After the scores were announced - France won - and the celebration happened - cupcakes were eaten - and bedtime/common room time was called - ten pm - and his homework was done - more for Binns, but he was actually getting it now - and he said goodnight to Millicent, Daphne, and Tracey - which took him longer than it should've and it was half past midnight now - he collapsed in his bed with his phone and began blaring Troye Sivan's album Blue Neighbourhood.

He opened his email to see that Mae had responded to an earlier comment and answered her, before asking google, "why don't i feel like a girl?"

The all knowing google responded: you are not connected to the internet.

He connected to the wifi and tried again, and this time it said exactly what he thought it would: that he might be transgender.

He tried again. Don't feel like girl what to do
And again: is it normal to not feel like a girl
And again: am i transgender ftm

He closed out of the webpage without looking.

Oh god.

He couldn't be trans. He couldn't be.

He couldn't be, because he was his parents' little girl. He couldn't be their little boy.

Everything was resting on him and he was already so much of a disappointment, he was only twelve but he was disappointing them all already, being, well, him. He didn't even have to do anything and here he was, associating with people who were definitely the wrong type. For god's sake, one of his best friends was a black transgender Muggle-born Jewish girl. He was disappointing his family and the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord Himself
but he didn't
want
to change

And it terrified him

Because he was not supposed to be this

He was never supposed to be this

He was already enough of a failure

He found himself with gritted teeth on the foot of his bed, tears streaming down his face, no sound coming out of his mouth, shaking, unable to breathe.

He kept crying and rocked back and forth, trying to figure out what to do, because he couldn't keep having a breakdown at one fifty in the morning. But he pulled at his hair and scratched at his arms and cut his braid off and eventually in the end, that's exactly what he wound up doing, and at two thirty the tears had stopped and he was able to take a deep breath and think.

Hermiome.

Of course that sent him back into tears: Hermione, the friend he never should have made.

At two forty-five he picked up his phone, hand shaking.

Mira: hermione i needto takl im sorry
Mira: im sory im so sorry im botherign you but i
Mira: need to tqlk im sorry

He buried his head back in his arms until he felt his phone buzz.

Hermione: you aren't bothering me. Where do you want to meet? or would you rather do it through text?
Mira: llets meet in thr common room slyhrbein im sorry
Hermione: no it's okay I'll be there
Hermione: wait what's the password?
Mira: "illogical"
Hermione: thanks
Hermione: is it okay if i do Shacharit before we go down to breakfast?
Hermione: that's the Jewish morning prayer basically
Mira: no thts fine mione

He put his phone in his pocket and wandered out into the common room, blanket around his neck like a cape, and curled up on the couch in the corner by the window and the fireplace.

The door creaked open a few moments later and Hermione crept through, wearing her trademark pink sweats and a black tank top. Her hair was a mess, flying all over the place. Draco didn't mind.

"Hermione," he said.

She came and sat down by him, and Draco wrapped his blanket around her shoulders too before curling up even smaller.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Stop. It's okay."

Draco rubbed at his eyes. "Thanks. I, um... damniti'msosorryineedasecondsorry-"

He composed himself and tried again. "Um, it started when - I was reading up? On the Holocaust?"

Hermione nodded. "I remember."

"Um, I read about how gay people were targeted too and um... I started doing research and goddamnit Hermione I'm such a failure I can't even talk goddamnit I'm so sorry-"

"It's okay," she whispered. "You're okay."

Draco curled into her and let himself break down for a few more moments before continuing. "I learned a lot about trans stuff and that was right before we met and I was really interested so I'm sorry if I was rude but I was just really interested in it and then you gave me those books and I realised maybe my parents weren't always right? So I started learning and everything was so, I don't know, I... I don't know but I went to this store and crossdressed for a day and it felt right but I thought maybe it was just a normal thing so I ignored it for a really long time, and also there was this test I took? And it said I might be trans? But I ignored that too. And I've been ignoring how my body and mind don't match and how my name feels like sandpaper on my soul but today I was joking around with Ron and I remembered he saw me as a girl and I was really upset about it and I was thinking about why and I went online and tried to find any other explanation but there wasn't one and-" he paused for breath and Hermione pulled him closer to her. Not romantically. Just in a gesture of friendship.

It helped him continue on.

"I started thinking how I'm a disappointment to my family and everyone and I'll never fit in, et cetera, et cetera. I also chopped off my hair, because I have no impulse control. And I texted you and now we're here."

"Is there any way I could help? With anything at all?"

"Besides working on my hair to make it look... not like it was cut during a breakdown? Um, I think I want - could you maybe use he and him pronouns for me? In your head? Not out loud unless we're alone."

"Of course. Do you have a name you'd want me to use?"

"Not yet. I just know I'd want it to be star-related."

"How about we go down to the Prefect's bathroom and I cut your hair and you read an astrology book and try to find something? If you want to, of course."

"Yeah," said Draco. "Yeah, that would be good."

"Okay," said Hermione.

Draco sat up and stretched, slouching in his oversized grey t-shirt. He reached over to the small bookshelf over the fireplace and grabbed a book about the stories behind the names of stars and constellations.

Hermione asked, "d'you have a towel? To catch your hair on."

And Draco went to go get one and checked the clock: three twenty.

He got the towel and met Hermione back in the commons room, where she'd already somehow gotten her hands on a haircutting kit.

Draco didn't ask.

As quietly as possible, Hermione led the two of them out of the dormitories and up the stairs and into a prefect's bathroom (the password was Quiddich)

They went in and Hermione flicked on the lights, which were pretty good.

She pulled out the kit and started sorting stuff. "So what kind of haircut are you thinking?"

"At first I was thinking pixie, but now I'm thinking undercut."

"You sure? It's a drastic change."

Draco ran his hand through his shoulderblade length, choppy hair. "This wasn't?"

"Point taken," she said, draping the towel around Draco and getting her scissors ready.

Draco opened the book.

By the time the haircut was done, Draco had a list of five names.

Orion.
Draco.
Lyra.
Scorpius.
Myzar.

He told Hermione this, and she said, "I know it's a dumb question, but which do you like best?"

"I wanna be a dick and be like 'all of them' but... either Draco or Myzar."

"Why?"

"Draco means Dragon and Myzar means roarer."

"Hm. Well, could I try using them in a sentence?" asked Hermione.

He nodded, and said, "can I see the mirror, though?"

She handed it to him, and as he grinned, Hermione began to narrate the scene.

"Myzar looks in the mirror. His hair is pale, along with his skin. He's probably a vampire. His eyes are grey. He glares at me - me! the wonderfully beautiful and annoying Hermione Jean Granger. Myzar, glaring at me!"

Draco laughed.

"Draco laughs. He's still looking in the mirror and still grinning - I think he's showing early signs of narcissism? He glares at me, the narrator, and looks back into the mirror. It's canon, kids: Draco is definitely a narcissist."

Draco laughed. "I like how Draco sounds more."

"So you wanna go with that?" she asked. "Oh, and don't worry if it doesn't sound completely right when you first start using it. You gotta adjust."

"I think I'll go with Draco," he said.

"Okay... Draco."

Chapter Text

Neither of them slept after that. Instead, they ended up watching TV on Hermione's phone until it was time for her to do Shacharit and then they went down to breakfast.

 

 

He drew stares, of course - we went from hair down to his middle back to an undercut - but he ignored them and sat down with the Red Trio - his new name for Hermione, Ron, and Harry - and the Green Trio - Millicent, Blaise, and himself.

 

"Holy - dude, your hair looks awesome," said Blaise.

 

"Thanks, I had a mental breakdown," said Draco, smiling to cover the fact that he wasn't joking.

 

"Dude. It's frickin awesome."

 

"I agree," said Millicent. "Although I thought, as the resident lesbian, that I'd be the first of us to get an undercut..."

 

"Fight me, I already called being the resident lesbian, and I'm bi," said Hermione.

 

"You're bi?" asked Harry.

 

"And trans."

 

"Well, I knew that," said Harry.

 

"What?! How did you know that?!"

 

"You tell everyone, 'Mione, please."

 

Draco laughed. "I can confirm."

 

"Seriously, I came out to... that dork, like, the second we met."

 

Draco appreciated the pronoun avoidance, even if Blaise's eyebrows did raise a bit at the odd wording.

 

"Literally, I'm like, 'the Holocaust was bad,' and she's like 'I'm trans!'"

 

"Pretty much," said Hermione. 

 

"And then I started interrogating her."

 

"It was fine, bro, quiet."

 

"I still feel bad!"

 

"Stop feeling bad and shut up."

 

"Make me."

 

At this point Ron interrupted. "I thought you had a thing for Harry?"

 

Draco let out a long-suffering groan. "Ughhhhh."

 

"Yeah, I mean, she was practically stripping."

 

He. "My clothes were covered in paint, Harry."

 

"You told your house elf about my greatness."

 

"I told him we were friends!" said Draco, voice squeaking.

 

Harry stabbed his pancake, smirking. "Mhm. Okay."

 

Ron smirked too. "Hey, you know, it's okay to admit you like him."

 

"I don't! I mean, I like him - platonically - I - you take my meaning-"

 

"Aw, is the poor baby Malfoy getting flustered?"

 

Draco groaned.

 

--

 

He was still getting used to Hermione knowing. The first time she used his boy-name in casual conversation he practically glowed the rest of the day. She gave him some of her old masculine shirts and he cried. She got him an eyebrow pencil in the right shade and he cried.

 

He'd been crying a lot. But it was happy crying.

 

Pretty much everyone noticed something was different. He joked around more with Ron, enough of a change that Ron mentioned it. Harry had enough tact not to, but he still saw him sneaking confused glances. Millicent noted that he looked happier. Blaise and him began making friendly contact, hip-checking and fist bumps and friendly punches. McGonagall gave him the best grade he'd ever gotten in her class (or maybe that was the studying).

 

But he was different.

 

He assumed by their reaction to Hermione that Ron and Harry were chill with trans people, but he couldn't be sure.

 

So he let the misgendering go on and on.

 

He threw himself full force into his schoolwork and the History club.

 

January came and went, and mid-February marked their eleventh meeting, or That One Time Hermione, Ron, and Harry Pulled Him Aside And Told Him They Thought Snape Was Going To Give Voldemort The Philosopher's Stone.

 

At first, he thought they were crazy.

 

But their ideas began to make more and more sense...

 

--

 

He laid in bed, feeling sick.

 

He'd heard about the cramps some people get on their periods. But this... this was new. This didn't happen to him.

 

He felt like throwing up and watched the room spin as the girls got ready for school. Millicent prodded him and asked if he was ready, and Draco said he was skipping and that he'd skin her alive if she told.

 

Millicent just nodded and moved on, seeming to understand he didn't want the attention.

 

About halfway through when he should be at first period, his phone buzzed.

 

Hermione: Draco. you okay? why aren't you in class?

Draco: im dyin g hermione

 

She answered a couple minutes later.

 

Hermione: sorry, Snape looked at me. i hope you're kidding about dying

Draco: yea i am but im in pain so im not going to class

Hermione: you could go down to madame pomfrey's??

Draco: no it's embarrassing fbfjjfhfb i cant

Hermione: can you tell me? u don't have to..

Draco: hfjjf im Bleeding

Draco: as in on my period

Draco: as in cramps can suck my dick

Hermione: oooh

Hermione: shes a nurse though, she wouldn't judge

Draco: still awkward. nd id have to get up

Hermione: can I visit you next period?

Hermione: i mean as in classes asdfghjkl

Draco: yeah sure

Draco: u have the password right

Draco: im the bed by thd wall

Hermione: yeah, "illogical" right?

Draco: ye

Draco: if u can brign chocolate and maybe smth to keep me from jumpingh out the window

Hermione: draco... you're in the dungeons...

Draco: thERES STILL THE POND

Hermione: okay fair point

Draco: so u'll visit?

Hermione: definitely

Draco: thanks ur a queen

Hermione: *flips hair* i know

 

And she did come, at the beginning of second period, carrying chocolate and butterbeer.

 

"God, I love you, Hermione," Draco said without thinking, already reaching for the butterbeer.

 

"I know, and you're welcome."

 

Draco took a huge bite of the chocolate. "Praise Jesus and amen."

 

"I'd praise Jesus if we could trade genitals, and I'm Jewish," said Hermione.

 

"So would I, and I'm agnostic."

 

"This is wonderful. Two non-believers-in-Jesus talking about how much they praise Jesus. Absolutely wonderful. Inspiring." Hermione wiped away a fake tear and sat down on the end of his bed, twisting her legs into a pretzel. "Okay, you aren't getting out of schoolwork. In Potions..."

 

Draco sighed. She'd never let him skimp off of school if she had any control over the situation. Why did he ever think she'd start now?

 

But it turned out to be a good thing, hanging around, skipping History of Magic and talking.

 

He wouldn't give it up for anything.

Chapter Text

Draco reclined on the couch, feeling way too important for homework and all that bull.

 

 

Instead, he pulled out his phone and engaged in some friendly text banter with Hermione until Blaise came over, looking positively depressed.

 

"You okay?" asked Draco, setting down his phone.

 

Blaise just sighed and pulled a blanket around his shoulders. He shrugged and started moving his hands around rapidly.

 

Draco shrugged. "Don't speak sign language, sorry."

 

Blaise pursed his lips and then pulled out his phone.

 

Blaise: sorry i just do this sometimes when im upset and like i could talk but its really exhausting im sorry

Mira: no it's okay

Mira: I understand

Blaise: can i talk to u? Well not talk but..

Mira: yeah sure whats up?

Blaise: well my moms an abusivea sshole but whats new, nd my lil sister Blakely is a squib nd im so worried for her but like its fine lol

Mira: hey if you ever need a place to crash, I mean my home isnt great but no one will hurt you there

Blaise: thanks

Blaise: can i ask you a question?

Mira: yeah sure

Blaise: are you a trans guy?

Blaise: hermione hasnt used pronouns or even your name in w e e k s

Blaise: nd youve started dressing rly masc

Blaise: and cut your hair

Blaise: and call people dude

Mira: yeah I am

Mira: my preferred name is Draco

Blaise: okay

Blaise: hang on lemmie change your contact info

Blaise: there

Draco: thanks

Blaise: who are you out to? besides hermione

Draco: no one

Draco: Im gonna tell harry nd ron soon but

Draco: Im not ready

Draco: millicent too ofc

Blaise: yeah shes trustworthy

Draco: I assume you know then

Blaise: lmao yeah

Draco: I mean it makes sense

Draco: u know that girl Amy or whatever shes always staring at

Blaise: a l w a y s lmao 

Draco: ikr like girl how thirsty you get,,?

Blaise: yknow youre rly lucky to have figured this out early

Draco: ?

Blaise: i just mean,, like okay story time, i had a sister Amelia,, she was trans,, came out at 16

Blaise: my mum beat her

Blaise: and she committed suicide

Blaise: i was seven

Draco: Im sorry

Blaise: i just overshared didnt i

Draco: yeah its okay though

Blaise: you sure?

Draco: yeah

Blaise: do u have any siblings?

Draco: no

Draco: its kinda lonely

Blaise: i am seriously considering visiting u this summer

Draco: only if u wanna go to church every Sunday and jesus camp for 2 weeks in July

Blaise: well,,

Blaise: church is okay??

Blaise: but like @camp they wont let u be with the boys so we'd not see each other anyway

Draco: yeah

Draco: it sucks

Draco: but seriously if u wanna visit I'll give u my info closer to summer

Blaise: thanks man

Draco: no prob bro

Blaise: thanks for talking to me

Draco: if I may quote the infinitely wise hermione jean granger, the reason I seek you out to talk to you is because I like being your friend

Blaise: aww

Draco: she said that to me and I kinda maybe cried

Blaise: yknow

Blaise: if u wanted to sleep in the boys dorm

Blaise: i could work something out

Blaise: we have an extra bed

Blaise: crabbe n goyle are too dumb to realise anythings different about you and i can talk to theodore nd try to see if he'll be ok about it

Draco: if you think itll be okay??

Blaise: ill see what i can do

Draco: thanks man

Blaise: np ofc

Draco: ooooor I could sleep on the couch lmao

Blaise: tru,, i mean the mermaids flirting arent that bad a sight,,

Draco: actually im having second thoughts... the mermaids are frickin obnoxious

Blaise: oh cmon theyre only here a couple hours

Draco: no

Draco: i refuse

Draco: furry

Blaise: dhfhjffh

Blaise: oh my god fhfjfhfh

Blaise: mermaids dont even have fur

 

Suddenly, Blaise clicked off his phone and groaned. "I'm not a furry, you arse."

 

Draco laughed, delighted. "Well you sure seem to enjoy fish enough."

 

"Shove off, mate, or I'll tell Harry you think he's great."

 

"Oi! I - never - said - that!" Every word was punctuated by a clap.

 

"Dobby said you did!"

 

"Maybe I mentioned him in casual conversation, but I wasn't telling epic tales of his greatness-"

 

"You say that as though there are stories to tell-"

 

"Oi!"

 

And so their banter continued on late into the night, or at least late enough that Millicent came and found them and told them to go to sleep or they'd regret it in the morning.

 

Draco fell asleep on the couch, though, and Blaise did too.

 

When he woke up, he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, trying to figure out why it was different, until he realised the room was lighter than normal, and that was because the Great Lake was in a low phase and sunlight was coming in, and that was because -

 

-he'd fallen asleep on the couch.

 

He ran a hand through his hair and went to wake up Blaise, but the other boy looked so peaceful - a slight smile on his face, brown hair falling into his eyes - that he didn't and instead pulled out his phone.

 

It was 5am. Usually everyone started getting up around six or six thirty, so he still had an hour.

 

He thought of getting up and grabbing a book, but he realised Blaise's head was on his knee and he didn't want to disturb him.

 

He pulled out his phone and checked his email, writing back to Mae, and then decided to make a new one.

 

Draco.malfoy@gmail.com, he put in, and for the password, 5ly7h3r1nPr1d3!

 

After setting up his email, he dashed off one quickly to Mae to tell her about the account change, then registered a new Twitter with the name dracomakesmistakes.

 

He managed to get a decent profile picture and then clicked back to his email. Mae had replied.

 

Hey Draco! Glad you're taking steps towards being out. Speaking of that, have you come out to the rest of the Red Trio or the Green Trio yet? From what you've told me of Hermione, I think they'd take it well.

~ Mae

 

He responded:

 

Hey Mae,

I recently told my friend Blaise - Green Trio, and currently asleep on my lap making it impossible for me to do anything - and he took it well. Apparently his sister was trans before she committed suicide. I'm thinking of coming out to the rest soon. Maybe it's just the lack of sleep though lol. How's your mum doing?

⁃Draco

 

Mae's mom had been in the hospital after a bad development in her cancer. Mae and her had recently reconciled and it was hurting her.

 

Draco marvelled for a second at the fact that someone he was close to was 24 and living in Iowa in the US, while he was 12 and in the UK at a school for wixen.

 

Absently, he ran a finger through Blaise's hair and scrolled through Twitter, eventually closing out and appreciating the sunlight and shaking Blaise awake around 05:45.

 

"Blaise. Blaise, wake up," he whispered.

 

Blaise jolted up, then relaxed back down and grinned. "Hey, Draco. No homo but I think I fell asleep on your lap."

 

Draco felt a ping go through his chest at his that. "Yeah, it's okay. Wanna get up before people start coming down?"

 

Blaise blinked slowly, his brown eye and green eye slightly out of sync. "What time is it?"

 

"Five forty five."

 

Blaise sat up. "Damn, I was gonna go for a run."

 

Draco gestured out the window to the near-frozen lake and snowy ground. "Where?"

 

"Room where we hold History meetings. It works for more than that. It's amazing."

 

"You know what else would be amazing?" asked Draco.

 

"Yeah?"

 

"Breakfast. Go get ready, I wanna be there the second it starts."

Chapter Text

44 was a nice number. It was made of two fours, which was nice because 4 times 4 is 16 and that's a square number. 44 was also twice as much as 22, which was not only the name of a Taylor Swift song, but if you add the digits together it makes 4, which squared is 16. 44 was also divisible by 11, which was just generally a good number. And 44 was a dark metallic green, one that he loved.

 

And tomorrow would be 4 March, which was another 4 number.

 

But that's not why he was thinking of 44, not really.

 

He was thinking of 44 because tomorrow it would be 44 days since he came out to Hermione.

 

There were, as far as he knew, four cisgender people in the Trios.

 

He didn't know how to go about this.

 

Roller-skate in and yell, 'I'm a boy'?

 

Sit them down and have a Serious Conversation?

 

Mention it during a casual conversation?

 

Jump off the Astronomy Tower so he wouldn't have to face his problems?

 

He bit his tongue. Just walk into breakfast and say it?

 

Write a poem about it?

 

The Astronomy Tower was starting to seem like a good option.

 

He bounced his legs. He had to do this. The numbers were right. Everything was right. It had been 44 days and he hadn't felt like a girl at all.

 

He glanced at the clock. 21:13.

 

Since he was the only one in the room this early, he felt okay changing into his pyjamas, which consisted of an AC/DC shirt Hermione gave him (what AC/DC was, he had yet to find out) and sweatpants that Blaise gave him.

 

He curled up in bed with a book and began to read, but found he couldn't focus because his breasts were in the way of the book.

 

It was a really stupid thing to get upset about.

 

He did it anyway.

 

He'd entered an online binder giveaway but was pretty sure he hadn't won. The site said the winner(s) would get an email in the first week of the next month.

 

He probably wouldn't win.

 

He pulled out his phone and answered Mae, then pulled up his Twitter and posted a selfie, then aimlessly refreshed apps until he ran out of apps to aimlessly refresh.

 

He was supposed to be thinking about how to come out.

 

The anxiety pooled in his chest and his stomach. He wished he was better at this.

 

He rolled himself up tightly in a blanket, hoping that would quell his anxiety and dysphoria.

 

He received a letter by owl post as he was lying on his bed, curled up in a blanket, trying to pretend this was good for his mental health.

 

The return address was labelled with his father's name.

 

Dear Mira,

I hope this letter finds you in good health and good spirits.

How is Slytherin? Are they still keeping mudbloods out, or have they let them in?

Is Dumbledore still insufferable?

Your mother and I are doing well, although we are concerned for you. There have been rumours that you've been in the company  and blood traitors. I don't distrust you, Mira, and I believe you're capable of making the right decision about these friends. Remember that people assume you're similar to those type when you're around them too much. 

I've recently made a friend whose daughter goes to your school, and is apparently in Slytherin - does Pansy Parkingson sound familiar? From what I've heard, she's a lovely girl, although she's not at school for the time being as she developed a nasty case of spattergroit.

Also, I've found leads as to where my old Boss went and how to return him to his former glory. I hope you will help me.

I've enclosed 20 galleons with which you may spend at Hogsmeade if you wish. 

Hoping you are well,

your father,

Lucius Malfoy.

 

Draco scowled.

 

His friends were far better than any blood purist could possibly be, and he realised that now.

 

But was he brave enough to tell his father that?

 

Dear father,

Aside from the common cold, I've not caught any sicknesses, and I'm quite pleased with how Hogwarts is treating me.

As far as I know, the only students in Slytherin are pure-bloods. And yes, Dumbledore is still his arrogant and blood-traitorous self.

Have you ever heard the saying, keep your friends close but your enemies closer? So far, none of my Gryffindor classmates have said anything suspicious, but I'm keeping a close eye on them. I also have a few close friends in Slytherin; Millicent Bulstrode and Blaise Zabini. I've met Pansy, but we aren't close. I'm sorry to hear she is ill.

If our Boss returns, tell Him I would like to help him in any way possible.

Thank you for the money, I'll be sure to spend it wisely.

Your daughter,

Mira

 

Draco glared at the parchment before deciding that his lies were, hopefully, good enough and sent the owl back.

 

And back to worrying.

 

Maybe he didn't need a plan.

 

Maybe it would just happen.

 

That was an excuse. Without a plan , he wouldn't so it.

 

He glanced at the clock. 21:56.

 

His phone dinged.

 

Blaise: im running wanna join?? in the Room, just ask for blaise

Draco: sure

 

He didn't bother to change, instead just snuck across the building and into the room, where there was grass and a track and water bottles and different colours of a drink labelled Gatorade.

 

"Draco, you came!" exclaimed Blaise. He was wearing neon green running shorts that contrasted with his dark skin and no shirt.

 

"I did. Although I don't know why, I'm a terrible runner," said Draco, suddenly self conscious of the little roll of fat on his stomach and the two overly large ones on his chest.

 

"You can use our exercise equipment," said Blaise, pointing over to a wall-less building with exercise equipment inside that Draco was positive wasn't there a minute ago.

 

"Okay," said Draco. "This room is insane."

 

Blaise wiped his forehead. "It really is. Want music?"

 

"Sure. What kind?"

 

"You pick."

 

"Um, Fall Out Boy?" said Draco.

 

Their song "Sugar We're Going Down" came on and Draco grinned.

 

"Louder," Blaise yelled at the sky, and the music became louder. Blaise chugged from a water bottle. "Feel free to take one. The light blue gatorades are my favourite, by the way."

 

"Thanks," said Draco.

 

"And feel free to exercise shirtless or do whatever makes you comfortable. The Room and I don't judge."

 

"Okay," said Draco. "Thanks, man."

 

"Anytime."

 

And with that, Blaise took off running.

 

With some contemplation, Draco hopped on a stationary bike. He wished there was something to do while he was on the bike.

 

A TV screen appeared. He grinned. "I love this room."

 

After a good half hour, once the first episode was done, Draco was soaked in sweat. But he wasn't done yet - he'd really only focused on his legs.

 

He found a bench for lifting and figured out which weights to use, and went for it.

 

Draco was sweating a lot more now and glanced at Blaise. The other boy was still going strong, nodding his head along with the Staind song that was playing. His form was perfect, and while he looked tired, he didn't look exhausted.

 

Draco sighed, pulled off his shirt, and kept working with the weights.

 

Eventually he got tired of that and went on the treadmill. His leg muscles burned as he ran. The TV show he was watching was good enough, though, that he kept at it, and when he tired of it, he went back to the weights.

 

When his arm muscles turned to jelly and his legs gave out beneath him, he finally gave up and wiped the sweat off of his brow with his discarded shirt, leaning against the brick wall. Blaise joined him and handed him a protein bar. Draco shook his head.

 

"I think you overworked yourself there, buddy," said Blaise.

 

Draco nodded. "My arms are jelly."

 

"Oh, c'mon, I saw you lifting weights. Your arms are not jelly."

 

"They are now. And my legs are... the muscles aren't there anymore."

 

Blaise grinned. "I know that feeling. Sure you don't want a protein bar?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"I'm gonna get you water."

 

"I'm not thirsty."

 

"You can't work out for two hours and then not drink water, Draco, it's not healthy. I'll go get you some."

 

He came back with two waters and Draco chugged his without ever letting the bottle leave his lips.

 

"Someone was thirsty."

 

"Oh, sod off," said Draco, but he was grinning.

 

They sat for a few minutes in amiable silence before Draco said, "I'm thinking of coming out to Harry, Ron, and Millicent tomorrow. Or today, I suppose," he added, realising it was past midnight.

 

"Do it," said Blaise. "I'll be with you if you need me."

 

"I just don't know how to do this," said Draco.

 

Blaise pursed his lips. "How about at breakfast you just go, 'hey guys, can you use the name Draco and he and him pronouns for me?'"

 

"I can't," said Draco. "It's terrifying."

 

"Well, what are you afraid of?" asked Blaise.

 

"That they'll leave me, that they won't believe me, that I'll muck it up and embarrass myself... everything, really."

 

"Well, they didn't leave Hermione..."

 

"But she passes. She looks like a girl. There were no pronouns to relearn."

 

"I'm sure you'll be fine," said Blaise quietly. "And if they do leave, well, they weren't very good friends, were they?"

 

"True."

 

"And the same with if they don't believe you." Blaise added a suggestion as to what transphobes could do with their opinion, then said, "I don't think you'll mess it up. I think you can do this if you really try."

 

"Thanks," said Draco quietly.

 

"No need to thank me for the truth."

 

"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

 

"Whatever."

 

"Don't 'whatever' me, young man."

 

"Don't 'young man' me, younger man."

 

"You're eleven!"

 

"Fight me!"

 

Their friendly banter continued till almost one in the morning, when Blaise said, "we should go to sleep."

 

Draco groaned. "I don't wanna walk down all those stairs."

 

"Let's make it a camping trip, then. Room, can we have a tent and two sleeping bags?"

 

They appeared. 

 

"Room, will you make the lighting as though it's a clear night? And make it around 70'F?"

 

It did so.

 

"All right," said Blaise.

 

"I love this room," said Draco.

 

"As do I. C'mon. Let's go to sleep."

 

--

 

Blaise and Draco walked down to breakfast together - it was weird walking down to breakfast - and sat down with the rest of the Trios.

 

"Hey," said Millicent. "You didn't come back to the dorms last night...?"

 

"Blaise and I were hanging out."

 

"Is that what the kids are calling it these days?" Ron quipped. Draco snorted.

 

"Yeah. Well, we were talking, and I convinced - this is your cue, bro-"

 

"Oh. You're going to force me into this without a single bite of oatmeal?"

 

"Yeah. Tell them."

 

Hermione rolled her eyes at him, but not in a unkind way. 

 

Draco's hands were shaking under the table. His heart raced like some kind of Muggle racecar.

 

He finally blurted out. "I'm a guy."

 

Hermione threw her hands up in the air. "There. Was that so hard?"

 

Draco gave a small laugh of relief.

"No."

 

"I'll spare you," said Hermione. "His pronouns are he and him, and his preferred name is Draco."

 

"See? Not scary," said Blaise.

 

"I kinda suspected," said Millicent.

 

"I didn't," said Ron.

 

"Yeah, but you're Ron," said Hermione.

 

"Who else would I be?"

 

Hermione groaned. "Insufferable."

 

"So. Draco Malfoy." Draco liked the way his name rolled off of Harry's lips.

 

Draco nodded. "Yeah. Can I eat my oatmeal now?"

 

"Who's stopping you?" asked Blaise.

 

"Yeah, no one's keeping it from you," said Harry.

 

Draco sighed and dug into his oatmeal.

Chapter Text

Hermione drew up little colour coded study schedules and passed them out at breakfast. Draco sighed but took one, secretly bargaining with himself that if he beat Hermione Granger - or even matched her - in any subject, he'd buy himself some completely unnecessary dress robes or candy or both.

They'd started pulling all-nighters or most-of-the-night-ers a couple times a week, switching common rooms every time so they wouldn't get too bored with their surroundings.

It was Millicent who had the idea, at three in the morning after their little group had fallen asleep in the Slytherin commons room. She bolted upright and said, "I had the best idea!"

Draco stirred. "Millicent-"

Grumbles came from the other four, but they sat up too, all rubbing their eyes and sighing.

"What is it?" asked Harry.

"Glitter. Glitter makeovers. For all of you!"

"You... you woke us up for that?" asked Ron.

"Well, I was awake."

"Millicent Aaliyah June Bulstrode-"

"Yes?"

Harry and Ron let out matching groans.

"I think that would be fun," said Hermione.

"I actually do too, or I would if you hadn't woken us up at this hour-" Blaise groaned.

"Right now?" asked Millicent enthusiastically.

"I mean... we're already awake..." speculated Ron.

"Fine," said Harry.

"Okay," said Hermione.

"Whatever," said Ron.

"Okay," said Draco.

Blaise grumbled something but sat up and sighed. "Fine."

"Yes! Alright, let's go - I have all my stuff in the bathroom-" and with that, Millicent was off, and the rest followed behind her, Blaise and Draco speculating that she was probably drunk.

Millicent grinned, apologised to the doorframe when she bumped into it, and led them in to the girl's bathroom.

"Hello, Myrtle," she called. A swooping noise came down from the ceiling and a positively mopey witch/ghost flew down.

"You... said hello...?" sniffed the ghost.

"Of course I did. We're friends, yes?"

"Only because you m-make me keep your s-secrets," the girl sniffed.

"Myrtle, we're doing glitter makeovers, wanna join?"

"I w-w-would, but I can't- I d-d-don't have skin!"

Millicent sighed. "Um... yeah, I can see how that could be a problem-"

Myrtle let out a sob and flew away.

"Not very cheerful, is she?" marked Ron.

"Don't be rude," said Hermione.

"I'm just SAYING-"

"I have lots of glitter!" sang Millicent.

"I think you had a bit too much soda, mate," commented Harry.

"You want to go first? Wonderful. Everyone pair off!" Millicent enthused.

Blaise ended up with Draco, Millicent with Hermione, and Ron with Harry.

"Okay," said Millicent, walking them through the steps.

When all was said and done, Draco was rather proud of his work.

Blaise's face was now covered in glitter. His highlight was a purple-and-gold colour, his eyeshadow was gold, and his lips were purple. Draco had put the lipstick on him, because, in Blaise's own words, "the rules of heterosexual boyhood don't apply at three in the morning." Draco had even managed to draw some moderately straight wings on his eyeliner.

Blaise grinned in the mirror. "I look amazing. I can't wait to begin my new life as a drag queen."

Draco laughed. "I'm here for that."

"All right, everyone done?" asked Millicent. She was swaying from side to side in her seat in an amusingly un-Millicent-like way.

When everyone nodded, she said, "all right, go ahead."

After a lot of contemplation that left Draco and Blaise staring in befuddlement at the makeup tools, they determined that Draco should go with a bold, don't-mess-with-me-'cause-I'll-burn-you-alive look.

"All right," said Blaise. "You put on the foundation, I'll work on the highlight. Red, right?"

"Yeah."

"And for eyeshadow you want yellow?"

"Yeah. Think fire. Orange eyeliner."

Blaise nodded, distracted. "Lipstick, matte red or glitter matte red?"

"Glitter matte red. Wait... no, yeah, glitter."

He finished rubbing the foundation in and Blaise set to work, with brushes and occasionally a finger brushed across a cheekbone or an eyebrow.

After he applied his lipstick they were done.

Draco went over to where Ron was putting the last few blue accents on Harry, who seemed to have gone for a water theme.

Hermione had gone for a black and purple bad girl look. Ron had opted for subtle silvers and golds. Millicent was decked out in green and silver.

Harry was...

Well.

He had a fishnet pattern of glitter on his jawline reminiscent of scales. The highlight he'd used was teal. His eyeliner was blue and his eyeshadow was too, but it merged into silver that spread across his face. His lips were blue, too: it was glittery and shiny, and he'd used something to make a pattern of grey and blue diamonds-

Shit.

He was staring.

He averted the his eyes to Millicent, who giggled. "Water and fire. True love," said Millicent. Her words were starting to slur together, and Draco was getting concerned.

"Er, Mill, you okay?"

She snapped back to his eyes. "Yeah, okay, fine. Yeah."

Draco pursed his glittery lips but said nothing.

"The boy who lived and the boy who... sparkled... like Edmund... I think you're a vampire, Draco Draco."

Something was definitely up, and Draco ignored the teasing. "Millicent..."

"Fine!" She managed to draw it out into two syllables.

Draco groaned. "Liar."

Millicent didn't even answer.

Draco snapped a photo of himself, then the rest of his Trios.

"I'm gorgeous," said Harry to the mirror.

"We know," said Millicent. "Harry Potter, the boy who gorgeous..."

At this point even Ron was concerned. "Uh, Mill."

"Fine! Fine fine!" In a deeper voice, "I hope Myrtle keeps promises."

"What promises?"

"Can't tell," said Millicent. "'S too... nope, no, no. We can't tell him, Millicent."

"What?" asked Harry.

"What? I was thinking...?"

"Out loud, apparently."

"Yeah... we can tell... sure you're okay?" asked Ron. "'Cause I have older brothers. Five to be exact. Two of whom are over the drinking age and four who've had alcohol. I know what drunk looks like, mate."

"Aren't your brothers thirteen?" asked Harry. "The twins?"

"Yeah, think that stopped them? Anyway. Mill. You don't gotta say anything, but... I'd appreciate it? Sorry."

Millicent broke down in tears and the other four gave each other confused looks as Ron put an arm around her and led her away, murmuring reassurances.

"I think we should let them be," said Hermione.

"Me too," said Blaise.

Draco nodded silently because he was trying to eavesdrop on the conversation (it's okay... twelve... no I was... still... okay... can't...).

"All right?" said Hermione, glancing at Draco.

He nodded, distractedly. "Yeah. Yeah, fine."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Please don't pull a Millicent on us."

Draco smirked. "I'll try not to, but if Sober Millicent remembers the water-and-fire thing..."

Blaise snorted.

 

Chapter Text

Millicent came down to breakfast that morning positively hungover. Ron came down with her, which was almost as weird as a drunk twelve year old helping the Trios become makeup artists and/or drag queens.

 

Draco shot them weird looks and craned his neck to where Millicent and Ron were whispering a little ways away Hermione nudged him. "Eavesdrop much?"

 

Draco nodded and focused hard.

 

So far, he'd not managed to pick up anything useful. Just little snatches of conversation, something about birthdays and coping and parents and twelve and Ron telling her- in a louder voice- about the time Fred and George got so drunk they passed out on Ron's bed, at age twelve. 

 

Harry laughed at that - so he was listening too? - and Draco glanced over. Harry had chosen to keep his makeup on, but he'd wiped the scales off, which Draco took as a personal offence. Harry's logic was that he was going to be called everything from a liar to a saviour to gay in his lifetime and 'why not fuel the rumours a bit?'

 

Draco still thought he should've kept the scales.

 

"The twins are insane," commented Harry as Ron launched into a new story about teddy bears and spiders.

 

"It's moments like this that make me glad I'm an only child."

 

"I wish I was," said Harry bitterly. "Well, I am, but my cousin is an arse."

 

"That sucks," said Draco, because he didn't know how to say he wanted to let him rant, because Harry obviously wanted to.

 

"I know it does. Sorry. But he's..." Harry made fists. "Merlin. He's shoved my head down the toilet, he eats my food so I'm never full... and my aunt and uncle. They starve me and they hit me and they lock me under the stairs and then I come here and everyone's like 'I love my parents and I don't have enough food piled on my plate' and I'm like 'can't you just be thankful you have food?' Cause I don't have food or parents at home, all I have are my bloody broken soldier army and my spiders and sometimes a piece of grapefruit." Harry huffed and took a breath. "I'm sorry."

 

"It's okay. I mean it."

 

"They're also racist. They make me do the chores 'cause I'm black and the dirt 'won't show up on my skin'. And I'm not even technically black, I'm biracial, but they don't care about that because I appear black and that's all they care about, keeping their rich white family looking good- I am so sorry. I'm sorry."

 

"You don't have to apologise." He was torn between horror at what his uncle and aunt did, and sympathy for Harry, and awkwardness at how to respond and tell him what he thought. "It's okay. I'm not good at advice but I'm good at listening." (In fact, that was all he'd done for most of his life: listen to his dad and soaking up his lies for truth.)

 

"I don't want to be rude or interrupt your b-"

 

"Harry, please. You obviously need to talk."

 

"Dudley's a racist little-" here Harry said a word that sounded odd with his squeaky pre-puberty voice "-and I can't deal with him anymore, I honestly can't, but I have to, because it's my home. Or at least where I stay. And even though I don't sleep under the stairs anymore, I still sleep in Dudley's storage room for broken toys and apparently broken boys. And it's so engrained in me now, hiding my feelings, and myself when people come over, that I'm having trouble even having this conversation. They're also really, really homophobic and transphobic and all the other -phobics you can think of. I hate it. I hate it so much. And a couple days before I left Vernon - my uncle - he hit me again and I had this nasty bruise on my ribcage but I pretended it was okay because why shouldn't I? Why should I tell anyone? They wouldn't believe that my rich white guardians would ever do anything like that- I am sorry."

 

"If you say sorry one more time, Harry, I swear to god..."

 

"Nah, I'm done now. Have you got any rants to share?" asked Harry, maybe teasing.

 

"Oh yeah, loads."

 

"Go ahead then," said Harry. 

 

"You sure?"

 

"Would I have offered if I wasn't sure?"

 

"Well-"

 

"No, I wouldn't've."

 

Draco sighed. "Nothing that happened to me is as bad as you."

 

"We aren't playing the whose-abuse-was-worse game, Draco."

 

"Fine. So my parents are... they're... well, my dad is a neo-Nazi, to get us started. Him and my mom are strict Christians. Homophobic, transphobic, everything-phobic, I guess we're twins. And I mean, they never outright say they don't want me. But I must have been... six?... last time they said they loved me. My last hug from them was at seven. They never really talk to me. But they're always there, hovering. Watching me. Making sure I'm meeting their standards of Christianity. They punish me by taking away certain food groups, like sweets or grains. I mean, they feed me enough. But not... I don't know. And they always dismiss my opinions because I'm a kid. Nothing's good enough for them to love me, ya know?"

 

Harry was nodding as he spoke. "Yeah. I know that feeling."

 

"It all just really sucks. And I'm not allowed to have social media unless they have the password and follow me. They stalk me. It's very irritating," said Draco. "And TMI, but my mom never gave me the Talk or anything. I started puberty at age eight and she told me nothing. I had to google it all. And this was in 2008. The internet was much smaller then. And they would always tell me how I might as well be a squib because I never really showed accidental magic. It sucks. It all sucks."

 

"That sucks, mate. That really sucks," said Harry.

 

"My mum's got her heart set on me being a girly girl and I'm... not at all. Neither girly or a girl. And I don't want to disappoint her or anyone by being me. And I... my family, they're strongly connected to the Dark Lord and even though I've realised I disagree with His worldview... I still feel like I'm letting Him down. It's... I don't even know which of my beliefs are mine and which aren't because they brainwashed me so well. They didn't even need the Imperius."

 

"I have no idea what the Imperius is."

 

"It's a curse that - well, it's basically  a mind control curse."

 

"Oh."

 

"They don't ever ask about how I feel, either. They let me be sad and don't even bother to try to help. I'm... I just want to feel like my feelings and opinions are important."

 

"They are," said Harry. "How you feel is important and your ideas are important and your thoughts matter."

 

Draco was quiet for a moment. "Thank you," he said finally.

 

"Hey, everyone deserves to hear that."

 

"Still." Draco cleared his throat. "Thanks. And, um, you too." 

 

"Thanks." Harry smiled a little and cleared his throat too. "Do you think Millicent is okay?"

 

"I hope so. D'you wanna go talk to her?"

 

"Sure."

 

They ventured over to where Ron and Millicent were playing Wizard's chess.

 

"Hey," said Draco, sitting down on her left. Harry sat on her right.

 

"What happened?" asked Draco. "Last night."

 

"I... made a mistake. It's okay, though. Nothing big."

 

"She blacked out," said Ron helpfully.

 

"Nothing big," repeated Millicent.

 

"Why'd you do it?" asked Draco.

 

"Well, one can't typically help it when they black out."

 

"No, I mean the drinking."

 

"That was an accident."

 

"Hm," said Draco.

 

Ron grimaced at them over her head.

 

"If you ever wanna, like... tell the truth..." said Harry, "I'm there."

 

"Okay," said Millicent noncommittally. "I'm going to kick Ron's butt at chess now."

 

Harry and Draco made eye contact. Harry spoke. "That's fine," he said. "I hope you win."

 

"Oi!" said Ron.

 

Draco rolled his eyes. "I'll root for you, then."

 

"Thanks," said Ron, looking touched.

 

He spent the rest of breakfast pretending to be interested by the game, but really just listening to Ron and Millicent's anecdotes and waiting for one of them to slip.

 

Eventually his efforts paid off.

 

"That reminds me," said Ron after a story about a snapping turtle being enchanted by a five-year-old's accidental magic and attracting all the other snapping turtles, "if anything goes bad for you because of this, tell me."

 

Millicent shot him a dark look and he backtracked. "I mean, the chess game. If I win. Harry might kill me," he said lamely.

 

"Yeah, I might," said Harry.

 

"How can I tell you anything if you're dead?" Millicent snapped.

 

"I'll be a ghost. Duh," he said.

 

Millicent grinned and Harry sent Draco a bewildered look.

 

Ron leaned back and smirked. "Check."

 

Millicent moved one piece. "Checkmate."

Chapter Text

Ron wouldn't crack on what was bothering Millicent.

"If she wants you to know, she'll tell you," said Ron, in an oddly mature manner that was unusual for him. Draco didn't voice that thought to anyone.

Eventually he decided to let it go and focus on something else: namely, the fact that the Golden Trio had gone to see Hagrid's dragon without him.

Draco had gone out to find them and ask why he hadn't been included, and Neville had gone to warn them that Draco was up (Neville never really gotten over the things he'd done at the beginning of the year)

All in all, Gryffindor lost 150 points and Slytherin 50. McGonagall was incredibly angry. Snape wasn't. The man had a misguided liking of him, apparently.

Draco refused to speak to any of them, but also refused to partake in the bullying that Harry endured.

It was soon time for their detentions. Draco stalked out with Harry, Neville, and Hermione. Filch lit a greasy lamp and tried some scare tactic on them that he ignored. Turned out that their detention was with Hagrid anyway.

Draco would really rather not be with Hermione and Harry, and Fang was rather terrifying, and Neville looked about to piss himself with fear, which matched his own emotions pretty well.

He'd never been good at judging people's emotions, but he hadn't expected Neville, the blundering idiot, to send up red sparks when he grabbed his shoulders. He got a firm telling-off from Hagrid and then they changed groups, and Draco ended up with Harry.

As they walked, Harry asked, "so, care to tell me why you've been ignoring us?"

"Shouldn't that be obvious?"

"Malfoy."

"Potter."

Harry sighed. "Can you please tell me?"

"You guys made friends with a dragon. Without me," snapped Draco.

A look of understanding dawned on Harry's face. "Ooooh. Hagrid told us not to tell anyone."

"I'm not just anyone," Draco said venomously.

"Yeah, okay, whatever. He said. No. One. Just like that, with the dramatic pauses and everything. I would've told you, but Hagrid would know I told and I'd feel bad."

Draco huffed but let it go. "Okay, fine."

"So we're not going to ignore each other anymore?"

"Nope. Well, unless you want to?"

"Yeah, no thanks. That wasn't very fun."

"Oh good. I didn't like it much either."

After a Voldemort-and-unicorn-blood fiasco that left Harry practically in tears, Draco ran off to the common room before he vomited or started crying.

The Dark Lord had been there. He would be so disappointed in him, and he couldn't disappoint Him. He couldn't.

++

The next week marked the beginning of exams. Draco didn't feel like getting out of bed ever for the rest of his life, but he pulled himself up and stumbled up to the Great Hall in his pyjamas.

"Hey," he greeted the Green Trio and Hermione. They smiled.

"I'm so excited for exams today. First I have Defence Against the Dark Arts and I think I'll do pretty good b-"

"Hermione, please," said Draco.

Millicent shovelled food into her mouth at an alarming rate of speed. She was probably speed-eating. Draco considered stopping her but decided against it - one did not simply 'stop' Millicent from doing anything; it was a process.

Hermione continued rambling about exams and Draco sighed, finally giving in.

After Millicent's third plate she rushed off to the bathroom. Hermione looked after her with a concerned expression. "I hope she's okay?" It sounded like a question.

++

Blaise, Hermione, Ron, Harry, and Draco were hanging out in the summer sun, Ron lying down with his eyes squinted shut against the sun, Harry rocking back and forth angrily, hand on his head.

Hermione was rambling about her exams and Ron sighed, stretching out on the grass. "No more studying. You could look more cheerful, Harry, we've got a week before we find out how badly we've done, there's no need to worry yet."

Harry continued rubbing his forehead before snapping, "I wish I knew what this means! My scar keeps hurting - it's happened before, but never as often as this!"

Hermione suggested going to Madame Pomfrey. Blaise quipped that it was a headache from the testing.

"I'm not ill," Harry told Hermione. "It's a warning, I think..."

"Harry, relax," said Ron, "the Stone's safe and Fluffy's safe -"

"Who in the name of Merlin's saggy Y-fronts is Fluffy?" Draco said irritably.

"Big dog. Long story," said Harry. "Basically, it's Hagrid's."

"Should've guessed," said Draco.

"Anyway," said Hermione. "Snape's not gonna get past Dumbledore with his leg like that."

Harry began rambling about his anxiety and how he knew there was something he was forgetting. Draco let his mind wander to summer, to swimming and sun, to sleeping in and staying up all night.

Harry suddenly jumped up. "We have to see Hagrid now."

"Why?" asked Hermione as Harry broke into a sprint. Blaise echoed her words, groaning at the effort of scrambling up the hill.

"Isn't it a bit odd that Hagrid just really wants a dragon and a stranger gets him a dragon? Isn't that a really weird coincidence? How many people wander around with illegal dragon eggs? Lucky they found Hagrid, right? Why didn't I see it before now?"

"Blimey bollocks, you're saying..." Blaise trailed off.

"Yep," said Harry.

After a quick discussion with Hagrid, who couldn't seem to keep a secret for the life of him or grasp the meaning behind their line of questioning, they found out a lot of necessary information: the stranger got Hagrid drunk, Hagrid told him how to get past Fluffy, the way to get past Fluffy is to play him music, and apparently giant dogs are so much worse than dragons (not).

Harry's panic showed plainly in his eyes.

Chapter Text

Harry's Invisibility Cloak (that no one had bothered to tell Draco about - his Golden Trio vs Green Trio theory was getting stronger by the minute) fit two of them under it. Three if you were really trying. But five?

 

After the bickering about who was going or staying was over and everyone had stopped being noble (or suicidal, depending on your worldview), they began bickering about who would stand where.

 

 

Hermione groaned. "All right. 142 centimeters."

 

"139," said Draco.

 

"157," said Ron.

 

"147," Blaise said.

 

"I suppose it's my turn? I'm 152 centimeters," said Harry.

 

"Okay, so the two shortest - me and Draco - will go on the ends. Um, Ron's in the middle, seeing as he's tallest. Harry and Blaise... um, Harry, you're by me, and Blaise, you're by Draco."

 

They got in their assigned order and threw the cloak over their heads. Ron's and Harry's ankles showed, but overall, it was very good for five first years.

 

++

 

They waited until every last person was out of the commons room (including the two girls who were making out on the couch and who were at second or maybe even third base, obviously not caring about first-years' innocent eyes).

 

When Harry had gotten everything and they were ready, a new problem came along in the form of Neville Longbottom.

 

"What are you doing?" asked Neville, clutching his toad.

 

"Nothing," said Harry hurriedly, hiding the cloak behind his back.

 

"You're going out again."

 

"No, no, no, we're not. Why don't you go back to bed?" Hermione suggested.

 

"You can't go out again. You'll get caught. Gryffindor will be in even more trouble."

 

Draco rolled his eyes. Yeah, okay, and him and Blaise were what, rotten fish?

 

"You don't understand, this is important," said Harry.

 

It escalated in a particularly bad way from there and ended with Neville attempting to fight Blaise and Hermione putting Neville under the Full-Body Bind and apologising profusely. Neville didn't react, but that was to be expected.

 

At the foot of the stairs they found Filch's cat Mrs. Norris.

 

"Let's go a different way," hissed Blaise.

 

"No, let's kick her, just this once," Ron begged.

 

"Who's there? I can't see you, but I know you're there. Are you ghostie or ghoulie or wee student beastie?" said Peeves

 

"Peeves," said Harry, "the Bloody Baron has his own reasons for being invisible."

 

Peeves stuttered out an apology before hurrying away, obviously shook.

 

"That was bloody brilliant," Blaise breathed.

 

"I know." Harry grinned at him from under the Cloak.

 

A couple seconds later they were there, and the door was already ajar.

 

"Well... looks like we have competition," said Draco.

 

"If you guys wanna go back, I won't blame you," said Harry.

 

"Aw, shush. Stop being so noble," said Ron. "We're all in this together."

 

"Don't be stupid, we're coming," said Hermione.

 

Harry pushed the door open.

 

The dog's three noses sniffed loudly. At its feet, a harp lay abandoned in the ground.

 

"Well," said Harry, raising the flute to his lips, "here goes..."

 

The five of them left the Cloak in a dark corner and tiptoed past the sleeping dog, barely daring to breathe. Ron crept over to the trapdoor and said, "I think we'll be able to pull it open. Hermione? You wanna go first?"

 

"Not particularly, no."

 

Ron opened the door and peered down into the depths of the darkness. "Can't see anything. I think we'll have to just drop."

 

Harry waved to get everyone's attention and pointed at himself, still playing the flute.

 

"You? Blimey, are you mad?!" remarked Ron. "Well, hand the flute to Hermione and... yeah..." he trailed off, obviously foreseeing the upcoming death of the Boy Who Lived.

 

Harry jumped.

 

After a few seconds he called up, "it's okay. It's a soft landing, you can jump!"

 

The other four jumped in.

 

"We must be miles under the school," said Ron.

 

Hermione huffed. "We fell, what, ten feet at the most?"

 

"Like I said. Miles," Ron argued. "Lucky this plant thing is here."

 

Draco shifted his weight slightly. He didn't like the feeling of it, it was slimy and almost seemed as though it was latching on to him. But it was better than concrete, he supposed.

 

"Lucky?! Ronald, this is Devil's Snare!"

 

"Um..." Blaise ventured. Hermione groaned. "And I the only one here who actually listens in class?"

 

As though it had heard its name, though, the plant grasped on to them tighter, and Hermione panicked, first over how to kill it, and then:

 

"Heat! That's it! But there's no wood..."

 

"HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?" howled Ron.

 

"Oh, right," said Hermione, flicking her wand and conjuring flames.

 

The five of them escaped mostly unscathed - well, besides scratches and burns from the plants.

 

For a wizard, Draco contemplated later as Harry whizzed around the room in pursuit of a certain key, Harry is really quite an idiot.

 

When they entered the room, Draco was stunned. They were standing on the end of a chessboard. They were behind the black set of pieces, staring up at the white ones.

 

"Now what?" Harry whispered.

 

"We've got to play our way across the room." Ron pointed to a door on the other side, behind the white king.

 

"How?"

 

"I think we have to take the places of the pieces."

 

Blaise pursed his lips. "D'you think it's gonna be like real Wizard's Chess? With the pieces getting smashed and stuff?"

 

Ron bit the inside of his cheek. Hermione answered for him. "I think so."

 

"No offence," said Ron, "but except for Blaise and sometimes Millicent, you guys are rubbish at chess. And Mill isn't even here."

 

"It's true," said Blaise. 

 

"So we'll... um... do the thinking. But feel free to yell out suggestions. Harry, you're a bishop. Hermione... you go next to him... Blaise, you're the queen-"

 

"I know."

 

"-and Draco, you're a rook."

 

"What are you?" asked Hermione.

 

"Me? I'm going to be a knight."

Chapter Text

The chess game was almost over. Draco had stayed silent the whole time, trying to understand the strategy behind it.

 

"I have to let the knight take me. It's the only way," said Ron, hushed.

 

Draco glanced around. There was another way. If Blaise took the knight... but then the king could take him... Ron would checkmate the king...

 

Blaise voiced what Draco was thinking.

 

Ron bit his lip. "I can't ask you to do that. I'm sorry."

 

"No, it's okay. They need you more than me."

 

"What's that supposed to mean?"

 

"It means you're better at this. Brave sacrifices. Logic. Y'know."

 

"No, you have been amazing during this. I think you should go on."

 

"No, I-"

 

"This is stupid," Hermione interrupted. "Ron, you're sacrificing yourself because you're you. And Blaise, your ambition is going to help us later in the game. Ron can only sacrifice himself once. I'm sorry," she added to him.

 

"Fine," said Ron and Blaise, almost and sync and with identical voices.

 

Harry bit his lip.

 

Ron stepped into the path of the knight.

 

Draco closed his eyes. He didn't want to see.

 

The king threw its crown at their feet. It didn't feel like much of a victory.

 

++

 

A dead troll littered the ground.

 

They stepped past.

 

++

 

Seven bottles and a riddle.

 

"Hermiome, you're good at rhis kind of thing," said Harry.

 

Blaise leaned in towards Draco, voice low. "Hey, you okay? You've not been talking much."

 

"I'm okay. Just anxious. And scared to say something and be wrong."

 

"The failure of this group would not rest on your shoulders. Even if you did make a mistake, we'd catch it."

 

Draco nodded, still quiet.

 

Hermione bit her lip as she studied the riddle. Draco craned over her shoulder to read.

 

In the end it was Hermione who figured it out, and Draco felt useless as ever, but... oh well.

 

Harry rambled off a suggestion and Hermione agreed to go back, and Blaise agreed to duplicate the potion, and Draco mumbled that he'd go back with Hermione, feeling utterly and completely useless.

 

The two of rhem went back and Hermione let out a long breath. "You okay?"

 

"Yeah. I'm fine," said Draco. "Although I do feel kind of useless at the moment."

 

"I'm sorry," said Hermione. "I'm really sorry. Is there any way I could help at all?"

 

"Not really. I just... I dunno. Nothing I did on this little adventure really helped. Ya know?"

 

"You were good during chess," said Hermione.

 

"I said one thing and we didn't even go with that."

 

"You pointed out a flaw in Ron's logic. Always a good thing."

 

"But still. I dunno."

 

They reached where Ron lay, bloody and bruised.

 

"God, please save him," breathed Hermione.

 

Draco lifted him up with difficulty and stumbled a few steps before Hermione said, "you do know you could just... wingardium leviosa."

 

"Oh," said Draco dumbly.

 

They took turns levitating him up to the hospital and answering the questions Madame Pomfrey asked in the vaguest possible way.

 

And then it was time to sleep. Draco thought he would be too anxious to sleep, but instead he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

 

++

 

The rest of the year went by in a blur. Harry explained what happened to him and Blaise in the next room and Draco's head spun afterwards. In a rather unfair act of Gryffindor superiority, Dumbledore gave Gryffindor enough points to win the House Cup.

 

He exchanged emails and phone numbers with the Trios and said goodbye, passing out hugs like teachers pass out homework.

 

Summer.

 

It was summer now.

 

++

 

It still hadn't quite sunk in.

 

 

 

 

END OF BOOK ONE

Chapter Text

In Malfoy Manor, your footsteps echo and everyone knows when you're arriving.

 

In Malfoy Manor, you feel if you breathe too loudly you might send the walls crashing down.

 

In Malfoy Manor, they will yell in the kitchen and it bounces off the stone walls to be absorbed by the softness of the carpet and sofa in the next room.

 

In Malfoy Manor, everything has its place and everything has its use, even if its use is looking pretty.

 

In Malfoy Manor, the wrong word may cause him to snap.

 

In Malfoy Manor, you sometimes sneak downstairs to get a piece of chocolate or some toast.

 

In Malfoy Manor, you don't talk to each other - you assume and predict. There is no communication.

 

In Malfoy Manor, you are so lonely.

Chapter Text

He formed a dependency on Twitter and Tumblr over the summer, logging onto his laptop as often as his parents would let him (two hours on weekdays, three on weekends). 

 

He made friends like margalovesgirls and mlm-in-the-starlight and Alex (alexusestheythemanddoesntcarewhatyouthink) and Clove (cloverrover92) and Michael/Michaela/Mich (michisabitch).

 

It helped to get rid of the loneliness.

 

su-vicesandvirtues: Hey how's it going?

 

Draco eyed the message warily before clicking on their profile. Their picture was of a long haired Chinese person with blue eyeliner. 

 

He checked their profile.

 

Su - minor - she/her - pan lesbian - Pagan - witch - wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure - aesthetic blog, mostly

 

Wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure.

 

The Ravenclaw motto.

 

Could this be Su Li?

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: p good, hbu?

 

su-vicesandvirtues: Im doing okay. Can't wait for school to start though

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: same. What year are you going into?

 

su-vicesandvirtues: second, you?

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: also second lol. so what's up?

 

su-vicesandvirtues: i was just wondering

 

su-vicesandvirtues: and you dont have to answer

 

su-vicesandvirtues: but do you happen to go to Hogwarts?

 

Draco's mind narrowed in on the fact that this was Su Li and now she knows and what if she tells everyone

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: yeah im a slytherin. you're su li??

 

su-vicesandvirtues: yep that's me... I'm guessing you go by Mira at school?

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: yep... I'd Really Rather Not though lmao

 

su-vicesandvirtues: understandable

 

su-vicesandvirtues: It's cool how many ppl you can find from Hogwarts if you try

 

su-vicesandvirtues: I found you by chance but most of us have 'pagan' and our house motto or etc in our bios

 

su-vicesandvirtues: I'm following cho chang, fred weasley, charlie weasley, padma patil, heather dunbar, and eloise midgen

 

su-vicesandvirtues: It's actually kinda cool finding irl people here

 

su-vicesandvirtues: And most of us are lgbt+ too so it's like finding a whole online magic and queer community and i love it

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: what are fred and charlies'?

 

su-vicesandvirtues: Fred is magicisrealassholes and Charlie is dragonboy92

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: we should have a school tag

 

Everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: oooh actually magic tag in general like so ilvermony kids can join

 

su-vicesandvirtues: YES

 

su-vicesandvirtues: I'll start it

 

su-vicesandvirtues: how abt #wingardiumleviosa

 

everythingsucksbutdogsaregood: YES also sorry i gtg,, dinner

 

++

 

 Church every Sunday from 9 to 10:20.

 

It started with music for twenty minutes: There Is No One Like You, Place of Freedom, and Good Good Father.

 

A guy came onto the stage and talked the adults into giving the church money.

 

Another guy came on - the pastor - and began to talk about marriage.

 

Draco groaned inwardly and shifted in his seat. He knew this preacher well: he wouldn't be directly homophobic, but he'd never address the issue directly either. He would say marriage was a man and a woman, but nothing about gay people.

 

He'd been there every week for 12 years. He knew how all this happened.

 

++

 

Summer dragged on and on, sometimes slow, sometimes passing in a blur.

 

And then he was getting his school letter and buying new robes and brushing his hair and packing his stuff and it was time.

 

It was time.

 

++

 

He found Hermione first, as the train was beginning to move. She was sitting alone with some giant metal monstrosity and a cat.

 

"The cat is Millicent's," she said, as though that explained everything.

 

"What... what's the metal thing? Why do you have Mill's cat? Where is everyone?"

 

"Blaise is giving Neville his toad. Millicent's in the bathroom. Harry and Ron never got on. C'mon, sit down."

 

Head spinning, he sat down next to her.

 

"Oh. And this is a trombone. It's a Muggle musical instrument. I'm working on my Transfiguration."

 

"Hermione..."

 

"Yeah?"

 

Draco shook his head, bewildered. "Nevermind."

Chapter Text

If Harry Potter didn't want attention, he certainly wasn't acting like it, showing up in the Great Hall battered and bruised and still in Muggle clothes.

 

Ron was there too, and though Draco may have grown fond of him, he had to admit: Ron did love attention.

 

Harry collapsed down onto the Gryffindor bench with Ron, looking close to tears. Draco picked at his food and slipped his phone out of his pocket.

 

Draco: whats going on??

 

Blaise slid his phone out too to answer: no clue.

 

Draco: gUYs answer 

Hermione: those idiots took a flying car to Hogwarts

Draco: WHAT???!?

Hermione: yep. And now they're in trouble

Harry: we missed the train!!

Blaise: u couldve owled???

Ron: i mean true

Harry: we weren't thinking clearly i guess

Draco: well that's obvious

Blaise: are u ever tho

Ron: oi!

Hermione: no, they aren't

Ron: u guys are mean

Draco: yOU TOOK A FLYING CAR

Draco: TO HOGWARTS 

Harry: ron broke his wand

Millicent: omg

Millicent: thats hilarious

Millicent: draco. blaise. Lets out-trouble them

Draco: green against red lmao

Blaise: what would we even do, let a giant frickin snake loose in the school?

Harry: hA

Hermione: don't encourage them, Harry

Ron: oh cmon mione its brilliant

Ron: a competition!!

Hermione: ...God save me. You guys are gonna get me dead

Draco: oh cmon no we wont

Ron: yeah we will lmao

Hermione: at least you're honest Ron

Harry: oi what about me???

Hermione: yeah ok you too

Blaise: what about me?????

Hermione: ok Blaise we-should-put-a-snake-in-the-school Zabini

Blaise: ...point taken

 

Draco poked at his food moodily. It would seem so stupid to anyone overhearing his thoughts, but he'd just remembered he had breasts and it was Capital-B Bothering him.

 

He was eating turkey with enough cranberry sauce to feed an entire army. He had pumpkin juice and Jell-O and blueberries with whipped cream.

 

He silently pushed the Jell-O away, not understanding his own thought process but accepting it nonetheless.

 

Millicent gave him an odd - and concerned - look, but didn't comment on it.

 

Shitshitshit he didn't sign up for this when he was born. Where was the paper he'd signed before popping out of his mom saying "I agree to be born in the wrong body and be treated the wrong way my whole life"? He wanted to burn it.

 

Shitshitshit he couldn't eat anymore not like this not when his shoulders were literally carrying extra weight from the size of his unwanted milk dispensers shit...

 

Draco ignored his food and logged on to Twitter and then Tumblr, making vague posts on both before going back to his email and aimlessly reloading it.

 

It didn't help, it wasn't helping...

 

He could feel his heart rate pick up but he ignored it. He couldn't be having a panic attack. That would be highly inconvenient. Highly. Incredibly inconvenient, really; he didn't have time for that...

 

He plugged in his earbuds and turned on Troye Sivan's THE QUIET and listened, biting his lip and trying to steady his breath.

 

His phone dinged with a text and he jumped slightly.

 

Hermione: Hey you okay?? You're looking kinda panicky

 

It wasn't on the group chat, thank God and Jesus and Allah and Zeus and Merlin and... all the other gods too.

 

Draco: i aam hacing a ppanic attack bc dysphoria but it's ffine lmao

Hermione: that doesn't sound fine

Hermione: need to talk?

Draco: about anything but dysphoria yeah like for instance what's your favourite song??

Hermione: ready to go by panic! at the disco

Draco: mine is disenchanted by my chemical romance

Draco: i wanna see them irl

Hermione: if my parents let me i'll take you this summer 

Draco: are you sure???

Hermione: yeah why else would i offer

Draco: point taken

Hermione: why is everyone taking my point today

Draco: idk are they asking permission?? Maybe you should ask for it back

Hermione: bro...

Hermione: no one asked permission

Hermione: like??? Does no one here understand manners???

Draco: may I have your point?

Hermione: yes you may thank you for asking

Draco: may i go to the bathroom Miss Granger

Hermione: yes you may, make sure to sign out with the date and time

Draco: ??

Hermione: oh in Muggle schools you have to sign out and in to the room so they know you're not dealing drugs or blowing up the school

Draco: muggles are insane

Draco: cant they just

Draco: nvm that was dumb lmao

Hermione: wait what were u gonna say?

Draco: ... if they ccould just do that spell priori incantatum

Hermione: asdfghjkl yeah I think we should start a petition

Draco: yeah but will you need your point for that? I'll give it back

Hermione: yeah i'll only need it for a second though

 

++

 

Draco laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling, unable to sleep.

 

No matter how he positioned himself, he had breasts.

 

It was so stupid but every time his arms brushed against him it sent him into an even worse dysphoria spiral than he'd been in.

 

He picked at his shirt and sighed. He was feeling close to tears. His eyes burned.

 

Draco shifted onto his side.

 

Nope, no, not better, nope...

 

He shifted onto his stomach. Uncomfortable but better than his side.

 

He shoved his face into the pillow and began to cry, clenching his teeth so a sound wouldn't escape his lips.

 

He needn't've bothered. He was good at crying silently.

Chapter Text

He had to visit Hermione. Blaise and him had stayed up all night coming up with different prank ideas, and they needed to know which one she thought was the worst idea so they'd know what to do.

 

He breathed the password to the Fat Lady and darted in, scanning the common room for Hermione. No one was really surprised by his presence; he'd been there a lot last year.

 

He darted up the staircase that said girl's- or tried to. When he reached the fourth step it turned in to a slide, sending him rocketing down and landing on his butt in a rather humorous position.

 

A sixth year Gryffindor raised an eyebrow at him. "Tried to go up the wrong staircase?"

 

"Appears so," said Draco, embarrassed.

 

"Don't worry, it happened to me too. I'm Dylan."

 

"I'm-" Draco hesitated.

 

"Closeted?"

 

"Yep."

 

"Not anymore. Gryffindors are the nosiest bunch you'll ever meet, not that I really mind. So, preferred name?" The boy tilted his head, hair falling into his eyes. He had a half-shaved hairstyle and gauged earrings. 

 

"Draco. Draco Malfoy."

 

"Dylan McIntyre, at your service. Staircase did the same to me for half my third year before I figured it out. Spent every night on the couch. Does Slytherin not do this?"

 

"Nope. I've been in both dorms."

 

"I can see how it could take you by surprise."

 

"Yeah. Me too," Draco quipped. "Or rather, I could feel it."

 

"God, I'm glad it wasn't me. So why were you trying to get into the Gryffindor girls' dorms?"

 

"I'm trying to see my friend. We're - my friend and I- are coming up with pranks and we need her to tell us the worst idea so we can do that." 

 

Dylan laughed. "That's wonderful. Hey Ki?"

 

"Yeah?" asked a girl who was curled up so tightly with another girl that he couldn't tell whose limbs were whose. Both girls had dark skin in the exact same shade. Ki had blue hair.

 

"If you aren't too busy snogging Marie, could you go get - hey, what's her name and year?"

 

"Hermione. She's a second year," said Draco.

 

"-a second year girl named Hermione?"

 

Ki began the process of untangling herself from Marie. "Fine."

 

"Thanks," said Draco, smiling.

 

"Anytime. Don't worry about it."

 

Ki came back a couple minutes later, in a deep conversation with Hermione about healthcare protections for trans girls and non binary people.

 

"Hey," Hermione nodded at him.

 

"'Mione, we need your input. Me and Blaise. Which of these is the worst idea?"

 

Hermione stuck out a hand and took the list, looking worried at what she was about to read.

 

Her face became more and more horrified as she read the list.

 

"The snake, or the itch cream, or the swearing dungbombs."

 

"I guess I'll just find a way to combine them," said Draco.

 

"'S'it okay if we read it?" asked Ki. Her voice was deep and velvety, like the overly expensive curtains in his living room.

 

"Yeah," said Draco.

 

Her and Dylan pursued the list, grinning.

 

"Itch cream and the laxative cake," said Dylan.

 

"No, do the snake and the dungbombs," said Ki. 

 

Draco grinned. "Thank you for the advice-"

 

"Wait-"

 

"Especially my dearest Hermione-"

 

"Draco-"

 

"Thank you so much-"

 

"I am going to slap you!"

 

Draco just grinned.

 

Chapter Text

In the third week of Draco's second year the Trios held that year's first History club meeting for the second years.

 

"Y'know what we should do?" asked Ernie, not waiting for an answer. "We should get one started for the first years."

 

"Yes!" said Su immediately. Draco had kind of been avoiding her: he knew it couldn't go on forever, but the confrontation about him being a boy wasn't something he was looking forward to.

 

"I'd help," said Megan, a quiet Hufflepuff who was swimming in her school robes and a grey hoodie. Her voice was deep and she had a southern-American accent.

 

"Me too," said Draco.

 

"Heck yeah," Blaise said.

 

Hermione nodded. "I think that's a great idea. I'll help."

 

"I think we have enough," said Ernie.

 

"All right. Let's stay behind after the meeting and figure out who does what," said Hermione. "But today? Today we learn about Wendelin the Weird."

 

"Was she the one with the pain kink?" asked Theodore Nott loudly.

 

"Shut up, Theo," said Blaise.

 

Theodore made a face.

 

"Real mature, boys. Okay, so we have thirty of us and she was burnt 49 times, so who would like to go tw-"

 

Most of the room raised their hands.

 

"Oh," said Hermione. "Um, people with winter or spring birthdays?"

 

"Does August count?" asked Theo.

 

"No." Hermione rolled her eyes and started counting them out. "Okay, eighteen of you and... Malfoy? You wanna go twice?"

 

"Sure," Draco shrugged. He appreciated not being called Mira.

 

"All right," said Hermione. "So it's just gonna be warm, you won't actually burn. And everyone else will be the people who watched her or the Inquisitors. Okay? First burning, France, and Hannah, you're up."

 

The lights dimmed to a yellowish tone and Hannah Abbot got up, standing on the spot in the robes Hermione had transfigured for her. The rest of them wore fancy clothing and brandished sticks and rocks - which were made of cloth - and threw them at her. Hannah laughed, pretended to be in pain, and then laughed again.

 

It went by fast. The French wore their fancy but dark clothes, the Russians in their furs, the Africans in their colourful robes. 

 

And then they were done, and Hermione was grinning. "That went great. Okay? Same time on Friday, you know the drill. Thank you!"

 

Once everyone but him, Hermione, Ernie, Su, Megan, and Blaise were gone, Hermione gathered everyone into a circle.

 

"All right," said Ernie. "I get that the three of you -" he nodded to Hermione, Blaise, and him "- already have this to organise, and that's okay, Su and Megan and I will do most of it."

 

"It's okay," said Hermione. "I'll do as much as you need."

 

Ernie nodded, acknowledging that.

 

"Okay. So... we need posters, times for them to meet, and a schedule of when we study certain things. Oh, and someone to figure out the activities."

 

"I can work on posters," said Su.

 

"I can work on scheduling," Blaise offered.

 

"I'll work on activities," said Megan to her hoodie sleeves.

 

"I'll work on posters with Su," said Hermione.

 

"I'll work on activities with Megan," Draco suggested.

 

"I'll do scheduling with Blaise," said Ernie. "So, Mira and Megan, you guys start by writing down things you remember from last year, and if you have any ideas jot those down, and we'll give you the schedule when we're ready."

 

"All right," said Draco. He smiled at Megan. "Wanna start working first or do you want to get food first?"

 

"I wouldn't turn down some soda," she said. 

 

"All right. What kind?"

 

"Diet Coke."

 

"That's my favourite of the Muggle sodas. Dobby?"

 

With a crack that made Blaise and Megan flinch, the house-elf appeared.

 

"Yes, Malfoy sir?"

 

"Could you bring Megan and I two Diet Cokes?"

 

"Of course, Master."

 

Dobby disappeared with another crack.

 

"I've been trying to get him to be less formal," said Draco apologetically.

 

"It's okay. How come he called you sir?"

 

"I'm-" Draco found his throat blocked by fear. "Sorry- I-" he swallowed the anxiety and said, "I'm trans. I don't even know how he knows."

 

"Oh," said Megan.

 

"I go by Draco," he said uneasily. His hands were shaking and he gripped his shirt, trying to stop them.

 

"Okay. Are you out yet?"

 

"Only to a couple people. Hermione and Blaise, Millicent, Ron, Harry Potter, Su, and you."

 

"Okay," she said. "Got it. S-"

 

With a crack, Dobby appeared again with two sodas. He handed them both to thwm.

 

"Dobby does not know your name, Miss," he said to Megan.

 

"Oh, I'm Megan," she said, sticking out a hesitant hand, which Dobby shook.

 

"Thank you, miss," he said. "Dobby is having to go, but thank you."

 

"Thank you," said Megan.

 

Dobby disappeared again.

 

"He's a funny creature," said Megan.

 

"Yeah. You kinda get used to him after a while."

 

Megan pulled her hands into her sleeves. "I remember when we did that war on one of the first days," she offered.

 

"Paintball," Draco said, grabbing the pencil and jotting those things down.

 

"The play," she said.

 

"The pie war."

 

"Swim day."

 

"I thought you weren't there that day?"

 

"I sat out and watched. It was really cool."

 

"It was Harry's idea," said Draco modestly, "I'll tell him."

 

"Um, the 1772 American revolt that they somehow dragged us into?"

 

"Well we were the same country then, but yeah," said Draco. "The first Quidditch game?"

 

"The founding of Hogwarts."

 

"The Spanish Revolution of 1509."

 

They continued listing off days they remembered until they were both wracking their memory for more and nothing was coming up.

 

"I think that's all we have," said Draco.

 

From the opposite corner of the room, Blaise yelled out: "TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS. FIVE TO SEVEN."

 

"BLAISE, WE'RE TRYING TO DRAW OVER HERE," Hermione called back.

 

"We should make flyers," said Megan suddenly.

 

"Yes," said Draco. "Room, we need paper."

 

Paper appeared, along with markers and a quill.

 

"Wow, thanks."

 

The two of them got to work writing up flyers for the first years, occasionally talking but mostly just writing and staying peacefully quiet.

 

It was eleven thirty when Ernie announced they'd finished writing up a schedule. Megan got a copy and they wrote up everything they missed (which wasn't much - the meetings were really memorable). 

 

Hermione and Su's poster was looking great, and everyone liked their flyers. 

 

"We should probably... go to sleep," Hermione suggested.

 

Megan curled her fingers up into her hoodie sleeves. "She has a point; it's eleven thirty."

 

"All right," said Ernie. "G'night."

 

They trickled out the doorway and went their respective ways to their dorms. Blaise caught up with him and smiled, hand in his pocket. "Wanna crash in the boy's dorm tonight? I can get you in and out unnoticed if you want."

 

Draco considered that. "Sure. I'll go get my pyjamas first though."

 

"Okay." They stopped at the door of the Slytherin common room.

 

"I hate the password," admitted Blaise. "It's so bigoted and backwards."

 

"Me too," said Draco. "But at least it's... easy to pronounce...?"

 

"There are plenty of other easy to pronounce words," muttered Blaise before saying, "pure-blood."

 

The door swung open and they stepped in.

 

"I'll wait for you down here," said Blaise.

 

"Mkay."

 

Draco darted up the steps and into the dark girl's dormitories. He found his bed, pulled out sweatpants and a tank top, and crept back downstairs.

 

"Okay," said Blaise. "Your bed's gonna be closest to the door. Mine is right next to yours."

 

"Got it."

 

They crept up the stairs and Blaise opened the door, which only creaked a little.

 

"Here," breathed Blaise, patting the pillow.

 

"Thanks, man," Draco whispered back.

 

"Anytime."

 

Draco stared at his pyjamas for a good ten seconds before turning his back to the bed and changing as quickly as possible. The air was the perfect temperature but his body wasn't like the other boys' and he didn't like the idea of Theo or Goyle or Crabbe seeing.

 

He glanced over to where Blaise was rummaging through his drawers, wearing just boxers. He pulled out sweatpants and tugged them on.

 

"Good night," Blaise whispered.

 

"Night."

 

Draco got into the bed and closed the curtains as quietly as he could before lying down. The sheets were silver, as far as he could tell. The bedframe was next to the window, and soft green light shone down. He couldn't really see, but it was okay. Sometimes feeling was better than seeing.

 

He curled up in the blanket and faced Blaise's bed. The other boy had only bothered to tug at the curtains a little before collapsing on the bed, holding a teddy bear. It was honestly an adorable sight. Draco grinned.

 

"Go to sleep," said Blaise sheepishly.

 

"Fine," said Draco.

 

He closed his eyes and tugged the blanket closer to him, and soon he was asleep.

Chapter Text

Blaise smuggled him out of the boys' dormitories at 05:30 and he laid down on the couch, staring at the window and the lake-muted sunrise.

 

Blaise sat by him, tracing his index finger along the words of a book. Draco leaned over. It was a book on Wizard genealogy that he immediately found fascinating.

 

A few minutes later, Millicent walked down to Draco resting his head on Blaise's shoulder, the two of them reading together.

 

"I'm not surprised by anything with you two anymore. Good morning." She immediately invaded their space, lying down with her head in Draco's lap, her butt on the couch, and her legs thrown across Blaise's lap.

 

"Good morning," said Draco, amused.

 

"Oddly peppy today," remarked Blaise.

 

"I'm not drunk."

 

"I hope not; it's not even six in the morning and you're twelve."

 

"I only had like one glass of wine. It's fine. Merlin, I just rhymed. That's great."

 

"Millicent..." Blaise began.

 

"Yeah?"

 

"Nevermind."

 

She sighed. "You guys think I'm an alcoholic, don't you?"

 

"...yep," said Draco.

 

"I'm not. I only have it to wake me up inside."

 

"I see someone has a hidden emo," Blaise quipped.

 

"You don't even know. I fricking love MCR."

 

"Me too," said Draco.

 

"Emos," said Blaise. "Anyway, we were having a serious conversation, right?"

 

"Yeah," said Draco.

 

"I'm not an alcoholic. And I'm not depressed."

 

"...why don't I believe you...?" asked Blaise.

 

"Because you're not a trusting person?"

 

Blaise sighed. "Yeah, no, you're right."

 

"I always am."

 

"Do you need to talk about any of it?"

 

"I don't want to. All I want is waffles."

 

"Put that on my gravestone," quipped Blaise.

 

++

 

The Green Trio walked up to the cafeteria where Hermione, Ron, and Harry were already sitting at the Hufflepuff table with Megan, Dylan and Ki from Gryffindor, and Ki's Ravenclaw girlfriend Marie.

 

"Hey, bro," greeted Dylan. 

 

"Hey."

 

"You guys know each other?" asked Hermione, visibly confused.

 

"Your staircase kicked me off of it, remember?"

 

"Ah, yeah..."

 

"Feeling any better?" asked Ki.

 

"The only bruise left is on my p-"

 

"Draco!"

 

"-pride."

 

Hermione scowled so deeply it was practically audible. "Introductions. Uh, scar-face is Harry. The redhead eating an entire city is Ron. The dark haired girl with the waffles is Millicent. Blaise is the black boy who's as tall as Dean. And Megan is the nice one."

 

Megan grinned.

 

"Oi!" said Ron.

 

Dylan seemed to be mentally filing that away. "All right. Got it. Sarcastic tall black boy is Blaise. Dark haired waffle girl is Millicent. Redhead is Ron. Famous is Harry. And Megan's the nice one."

 

"Yep," said Hermione proudly.

 

"And Bruised Pride is Draco."

 

"Point considered and politely asked for."

 

"What?" 

 

Hermione laughed. "Everyone kept saying 'point taken' so I started getting on their cases about it and Draco here actually listened."

 

Millicent paused her consuming of pancakes for long enough to say, "No one wants to ask for it. It's much less time consuming to just take it."

 

"She has a point," said Ron.

 

Millicent finished her - fourth? Fifth? - waffle and started on another.

 

"You okay?" ventured Blaise.

 

She nodded and kept eating. "Waffles are good."

 

"Understandable."

 

Dylan tapped his plate with his fork. "So, tiny second years, how is school?"

 

"We aren't tiny," Ron argued hotly.

 

"The first years are tiny," Harry agreed.

 

"So are the fifth years," said Ki, who was half in Marie's lap.

 

"We are sitting with young children, Marie and Ki."

 

"I feel like they can handle it," said Marie.

 

"I've seen your brother violently making out with several girls in his year and your other brother making out with his ex boyfriend; I'm not innocent anymore," said Ron.

 

"Okay, true," Dylan conceded. "But still. No making out in the Great Hall."

 

Ki shifted off of Marie's lap. "Fine..."

 

Millicent finished the last bite of her tenth (or eleventh?) waffle and said, "I'll be right back."

 

"I'm low-key really worried about her," said Harry.

 

"Me too," Draco admitted. "Did she tell you she drinks in the mornings if she's depressed?"

 

The look on Harry's face showed that he did not know that.

 

"I don't think she has too much. She said she only had one glass of wine."

 

"That's... well, it's still not good, but it's better than downing a bottle of vodka at five in the morning."

 

"You guys are one seriously messed up group," commented Dylan lightly. "Anyone else having tea?"

 

Draco shook his head, amused. "Nah. Thanks, though."

 

He shoved his plate away, eyeing it suspiciously, although why, he didn't know.

 

Millicent came back, hair down now, looking sick. She sat down and said nothing, staring at her plate like it was about to jump up and murder her.

 

To be fair, though, he'd just been doing the same thing.

 

She bit a straw, looking anxious. Harry cast her a concerned look. She shook her head, and Harry didn't press her.

 

Millicent was not okay.

Chapter Text

Over the next week, Blaise began reading his letters out of sight, sleeping in way too late, arriving at lunch with red eyes, not eating, and picking at the skin of his neck.

 

At first Draco thought it was a temporary thing, but by the fifth day, he wondered if maybe it wasn't.

 

He gave Blaise a week before cornering him and asking what was wrong. They were in the common room at around eleven thirty at night, on the couch, Draco on his phone, Blaise reading a book.

 

Blaise buried himself deeper in his House robes. "It's nothing."

 

"It doesn't seem like nothing. Blaise..."

 

"I just-" his voice broke off and he bit the inside of his lip in an obvious manner.

 

"It's Blakely. My sister," he said finally. "And my mom. But..."

 

Blaise handed him a stack of parchments and Draco unrolled it, reading through them.

 

26 September 2012

Blaise:

I am writing to inform you of your little sister's demise and the fact that you are not welcome to spend this Christmas break at our home due to your underwhelming grades at the end of last year.

Your mom,

Arinadama

 

27 September 2012

Blaise:

I am sure your mother has informed you of me, but if she has not, my name is Jonathan Harold MxFour the Third of Ireland. I am your mother's fiancé. I am also the man who removed the burden of your Squib sister from you and your mother's hands. I hope we will get to meet once you come home for the summer.

Sincerely,

your stepdad

 

27 September 2012

Blaise:

I realised that I forgot to inform you of my fiancé and your new stepfather Jonathan Harold MxFour the Third of Ireland.

Remember to keep your grades up and not to associate with mudbloods.

Arinadama

 

29 September 2012

Blaise: 

I have been informed that your Defence grade has dropped to an E. Please raise this grade or there will be consequences.

Arinadama

 

30 September 2012

Greetings again, Blaise. Enclosed is a package of chocolate frogs.

Your mother has told me a lot about you, some good and some bad. I am hoping you are better than she says. In fact, based on your last letter, I would hazard a guess that you are. Your mother has informed me that your grades are subpar at best. If you ever need academic help, please come to me: I graduated with 14 OWLs and 10 NEWTs. 

Thank you for your time and I hope you have a lovely day

Jonathan

PS. Your mother spoke of an older brother who committed suicide. I hope you are not too torn up over it. It was in the Dark Lord's plan for us.

 

1 October 2012

Your most recent school photo has been sent to us. Please remember to smile next year.

Arinadama

 

1 October 2012

I found candy in your room. You know where it came from. Please make sure to inform me or your punishment will be worse than it already is.

Arinadama

 

1 October 2012

Jonathan informed me of the fact that he told you of how your sister died. I may warn you that, were you to tell, you would wish you were dead.

Arinadama

 

Draco was seething. His teeth were clenched so hard he wondered if his jaws were locked together.

 

"It's goddamn disgusting," he hissed. "Who do they think they are - hurting your sisters - saying things like that - it's despicable."

 

Blaise nodded. "I know. I - I don't know what to do. I shouldn't have told you - she's - she'll find out -" he was visibly shaking now, obviously terrified. Draco felt awful for not being able to help.

 

"Blaise. Blaise. I'm not going to let anything happen to you. If she does anything, I'll make her be sorry. And my offer still stands. Staying at my place in the summers. If you want."

 

"Thanks," he mumbled.

 

"I'm sorry. About your sisters."

 

"I miss them," whispered Blaise. "Amelia and Blakely. Amelia was... she was so kind. She understood what people were going through. And she... she seemed so happy. She wrote letters to Blakely and me. She killed herself before Blakely was born. The letters go up to age 16, when she died. Blakely would have loved her. You would have loved her. She had the best sense of humour but she also knew when it wasn't the time for jokes. When my mom yelled at me once she was the one to comfort me. She had scars all up and down her arms and tapped her thumb to her fingertips when she was nervous. I-" his voice cracked "-I was going to be the flower boy at her wedding. We planned it out. She... I... I miss her."

 

Blaise seemed to realise he was rambling a bit and stopped.

 

"Blakely?" Draco prompted.

 

"She's wonderful. She - she was wonderful. She had this deep dark brown skin and brown eyes and her hair was always in braids with pink beads at the bottom. She loved soccer. She loved singing. She cared so much about people. If someone was sad, she wanted to help. Her - her favourite song was Can You Dance Like A Hippogriff. I didn't appreciate being open up by her loud renditions of it until it was too late."

 

Draco pulled the other boy into a hug. Blaise shook. Draco knew he was crying. He didn't mention it. Instead, he let Blaise bury his head in his neck and sob.

 

"Sorry," mumbled Blaise once his tears had run dry. He looked up, but avoided Draco's eyes. His hazel eyes were outlined in red, his cheeks were a splotchy red, and his nose was red. 

 

"It's okay," said Draco quietly. "I understand." 

 

Blaise's eyelashes fluttered. "I'm just scared. I'm so scared. What if I'm next?"

 

"Oh god. Blaise..." even the thought was horrifying.

 

"I can't do this," he whispered. 

 

Broken. Bruised. Beaten down.

 

"I'm not... I'm not... I can't be me again. I can't be a normal boy. I won't ever date anyone or be friends with anyone without bringing them down. Not with both my sisters dying. I can't do this. Draco, I can't keep pretending anymore I can't do this I can't do this I

can't 

do

this"

 

(But at some point it had become Draco's own voice echoing inside his head as well)

 

"You are strong enough," said Draco. "You can make it through this."

 

Blaise brought a hand up to his neck and scratched. It seemed like a self soothing thing. Draco reached up and took his hand.

 

"But no homo," he said, mustering up a smile.

 

"Yeah. No homo," Blaise agreed, but his smile was muted.

 

++

 

Blaise received a red letter on the 5th of October from his mother.

 

"A Howler. Oh god." 

 

"D'you wanna go out to the commons room to read it?"

 

"Yes," he said.

 

The two of them darted from breakfast and down the stairs to the Slytherin common room.

 

Blaise stumbled into the room and slid his pinky under the tape.

 

"BLAISE ZABINI, YOU ARE A DISAPPOINTMENT TO THIS FAMILY. SEEN IN THE PRESENCE OF MUDBLOODS AND HOMOS? YOU COULD HAVE MADE ANY FRIENDS YOU WANTED - YOU HAD PICK OF THE ENTIRE SCHOOL - AND YOU CHOSE THEM. WHAT KIND OF SON ARE YOU? YOU'VE DISGRACED THE FAMILY NAME AND I WILL NOT TOLERATE IT. YOU HAVE BEEN SEEN WITH THE BOY WHO NEARLY KILLED OUR LORD ON A REGULAR BASIS AND I AM ASHAMED. DO NOT ASSOCIATE YOURSELF WITH THESE PEOPLE AGAIN. AND IF I HEAR YOU'VE BREATHED A WORD ABOUT YOUR SISTER TO ANYONE, YOU WILL PAY. NOW GO AND STOP MAKING YOURSELF LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD."

 

Blaise looked close to tears. Draco wanted to kill somebody.

 

"I hope she dies," said Blaise venomously before chucking the letter in the fire.

 

"So do I," said Draco.

 

"I'm not going to class today," said Blaise. "I'll be in the Room of Requirement."

 

"Running?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"From your problems?"

 

"Pretty much."

 

"I'll come."

 

"You can borrow some of my clothes."

 

Blaise led him to the dresser and opened the top drawer. After pulling out purple shorts, he said, "pick anything, I don't mind."

 

After careful contemplation, he chose blue running shorts and a dark green tank top. He started to change, facing the dresser and glancing over at Blaise. Not in a sexual way or anything. He was just wondering if his chest would be that flat after surgery or not.

 

He changed his outfit and glanced at the time - 07:38 - and tied his shoes.

 

The two of them rushed up to the Room of Requirement and entered Blaise's gym, with wind and a track and equipment and music and apparently now showers and a pool.

 

"It got an upgrade," said Draco.

 

"This room is seriously the best. Hey, Room, could you play us some My Chemical Romance?"

 

The song began playing and Draco grinned, recognising it: Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For The Two Of Us.

 

"Wanna run with me?" asked Blaise, who still had his shirt on (a record amount of time spent fully clothed, honestly.)

 

"Sure. I'll try."

 

The two of them set off. Draco knew the other boy was running slowly to spare his muscles, lungs, and pride.

 

He made it a good two laps running like that before his breath was ragged enough that Blaise said, "okay, time out," and they both stopped and stretched out on the magically cool track.

 

Blaise chugged an entire bottle of Gatorade. Draco downed a half of one.

 

"Y'know what High Intensity Interval Training is?" he asked.

 

"No," said Draco.

 

"Basically something like this: run for three minutes, walk for four, run for three minutes, walk for two, and repeat."

 

"That's too much running."

 

"What if we did thirty seconds running, three minutes walking?"

 

Draco contemplated. "I could handle that," he decided.

 

"All right. Let's start with walking."

 

They began. Draco felt like his legs were made of lead and jelly. 

 

After three minutes, Blaise shouted, "run!!" and they took off, both sprinting for thirty seconds.

 

This was the routine they did for a little over half an hour, before Blaise suggested a break and then forty-five seconds on, three minutes off.

 

After chugging an entire bottle's worth of Gatorade each, they started up again.

 

After half an hour, Blaise stopped and suggested weightlifting.

 

Another hour passed as they did that, and it was 10:00 when they paused, panting. At some point Blaise had lost his shirt. Some time later Draco abandoned his too.

 

"D'you wanna study with the notes I'm sure Hermione's been texting us?"

 

Draco grinned. "Yeah. Unstructured study time with a friend? Sign me up."

 

Blaise pulled out his phone and sure enough, there was a string of texts from Hermione with pictures of her notes. It was actually impressive how well they knew her.

 

++

 

They went down to lunch at noon. Millicent was already there, plate empty. Hermione was there too, books scattered across the table. Draco sat across from her.

 

"You weren't in class," said Hermione without preamble.

 

"We were running," said Draco.

 

"In the Room," added Blaise.

 

"We studied too. Thought it was an important thing to do."

 

Hermione's scowl softened at that comment. "Of course."

 

Harry and Ron appeared a bit later, pouring over something on Harry's phone. They sat down and seemingly entered a competition as to who could make the sandwich with the grossest parts. In Draco's opinion, Harry won: a sandwich of two hot dog buns, turkey, chicken, goldfish crackers, mayonnaise, and pickle relish was worse than a mayonaise-turkey-jam-and-crackers sandwich.

 

Draco made himself a PBJ and ate without entering the grossness competition. Thank god: he was a picky eater anyway, and the experiment would have ruined his taste buds.

 

Hermione ate a salad, one that she spent way more time than necessary making and scarfed down quickly. Blaise had chicken. Millicent poked at applesauce, looking like it had done nothing to stop the murder of her hypothetical firstborn child.

 

He reached for the Jell-O and then poured himself some Kool-Aid.

 

"Did you know Muggle white girls dip their hair in that stuff to dye it?" asked Hermione.

 

"I didn't know that. Really?"

 

"Yeah. Also, did you notice the Jell-O colours? Slytherin has green. Gryffindors have red. Hufflepuffs have yellow. And Ravenclaws have blue."

 

"That's really weird," said Draco.

 

"Almost as weird as separating bathrooms by whether or not you have a penis," Hermione quipped. Draco snorted. 

 

Blaise stared at the bowl of strawberries that had appeared on the table at some point during the meal.

 

"Blakely loved strawberries. So did Amelia," he said.

 

"I'm sorry," said Draco. "This all sucks for you. I'm sorry."

 

Blaise just sighed. "I miss my sisters."

 

"I know," murmured Draco. "I'm sorry."

 

"'S not your fault," said Blaise through a mouthful of strawberries.

 

"I still feel bad."

 

Hermione took a sip of Draco's Kool-aid.

 

Millicent glanced up. "Can I join y'all's exercise pity party this afternoon?"

 

"Sure," said Blaise. "Anyone else?"

 

"I'm going to class like a good student," said Hermione.

 

"I'm going to class because I have no other option," said Harry.

 

"Same," said Ron. 

 

"All right, guess it's just us," said Blaise.

 

"The Green Trio," added Draco. When the others gave him a weird look, he said, "it's just how I refer to the Slytherin half of our group. Together we're the Trios."

 

Hermione hummed non-committally at that and Draco remembered her irritation at his use of the Golden Trio.

 

"You Gryffindors are the Red Trio," added Draco.

 

"And together we're the... brown... sextet... okay, nevermind."

 

"Yeah, please no," said Harry.

 

"How about Team Potter?" suggested Ron sarcastically.

 

"No, Team Weasley."

 

"Nah, me and my siblings - except Percy - call ourselves that during Quidditch and really great pranks," said Ron.

 

"The Christmas Six? Because red and green..."

 

"The Lightsaber Lump of friends?" suggested Ron.

 

"NO," said Millicent and Harry in chorus.

 

"The Super Sad Sextuplets?"

 

"Blaise, we aren't related," Hermione groaned.

 

"The Super Sad Squad."

 

"Blaise, no." Hermione sighed. "Hermione's Hell-friends?"

 

"Ron's... r-racket?"

 

"Blaise's boys and Millicent and Hermione."

 

"Millicent's Million."

 

"Draco's Dungballs."

 

"Team Potter."

 

"POTTER'S PALS!"

 

"NO, BLAISE," said Millicent, Hermione, and Ron in chorus.

 

++

 

"All right." Blaise stretched out on the ground. "Mills, you're a lesbian, but we gotta have ground rules anyway. All right. No boob, penis, or butt staring-at, any of you. Ab-staring and back-staring are okay. We clear?"

 

Millicent was doubled over in laughter. "Isn't this all unnecessary because I'm not into guys?"

 

"This is for Draco's benefit."

 

"BLAISE-"

 

Blaise just laughed. "All right. Forty-five and three HIIT?"

 

"That rhymed," said Millicent.

 

"It's because I'm too awesome to not speak in poems."

 

Draco groaned. "Millicent, help me run away from this guy."

Chapter Text

Harry was the one to inform the Green Trio that he'd been invited to the Gryffindor ghost Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party. 

 

"A... a deathday party?" asked Millicent. "I dunno, will there be food?"

 

Harry shrugged. "I dunno. I'll bring some, just in case."

 

++

 

As the six of them walked down the corridor, and Hermione and Harry were bickering about promises, and Ron and Millicent were talking quietly about Merlin-knew-what, Blaise and Draco hung behind. 

 

"All I really want right now are pumpkin seeds," commented Blaise.

 

"D'you think anyone would notice if we left, ate dinner, and came back?"

 

"Probably. But we could make up a good reason, I s'pose."

 

"True. Like, we're... the Red Trio asked us to go get food."

 

"Unless it was them who found us," argued Blaise.

 

"True. Uh... we were mourning Harry's parents."

 

"Without him."

 

"Okay, good point."

 

"We were bringing them cake as a surprise," said Blaise.

 

"That... that could actually work."

 

++

 

The deathday party wasn't anything particularly special. Mostly, it was Nick whining about his head and ghosts talking about death and rotten food. About ten minutes into the party, Draco had realised it wasn't going to be interesting at all, so he leant against the wall and snaked his earbuds up his hoodie. Blaise stood by him, and Draco offered him a bud.

 

"Sure," he said. He took the earbud and pressed it in his ear, moving closer to Draco so the cord was less obvious.

 

"All I want right now is food," groaned Draco.

 

Blaise reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of pumpkin seeds.

 

"Are they salted?" asked Draco.

 

"Yes, but not overly so."

 

Draco tried a couple. "I like these. A lot," he said, and continued stealing Blaise's food.

 

The song switched, and Draco glanced at the clock: 19:27.

 

The party was not Draco's favourite place.

 

Suddenly, Blaise held up both hands. "Do you know how to play Never Have I Ever?"

 

"Yeah... why?"

 

"We're playing. Never have I ever had blonde hair."

 

"Shove off," said Draco, but he put a finger down. "Never have I ever had brown hair."

 

"Never have I ever had ice cream."

 

"What?! We have to fix that," said Draco.

 

"Yeah, my parents never let me."

 

"As soon as I can I'll get you some."

 

"Thanks," said Blaise, looking sincerely touched.

 

"Never have I ever dated anyone."

 

Blaise didn't put a finger down. "Never have I ever had alcohol. Besides butterbeer."

 

"Communion," explained Draco, putting a finger down. "Never have I ever been to America."

 

Blaise's fingers stayed up as Millicent came over. "Never Have I Ever?" she guessed.

 

"Yeah," said Draco. "You can join in. Just start with two down, cause I have three down and Blaise only has one."

 

"All right," she said. "Never have I ever gone to Hogsmeade."

 

Draco put another finger down. "It's like you're trying to get me out!" Blaise put one down too. "Only once. Never have I ever... um,  liked being around Pansy Parkingson."

 

Everyone's fingers stayed up.

 

Draco contemplated his statement for a second before saying, "never have I ever seen a cow."

 

Both of the others put their fingers down.

 

"Never have I ever tried butterbeer," said Millicent. Blaise put a finger down.

 

"Never have I ever been a girl," said Blaise. Millicent put a finger down.

 

"We're all tied," commented Draco. "Never have I ever been diagnosed with anything."

 

Millicent put a finger down. "Anxiety. Never have I ever lifted weights."

 

Blaise and Draco both put their fingers down.

 

"Never have I ever braided my hair," said Blaise.

 

Millicent and Draco both put their fingers down. 

 

"Never have I ever disliked the song fergalicious."

 

Blaise put a finger down.

 

"I'm going to fight you," said Draco. "Never have I ever been cis."

 

Both of their fingers went down.

 

"Never have I ever had siblings that lived with me."

 

Blaise's finger flickered. He decided on putting it down.

 

"Sore spot?" asked Millicent.

 

"Very."

 

"You need to talk about it?"

 

"I can't," said Blaise, panicked. "NeverhaveIeverleftthecountry."

 

Millicent put a finger down. 

 

"Never have I ever... er... caught the flu."

 

"Draco... how?" asked Blaise, as he and Millicent put fingers down.

 

"I dunno."

 

"Never have I ever ridden in a Muggle car," said Millicent.

 

Neither of them moved.

 

"Oh... okay."

 

Blaise scanned the ceiling. "Uh, never have I ever had an older brother."

 

Millicent put one down.

 

"Never have I ever been named Millicent," said Draco, smirking.

 

"I really hate you right now. Never have I ever been a boy."

 

Blaise lowered his last finger, and Draco his seventh.

 

"Never have I ever been a lesbian," Draco shot back. Millicent lowered her last finger.

 

"I win," smirked Draco. He glanced at the time. 19:32.

 

"This party has been going on forever. I want some pumpkin pie," said Millicent.

 

Draco spotted Ron and waved slightly. He joined their group, hesitant but also bold. "Hey, slippery Slytherins."

 

"We were just talking about how we want pumpkin pie."

 

"Me too, honestly. Anyone wanna sneak and go get some?"

 

"I'd go," said Blaise.

 

"I'd go too," Draco added.

 

Ron and Millicent both added their agreement.

 

"Uh... wanna go as a group? We could bring some for Hermione and Harry," suggested Ron.

 

"Okay," said Millicent.

 

The four of them crept out of the deathday party and darted into the Great Hall. They snuck across the room to their respective tables and grabbed just enough pie for everyone.

 

They bolted back to the party and found Harry and Hermione easily: they were the only solid people in the room.

 

"We brought pie," said Ron.

 

"Bless you all," said Hermione. "Honestly, I'm not enjoying this, but I mean... a promise is a promise."

 

"Yeah, it's kind of... aimed for ghosts? And we're... alive? Like I wouldn't want to be mean, but like..." Harry trailed off and took a huge bite of his pie.

 

"Let's go to the feast or something," Millicent blurted. "Or to sleep. I'm bloody tired."

 

Hermione sighed. "Fine. But if Nick is offended, it's entirely you guys' fault."

 

Harry's relief showed plainly on his face. "Oh good. Okay. I just want to go to sleep."

 

"Let's go get pie first," said Millicent.

 

"That is my life motto," said Blaise.

 

So the Trios left the party to go to another, where Blaise inhaled pie and cake faster than humanly possible and downed it with pumpkin juice, and Millicent ate at a normal speed, as did the Red Trio and Draco.

 

"I'm gonna go work out. Anyone?" asked Blaise.

 

"Me," said Draco. "I'm trying to get better at lifting."

 

"I'll go," said Hermione. "Isn't there some thing about guys liking strong girls?"

 

"Girls like strong girls," commented Millicent, flexing non-existent muscles. "I'm going."

 

"Do you have a pool?" asked Harry.

 

"Literally, we have whatever you guys like."

 

"I'm in," said Harry.

 

"Peer pressure," said Ron. "I'll come."

 

++

 

After Blaise explained the "ground rules" to Hermione, Ron, and Harry, they all got started. Harry and Ron ran off to the changing rooms (all gender changing rooms, because the Room of Requirement wasn't discriminatory) and Blaise set off on the track. Millicent chose a treadmill (complete with a TV) and Hermione immediately went for the pull-up bar. Draco himself decided on weightlifting (complete with another TV).

 

Music was blaring outside of Draco's audio-bubble of his TV; he could barely make out the tune of I Write Sins Not Tragedies.

 

He was getting stronger. He could tell by how light the weights seemed.

 

After a bit of hesitation, he switched to a heavier bar.

 

That was better. He could feel his muscles working. It was a nice feeling.

 

He paused the TV and looked out to the track. Blaise was really pushing himself now. He was practically sprinting. 

 

Draco kept watching his show, occasionally glancing over to see that yep, Blaise was still going.

 

He was starting to worry Blaise would hurt himself sprinting.

 

He put down the weights, turned off the TV, and looked over to the swimming pool. Hermione had joined the other two, wearing a trans pride bikini and racing the boys.

 

Draco went into the changing rooms on a whim and saw a swimsuit sitting out in exactly his size. He loved this room.

 

He changed into it and a swim tank top. Both were black and had white stripes down the sides. 

 

He wandered out and jumped into the pool without a second thought.

 

Hermione grinned at him. "You joined!"

 

"Yeah, I know."

 

"C'mon, let's race."

 

++

 

A good hour later, Blaise stopped running. 

 

At first, Draco thought he was resting. Until he saw the way he was holding his ankle.

 

Draco catapulted himself out of the pool and ran over to his friend. "Blaise. You okay?" 

 

Blaise didn't answer. His breath was ragged.

 

"You hurt your ankle?"

 

He nodded.

 

"Can I see?"

 

Another nod. 

 

Draco pulled back his shoe but stopped when Blaise flinched.

 

"Okay, okay. Uh..." he untied the shoe and slipped it off, then his sock, then did the same to the other foot, studying that one first before going back to Blaise's injured ankle. It was definitely swelling, and turning blue already, which couldn't be a good sign.

 

Hermione had joined them at this point, and Ron, Millicent, and Harry were following behind her.

 

"I think he's sprained it. Or twisted it. Or broken it. I don't know," said Draco, panicked.

 

"I don't know either. Let's take you to Madam Pomfrey's," said Hermione. "Can you stand?"

 

Blaise stood up on his good foot and slowly put weight on the bad one - "ow!"

 

"Mkay, we should get a wheelchair-"

 

One appeared right by them.

 

"This room. I love it," said Blaise.

 

Draco helped him get up into the chair and together they began to wheel him to Madam Pomfrey's room.

 

It didn't last long.

 

As they passed the hallway by the Great Hall, they stopped. Harry, who was in the lead, had a horrified expression on his face.

 

"It's written in blood," breathed Hermione.

 

Draco rushed ahead, pushing Blaise's wheelchair so the two of them could see too.

 

THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.

 

Harry was covering his ears, looking upset. "It won't stop talking. Make it stop."

 

Hermione shot him an incredulous look. "No one's talking."

 

"Don't you hear it? It's saying, like, kill... murder..."

 

"Sorry, mate," said Ron. "I don't hear anything either."

 

Blaise whimpered in pain and Draco gasped. "Yep, Madam Pomfrey's. I'll bring you."

 

With one last concerned glance at Harry, he left.

Chapter Text

The Chamber of Secrets wasn't nearly as fascinating to him as it was to the rest of kids. The legend of basilisks and Heirs was just another bedtime story to him.

Hence, the reason he was utterly perplexed when Hermione ran to him, obviously distressed, asking him to explain the story.

"Uh, so you know the founders of Hogwarts. And you know that they all kind of turned on Slytherin, right?"

She nodded.

"Okay, so basically, Slytherin had this giant frickin' basilisk thing and he put it in the school 'cause he was mad at the others and apparently only his heir can unlock the Chamber. You remember?"

"Yeah - but, Draco, did you say a basilisk?" Hermione asked breathlessly.

"Um... yeah?"

"I gotta go to the library," she blurted, and sprinted away.

Draco shook his head incredulously and turned to Blaise.

"What... was that about?" asked Draco.

"I dunno, man, but do you want any watermelon?" he asked, standing up to grab the plate. It was incredible, Draco marvelled, how great Madam Pomfrey was at fixing broken bones.

"Yeah, sure," said Draco, accepting a slice. Blaise took a huge bite from his.

"Merry freaking Christmas," said Blaise, mouth stuffed with food.

"It's only the first of November."

"Is Halloween over? Yes? Than it's Christmas."

"You are a complete dork."

++

Was it unkind, rude, and nosy
to read the paper that had fallen out of Millicent's bag? Yes.

Was he going to do it anyway?

... yes.

He picked it up and unfolded it. The words were written in pencil. There were several papers. He opened the first one.

I have had alcohol already and it's six in the morning i think i might throw up lol
I should really talk to someone about
this
but oh well
Who cares about my problems lol
God ok so i have like 500 hw assignments and
fk this im gonna
write anything else i cant focus on bulimia or drinking or hw or abuseive step moms
i dont think i spelled that right
I dont care

Draco bit his lip.

This was not looking good.

He shifted to the next one.

Dear ginny,
I know i dont know you well but
I know we havent really talked
You met me through ron
From the time i first met you
When i first met you , you looked small
weak
scared
But i realise now
Thats not you at all.
Ive been watching you (i hope that wasn't creepy?) and i just. i just really like you. I mean like romantically not just platonically
I get if you dont like me back - i dont even like me most of the time - but if you do
i would really like to know
im probably rambling and its prbly nooot the best idea for me to be writing (im drunk and need sleep) but i do think you're really... pretty nd cool and stuff so um bye??
Millicent bulstrode

Hm. So Millicent was harbouring a secret crush on Ron's little sister? Why hadn't she mentioned it? When did they meet?

He shifted to the third piece of paper.

3am and im drunk drunk drunk
there was vobka
i wan tell ginny i feel
i n v i s j b l e
Nothing can hurt me im invincible
i think I was going someplace else with that
eeeh
today was
hard
i tried like.running and stuff but it's
not the same
not the same as how i
cope
binge purge in a cycle
im getting a bike for my bday maybe. also probably more trauma. haha im a mess.
but blaise got hurt
i think he's like me
not that he likes me
no one likes me
not even me
which is insane cause im amazing
im incredible
im invisible
im immoral
is that the one that means live forever
it's so weird how we have goblins and we have. goblets. like we have?? goblin goblets?? oh my god
i dont want to write this anymore b

He read that one three times to make sense of it. Although after he figured out that "invisible" was supposed to say "invincible" and "immoral" was intended to be "immortal" he had a much easier time.

There were no hints to what the trauma was, but it was pretty obvious from the entry that she was, in a roundabout and alcohol-ridden way, saying she was bulimic.

The goblet thing would probably never make sense to a sober person.

Draco couldn't figure out what she meant by "I think Blaise is like me." As far as he knew, Blaise wasn't white, bulimic, a lesbian, or getting a bike for his birthday.

But he hadn't known any of this about Millicent.

What kind of friend was he? That he didn't notice this?

++

When he entered the Slytherin common room, Millicent was on the couch, painting stars on her fingernails. Ron was with her, doing his potions homework.

It was a strange sight.

Draco approached them, hesitantly.

"Hey, Draco," said Millicent. "Wanna paint Ron's nails in glittery pink?"

"Last time you suggested glitter you were drunk," Draco pointed out.

"I'm not this time. So will you?"

"Heck yeah."

++

It had been a week, and he still hadn't figured out how to talk to Millicent.

Now that he was watching for it he could see all the warning signs of bulimia.

She kept food under her bed. She went to the bathroom after eating. She had scrapes on her knuckles. She carried breath mints around and he'd found her with five breath mints in her mouth multiple times. She ate incredibly fast and left. She was secretive about what she ate.

She was a textbook case.

And he hadn't noticed.

He hadn't noticed.

++

He only managed to talk to her when he found her in the bathroom, leaning over the sink. She had obviously just purged.

He didn't know what to do but he tried anyway.

"Mills?" Draco ventured quietly.

Millicent turned the water on, shrugging at him and going to wash her hands.

"Mills, I'm a terrible friend. I'm sorry."

"What?" She asked. Her voice was raw.

"I didn't notice, I'm sorry, I'm the worst, I'm so sorry..."

"Draco, how could you possibly think this is your fault?" She dumped five breath mints in her mouth. "It's not. It's me. It's all because of me. It's not your fault."

"But I should have been there."

"I was keeping it a secret. It's okay that you didn't realise when I've been trying to hide it."

Draco leaned against the sink, staring down at the counter. "I'm sorry."

"There weren't any changes to pick up on anyway. This isn't on you. I've been like this since first year."

"First year?"

"Yeah."

"That's so young."

"I know. Still too old for some people," she added, mumbling, her voice dark in a way that Draco knew not to press her. "It sucks. All of this sucks. And I can't stop it or do anything about it and it- I don't know."

"You're worth so much more than this," said Draco quietly.

"No I'm not. But thanks."

"You are. Mills..."

"I'm okay."

"That's not what I was going to say."

"Okay."

"Okay."

Millicent finished washing her face and sighed. "Do you want to play exploding snap after Potions?"

"Why not during potions?"

"You make a good point, Draco."

"I know I do."

Chapter Text

Lockhart was, apparently, not the best at healing broken bones. He was, however, marvellous at two things: mucking up spells, and removing bones from arms.

 

++

 

When Harry told him the story of Draco's house elf visiting him in the middle of the night, he almost screamed. That house elf was intolerably stupid and noble. Although Harry, too, was stupid and noble.

 

++

 

Hermione wouldn't stop running down to the library. Presumably to research on the basilisk.

 

++

 

The skin of Blaise's neck and shoulders was picked and scratched raw from anxiety. Draco recommended Essence of Murlap.

 

++

 

Millicent was still binging and purging on a regular basis, but she managed to surprise Draco one day in early December by saying, "keep me from doing it."

 

Draco saw where her eyes were looking and understood.

 

He took both her hands in his. "Okay. Mills. The song Camisado by Panic! At The Disco. Do you know the lyrics?"

 

She nodded.

 

"Can you say them for me? Just say them."

 

She paused a second, and then began: "the IV and your hospital bed, this was no accident, this was a therapeutic chain of events. This is the scent of dead skin on a linoleum floor; this is the scent of quarantine wings in a hospital. It's not so pleasant and it's not so conventional; it sure as hell ain't normal but we deal, we deal. The anaesthetic never set in and I'm wondering where the apathy and urgency is that I thought I called in." She continued through the rest of the song, occasionally stumbling or messing up, but it was okay because it was a distraction and that's what she needed.

 

"Okay. Now, um... count backwards from 100s by 7s."

 

"Um, 100, 93, um... 84? No... 86? 85? I give up."

 

"Mkay. How about... spell 'world' backwards."

 

"D... l... r-" she broke off in laughter. "I'm sorry; I'm sorry. R, o, w."

 

"Well done. Beautiful. Wonderful. Now... do you - does soda and a movie sound good?"

 

"Yeah. Tangled?"

 

"Heckity yeah."

 

++

 

Blaise had started wearing eyeshadow on a daily basis. So had Harry.

 

Draco thought it was really cute.

Chapter Text

In the second week of December most of the students left Hogwarts and went home.

 

Draco stayed behind with the Trios, overachievers, and the kids with bad families.

 

The Great Hall was usually decorated by house-elves, but Dumbledore covered the Hufflepuff table with decorations and let them go wild.

 

Draco grabbed some tinsel and a garland and began tacking it up around the Slytherin table and even the halls. Millicent was getting into it too, quite literally, as Ginny was wrapping her up in a garland.

 

Blaise was throwing garland on a tree with Megan and Hannah from Hufflepuff. Harry was hanging with Dylan, Marie, and Ki. Ron was with Fred and George playing Exploding Snap. Hermione was decorating with the Ravenclaws, covered in tinsel and holding several ornaments.

 

Draco waved his wand to attach the rest of the tinsel and joined the Hufflepuffs and Blaise.

 

"Hey," said Megan.

 

"M'bro," said Blaise.

 

"Hey, Mira," said Hannah. Draco flinched but didn't comment. 

 

"Good morning. You guys need any help?"

 

Megan brushed her hair back. "Yeah, actually, if you could help me with this tablecloth..."

 

Draco grabbed one end and Megan grabbed the other. They stood on the table and Megan walked backwards until she was at the end. After she got off the table, the two of them straightened it out. Hermione laughed when Draco tripped over her tinsel. 

 

"You're doing amazing, sweetie," she quipped as Draco cursed at her tinsel. 

 

"Why are you even decorating for Christmas? You're Jewish," said Draco.

 

"Doesn't mean I'm not gonna celebrate. Are you asking me to turn down food and presents?"

 

"Okay, I mean, good point, may I study her?" asked Draco.

 

"Make sure you return before the due date," said Hermione.

 

++

 

Christmas in Slytherin was green lights and red Christmas trees. It was a fire burning orange and one of the windows enchanted to see the snowfall. It was Violetta Amouteru-Greengrass' sewing machine buzzing at all hours of the day because she was making clothes for anyone who stayed back over Christmas break. Christmas in Slytherin was mugs of hot chocolate and Blaise tapping his red-and-green fingernails on the side of the cup. It was the ornaments on the tree ranging from "Slytherin pride" to a surfboarding Santa to a non-binary pride ornament to little heart-shaped confetti.

 

Christmas in Slytherin was the board marking down the days to Christmas and Snape wearing dark green instead of black for one day only. It was the two boys who were always dancing around each other finally getting together. It was Lilac Parkingson playing My Chemical Romance's version of "All I Want For Christmas Is You." and talking about how her sister wouldn't be coming back to Hogwarts which was a present in itself.

 

Christmas in Slytherin was the girl napping on the couch in a lace nightgown and reindeer knee-high socks. It was Freddie giving candy canes to everyone he saw and telling them they were loved. 

 

It was magic being used to create quiet fireworks and mugs of tea and hot chocolate in the morning with breakfast. It was french toast and tea on Christmas Eve Morning in the Commons Room on a lazy Saturday morning. 

 

Christmas in Slytherin was one of the best days of Draco's life. 

 

++

 

Blaise woke him up by jumping on him in his bed.

 

"Wake up, Draco, man, it's Christmas and I got you something. More than one something actually."

 

Draco sat up and rubbed his eyes. He'd fallen asleep in reindeer pyjama pants and a plain white shirt. "G'morning."

 

The door opened and slammed against the wall as Millicent ran in. "Good, my boys are up. I got you presents."

 

"Can my first present be ten more minutes of sleep?"

 

"Nice try, buddy."

 

++

 

Blaise had gotten him more masculine clothing than Draco thought he had room for in his suitcase, four pairs of boxers, a silver watch that showed the moon phases and constellations as well as the time, and a new pair of headphones.

 

Millicent had gotten him an eyebrow pencil and a set of books on Healing, which he immediately began reading.

 

Violetta made him a jacket that was blue and green. She gave it to him with a proud grin and showed him the big pockets.

 

Hermione got him a better laptop with a blue case.

 

Harry got him a gift card to the clothing store he'd gone to last year and a sheepish smile that made his eyes squinty.

 

Ron got him a Wizard's chess set.

 

++

 

At the end of the day, they sat in a circle talking and playing games and drinking soda and pumpkin juice and hot cocoa.

 

It was one of the best days of Draco's life. 

 

One of his last before it all went wrong.

 

Chapter Text

1 January 2013

 

Draco's journal - what he was calling the near-destroyed red spiral notebook - said only this for New Year's:

 

How did new years go? New Years... went.

 

It started with a panic attack. God don't I love those.

 

And then i had breakfast but I didn't eat anything because it all looked eh 

 

Um and then we were hanging out but by hanging out i mean i laid on the couch feeling dead

 

Lunch i had candies and nothing else

 

Took a nap

 

Woke up dysphoric AF

 

screaming screaming in my head

 

And

 

Well

 

Fireworks were loud so i jumped

 

And uuh yeah then i went to sleep

 

But yeah

 

It kinda super sucked but eeeh at least i had candy 

 

++

 

The first day of the second semester brought homework and dysphoria.

 

There was so much homework and he had to write his deadname on it and he was too stressed for this.

 

He left his books on the table and went over to the couch or started to at least before the mirror caught his attention and the first thing he saw was his breasts, chest lumps that boys didn't have and hips jutting out from his sides that boys didn't have and a waist too pronounced for a boy and a face too soft and eyes too feminine and he could never be a boy.

 

He left the mirror but remembered her cruelty. He remembered that what the mirror showed was so wrong.

 

It was so wrong he couldn't even focus on his schoolwork and he couldn't browse the internet and he didn't dare try to take a shower so he just curled up in bed and tried to go to sleep but

he was such a failure

 

++

 

Waking up brought stress and dysphoria - so pretty much the same he'd been since he fell asleep. He went downstairs and drank a smoothie and went back up to his room and lied down and stared at the ceiling and didn't go to class because what was the point when he was so overwhelmed he felt like dying?

 

++

 

Hermione came up to visit him during lunch that day.

 

"Hey," she said.

 

Draco rolled over to meet eyes with her but stayed silent.

 

"You need to talk?"

 

"I hate this," he mumbled.

 

"What's... this?"

 

He gestured to his entire body. "School is overwhelming and my body is overwhelming and everything is overwhelming."

 

"I'm sorry," she said.

 

Draco slid over. "You can sit," he said, sitting up and pulling his blanket around his shoulders.

 

She did. "You wanna talk?"

 

"Everything just... really sucks," he said to the hole in his sweatpants. "I don't know what to do. Everything... everything seems muted. I don't know. The only thing that's made me feel anything but empty in three days is Harry's eyes crinkling when he smiles and I dunno, Mione, everything just really hurts."

 

"Emo shirt, check. Crush on Harry Potter, check," quipped Hermione.

 

"I don't have a crush on Harry!"

 

"That sounds fake, but okay. Anyway. Empty for three days straight sounds like it was... not fun."

 

"It's not. How do I fix this, Mione? I... I can't do this anymore."

 

"Do you have enough energy to do something physical?"

 

Draco pondered that but ultimately shook his head.

 

"Okay. How about... what's something you love to do?"

 

"I loved reading and learning. And video games. And weightlifting. And food. But now I can't even bring myself to eat."

 

"Not that I'm a medical professional, but I'm starting to think you have depression."

 

"I can't have depression."

 

"Anyone can, Draco. But... do you maybe want to play Mario Kart and eat cheetos?"

 

"Sign me the heck up."

 

++

 

After 29 rounds of Mario Kart, an entire bag of cheetos, and two jugs of root beer, they were done.

 

Hermione laid on the ground, arm dramatically flung over her forehead. "I can't believe you. You betrayed me!"

 

"I was letting you win," argued Draco.

 

"You still beat me!"

 

"A well-deserved win, if we're being honest."

 

"Aw, shove off."

 

++

 

He was still hurting.

 

But there with his friend by his side, he felt better.

 

He felt happier.

 

And it was something.

Chapter Text

 Harry. Ron. Draco. Millicent. Blaise. 

 

Hermione was not there.

 

Hermione was petrified.

 

His world felt numb.

 

Dulled.

 

Silent.

 

What if she didn't wake up? What if she didn't make it?

 

Blaise picked at the skin of his neck. "That - arsehole - matters - to - me," he ground out from between his teeth. "And now she's - Petrified."

 

"I hope she gets better soon..." said Harry. He was trying to act like he was okay but Draco could feel the anxiety rolling off him in waves. Draco placed a hand on his shoulder. "Me too."

 

Ron was biting his lip. "I really-" his sentence broke off. Millicent nodded as though she understood exactly what he meant.

 

"She was the one who really got it. She understood," said Draco, although he knew it was vague.

 

Harry nodded. "She- yeah. Exactly what you said."

 

"Can we please stop talking like it's her funeral?" asked Millicent.

 

"Sorry," said Draco quickly, echoed by Harry.

 

"Not your fault," she said, "you didn't mean it."

 

The five of them stayed as long as they could but left when Madam Pomfrey told them to.

 

They couldn't afford trouble.

 

++

 

Christmas was over and the holiday rush of happiness was gone. The lights had been taken down. The trees were gone.

 

What wasn't gone?

 

Everything was. At this point.

 

++

 

Harry came to sit by him during lunch one day when he was curled up in a ball instead of eating.

 

"Hey," he said, brushing a curly lock of hair out of his eyes. "You okay?"

 

Draco just shrugged, trying not to look like he was supremely impressed by Harry's eyeliner (bright blue and winged) "I'm... not Petrified...?" he tried.

 

"One out of ten. That was a lame excuse."

 

"We're rating my excuses now?"

 

"Now we are, yes. That was lame."

 

"Damn. Really thought I was fooling you with that one."

 

"Really though, what's wrong?"

 

"Everything sucks."

 

"Anything to do with Hermione?"

 

"She's usually the one to comfort me. No offence."

 

"None taken. I'm terrible at comforting people, by the way."

 

"Good. Don't pretend to be her or anything."

 

"I won't."

 

"Good."

 

The two of them sat in silence for a minute before Draco said, "what if they don't find the monster and next time it's one of us again?"

 

Harry tilted his head to show he was listening.

 

"What if it's Ron, or Mills, or Blaise, or you, or me? What if it's us but it kills us instead of Petrifying? What if it turns out I'm the Heir and the Basilisk is making me do this?" The last fear was one he'd never voiced or let himself think because it was so strong and so terrifying.

 

"The basilisk couldn't do that, could it?" Harry asked anxiously.

 

"Okay, probably not, but... it still... I don't know."

 

"It's okay," said Harry. "Is there anything I could do to help?"

 

Draco shrugged. "Not really. Just... be my friend, y'know?"

 

"Yeah."

 

++

 

Side-by-side-treadmill-running was proving to be very therapeutic.

 

"I just really don't want to go back to the Dursley's," Harry said.

 

Draco nodded because he wasn't sure what to say.

 

"They treat me like dirt and it's only gotten worse and I don't know what I should do."

 

"Isn't there a hotline you could call or something?"

 

"I can't tell them about the magic."

 

"Ah." Aware that there was more he should be saying, but not being sure what it was, he stayed quiet.

 

"My aunt and uncle suck," sighed Harry. "And I don't want to go home. And everything is confusing because like - I think I'm bi...? And I don't even - my aunt and uncle would kill me - god, I don't know."

 

Draco nodded along with him as he tried desperately to shove himself into Harry's shoes. "I mean. You're not wrong. Your aunt and uncle are wrong. You've got nothing to be ashamed of."

 

"Thanks," said Harry.

 

"Homophobic people are just scared of what they don't understand. They're prejudiced and don't... they aren't thinking logically about the wellbeing of others and how their actions affect them." Well done, Draco. Ten points to Slytherin for correctly socializing.

 

"Woah. That was... really nicely put."

 

"Thanks."

 

"Pretty words with pretty meanings but the consequences aren't so nice."

 

"Nicely put."

 

"Thanks."

 

They jogged in silence for a couple of minutes.

 

"Hey, Draco. Could you pass me a water bottle? And do you think I should grow my hair longer?" Harry's voice cracked in a major and admirable way as he said "think." Draco's chest ached with jealousy.

 

"Yeah, definitely. If you want to, I mean. The world's all yours, brother." Harry's hair was smooth and curly, and would probably pouf out. It would probably look great on him. With the glasses, it would probably give him a nerdy-boy look rather than the ambiguous boy look. If he were to shave it, he could go punk easily. Going punk would be kinda cool, he contemplated. Leather jackets and chains and studs. No one would mess with him. Maybe he could dye his hair black... or shave it, but that might accentuate his feminine face shape. He could try gauged earrings...

 

As he was contemplating if he'd go with normal clear gauges or a neon colour, Draco heard Harry call his name.

 

"Sorry. I zoned out there a bit," he admitted.

 

"What was even going on in your head? I said your name three times."

 

"Oh... well I was thinking about how hair can accentuate a style and then I started thinking about punk and then I was thinking about gauged earlobes."

 

"I could see you with those."

 

"Neon or clear? Or black?"

 

"Go either neon green or a really dark green. Just green in general. It's your colour."

 

"Okay," said Draco, still a little zoned out but not completely focused on earrings either.

 

"Thanks," said Harry.

 

Draco desperately wracked his brain for the conversation they'd been having. "For what?"

 

Harry shrugged. "Just for being my friend."

Chapter Text

 

 

Draco had begun sleeping on the couch because he was too dysphoric to sleep in the girl's room.

 

He took notice when Blaise began leaving and entering the dorms at weird times. He knew when Millicent came down the stairs in tears with candy wrappers in her hands. He knew that Daphne was a sleepwalker and Lilac had PTSD triggered by the lightbulbs in her dorm and Tamara made fun of her for it so she was practicing transfiguration and hexes at weird times of the day. He knew that Stephen Nott woke up early to study.

 

He knew that, when he thought he was asleep, Blaise would tuck the blanket closer to him so he wouldn't get cold.

 

++

 

Blaise shook him awake at five in the morning.

 

"Blaisewhatareyoudoing?" Draco mumbled.

 

"Can I... lie down? I... had a n-nightmare."

 

"Of course," said Draco, scooting back to make room for him.

 

Blaise laid on his back for a second but then turned to face him.

 

"I'm... scared."

 

Draco tilted his head. He was so bad at this. Why were all his friends sad?

 

"It was a flashback nightmare and I- I didn't remember."

 

"Is there anything I can do?" Draco asked. He was in unfamiliar territory. What if he said the wrong thing and Blaise hated him?

 

"I - not really. Just... don't leave. I - it's really empty in my dorms even though there are other people there it's really quiet because Crabbe stopped snoring and - I don't know - I think my brain did a really weird thing. Because I've been repressing memories for so long. But it's scary and I didn't - I didn't want this."

 

"I'm sorry," said Draco, because what else could he say?

 

"It's okay. That -" he said a word that would definitely be blocked if Hogwarts had an internet filter "-Xayn should have kept this memory, though."

 

"Xayn?"

 

"Oh -" yet another swear. Draco found it oddly endearing. "I have DID. Dissociative Identity Disorder."

 

Draco didn't know what that was and decided his best option was a hesitant half-shrug.

 

"So you know about PTSD," he asked, but it was more like a statement. Draco nodded. The green light of the lake shone down on his face. "Basically, sometimes if someone has repeated trauma - well usually they'd have C-PTSD - complex - but they could have splits that they... I dunno... branch out into? And they hold the memories of the trauma. It's not me, it's someone else who just takes over my body."

 

"That sounds really scary. Is it?" asked Draco. 

 

"It kind of is. But it's also a defence mechanism. So I don't have to deal with it all at once."

 

"That makes sense." His voice came out too squeaky.

 

"Xayn - that's my split's name - let a memory slip over to me, I guess."

 

"That makes sense." Didn't he just say that?

 

Blaise nodded. "Everything sucks. Thanks for not hating me."

 

"It would be very difficult to hate you, bro," said Draco.

 

Blaise stayed quiet for a minute.

 

His voice turned deep when he said: "I was the one... who found her. Amelia."

 

Draco was stunned. He couldn't even imagine. Someone he loved so much and he found her dead- Hermione - she wasn't dead, she was Petrified - god.

 

"She hung herself. It wasn't pretty. That's one of the only things Xayn doesn't remember for me."

 

"I'm so sorry."

 

"Not your fault," said Blaise, which left Draco wondering if there was a better way to respond.

 

Blaise absentmindedly reached up and touched his hair. "I like it. But it's - the PTSD comes into play usually when anyone touches it. But I - I don't know."

 

"Wait, can I ask a question?"

 

"Sure."

 

"If Xayn takes all the trauma, how do you still have PTSD as Blaise?"

 

"Oh, well I show all the symptoms of it and react the same way as those who remember their trauma, but I don't remember it."

 

"Ah, okay. Makes sense."

 

Blaise tugged a hand through his hair.

 

"It's fine when I do it, but when this fifth year accidentally brushed into it I flinched really bad."

 

"Did it have to do with you not knowing them?"

 

"Hm..." said Blaise, tilting his head. "Maybe. Y'know... if you - if you don't mind - I mean - you have hands - I have hair - it's interesting."

 

"Are you sure?" Draco asked hesitantly. He could feel his heart rate pick up. What if he did something wrong?

 

"Yeah. Just... like, run your hand through it really lightly."

 

Hesitantly, he did. Blaise's hair was soft and curly. His fingers tangled in the curls slightly and he began to panic, but they straightened out and he pulled his fingers out of his hair.

 

"That was - fine..." Blaise said, visibly confused. "I think you're on to something."

 

"It's really soft," said Draco.

 

"I know. I love it."

 

Hesitantly, he brushed Blaise's hair out of his eyes. Blaise smiled at him. "I love you, bro, but this is getting really gay."

 

"It really is," said Draco.

 

He heard footsteps. "Ten galleons that it's Stephen."

 

Stephen entered the room and collapsed on a couch, Potions book in his hand.

 

"Told you."

Chapter Text

"You aren't going to learn anything with cramps so bad you throw up," Millicent said logically.

 

Draco groaned and laid back down. "You know what? I don't care about school. Tell them I'm sick."

 

"Will do." Millicent stacked eight chocolate bars on the arm of the couch. "These should last you until lunch." She ruffled his hair and journeyed to the door.

 

Draco turned on his phone but it was hard to focus when it felt like his internal organs had turned into snakes with bladed scales.

 

Tumblr couldn't help him. Twitter couldn't help him. YouTube couldn't help him. Reddit. Quora. Ao3. Ff.net. None of them helped. He was still in pain.

 

He tried one more thing. He texted Hermione.

 

Draco: hey

Draco: look i know you're Petrified but

Draco: i miss you

 

That was all the sentimentality his hormone-ridden teenage brain could handle. He rose up from his cushioned grave and grabbed his first chocolate bar.

 

++

 

After aimlessly reloading apps and eating chocolate and trying to watch TV and throwing up three times, he texted Blaise.

 

Draco: my bro

Draco: im sick af rn

Draco: ive thrown up 5 times today

Draco: its not contagious dw

Draco: i just h9 myself

Draco: idk sorry

Blaise: virtual hugs

Blaise: anything i can do ?

Draco: help me OD on ibuprofen?

Blaise: ,, next suggestion

Draco: uhh can u bring me lunch?

Blaise: yeah sure thing

 

++

 

Lunch that day was pancakes and syrup and Blaise even brought him chocolate milk because somehow he remembered the time Draco mentioned he liked chocolate milk with his pancakes.

 

"You're a legend, man," said Draco.

 

"Thanks." Blaise leaned against the couch, head by Draco's hand.

 

Draco poked at it and ran his finger along the couch cushions.

 

"Sorry I woke you up last night and bothered you with my trauma," said Blaise.

 

Draco let his hand rest on Blaise's shoulders for a second. "It's okay. I'm not upset."

 

Blaise took a breath that seemed more shudder-y than normal. "I just... didn't need to remember all that."

 

"You need to talk about it?" 

 

"Yeah. But I can't. I - I don't know. I - I was - god I can't even say it-"

 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry-"

 

"It's not you I promise-" Blaise's voice broke off. "I just - ugh. Sorry."

 

"No, it's okay."

 

Blaise sighed and shovelled a bite of pancake into his mouth. "Dude, you've been sleeping on the couch a lot, and I just wanna say that my offer still stands, if you want to move into the 'boy's' dorms."

 

"You sure?"

 

"Yeah. I'd help you move your stuff."

 

"Friendly reminder that I'm dying?"

Draco gestured to his stomach.

 

"All right, lemme think." Blaise paused for a minute. "Okay. So we go up to your bed. We magic the stuff into boxes. I carry them to the other dorms. You come in there after. I make your bed, and you, like, fold your clothes or something."

 

"Okay."

 

"Are you sure?"

 

"Yeah. I don't care what anyone thinks." He hesitated. "I should probably write a letter to the others so they know what happened."

 

++

 

Daphne, Millicent, and Tracey:

You probably noticed my stuff is gone and whatever. I've not been expelled. I'm just transgender. I moved my stuff to the boys dorm. I'm closest to the door, in case any of you wanna say hi. My pronouns are he/him btw. 

~ Mira Draco

Ps. I'm not out yet so don't use the name around people please!!

 

++

 

He loved the setup.

 

His green sheets were smooth on the bed, and a trans pride flag Blaise had made hung above the window. His books fit nicely on the shelf and his stuff fit in the drawers like it was meant to go there. He even had his own study desk. 

 

He grinned and faced Blaise, clutching a hot water bottle to his stomach. Blaise was holding his teddy bear.

 

"This is Grassy," he said, as though that was a complete explanation.

 

"Hi, Grassy," said Draco. He laughed a little. He was talking to a stuffed animal.

 

Blaise shook his head and sighed. "I love him. He's the only thing I have from my home."

 

Draco nodded. He understood that.

 

Blaise sighed, then grinned. "Dude. Do you like it?"

 

"I love it," said Draco.

 

And he really did. He knew this was going to be one of the best parts of the year.

Chapter Text

Everyone he knew wore their identities like footie pyjamas.

 

Millicent was an open lesbian and spent many consecutive days talking about Ginny Weasley.

 

Hermione had never said it outright, but everyone knew she was bi when she pranced down the stairs decked out in the bisexual flag and a pride nail pattern.

 

Harry was still figuring it all out, but he seemed okay with it all.

 

Ron was, too, and was always talking about the Bulgarian Seeker Viktor Krum. Although Draco, like everyone, knew he secretly harboured feelings for the other two in the Golden Trio.

 

Blaise, realised Draco, was a mystery. He had no idea how the other boy identified. But he wasn't a mess like Draco. Sure, he had his own messes. But he wasn't the confused mess that Draco was. His mess was different. (Blaise's mess was worse)

 

Draco's mess was crying at one in the morning because his body felt so wrong. Draco's mess was not eating because he didn't have the energy to get out of bed. Draco's mess was liking boys and liking girls and liking everyone but being so scared to admit it to himself. Draco was a mess.

 

January passed in a blur of numbness. He barely remembered half of it. He didn't even know if he existed half the time. He pulled himself from class to class. Simply existing took so much energy. 

 

His grades dropped from Es to As and Ps.

 

His posture slumped into an arch.

 

He shaved off his hair because he couldn't deal with it anymore.

 

How could he keep on living like this?

Chapter Text

Water crashed over his head

 

But there was no water

 

His senses felt numb

 

Not real

 

His whole world felt fake

 

Dylan sported silver scars up his arms

 

He said that's what made him feel alive

 

Every time Draco wondered 

 

would that work on me?

 

he stopped himself

 

No

 

No

 

He didn't need more pain

 

Because

 

It hurt enough

 

Just trying to be who he was

 

Every look he got from the kids who didn't know him

 

Every time Blaise asked him why he wasn't eating

 

There was nothing he could control anymore

 

He was spiralling

 

All the way

 

down

 

Into the water

 

Although the water was just a metaphor

 

There was no water

 

He hadn't been in water for two weeks

 

He couldn't bear to shower 

 

To see his body

 

To

remember

 

how he'd been born

 

Waves crashed over his head

 

He couldn't keep going

 

He couldn't keep going

 

He was drowning in himself

 

As dumb as it sounded

 

He was being pulled underwater

 

By 

his

own

thoughts

Chapter Text

 

"Could you pass the butter?" asked Hermione.

 

Harry did. "Did you hear about the new non-disclosure laws in Ireland about muggle-borns?"

 

Normally this conversation would have fascinated him. But he could barely bring himself to eat his oatmeal. He felt like he was walking in a world of molasses.

 

His oatmeal tasted like ashes.

 

Everything did these days.

 

He strung an earbud through his hoodie and hit play on This Is How I Disappear by My Chemical Romance. Hermione glanced over, saw the song, and immediately took the other earbud.

 

"I'm serious, though. About bringing you to a concert."

 

Draco blinked. He remembered their conversation over text the first day of school. It seemed so long ago.

 

"That would be amazing," he said, and he meant it.

 

++

 

The other boys' voices were cracking. They were sprouting up like... well, like plants that grew fast. 

 

Draco stayed a girl.

 

He hated every part of this. Every part of the life he never asked for.

 

++

 

09 February 2013 - Google chrome

 

[01:57] depression symptoms

[01:58] do I have depression?

[02:01] what do i do if I have depression?

[02:04] what percentage of teenagers self harm?

[02:08] twitter

[02:43] tumblr

[03:19] search tumblr: depression

[03:27] search tumblr: suicide

[03:32] search tumblr: pro ana

[03:40] search tumblr: self harm

[03:43] aanxiety attack hhelp

[04:07] search twitter: anxiety

[04:22] oversharing on twitter

[04:32] should i go to sleep?

[04:33] dealing with suicidal thoughts

[04:33] tumblr depression quotes

[04:49] how much caffeine will i need tomorrow morning

[04:51] dysphoria art

[04:57] not good enough 

[05:00] nighttime aesthetics

[05:12] sunrise time

 

++

 

Blaise: guys

Blaise: guys listen

Blaise: a train for people with ptsd

Blaise: the repress express

Harry: sign me up

Millicent: hahaha I love it

Hermione: dear google, all my friends are sad

Ron: the trauma repress express ahahha

Blaise: im funny 

Harry: blaise honey we know

Ron: i ship it

Hermione: nahh Blaise and Draco all the way

Ron: i thought draco thought harry was great

Hermione: ah right, my mistake, sorry

Millicent: why are we all not straight

Harry: i don't even know

Hermione: we're (wait for it)

Hermione: the queer musketeers

Millicent: oh my god

Ron: hermione x Millicent rb if you agree

Harry: i will reblog this until i die

Blaise: * bad pun *

Draco: *bad pun repeated but in bold and italics*

Blaise: he lives !!

Draco: eh that's questionable

Draco: i got uuuh 1.5h of sleep last night??

Blaise: aw hon u need to get more sleep .

Hermione: nvm sorry ron i ship this

Blaise: * first year voice * im going to tell everyone who you like 

Hermione: try me

Hermione: i know you don't know

Blaise: so there is someone !!

Hermione: ...oh

Millicent: hahaha hermione smd

Blaise: dude i know who you like too

Millicent: everyone does blaise this isnt news

Draco: hahaha millicent smd

Blaise: .. ok I don't know who you like

Draco: me neither tbh

Blaise: i know who harry likes tho

Harry: no you don't

Blaise: Harry you think Draco is great this isnt a surprise 

Harry: no he's the one who said that?????

Blaise: it . was requited

Harry: aw shut up

Hermione: right in front of my salad??!

Blaise: what ?

Ron: what?

Draco: ?????

Millicent: ??????????

Harry: what??

Draco: ??????????????

Millicent: ????????????????????

Hermione: im eating a salad

Blaise: im sorry but that cleared up ... nothing

Hermione: anyway 

Hermione: we should make a study group!!!!!!

Ron: why study when u could do Not That

Blaise: ron , you make a stunningly put argument . tune in after the commercial to hear our heroine respond .

 

++

 

It wouldn't hurt.

 

To eat a little less. To control that.

 

To run a little more. To control that.

 

To do what Dylan did. To control that.

 

It couldn't hurt more than how he felt already.

 

++

 

Least favourite

Because no one really cared about him, did they?

 

Least loved

By anyone

 

Least needed

No one did

 

Least enjoyed

No one liked being around him

 

Least pretty

He was ugly

 

Least smart

He was getting Ps on his assignments

 

Least real

Most people didn't know he was a boy

 

Least favourite least loved least needed least enjoyed least pretty least smart least real least favourite least loved least needed LEAST ENJOYED LEAST PRETTY LEAST SMART LEAST REAL LEAST FAVOURITE LEAST LOVED LEAST NEEDED LEAST ENJOYED LEAST LEAST LESS LESS LESS WORTHLESS

 

LEAST CARED ABOUT

who could ever care about him

 

++

 

Nothing could make him worth less than he already was.

 

Nothing could break him more than he already was

 

Nothing could fix him

 

Nothing could

 

Nothing

 

nothing

 

nothing

 

++

 

NOTHING YOU DO WILL MATTER, his brain yelled as he walked to breakfast.

 

YOUR OPINIONS ARE WORTHLESS, it screamed as he walked to lunch.

 

YOU ARE A DISAPPOINTMENT. As he tried to stir a potion.

 

YOU ARE A FAILURE, as he tried to do his homework.

 

YOU WILL NEVER EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH

as he was trying to sleep

Chapter Text

Four in the morning and he was still awake.

 

Nothing could get worse than this. 

 

And one time.

 

One time wouldn't hurt.

 

He twirled the knife in his hand. He'd taken it and hidden it in his suitcase in case of an emergency. Did this count as an emergency? Probably not.

 

It was a silver knife. The blade was about 7 centimetres or maybe ten.

 

He didn't feel anything as he decided he was going to do it. 

 

He lowered the blade down to the skin of his wrist.

 

And he made a cut.

 

++

 

Blood was hypnotising. The way it beaded and pooled and dripped.

 

++

 

He would have gone to sleep.

 

But his brain had stopped screaming insults at him. All it was saying now was do it again.

 

If that's what it would take to go to sleep...

 

He added another gash to his arm, bandaged it, pulled on a hoodie, and went to sleep.

 

++

 

He woke up and felt guilty.

 

But also alive.

 

The sting of the cuts brushing against his sleeves followed him throughout the day.

 

The guilt. And later, the shame.

 

But he felt alive.

 

And that was what mattered, wasn't it?

 

++

 

"I love your outfit today," said Hermione.

 

Draco glanced down. Panic! At The Disco hoodie. Black jeans. Converse. A beanie.

 

"Thanks. Although isn't it kind of yours? Because you gave me pretty much everything I'm wearing."

 

"Honestly, I can't believe it still fits you."

 

"Me neither, honestly. I'm glad, though, 'cause I really love it."

 

"That's good," said Hermione, smiling. Then she frowned at his plate. "You should eat a little more."

 

"I'm not hungry."

 

"Draco, you're a growing boy."

 

"I know. I'm still not hungry."

 

"Sometimes I worry about you," Hermione said, shrugging.

 

It dawned on him then. "Oh! I'm not anorexic or anything. I promise. It's just that food hasn't tasted good recently."

 

"That sucks."

 

"Yeah. It really does."

 

"You have more energy today."

 

"I do?"

 

"Yeah."

 

Draco shrugged. "I dunno why. Maybe I had caffeine or something."

 

See, this is why no one is friends with you. Because you're a liar, said the voice inside his head that made him cut the words out.

 

++

 

He had thought it would only be that once.

 

But his brain was screaming for more. And that night he obeyed it.

 

He did the next night too.

Chapter Text

Blaise laid on the ground, covered head to toe in paint. Draco was laughing hysterically. He grabbed the bottle of paint and added a little more to his legs.

 

 

"Draco, god, that tickles-"

 

"You're going to lose the game if you don't shut up, dude." Draco brushed glitter off of his eyelashes and kept going.

 

Ron was lying with his head in Millicent's lap, laughing at the boys and speculating on who was going to win.

 

Draco grinned and started running green paint-smeared fingers along Blaise's ribcage.

 

"Nope, I give up," said Blaise, laughing.

 

"I knew it!" Draco raised multicoloured fingers in glory. "I knew you'd give up!"

 

"Your fingers are cold," Blaise whined.

 

"Shove off."

 

"No way. Harry, your turn!"

 

"All right, and Ron, you're up."

 

Millicent fished around in the jar for a long time before pulling one out.

 

"Ooh, this is a good one. We divide into teams and try to turn our contestants into the best drag queens within five minutes."

 

Harry and Ron already nodded their consent, eyeing each other like the other boy was the only roadblock in their trip to becoming world famous.

 

"All right," said Millicent. "Me and Draco are team Harry; Blaise will be on team Ron."

 

Draco nodded.

 

"All right. Are you ready... set... go!"

 

Five minutes later, a rather amused Harry was wearing a dress made of toilet paper and glitter, with eyeliner in elegant swirls and his shoes transformed into high heels. His hair was tied back as well as they could get it.

 

Ron's outfit was spectacular too. His group had gone the route of towels, and he too was covered in glitter.

 

"And the winner is... just kidding, you both look great," said Millicent.

 

"I dunno, is this shade of red really my colour?" Asked Ron.

 

"Did I not just say you look fine? Okay. Next... Ron and Blaise. And the paper declares..."

 

The longer they played, the more Draco loved it. There were no real set rules. Just six kids messing around and challenging each other and being kids.

 

"... name the book! Blaise, you quote books, and Ron, you tell us where they came from. And Blaise, you have to say them in a different accent every time."

 

Blaise's American accent was horrible. His Irish was decent. And his French was not terrible either.

 

"And now... uh... we should do scoring and have a master round. The last one. Okay, lemme just add up y'all's points-"

 

"Points? What points?" Blaise demanded. He rubbed some flakey green paint off his legs as he spoke.

 

"All's fair in love and war."

 

"Wha-"

 

Millicent scrawled a couple numbers down and said, "our top two are Draco and Harry!"

 

"I'm ready to fight," said Draco.

 

"We both know I'm going to win."

 

"Scared, Potter?" He teased.

 

"You wish."

 

"Okay," said Millicent. "How do you guys feel about rock climbing?"

 

The wall in front of them turned into what seemed a fully functional climbing wall complete with harnesses.

 

"I'm in," said Draco. A chance to die and to win a game? Heck yeah.

 

"Me too," said Harry.

 

Ron and Millicent walked up with them to help with the harnesses.

 

"Okay," said Millicent, "so you step into this thing-" he did "- and I'll buckle you in-" she did. "Your sleeves might get in the way, if you want to roll them up-"

 

He moved to do so, but then 

 

remembered.

 

"I think it'll be fine," he said.

 

"Okay..." she clipped the harness onto the rope.

 

"You guys ready?" Ron asked.

 

"Am now."

 

"READY?" Yelled Ron. "SET... GO!"

 

Draco grabbed onto the first rock and jammed his feet into a hole. He rock was cold and kind of slick, making it hard to hold on to. 

 

He went up to the second, then third. He tried not to look at Harry, but eventually he had to look.

 

They were neck in neck. Draco glanced over again as he grabbed the rock.

 

And slipped.

 

Draco murmured an interesting string of cuss words that made Harry laugh.

 

He got his grip back and kept going.

 

Halfway there.

 

His forearms and thighs were beginning to burn. He pushed himself. One more, he told himself every time. One more and then we rest.

 

He didn't.

 

Three quarters.

 

Twenty more steps left, if that.

 

Fifteen.

 

Ten.

 

Five.

 

His bell rang out less than a second after Harry's.

 

"No!" He yelled, leaning back. His harness lowered back down slowly. 

 

He pulled the sleeves of his hoodie down - they'd ridden up over the course of the climb - and unbuckled the harness.

 

"All right!" Millicent cheered. "Harry wins, with 312 points, followed closely by Draco, with 309. Blaise, you have 297. And Ron, you and I are tied with 272."

 

"Yeah!" He gave her a high-five that involved him jumping to reach her hand. Millicent had had a growth spurt, apparently.

 

Draco crossed his arms and gave Harry a mock - glare.

 

Harry glared back.

 

It only took a moment for the two of them to dissolve into laughter.

Chapter Text

Draco was seriously considering propping his eyelids open with a pencil as Blaise asked, "how many stirs does it take for one to complete a forgetfulness potion?"

 

"Like twenty or something," he grumbled.

 

"Twenty one," corrected Blaise. "How long is a day on Jupiter?"

 

"Like ten hours or something."

 

"Right! Which planet could float if it was in a big enough body of water?"

 

"Saturn."

 

"Yep! Who invented the summoning charm?"

 

"Damn if I know."

 

"Robert E. Weed. Who were the founders of Hogwarts?"

 

"That's easy."

 

"Draco..."

 

"Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Godric Gryffindor."

 

"Right!"

 

"I'm tired, Blaise."

 

"I have three more questions," Blaise begged. "Please?"

 

"I'm gonna stab myself in the eyeball." He leaned against the window where the mermaids were showing off.

 

"Don't; they're pretty and they help you see."

 

"I'm tired," he whined, completely aware that he sounded like a four year old.

 

"Fine, oka-"

 

The door to the common room opened and a sleep deprived-looking Harry stumbled in.

 

"Thank Merlin. Guys, I need help studying."

 

Draco gave a long groan.

 

"Me too," said Harry.

 

Blaise propped open his notebook, looking excited. Harry sat down cross-legged, his feet tucked into his green flannel pyjama legs.

 

"Okay. Who was the witch who really liked getting burnt during the witch hunting ages?"

 

"The one with the pain kink? Wendelin the Weird."

 

"How many moons does Jupiter have?"

 

"Sixty three."

 

"What is the smallest planet?"

 

"Pluto."

 

"How many stirs does it take to complete a forgetfulness potion?"

 

"Twenty-one."

 

Draco groaned.

 

"He didn't get that one," Blaise explained.

 

Harry sighed and scooted over to Draco. "C'mon, I know you know this stuff."

 

"It's three in the morning."

 

"He has a point," Harry said.

 

"Let's have a sleepover," Blaise suggested.

 

"Like, right now?" 

 

"Heck yeah, right now. Harry, you can stay, no one will mind."

 

"What about blankets and stuff?" he asked.

 

"Harry... we're wizards."

 

"Ah. Right."

 

"Accio blankets!" Blaise called.

 

"Dude, you can do a summoning charm?" Harry asked.

 

"Yeah. They're hard to perfect but easy to do once you know how."

 

The blankets came and zoomed towards them, hitting Draco in the face.

 

"Oops," said Blaise in a way that Draco knew he felt zero remorse over the event.


Harry laughed and took the red one. Draco took the blue as Blaise lunged for the pink.

 

"Good night," said Blaise.

 

"Night," said Harry.

 

He flicked off the lights.

Chapter Text

"We're painting our nails," said Harry to Ron as he walked in the next morning.

They were. Millicent was weighing different colours in her hands, biting her lip. Harry looked incredibly conflicted between a pale blue and a bright orange-pink. Draco was painting Blaise's nails silver, lip caught between his teeth.

Harry looked at Ron's hands. "Green. A dark forest green. Definitely."

"I can't believe I'm doing this," Ron said as Millicent picked out a dark green and a blood red shade (presumably for herself.)

"All right, c'mere," she said. "I'll do yours. Harry is doing Draco's, and you're doing Harry's... actually it might be easier for Draco and Harry to do each other's... do you feel comfortable in your nail-painting ability?"

"No."

"Okay. So I do yours and Blaise does mine... and Draco is already doing Blaise's, that's perfect."

Without any more contemplation, Millicent began unscrewing the nail polish. Ron, looking thoroughly bewildered, sat down across from her.

Draco finished with Blaise's pinky finger and began capping the lid. Harry sat down by them.

"What colour should I do?"

Draco contemplated that. The pale blue would contrast nicely, but the pink would be more eye-catching...

"Both," he said. "How about one finger pink and the rest blue? And then the opposite on the other hand? Or half on each nail..." he trailed off.

Harry, however, was nodding. "Pink on the ring fingers. Blue on all the rest."

"Okay," said Draco.

"What are you thinking? For nails?"

"I hadn't decided. I'm lowkey considering a trans pride flag theme but then there's also the bi flag or I could go black or silver or gold..."

Harry nodded along with all this as though he wasn't hopelessly rambling. "You could do trans on one hand and... no... oh, you could do trans flags on the middle and thumb fingers - the biggest ones - and gold or something on the others - or gold on the top, but I dunno, you have less nail to work with..." Harry bit his lip, thinking.

"I think I'm gonna go pride on both hands but with gold glitter on the white fingers. So the middle ones."

Harry nodded immediately. "That sounds great. D'you wanna go first, or should I...?"

"I mean, if you want to-"

"No, you choose, it's totally fine-"

"I don't want you to miss out-"

"Boys, please," Millicent cut in. "Draco's painting first. Harry, you're next. Okay?"

They both mumbled their okays and Draco began unscrewing the clear and the blue.

"Need help?" He asked.

"Yeah." Draco passed the blue over to him.

After a couple seconds of struggling, Harry handed it back, rubbing his palm. "There."

"Thanks."

"N'problem."

Draco used one of his hands to balance the clear bottle on his knee, and the other to take Harry's left hand and start painting. His hand was colder than Draco's, and bigger. They were rough, probably from working for his aunt and uncle (not that he noticed or anything)

He wrapped up with the clear and started on the blue, the light colour contrasting with Harry's dark skin. He didn't dare look up to see Harry's expression.

By the time he finished Harry's first hand, he was blushing uncontrollably. And he was Draco freaking Malfoy. He never blushed. Ever.

But his hands...

He moved on to the other pinky, determined not to think about Harry's hands or his smirk or his eyes or his laugh or his hands or anything at all about Harry James Potter, but Merlin's beard -

He was on the middle finger now and his brain immediately suggested several things you could do with them which left him very irritated because did he ask for that? No? Okay, Draco's Brain, then why would you you...

Nevermind.

He finished up on the thumb and untwisted the blue polish with more force than was strictly necessary. The ring fingers were done in only a couple of strokes and he finally made himself glance up and meet Harry's eyes.

"Dude. I love it," he said, and it took Draco an embarrassingly long two seconds to figure out what he meant. "Thanks. I'm kinda proud of it too."

Harry lifted his fingers to his lips and blew on them, then said, "d'you think we should do another clear?"

"Yeah, just to be safe," said Draco. He knew that was Harry's way of suggesting something without actually saying it.

He applied the clear coat quicker than the coloured coats, because it was clear and he didn't want any more input from his brain at the moment.

Harry blew on his fingernails again. His eyes strayed off into the distance, and he turned. Millicent was grinning behind them, saying something about being the goddess of nail polish. Draco hadn't even noticed.

"You ready?" Harry asked.

"Yep."

Harry took his left hand and Draco anxiously tried to figure out what to do with his right. He could rest it on his knee, or Harry's knee, or by his side, or run it along the seam of his pyjama pants... he decided on that, so he had somewhere to channel his energy.

Harry had moved on with the clear to his ring finger now. Draco had thought the hard part was over, now that he wasn't painting Harry's nails. But Harry Potter with a tie hanging untied around his neck and his hair undone and his lip caught between his teeth, and his hands on Draco's... Merlin.

Not helpful, brain, he tried, but it was no use, because he was already imagining Harry's hands places unrelated to nail painting.

He snuck a glance at Harry as he finished up the last nail and cracked open the pink again.

"Blue pink white pink blue?" He asked.

"Yeah," Draco confirmed.

Harry started with the pinkies and then the thumbs - he liked to work ends-to-middle too apparently.

Harry started on the pink and Draco stared at his nails. He'd held it together while painting Harry's nails; how was this any different?

After Harry finished with the first coats, Draco blew on his nails like Harry had.

"Okay, gold then clear?" Harry asked.

"Mhm."

Harry looked so at peace as he spread the golden glitter over his white nails. He could probably be a makeup artist if he wanted.

A makeup artist... worked with lipstick. Maybe even the kind you had to apply with your fingers...

Harry had moved on to the clear and he'd barely noticed.

Once Harry had finished and Draco had blown on his fingers one last time, Millicent had grabbed his arm and dragged him towards the window and the morning sun.

"That was the gayest thing I've ever seen," she said.

"It... was?" He asked, trying to seem like he had no idea what she was talking about.

"Don't deny it, Draco. You know you think he's great."

Millicent skipped away, and Draco was left stuttering at the wall, unable to deny it.

Chapter Text

Draco was mentally beating himself over the head for the entire day.

This was not a great time, brain, to develop a crush.

But then there was Harry.

If Hermione was there she would know how to comfort him.

If Hermione was there

Hermione should have been there

No, he should have been with her. Protected her. This was essentially his fault, wasn't it?

This is your fault

It wasn't the normal voice this time, not the one that normally was saying he was worthless and useless and a failure.

This was his father

This is all your fault, Mira, you useless girl, it's all your fault. This never would have happened-

It's not my-

Do not interrupt your father!

Sorry, Dad-

You are grounded. You make this family look bad. Associating with a mudblood at school. I might have to send you to Russia instead of Hogwarts to teach you what's right. You will make us fall out of favour with the Dark Lord, Mira.

He physically shrank back at the memory.

Where did that come from? Why didn't he remember it? How had he forgotten that? How did it resurface?

He was sitting against the wall at dinner and he didn't know what to think.

Fortunately - or unfortunately, depending on your point of view - his brain gave him plenty to think about as Harry came over.

"Hey," he said. 

"Hey. You okay?"

Draco shrugged. "My brain just did a weird thing. It's fine." You idiot, you could have told him you could have told him you could

"You sure?"

"Yeah."

"Okay... hey, can I see your nails?"

Draco nodded and stretched out his hands.

Harry took them both, running a finger along his nails and sliding his sleeve up so he could see them better. Panicked, Draco tried to remember if there were scars that close to his hand. Probably not. Hopefully not.

Harry let go of his hands. "It looks great."

"Thanks. Or, you're welcome?"

"Either works," Harry commented.

Draco went to take a bite of his pancakes and let loose a train wreck of swear words that would've made Millicent proud as his sleeve got caught in the syrup.

He couldn't keep it on and get syrup on everything. He couldn't take it off and show Harry.

"Damn," said Harry.

"Yeah, seriously." His anxiety had sent him into a full fledged panic attack. He tried to quell the shaking of his hands, unsuccessfully. 

"D'you need help at all? I can go get you napkins..." said Harry, still unaware of the scope of the problem.

"Yeah, sure. That'd be great," said Draco.

As Harry stumbled off to get some napkins, Draco pulled off his sweater. He would just hide it. Keep his arm down by his side. He could do that.

He switched his chocolate milk over to the right side and put on a smile as Harry came over.

"Here you go."

"Thanks, Harry."

"No problem." Draco took an awkward one handed bite of his pancakes. This was going to be harder than he thought.

He made it five minutes before raising his arms to show how big something was and whispering "fuckballs," an interesting phrase Millicent had taught him.

Harry took his arm and ran a perfectly manicured finger across one of the scars.

"I'm the worst friend, aren't I?" Harry said.

"What?"

"I didn't notice. I should have noticed. I'm sorry-"

"It's not your fault, man-"

"I'm sorry-"

"No, it's okay-"

"Can I help at all?"

Draco paused. "Just... be my friend, still."

"Of course."

Chapter Text

 For the second time in a week Draco found himself smearing paint on a boy. This time, however, it was Harry rather than Blaise.

 

"Oi! The paint goes on the sheet," Blaise complained.

 

Draco finished up painting a heart on Harry's cheek and looked over. "So?"

 

When he looked back at Harry, the other boy's cheeks were noticeably red, even under the blue hearts.

 

After about three minutes of actually working on the project, Draco attempted to use the reflection of the paint can to draw yellow stripes under his eyes.

 

"Draco, please," said Harry. He scooped yellow paint off of Draco's fingers with his own and tilted his chin up. "Don't move or this'll go in your eyes," he warned.

 

Draco stayed still.

 

"There," said Harry, and then: "wait. Close your eyes."

 

Draco did so and a couple seconds later felt light fingertips on his chin and his cheekbones. His fingers were cool and rough and he loved the feeling of them on his skin.

 

"There," said Harry.

 

Draco's eyes fluttered open. Harry stood less than a foot away from him.

 

"I drew flowers," said Harry. He held up a mirror so Draco could see.

 

He had, in fact, drawn flowers. One on his left cheekbone, one on his right jaw.

 

"Draco, Harry, please," Blaise called from where he was dragging blue fingers over the cloth. "It's too early for all this gay shit."

 

Draco shook his head and dipped his hands in paint, trying to un-think the thought he'd just had about finger paint on Harry in places that were not associated with face painting. 

 

Blaise smirked as though he knew exactly what Draco was thinking. To make sure he wasn't a mind reader, Draco mentally screamed as loud as he could. Blaise didn't flinch, so Draco assumed he wasn't being listened to and carried on with the painting.

 

Basically what they were doing was painting a large sheet of fabric that would eventually become a blanket. After it was painted they'd seal it so it was still comfortable. They were going for a tye-dye effect. After it was done the three of them would take turns using it. The whole idea had been a result of Harry's impulsivity, and Blaise and Draco had taken too it, partially just because they'd be playing with paint.

 

++

 

They finished a couple hours later, hours that included:

 

  • Harry grabbing Draco around the waist and smearing a little bit of paint on his ribcage
  • Blaise leaning against the wall with a smirk on his face while he watched
  • Draco painting flowers on Harry's arms
  • Blaise flicking paint at Draco and getting it all over his face
  • Harry covered in multicoloured freckles from the paint
  • Harry playing the song Boys Will Be Boys by Benny and Blaise grabbing Draco and spinning him around
  • Dancing
  • Laughter
  • Funny stories
  • A little bit of a fire
  • Harry dumping a bucket of water over a perfectly un-burnt Draco
  • Draco attempting to retaliate and instead hitting Blaise instead
  • a tickle fight
  • Happiness

Chapter Text

He awoke in the middle of the night to find that his makeshift bandage had fallen off and he had bled through his hoodie sleeves.

 He whispered a variety of swear words that would have made Millicent proud and got out of bed, only to see that, shjt, he'd stained that too, because he had been born a girl.

He pulled on a different pair of sweatpants and threw the ones he was wearing under the bed, careful not to wake Blaise up. He swapped hoodies - he could wash the blood out pf that in the morning, there wasn't that much - and pulled on his shoes.

Over in the next bed, Blaise had fallen asleep gripping a teddy bear. Draco smiled softly as he crept out of the room.

He had to see Hermione.

The halls were dark but so were his clothes, so he felt okay sneaking down hallways and to the hospital ward.

He heard a sound from the corner and sped up, ducking down so that whoever it was wouldn't see him.

The last thing he saw before passing out was a pair of large yellow eyes.

Chapter Text

Groggy
Disoriented
Confused

Cold

Tired

He felt something
Brush
Against him

His eyes were still closed

Should he open them?

He felt
something
a blanket?
And something
Warner

Eyes
eyes closed
opening them

Just a little

A blanket?

It was so bright.

A little more.

Something brown.

His shoulders were cold

Why were they cold?

Was he wearing a shirt?

He remembered the eyes

What had happened?

He moved his arm slightly. It felt stiff.

Slowly, his eyes came into focus and he realised the brown was

hair?

He was blonde though?

"Well, it's about time," came a quiet but strong voice.

Madam Pomfrey?

Why was he in the hospital?

He shifted a little, onto his back, squinting because of the lights.

That sure looked like Madam Pomfrey...

"Good morning, Mira. Hermione's already woken up and came over here to talk to you. Immediately fell asleep - lack of energy, you know. You may not be able to talk. You've been out for 3 months, you know."

His eyes bulged and he tried to say, what?

Nothing left his lips.

"You saw the basilisk, dearie. You must be exhausted. And cold. You've kicked off a good hundred nightgowns in your stay. I managed to stop the bleeding in your wrist pretty early. We can probably get you to a psychologist soon. That Hermione of yours was right torn up about it. Kept saying it was her fault. I told her that was bull. Your friends adore you, by the way. That Harry boy dropped by and cried for a while. Ron and him came by once and just told you stories about what was going on. Your Millicent tried to shake you awake. And that Blaise Zabini cried and drew a flower on your arm."

Draco wouldn't have known what to say to that even if he could talk.

"Hermione will wake up in a little bit," she added as an afterthought, and then: "you talk in your sleep a lot, dearie, and if you ever wanna talk about anything while conscious... well. I'm here, and your friends are here."

What the hell had he said?

"You'll be more awake next time, but you gotta take these. They knock you out for a bit but once you wake up you'll be energised."

Head still spinning, he accepted the pills, and soon after fell into a deep sleep.

++

He was awoken by an overly energetic Hermione poking him and bouncing on the bed.

"Draco! I'm so glad you woke up. Did you know that the medicine she gave me reacts with my androgen blockers? And I'm gonna be starting Oestrogen next year! And I'm gonna be happy for three more days just like this!"

"Woah. Um." His voice was cracking like he'd run his voice box along a cheese grater, but he didn't mind.

"And I'm gonna take you to a concert as soon as I ask my mom! It's going to be so fun! I hope he sings Famous Last Words. I love that song. I feel like the opposite of a Dementor right now. I'm so happy! Draco, this is great!"

"I followed like three percent of that," Draco said.

"Hermione happy," she said.

"Ah, okay," he said, amused.

She grinned back at him. "I can't believe we were out for like 4 months."

"Yeah, me neither."

"I hope Millicent and Harry and Ron and Blaise come soon. I miss them so much!"

"Me too."

"Good timing," came a voice from the door.

Draco whirled around, and there stood the other four, all beaming.

Hermione bounced out of bed, explaining her situation again, as they enveloped Draco and a jittery Hermione in their arms.

"I'm so glad you're awake," said Harry into his hair.

"Did you see the flower?" Blaise asked.

It took him a second. "Oh! Not yet, but Madam Pomfrey told me."

"I'm so glad you're up, guys, but we have a lot to talk about," said Millicent seriously. (In what world was Millicent serious?)

Draco sat down on the bed and Hermione even stopped rambling about Hogwarts, A History.

"Go on, then," said Draco. "Tell us."

And Harry began.

Chapter Text

"So let me summarise. Harry and Ron, Lockhart, tunnel, big crash, Obliviate, big snake, unconscious Ginny, hot evil guy who's actually Voldemort, Basilisk fang, Phoenix, hat, sword." Hermione bounced as she said all this.

"I mean... yes?" Harry said.

"I love brave girls," said Millicent, winking.

"Please don't hit on my sister around me," Ron said.

"Where did she get the diary from?" Draco asked, not looking up from Blaise's arm, where he was drawing flowers to match his own.

It was weird, looking down at his wrists with no new cuts.

"Your father put it in her cauldron," Harry said.

"Oh." He didn't really know what to say to that. "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault," Harry said.

Draco pulled his hands inside his hoodie, an action that was not missed by Harry, who rested a comforting hand on his shoulder.

Hermione paused her bouncing to start tying Millicent's hair into an intricate braid.

"I can't believe summer's coming," Blaise said.

"Merlin. It was February when I was attacked."

"Hey, at least we didn't miss the summer," Hermione said.

"Is that really a good thing?" Draco asked bitterly.

"Um, yeah? My Chemical Romance concert?"

Ron gritted his teeth.  "Um, Hermione, Draco... there's something you need to know..."

"You're pregnant," Hermione guessed.

"No..."

"You're dying."

"No..."

"You were adopted."

"Uh-"

"Oh! You're paying for our ticket!"

"Hermione, I'm going to murder you if you don't shut up."

"Okay," she said, finishing up Millicent's braid.

"MCR broke up."

"What?! You're kidding me."

Ron shook his head. "No... they really did."

"Ron... are you pregnant?"

"No, Hermione, let it go."

"Funny," Hermione remarked dryly.

"They really did break up," said Blaise.

"Are you sure?" Asked Draco.

Blaise nodded. "Yeah."

"They're never going to make music ever again?"

"There's still a chance of them getting back together in the future..." he said uncertainly.

"When did this happen?" Hermione asked, visibly distraught.

"22 March," Harry said.

"That's not funny, Harry!" Hermione promptly collapsed into tears on Draco's shoulder.

"Um... there, there?" He tried.

"I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED," she wailed.

"Thanks, Ron," said Millicent dryly.

Draco began stroking her hair and found it soothing, so he continued, brown curls tangling in his fingers.

"Hermione. Hermione, there are plenty of other concerts we could go to... I bet Fall Out Boy or Panic! At The Disco or Twenty Øne Piløts or Against Me! will be having one over the summer that we could go to..." Draco tried.

"I miss Gerard," she sobbed. "He betrayed me!"

"She's officially lost it, mate," Ron commenter.

"Hermione. Hermione, it'll be okay..." he realised as he spoke that this was probably useless and let her sob.

"Oh, Draco, the Slytherin showers are down. We've had to use the Gryffindor ones. Some arsebag made them hook up with the toilets and... yeah." Millicent rolled her eyes.

"Hermione," said Draco quietly, "did you hear that? Millicent just came up with the word 'arsebag.'"

Hermione giggled hesitantly, something that turned into full on cackling in a couple seconds. "Millicent- arsebag?"

"Oi, that was a good one," said Millicent.

Draco flopped onto his hospital bed, where he was joined by Harry, who stretched himself out like a cat, arm under his head.

"Hi," Harry said, seemingly oblivious to Draco's racing heart.

"Hi."

Harry pulled off his glasses and pushed them onto Draco's face. "They were cutting into my face."

"So you give them to me?" Draco quipped.

"Aw, do you need Daddy to kiss it and make it better?"

He tried not to blush. "I don't even know what to say about that."

"On second thought, forget I said anything."

Millicent was in hysterics. "Harry, you're a top?"

"I hope you step on a lego."

"I'm a lesbian so I can't do much with this information, but I mean,  we could always share it with our local bisexual Draco Malfoy-"

"Choke on a wood-chip, Milli."

"Oh, hit a nerve, have we?"

"No!"

"I always wondered if Harry had a Daddy kink..."

"I thought you were a lesbian?" Harry inquired.

"Yeah, well, I can still be curious."

"Millicent, please, shut up before I murder you," Harry requested.

Draco pulled off Harry's glasses. "Your eyesight is shit, man."

"I know." Harry laid them down on the bedside table and grinned softly at him. Draco noted a couple freckles on his dark skin. They were like stars, almost, and Harry was the universe. Incomplete without them.

He had it really bad, didn't he?

Ron reached into a bag Draco hadn't noticed and pulled out a six-pack of butterbeer.

"To a new year," he said theatrically.

"You know what? I don't even want to know where you got that," said Hermione.

"I don't- what is that?" Harry asked.

While his friends discussed butterbeer at length, Draco laid down and let the sound of laughter calm him.

When Harry smiled at him, he knew. He knew that this was going to be a moment he'd remember.

Chapter Text

He glanced in the mirror. Plaid blue button down, unbuttoned, purple one-piece swimsuit, showing, black board shorts, covering.

His family was going on a beach trip with Blaise's (after much begging) and Millicent's (after much begging.) they'd be staying in a hotel in the United States, in a state named Maine. It was the Wizarding branch of a Muggle beach called Old Orchard.

Confident that neither the older scars nor recent cuts would show, he changed into jean shorts and a flannel over his Weird Sisters tank top. He tied his trademark queer Converse sneakers and bolted down the stairs.

Millicent was already there, in all her short-shorts and tank-top glory, stretched out on the couch like a model.

"I MISSED YOU SO MUCH," she shrieked, launching herself at him.

"Missed you too, Millicent," he said, grinning.

The door opened a couple seconds later and a man with a large beard and a larger ego stepped in, sauntering, with a delicate but angry-looking woman on his arm. Blaise stepped in last, looking broken and defeated with a purple-blue bruise decorating his skin and a split lip, but he lit up when he saw Draco and Millicent.

As Blaise's stepdad introduced himself with a pompous, "my name is Jonathan Harold MxFour the Third," Blaise carefully stepped over to them.

"Hey guys," he said, smiling a bit. "How've you guys been?"

"I haven't thrown up in three weeks," Millicent said, "and haven't been drunk for two."

"I'm so ready for school to begin," said Draco.

"Big mood," said Blaise.

"You been doing okay?" Millicent asked him. Draco didn't even respond, instead just said, "are you guys down to play Exploding Snap?"

"Not in the house, Mira," his dad called lazily.

"...anyone down to play Gobstones?"

++

They'd rented out a large cabin and a smaller cabin, the small one being for Draco and Millicent and Blaise.

Draco immediately claimed the bed by the window. "Thank Merlin," he said, throwing himself on the bed and tugging off his flannel.

"Now that we're alone, can I ask what happened to your face?"

Blaise touched his face self consciously.

"I, uh... forgot to move the candy I hid in my room."

"You mean your mom did that?" Millicent asked, voice rising. Blaise flinched.

"Sorry... but-"

Blaise shrugged.

"You don't know?!" Millicent asked incredulously.

"Millicent... I think that was a non-committal 'I don't want to talk about it' shrug," Draco shared.

"Ah, okay. Um, next up on important information about our lives, I finally kissed Ginny."

"You what?" Draco bolted up.

"Mhm. It was... well." She smiled dreamily at the ceiling.

"Story time," said Blaise, propping himself up on his bed but then joining Draco with a pack of sharpies.

Draco and Blaise leaned against bed frame as though in sync. Blaise took his arm - ran a finger down it along the scars like he always did - and began drawing flowers.

"So there I am," said Millicent, "in Diagon Alley, with a lesbian pride flag on my shoulders and like ten books in my hands. She offers to carry them for me and I offer to buy her ice cream.  She accepts and we go into the ice cream shop. So we're sitting there with our ice cream and books scattered across the floor and she told a joke and my brain kind of - short circuited...?  Anyway I accidentally told her she was the prettiest person I'd lain eyes on and she deserved every ounce of the house of Gryffindor... and that Gryffindor would be proud to have her in his house. And then she kissed me."

"How do you accidentally tell someone... that?" Draco asked.

"I - she just - I don't even know."

Blaise shook his head, chuckling a little. "Wow."

Draco looked down at his arm and saw that Blaise was diligently drawing flowers over every scar.

Oh.

Millicent bounced her leg. "She asked if we could be girlfriends."

"Did you say yes? Tell me you said yes," said Draco. He was getting into this.

"Of course I did. And she bought me flowers. Can you believe? Flowers!"

"Aww," said Blaise. "That's so sweet, I'm jealous."

"I'll buy you flowers," Draco quipped.

"Imma tell Harry you're a cheat," Millicent shot back.

"Can't cheat if I'm not dating him."

"Sure looked like it when you called him daddy."

"Oi, I did not-!"

Blaise grinned. "'Do you want daddy to kiss it and make it better?'"

"Blaise!"

"That was funny, okay?" Blaise capped his sharpie and Draco looked down. The scars were almost completely covered by the flowers.

"D'you think our parents are ready for dinner?"

"Hopefully," said Blaise. "You wanna check?"

"Of course," she said, grinning.

Chapter Text

Millicent lounged on the beach towel in a yellow bathing suit and a pair of blue shorts. Draco lay with his head on her stomach, scrolling through Tumblr on his phone. Blaise was sitting up, tossing a bottle up into the air and catching it.

"Draco, you good?" Blaise asked as he noticed Draco had been staring at the same picture for a while. It was just of a sunset through the window of a car, nothing special, but...

"Hm. Yeah." He let his phone bounce on his stomach and stared at the waves. Two boys were walking by, their hands intertwined, laughing. Draco smiled slightly as the shorter one leaned up to kiss the taller boy's cheek.

"Bro," Millicent said. "You good?"

"Mhm."

"He's staring at the boys," said Blaise.

"Ah. Loneliness. Got it."

"I'm not lonely."

"Harry sure seems to like you enough," Millicent quipped.

"For the last goddamn time, we aren't in a relationship and neither of us have a daddy kink."

"And you know because..."

Draco let out a long suffering groan. "Blaise, help."

"I'm not getting near this one," Blaise said, beginning to flip the bottle again.

Draco sighed and rolled over, still watching the two boys, who were now thoroughly snogging. His lips pursed in jealousy.

"God, I wish that were me," Blaise said, laughing a little.

"Oh yeah? You and who?" Millicent asked.

"I dunno... me and myself?"

"Big mood," Draco said.

Millicent snorted. "You're both so self obsessed. I love it."

The two boys seemed to realize they were making a scene and stopped making out, instead making their way up the beach shore.

"You should tell them you think they're cute together," Millicent said.

"There's no way-"

"Do it! C'mon, Draco, live a little!"

"No!"

The two boys were closer now, and Draco could vaguely make out their faces - one with red hair and freckles dotting his cheekbones and cheeks, the other with dark brown hair cut close to his head. 

Millicent stood up.

"Oh Merlin..." Draco mumbled as she grabbed his hand and forcibly pulled him off the blanket.

She marched over to the boys and Draco had no choice but to follow.

"Hi. My friend wanted to tell you that you're cute together."

Draco rolled his eyes and was about to apologize, but the boys both grinned in sync.

"Thanks," said the short redheaded one. "I'm Nikolai."

"Ryan," the other boy said.

"I'm Draco," he said, instinctively slouching so his button down would cover his chest.

"Millicent," Millicent said, grinning lopsidedly. "How long have you guys been together?"

"Since tenth grade. We're sophomores in college now."

"Aww," Millicent said. "That's so sweet, honestly. See, Draco, you still have a chance with-"

"I hope you get a potato stuck up your anus."

Nikolai snorted. "I'm using that one. Thank you."

"Oh my god, please don't," Ryan said. After a pause, he added, "Is that even possible?"

"It's better not to ask," Draco said as Millicent opened her mouth.

Ryan pulled a phone out of his pocket. "Merlin fuc- we gotta go, Nik's mom is pissed. I'm sorry," he added.

"It's okay," said Draco, smiling at the boys as they went, grinning with their arms around each other.

"See? That wasn't so bad."

Draco nodded absently, looking over her shoulder at Blaise, who looked haunted. He wandered over to him.

"You okay?"

No response.

"Blaise...?"

Nothing. Just a blink.

"Is it okay if I stay?" He was getting the vibe that Blaise was dissociating and going non-verbal.

Blaise nodded once, just a tiny bit. 

Draco folded his legs into a pretzel and shifted so he could sit next to the other boy. After a second, Blaise leaned against his shoulder, hands still rubbing at the dirt. Draco let him stay. After a couple seconds Blaise took to scrubbing his arms with the sand, which was just wet enough to stick.

Blaise flattened his lips. He seemed to be debating telling what was hurting him. Instead he poked at the bruise on his jawline. Now that Draco was close and in the sunlight, he could see it was actually several bruises, on his cheekbone, jaw, and around his eyes, mostly. How could any parent be so cruel to their child?

Blaise sat up, shifting his eyes to the sand.

"Flashback," he whispered. "Xayn used to have that one."

Draco winced. He couldn't even imagine what Blaise was going through.

Blaise's hands reached up to his neck and shoulders, where he started picking at his skin.

"Blaise," Millicent said quietly. "you're gonna hurt yourself."

Privately, Draco didn't think that would work. He was quickly proven wrong, however, when Blaise let his hands rest back in his lap.

Millicent, on Blaise's other side, hesitantly offered him her Diet Coke. Blaise accepted it, taking a couple sips before handing it back. He began picking at the skin around his nails, eyes focused on Draco's leg.

Shit. His thighs.

Draco glanced down and attempted to covertly tug his shorts down, but it was too late and Blaise reached a hand out and brushed them against his unscarred skin.

"I'm sorry," Blaise whispered, and it was so obviously draining energy from him and his voice was so broken that Draco felt his heart lurch.

"It's not your fault," Draco said.

"You don't deserve this."

Draco shrugged. It was the only way he could escape his pain. So in a way, yes, he deserved it.

"Do you want to talk about what happened?" Draco asked quietly.

"Yes but I -" his speech cut off as though he'd been punched in the windpipe.

Millicent twisted so she could see him. "It's okay."

Blaise placed his hands on his knees as though bracing himself. "I - it's hard to say and I don't want you to - to think I'm gross - please don't tell anyone - and - don't leave because of it."

"Of course not," Draco said quietly.

"I would never," Millicent added.

"Should I start with the lighter traumas, then?" Blaise asked bitterly. Without waiting for an answer, he said, "my older sister killed herself and my stepfather killed my younger sister."

"Oh," said Millicent.

And the storytelling began.

Chapter Text

 

"My sister was 16 and her name was Amelia and she killed herself because she was trans and couldn't deal with our mom misgendering her anymore. My little sister was Blakely and she - she was so young. She was six. She loved pink. She wanted to be a princess soldier. And my stepdad killed her. My mom told him to. Because she's - she was - a squib. I didn't even get to say goodbye." Blaise's eyes were glassy, seconds away from tears. He sipped from Millicent's Diet Coke again, trying to regain control. Draco awkwardly rested a hand on his knee.

 

"Amelia. She was... I loved her so much. My big sister with scarred wrists and hidden dresses. My parents - they were so unfair to her. Making her do the work and calling her lazy if she didn't do everything right. Calling her a boy for weeks after she came out. She was treated like dirt but she had the kindest -" Blaise stopped and took in a ragged breath. "Her heart was so kind. She drew the most beautiful paintings. I still have mine. I hid them. But I was the one - I was the one to find her after she hanged herself."

 

Diamond tears slipped down his cheeks and Blaise swept them away quickly. "Anyway. There's Amelia's trauma. And Blakely - well, until they figured out that she was a Squib, she was the favourite child. My mom sometimes forgot to make dinner, but besides that, she escaped them."

 

Millicent stayed quiet, so he did too.

 

"And then there was me." Blaise wrapped his fingers around the can, but his hands were shaking so badly that soda sloshed over onto his wrists and he handed it back to Millicent, instead digging his fingers into the skin of his thighs.

 

"My memories are - fragmented. But - well, let's start - you see this bruise?" He gestured to the purpling bruise across his face. Both of them nodded.

 

"I'm not supposed to have candy at home. But I was hungry. I stashed it under my mattress and meant to take it out but I forgot about it. So she... did this. My mom." He spat out the word like it tasted bad. And even though Draco had already known, he was still horrified. 

 

"She calls me names and stuff too but it's - it's not as bad as Amelia's was. But there's - more. I -" he rested his elbows on his knees and seemingly braced himself. "I'm - not a child to her. I'm a bargaining chip." His breaths came in small, rapid sections and Draco placed a hand on his chest, reminding him to breathe. "Since I was five I've been her friends' - I -"

 

"Blaise, it's okay," whispered Millicent. "You're okay. You're safe."

 

"Her friends all - she let them rape me."

 

That was-

 

He was going to kill them all. Fury burnt his blood like blocks of ice.

 

"Since I was five. I was five." He said the last sentence angrily, throwing a rock from the sand as far away as it would go.

 

"Guys and girls both. I was their party game." He was pulverising a handful of sand now. "And I can't ever escape what they've done."

 

He finally seemed to break and rested his head on his hands, obviously determined not to let anyone see the tears slipping down his cheeks. Draco put a hesitant arm around his shoulders.

 

"That's why I have that hair thing," he mumbled.  It took Draco a second to realise he was referring to his aversion to strangers touching his hair.

 

"It's horrible," Millicent hissed. 

 

Draco pulled Blaise closer. "You deserve so much better."

 

Blaise shrugged. "I don't feel like I do."

 

"Bro, I'd personally hang every fucking star in the sky for you."

 

"Bro."

 

Millicent coughed. "Sorry to break up the bro-fest..."

 

"Oh, right," Blaise said. "Serious conversation, blah blah blah, I'm coping so well..."

 

Millicent snorted.

 

"But, yeah. I had a flashback right there and it was wonderful. Absolutely great."

 

"That sounds terrible, but okay," Draco said.

 

"I would too."

 

"...what?"

 

"Hang every star in the sky for you."

 

"Bro."

Chapter Text

The vacation passed as smoothly as possible under the circumstances. Blaise begged the two of them not to tell anyone, a request which left a very tired Draco and a slightly drunk Millicent arguing at 5:30 in the morning. They didn't, because of a point Millicent made fifteen minutes into the argument: they had no one to tell.

 

When the vacation was over and he'd given his friends their last goodbyes he collapsed onto his bed at home and raised his arms and his emotional shield.

 

"Thank Merlin," he breathed.

 

It wasn't that he didn't love his friends. He definitely and completely did. But being constantly with others was exhausting after 14 hours, let alone 14 days. 

 

The rest of the summer was one long blur of waking up and eating stale cereal and going online and getting kicked offline and sleeping and reading and forgetting lunch and wearing the same clothes for weeks and never falling asleep at night. It also brought visitors. Bellatrix Lestrange, the Crabbes and Goyles, McNair, the Parkinsons, the Bolts, Orion and Andromeda Black, and more, more guests who greeted his mum with cheek kisses and his dad with a handshake and didn't greet him because he was just the fuckup in the corner that no one cared about.

 

++

 

The first day of September met him outside the train station in the pouring rain. 

 

"Goodbye, Mira," his mom said as he stepped onto the train.

 

And that was that. No 'I love you' or 'we'll miss you's. Just, 'goodbye.'"

 

He found a compartment where Hermione, Ron, Harry, Blaise, and Millicent already sitting, along with a seemingly sleeping man with scars across his face.

 

"Draco! I missed you!" Hermione called, grinning and patting the seat next to her, by the window. "Check this out! Look! My jawline softened!"

 

"You started E," Draco recalled, face splitting into a smile. A twinge of jealousy stung at his chest, but he ignored it. "That's so great; Merlin!"

 

"I know. I'm so happy about it. My parents got it for me as an 'early birthday present' but that was just an excuse because I found out in June and started in July. Sorry, i'm rambling, I'm just-!" She hopped in place, face glowing. Draco grinned back.

 

"How was your summer?" Harry asked. He rested his chin on his fist and his elbow on his knee, afro practically bouncing.

 

"It was eh. Millicent and Blaise and I ended up on vacation together though. But mostly my summer was me wallowing in self pity. How was yours?"

 

"Oh, I accidentally blew up my aunt."

 

"What?!" His shocked cry was mirrored by the others in the compartment (Hermione, Ron, Blaise, Millicent, Neville Longbottom, and Ginny Weasley).

 

"I... I guess I'll clarify that one."

 

++

 

He knew about dementors, of course. But when faced with one...

He saw scarred wrists and scarred thighs and Hermione hurt and his friends hurt and he heard yelling but he couldn't for the life of him decipher the voices, only that it was his dad and that it was not good, not good at all and he had to hide, and his hands shook and he found himself keeled over as though he would be violently sick as a voice yelled out some weird spell and the cold left.

Blaise was shaking violently in the seat next to him, arms crossed, brown skin the palest he'd ever seen it. His eyes were filled with tears but none slipped down his cheeks.

Millicent, with her toned arms and thick skin, looked weak. It was a bit scary.

Harry, it appeared, had fallen unconscious. He was up now though, looking disoriented and groggy.

Neville had pulled his entire body into a small area and looked as though his life had been threatened.

Gi nny, Hermione, and Ron looked rather pale, too, though they hadn't been affected nearly as much as him, Blaise, Millicent, Neville, and Harry had been. 

"Harry, mate, you okay?" Ron asked. 

"I... I think I heard my mum," Harry said weakly.

"Have some chocolate. It'll help." Said an older man's voice. Draco turned to see the professor who had been asleep only moments ago. He passed Draco some chocolate, then the rest of them. "Excuse me," he said. "I need to have a word with the driver."

Blaise held the chocolate in a shaking hand.

"Eat. You'll feel better."

"Are you guys okay?" Millicent asked.

Blaise didn't look up from the bag he was now digging through. "No. You?"

"Hell no," she said.

"Me neither," Neville murmured.

"That's a no," Draco added.

"My dead mum," Harry said quietly.

"I wonder why they affected you guys more?" Hermione pondered.

As a stuttering and surprisingly intelligent Neville launched into a psychology lesson, Draco decided that it all could have been much worse.

That didn't mean it was good.

Chapter Text

The dementor attack had him shaken up, even an entire chocolate bar later. He couldn't complain, though - Blaise had had three, and he was still curled up in a ball with the stuffed teddy bear that he'd named Grassy.

 

The conversation had moved on - mainly to Ginny and Millicent's relationship, as the younger girl was sitting on her lap and Millicent had her fingers in her hair. 

 

Hermione had her face pressed against the window and was talking intently to Blaise, who had slid into Lupin's vacated seat. Ron - who was next to Blaise - Neville, Ginny, and Millicent were discussing the relationship, and Harry just stayed across from Draco, cheek pressed against the wall, tapping his fingers anxiously against his knee.

 

Draco leaned forward. "Harry. You okay?"

 

"Hm? Yeah, I'm fine, yeah," he said unconvincingly, brushing a lock of curly hair out of his eyes. His yellow t-shirt hung off his frame slightly as he leaned forward.

 

"Two out of ten. Only slightly better than 'I'm not petrified.'"

 

"Thanks, I think. That was honestly a terrible excuse."

 

"It really wa- wait, I'm prying. Harry, what's wrong?"

 

"Besides having a killer after me?"

 

Draco scrutinised him for several seconds. "...yeah, besides that."

 

"Besides my aunt and uncle being abusive as sholes?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Besides watching my entire world and general sense of self crumble down around me while I'm helpless to do anything but watch?"

 

"...you okay?"

 

"No."

 

"Wanna talk about it?"

 

"Yeah." He stayed quiet for several seconds before saying, "my life's falling apart. I blew up my aunt, a murderer is after me, I'm bi and it's not safe to come out, I don'tevenknowwhatmygenderisanymoreandIcan'thandlenotknowinganythingaboutmyself."

 

"...would it be mean of me to just say 'big mood?'"

 

"Nah."

 

"Big mood. Anyway. D'you wanna talk about... any of that? Especially the last bit?"

 

"I know I'm at least part boy. But that other part. I mean I considered saying I was bigender. But that doesn't feel all right? Like sometimes I feel more girl-y and sometimes not so much? And - ugh. I don't know. I'm never 100% female but I'm never 100% male either."

 

"So you're like... genderfluid but part of it doesn't change, you mean?"

 

"Exactly. Is there even a word for that?"

 

"Bigenderflux, maybe? Or boyflux? Bigenderfluid...? I don't really know, buddy. What pronouns do you want to use?"

 

"I don't mind they or he," he said, "or she. Actually I don't really care at all."

 

"M'kay. And do you still want to go by Harry?"

 

"Yeah. For now, at least."

 

"Okay. Thanks, by the way."

 

"For what ?!"

 

"I dunno," Draco said, because now that he'd thought about it, it sounded dumb. "For trusting me?"

 

Harry shrugged. "Of course, bro."

 

Draco smiled lightly. 

 

"You're wearing short sleeves," Harry noted quietly. 

 

"Yeah." Draco stretched out his arms to reveal the flowers that Blaise had drawn and that he'd coloured over as they faded away.

 

"Blaise?" Harry guessed.

 

"Yep. It made vacation so much easier."

 

"Merlin, I bet. Are you... doing okay? With this?" He gestured to Draco's arms and shrugged.

 

Draco contemplated his answer. The truth was no, he was doing terribly, but he didn't want to say that. 

 

But he didn't want to lie, either.

 

He thought of the way that when the train jolted and he was jammed into the wall, he winced because of the healing scars underneath his shorts.

 

"Not really," he admitted.

 

"I'm sorry," said Harry quietly. "Anything I can do to help?"

 

"Not really," he said again.

 

"Okay," said Harry. "You want a chocolate frog?"

 

"Hell yeah," he said, reaching out his hand. Harry gave it to him and grinned as he tore open the package and took a huge bite.

 

After he finished chewing, Harry said, "you have chocolate right here," and leaned forward and wiped it off his lip. Draco found himself shivering, which was stupid, it wasn't cold anymore and it couldn't have anything to do with Harry... right?

 

Harry was blushing. "Sorry," he said.

 

"No- it's okay- it's fine-" Draco stuttered.

 

"Oi, Draco," Millicent called, and he'd never been so glad to hear her voice, "I need your advice. Is it gay for two girls to make out?"

 

"Nope," said Draco. "Not at all. It's very straight, in fact."

 

"Harry?"

 

"Agreed."

 

"Thank you for your time," she said as she rested her chin on Ginny's shoulder.

 

"They're so cute together," Harry speculated.

 

"They really are," said Draco. 

 

I wish that was us.

Chapter Text

Draco dragged his suitcases up the stairs and into his bed in the boy's room. His dysphoria had been bothering him all day, but now it was so much worse, and all he wanted to do was sleep or maybe throw himself off a cliff.

 

Blaise came up after, his bag grating against the ground. "You okay?" He asked.

 

The door opened again and Theodore Nott came in, his bags levitating a couple centimetres above the ground. 

 

"Hey. Mira, or whatever you're going by now?"

 

"Draco," he supplied.

 

"Look, I didn't really get this whole transgender thing when you first started sleeping in here. But I've watched you since first year, and the change is so clear. You're way more confident now. So I'm still kinda confused, but I definitely believe you now."

 

"Thanks. I think," Draco said.

 

"I did some reading online about it too, because you seemed so happy and I wanted to understand. So... thanks. For helping me get it."

 

With a great amount of emotional energy, he sat up.

 

"Is there anything I can explain?"

 

"Um, actually yeah. I was wondering how non-binary genders work? Like, how do we know they're real? I don't wanna be rude, I just don't get it."

 

"Well," said Draco, weighing his words carefully, "the easy answer is that sex is in your pants and gender is in your head. But it's a lot more complicated than that. Like, most cisgender - non-trans - boys have a deep and strong sense of being a guy. Trans guys feel the same, but we have bodies that people label as female and are treated as such. Now some people just don't feel that at all, or they have a deep sense of not having a gender. It's hard to explain, but... like, if someone asks you how many eyes you have-" Theo laughed at that "-you'd say two. Because that's how many you have. And if that person insisted you had to have either 3 eyes or just one, you'd think they were crazy. So that's how non-binary people feel when people say they can only be a girl or a boy. Does that make any sense at all?"

 

Theo nodded. "Yeah. It makes loads more sense now. Thanks, man."

 

"No problem."

 

++

 

23:00 found him staring up at the ceiling, too dysphoric and anxious to sleep and too depressed to get out of bed.

 

Midnight found him the same way, and he crept out of bed and into the common room, sweatpants dragging along the floor.

 

01:00 found him lying on the sofa, head aching slightly as he tried every trick he knew to get to sleep.

 

02:00 had him pacing the floors in front of the fireplace, and he couldn't help but hear an exchanging of words coming from a few levels up, but they were too faint to make out.

 

03:00 met him lying on the couch, defeated, staring at the ceiling trying not to think.

 

04:00 left him an exhausted mess, crumpled up on the couch, having fallen to sleep only moments before.

 

++

 

When he stumbled into the Great Hall at seven in the morning, still half asleep, it took him a moment to find his table and another to realise that Harry was already there and another to realise: holy shit, woah .

 

Harry's hair was messier than normal, sticking up in a messy afro. Candlelight flickered across his skin and illuminated his eyes and the little freckles he'd somehow gained over the summer. His shirt hung off his frame and showed off a bit of his waistline while he yawned, as it was slightly too small on him.

 

"G'morning," he mumbled.

 

"Morning," said Draco back, barely breathing. GodshitfuckwhyisHarrysohot -

 

"Looking really masculine today, my guy. D'you want porridge?"

 

"Yes?" Maybe I am looking masculine today . "How are you so awake right now?" How are you so hot right now ?

 

"I had coffee." Harry began scooping out some porridge and topped it with a bit of fruit before handing it to him.

 

"Thanks," Draco said.

 

Blaise coughed less-than-subtly and reached over for some toast.

 

"Sorry," said Draco immediately.

 

"No problem."

 

Barely seconds later, his phone vibrated against his skin.

 

Blaise: how much are you willing to pay to keep me from telling harry what that Look you just made meant ???

 

Draco just flipped him the bird and took a bite of his porridge.

Chapter Text

The History club was packed with people, both the regulars in the third year, the regulars in year two, and the new first years. He could hear the chatter all around of all the kids.

"Hey, um, hi," said Harry, who was standing in the middle of the room with a microphone. People turned at the sound of his voice.

"Hey, um, I s'pose most of you know me, but I'm Harry Potter and... yeah, um, this is our history club. If you're a first year, um, come over here with the third years, and the second years, you guys know what to do, right?"

General murmurs of assent from the second years.

"Mkay." Harry directed his attention to the first years. "As you may have heard, Professor Binns can be incredibly, uh, not at all interesting, so in my first year, we made this club to make History of Magic actually interesting. So we made this club so we can, y'know, actually learn things. We'll - me, Hermione, Ron, Draco, Blaise, and Millicent - will lead you guys for the first couple weeks, and the you can pick your own leaders. Sound good?"

General murmurs of assent from the first years.

"Okay! So first of all, if you were born in January to June, you're on one side, and July to December, you're on the other."

++

The History club ended late after a heated discussion on racist laws in the ministry of magic. Draco dragged himself down the stairs to his dorm, his bag slung over one shoulder. Harry walked with him, his robes falling down like a waterfall of fabric.

"Good night," he said quietly once they reached the Slytherin dorms.

"Night," Draco murmured back.

++

Harry's touch made him shiver as he ran his fingers over Draco's skin. He let out a slight moan as Harry's lips touched his neck and pressed himself closer to Harry, who in return pressed him against the cold stone wall and kept kissing him...

His first thought upon waking up was what the hell?

His second was I am irrevocably and completely fucked.

He sat up, rubbing his eyes and shifting slightly. It was cold. He pulled his arms closer to him and shivered.

The clock next to him read 05:19. He sighed and pried himself from his bed - it was close enough to 05:45, and maybe he'd have time for a shower...

He'd need a shower for the distraction if nothing else, he pondered as he got his stuff together and stumbled down the stairs.

Shit. He was going the wrong way. The Slytherin showers were still down.

He turned around, took a 180, and headed towards the Gryffindor commons room.

When he entered, he sensed motion, and, not wanting to be interrogated on why there was a third-year Slytherin in the Gryffindor common room, he kept his head down, but-

"Sorry, mate."

Harry. It had to be Harry, of course it did.

"Sorry - I was just going to - take a shower."

"Me too, actually." Harry gestured to the towel flung over his shoulder. "Unless you wanna join me?"

Draco found himself suddenly unable to form sentences as he stuttered, "I- th- Jesus- Harry it's five in the goddamn morning."

"I'm just messing with you, pal. Are you gonna be using the guy's stalls or the girls'?"

"Honestly? I didn't think that far ahead."

"You can use the guy's shower with me, then - well, not with me with me, but with me, y'know, - nevermind. Um. I'll make sure it's safe whenever you wanna come out."

"Thanks, man," said Draco, even though his mind was already spinning with all the ways everything could go wrong.

The two of them entered, Harry first, and he said, "Are you gonna fight me for the big shower?"

"Yep," said Draco. "Let's go. I'm ready."

"Wait, I don't wanna accidentally hurt you-"

"Your sympathy will be your weakness," Draco joked, pitching his voice down like an action movie villain.

"Sympathy is not my weakness. But apathy is yours," Harry quipped back.

Shaking his head, Draco put his stuff down and got ready for a shower.

Chapter Text

Draco's hand ached. Barely a week into the new school year and he had a five foot - five foot! - Potions essay from Snape. 

 

On his left sat Hermione, scrawling down something and grinning. She was in her element.

 

On his right was Ron, who was flipping lazily through a Muggle book and poking Harry to ask what words like electricity and president meant. Harry was drawing on a spare bit of parchment, looking like he'd rather be anywhere but in that library.

 

Next to Hermione was Blaise, who looked like he was in extreme pain but was still writing down words, ignoring his glazed eyes. 

 

Millicent was chugging something from a water bottle, and as her writing got sloppier, Draco decided his motto for the situation was live and let live.

 

Draco tugged at a lock of hair and bit back a scream. He slipped his phone out of his pocket and glanced covertly at its screen, telling Ron exactly where he thought Snape could put his five foot essay. When Ron got the message, he snorted and grinned at Draco over the mess of textbooks.

 

He glanced over at Harry, who was slipping an earbud up through his hoodie. Harry saw him looking and winked at him. Draco blushed and went back to his paper, trying to name another potion that could have prolonged the life of Wendelin the Weird. 

 

"Draco," Hermione hissed. "We gotta get this done."

 

As though fate had heard her speak the dreaded words, the door opened and Megan from Hufflepuff came in, followed by Dylan MacIntyre, Ki, and Marie, three seventh-year Gryffindors.

 

"Hey," said Megan. "Potions?"

 

"Sadly yes," Draco sighed.

 

"Can I join?"

 

"Yeah, of course," said Hermione. "You could sit by me?"

 

"Okay," said Megan, smiling a little as Hermione shifted her stuff.

 

"Dylan, Ki, Marie...?" Harry said, but it was more of a question.

 

"We're here for moral support. Or I am. Ki and Marie are just here to study being lesbians."

 

"Oh, I'm good at that," Millicent quipped.

 

"You go, Mills," said Ki, finger-gunning at her.

 

Draco grinned, shook his head, and got back to work.

 

Dylan collapsed on the end of the table, his phone in his hand in a second. Draco rolled his eyes, because yeah, that was going to help him focus.

 

Dylan: hey

Ki: dylan pls theyre tryna work

Harry: im not??

Hermione: I am

Draco: spoilsport

<Megan has been added to the groupchat>

Megan: i thought you guys were trying to work?

Hermione: ...I was

Millicent: iw asqt frist ans now km not

Blaise: are you drunk again

Millicent: i kneo yod are bit whdy amni

Marie: you're too young to drink

Ron: that's what she said

Draco: that doesnt even make any sense

Ki: i think hes drunk too

Ki: wait blaise u use he/him rihht ?

Blaise: yea

Ki: k k just checking

Hermione: I USE SHE / HER AND I'M TRANS

Draco: and not at all shy about it ,

Draco: i use he/him and im also trans

Harry: i use any pronouns and i think im bigender?????

Millicent: *werites that doown in myn notbdbokk bc im a reoproter* she/jer

Marie: i assume you mean her?? (I also use she/her)

Ron: he/him over here nd also @harry are you still gonna go by that??

Draco: uve been reading for a while. Bro i didn't even know u could read

Ki: i use she or they and also DRACO NIIIICE

Megan: she/her but i dont mind ze/hir or they/them

Harry: yeah @ron, also it took me a while to respond bc im DOING MY HW LIKE YALL SHOULD BE

Millicent: ssory im too bhsy driosnung my sorrows

Ki: tiny third years get yalls work done

 

Draco grinned at her and went back to his work, albeit with many distractions as his phone buzzed. He tugged his sleeves up to his elbows and kept working, scrawling down a couple words in a desperate attempt to keep himself involved.

 

Hermione shifted and leaned against his shoulder, a book resting on her knees as she scribbled out a couple more words.

 

He was in the middle of admiring Hermione's educational stamina when she passed him a note and he realised she wasn't nearly as nerdy as he'd been thinking. 

 

Draco - are you ever gonna admit to your crush on Harry?? - H

 

Hermione - what crush on harry?? - D

 

he scrawled back, dropping the paper over her shoulder onto the book.

 

D - It's so obvious, just admit it - H

 

H - He wouldn't like me back anyway - D

 

He immediately regretted his word choice. The point of this conversation was not to admit to feelings that may or may not have been there.

 

 How would you know that without asking?? - H

 

Hermione in what alternate world do people like me? - D

 

Dude, please, you know that second year with the dip dyed hair? She's got the biggest crush on you. Don't date her though she's a jerk. I bet if you asked Harry he'd say yes - H

 

It's not going to happen, Hermione- D

 

Please? - H

 

No???? - D

 

Wait, I thought there wasn't a crush on Harry to refuse to talk about... - H

 

I hope you get a potato stuck up your anus - D

 

Omg - H

 

Heard that one this summer & had to use it on someone - D

 

That's wonderful - H

 

I know right???? -  D

 

Wait, you're confessing your feelings- H

 

Nothing to confess to, my girl - D

 

Yeah there is, my guy - H

 

I wouldn't know of a crush if it slapped me across the face - D

 

Didn't know you were in to that - H

 

HERMIONE JEAN GRANGER - D

 

Yes?? - H

 

Ughhhhhhh - D

 

++

 

Draco shoved a bite of Jell-O somewhere near his mouth and jotted down a couple more meaningless words. He was really beginning to wish he'd actually done this in the library.

 

Next to him, Millicent was staring at her essay in horror. 

 

"How drunk was I?"

 

"No clue. What was in the bottle?"

 

"Honestly? No clue."

 

"Millicent..."

 

"Don't even start." He added another useless adjective and grabbed a ruler. "Four feet, ten inches..."

 

"Write a little bigger," suggested Millicent.

 

"Potato," he responded, not even bothering to go for the whole insult as he slammed down his quill.

 

"Having trouble?" Blaise smirked over his porridge. 

 

"I hate both of you."

 

As Blaise opened his mouth to respond, the Great Hall hushed, and the three of them turned to find the source of the disturbance.

 

Pansy Parkinson.

 

She flounced in, looking incredibly proud of herself, hair pulled back in a ponytail, smirk on her face.

 

Lilac, her older sister, immediately got up to leave the room. Draco knew the feeling.

 

Murmurs began to spread throughout the hall and presumably people took it as an okay to talk. Pansy continued walking towards the Slytherin table. As she approached, her smirk became a little less pronounced. Maybe she'd become less arrogant and obnoxious throughout the time she'd been gone.

 

She sat down across from Draco, Blaise, and Millicent and said, "I see you're all just as useless as the last time I saw you."

 

Or maybe not.

Chapter Text

Hermione and Megan were deep in a conversation that he couldn't quite hear, and neither could Blaise, but the two of them were speculating wildly about what was being said.

 

"Hermione's pregnant," suggested Blaise.

 

"Blaise, do you ever think before you speak?"

 

"We have magic, you absolute salted apricot."

 

"Did you just call me a salted apricot?"

 

"Yes."

 

"...anyway. I think Megan's gotten a really bad disease and Hermione is trying to cure it."

 

"Singlehandedly?"

 

"Yep."

 

"No, no, wait, Megan's a half blood, right?"

 

"Yeah..."

 

Blaise grinned. "Obviously they're talking about a Muggle TV show!"

 

"Wait, no, Megan's IN the TV show."

 

"Hermione's the director."

 

"That's it!"

 

"That's definitely what's going on." The two boys grinned at each other.  Just then, Hermione looked their way, and Megan's eyes followed.

 

"Hey boys," called Hermione. The two of them took it as a sign to come over and sat across from the two girls. "So did you guys know about Harry being bigender?"

 

Blaise shook his head, and Draco knew he should have too - it was what they expected, after all - but he nodded slowly.

 

"When'd he tell you?" Hermione asked

 

"On the train."

 

"Ah, okay. You should really tell him, you know."

 

"Tell him what?"

 

"You're a bad liar, we all know-" Hermione began.

 

"Hermione, I have about 14 contacts in my phone and if you attempt to say that phrase again I'll have about 13."

 

"Draco-"

 

"Shhhh."

 

Megan laughed at that, just a little. “Anyway. Anyway, Hermione had an idea.”

 

“Oh, right! So basically, everyone in our friend group is queer. Well, I dunno about Ron, but I’m pretty sure he’s bi, even if he doesn’t know it yet. But anyway. There’s probably a lot more of us - I mean, we managed to coincidentally lump together, which means there must be more, or this is really freaking unlikely, but I’m going for the first option. So my idea - we make a group for the queer kids here at Hogwarts. Just to hang out someplace they’ll know they belong, y’know?”

 

Blaise was nodding enthusiastically. “Like no one here is homophobic, but it’s nice to be around people you know will understand the struggle of being a guy who likes guys.” His voice cracked significantly on the first ‘guy,’ and Draco found himself wishing that could be him.

 

“Exactly! And it would give people a chance to talk about things related to their identities. We could have like a clothes swap and little like, therapy sessions for kids too! And support networks for people with unsupportive families!”

 

Draco grinned. “I think that would be great. We should do it.”

 

“How would we… how would we get that started, though?” asked Megan.

 

“I’m sure we could just ask Dumbledore. He’s gay after all, I honestly think he’d appreciate it,” said Blaise.

 

“Dumbledore’s gay?” Draco asked.

 

“Yeah,” said Blaise. “Theodore Nott told me, and his mom told him.”

 

“Ah. Cool, so he’d be chill with it,” said Draco.

 

“I think it would be nice to have a support group of people who understand what you’re going through. So you can talk openly about things,” said Megan.

 

“Do you wanna help?” asked Hermione. “I know you’re good with art and planning stuff. I remember from second year.”

 

“Sure,” said Megan, looking touched.

 

“So we’ll need posters, a schedule that works around Quidditch, Oliver would kill us if it didn’t, and a place to meet.”

 

“We could hold it in Myrtle’s bathroom,” Megan deadpanned, and it took them all a second to realise what she’d said. When they did, they all laughed.

 

“We could always use the Room, but I’m starting to think we should keep that a secret,” Blaise said.

 

“We could hold it outside when it’s not raining… except we’re in Europe, it’s always raining.”

 

“We could ask a teacher to loan us their classroom. Maybe not Dumbledore, because y’know, it’s his office, but… are there any other openly queer teachers here?” asked Hermione.

 

Draco wracked his mind but came up with nothing. He saw Megan give a slight shrug.

 

“There’s always McGonagall, I heard she was in a relationship with a girl,” suggested a voice behind them. Draco turned and saw Harry. “Hi.”

 

“Hey, Harry.” Draco slid closer to Blaise to make room and Harry sat down next to them. “So, what are we talking about.”

 

“Queer club at Hogwarts. Where would we hold it?”

 

“Hagrid’s hut.”

 

“I honestly can’t tell if you’re kidding,” said Draco.

 

“I’m not. Hagrid’s an ally.”

 

“It might be a bit small,” said Hermione. “Not up-and-down-wise, but y’know…”

 

“It is a bit small,” Harry conceded.

 

“Isn’t Professor Sprout a lesbian or something?” asked Megan.

 

“Maybe. And the gardens are peaceful…” said Hermione.

 

“Uh… Trelawney is aro-ace, or at least I think I heard that?” Blaise suggested.

 

“I could maybe ask,” Harry said. “Uh… nope, I’m out. Can’t we just ask Dumbledore?”

 

“Probably. Yeah, no, we should,” said Draco.

 

“But first,” said Hermione, lifting her fork dramatically, “lunch.”

Chapter Text

“Neville’s boggart - the thing he is scared of most in the world - is Snape. That’s royally fucked, isn’t it?” Ron asked quietly.

 

“I s’pose,” said Draco.

 

Everyone elbowed their way into a line - had Professor Lupin said something? - and the first in line began attempting a Riddikulus.

 

Blaise was the first of his friends to go. He stood at the front of the line, trembling slightly. He looked like he had no idea what was going on. Draco didn’t blame him.

 

The snail morphed slowly into a scene of people - most wouldn’t be able to place them due to the oddness of their faces that made one want to look away - but Draco could. One was him. There was Millicent and the Red Trio there too. They shouted indecipherable words that made Blaise shrink away. Draco could barely make out the words freak and disgusting.

 

Weakly, as Lupin looked ready to take on the Boggart himself, Blaise stuttered out a riddikulus. Party hats appeared on the figures’ heads, and Blaise let out a fake chuckle and bolted out of the line.

 

Five more people went and then Millicent was up. Hers morphed into a tall black woman with shaved hair and a brush in one hand. She said something, again indistinct, and Millicent shouted out Riddikulus, and the lady now had the torso of a bear. Millicent laughed slightly and joined Blaise by the wall.

 

It took seven more people to get to Ron, whose worst fear was a spider. Draco’s anxiety bubbled up. He still was unsure what his boggart would be.

 

It shifted into a foggy form that grew more and more clear.

 

Himself.

 

But - older?

 

Older, and still female.

 

Two more figures became clear, one his mother, one his father. His father had a death grip on his shoulder and his mother just looked sad.

 

“We didn’t raise you like this,” said his dad quietly.

 

“But - dad-“

 

“No, Mira, no excuses. You were our Christian daughter. You’re a lovely girl. You won’t do this to us. The Dark Lord does not approve when His servants do this.”

 

“Dad, this is who I’ve always been.”

 

“Mira, you are thirty-two years old. I’d think you’d be over this phase for now. Either you become the daughter we’ve known you as, or you leave this family.”

 

He couldn’t make this funny he couldn’t make this funny he couldn’t make this funny his parents would hate him he knew that was what would happen he knew he would never be loved by them not really not unconditionally and once they found out who he was they’d disown him they wouldn’t love him they wouldn’t love him they couldn’t love someone like him and he felt someone brush against him and saw someone stand in front of that person

 

That person was Harry, at least he assumed from the Gryffindor robes, and the person in front was tall - probably Lupin, then.

 

“Let’s take a walk,” murmured Harry, an arm around Draco’s shoulder.

 

The two young teens left the room and Draco tried to ignore the tears welling up in his eyes, stinging his eyelids.

 

“Hey. What happened? It was all blurry; we couldn’t see.”

 

Draco bit his lip. “Can I have water?”

 

“Sure,” said Harry, surprised. He pulled a water bottle out of his bag and Draco took a swig.

 

“I saw myself at thirty-two and my parents were going to disown me for being trans and I hadn’t transitioned yet and I looked so sad and I knew they’d never be able to love me.”

 

Harry took both his hands. “Draco. Draco, you know that you’ll be able to transition and if your parents are good people, they’ll accept you.”

 

“I- fuck, Harry, I’m scared.”

 

“I would be too.”

 

Draco finally let the tears spill over his cheeks and wished idly for the first time since first year that his hair was longer so he could hide the tears. As it was, he couldn’t, and Harry just wrapped an arm around him and let him cry. Draco just tried to control the amount of fluids coming from his face.

 

“Hey. Hey, Draco, it’s okay,” said Harry, which started the tears over - he didn’t deserve anyone like this beautiful teenager with his pink lipstick and wild messy hair.

 

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled.

 

“Don’t be sorry. It’s okay. You’re shaken up, I get it.”

 

Draco wiped his face on the sleeve of his robe in an undignified manner. “I just - I didn’t want to think about my parents.”

 

“For the record, Draco? I think you’re really brave.”

 

Draco shoved his sleeves up to his arms and pushed his hair out of his face. “Well. That makes one of us.”

 

“Hopefully someday there’ll be two of us in this hallway.”

 

“Hermione’s coming?”

 

Harry laughed. “I mean, yes. But I meant you.”

Chapter Text

“My boggart lady? That’s a funny story,” said Millicent sardonically.

 

“Would you care to elaborate on that?” Blaise asked.

 

“Well, she’s my mom.” Millicent twisted one of her box braids around her finger.

 

Draco leaned against the wall. God, he loved this girl and he loved this boy, he loved both of them.

 

“And your mom is your boggart?” Blaise prompted.

 

Millicent took a long gulp of her firewhisky. “Seems like it.”

 

The plan had been - with complete consent - this: get Millicent drunk enough to explain her boggart to the Green trio.

 

This was her fifth firewhisky.

 

“Why is that, Mills?” asked Draco quietly.

 

“Cause. She-“ Millicent’s voice cut out.

 

“Not drunk enough?” Blaise asked.

 

Millicent chugged the rest of the bottle and reached for her sixth in response.

 

“Give me a second - god.”

 

“Can I maybe have some?” asked Draco, only half joking. He was gonna need something to get out of this conversation alive.

 

“Go ahead,” Millicent slurred.

 

Draco chugged a bit and gagged. It was called firewhisky for a reason, apparently.

 

“Drunk off your ass yet?” commented Blaise lightly. He was taking this all in stride and Draco had yet to figure out how.

 

“Why shouldn’t my boggart be my abuser?” slurred Millicent. “She can hit me and rape me and curse at me and I can’t have a fucking boggart?”

 

“Well fuck,” Blaise said.

 

“Well fuck,” Millicent repeated. “I hate her so goddamn much.” She chugged the rest of her sixth and grabbed a seventh.

 

“Slow down,” said Draco. “You’re gonna drink yourself sick.”

 

“This’s why I was drunk in first year. You get. You get that. That. From. You get that from-“

 

“Take your time,” said Blaise sarcastically.

 

“Sexual abuse and physical and verbal abuse since your first age. Is that what I was- I don’t even know what I was saying.”

 

“Are you, like… not okay, obviously, but… coping?”

 

“I’ve not thrown up since a while.”

 

“…So that’s a no?”

 

“She’s drunk off her ass at ten pm, Draco.”

 

“God, that’s a fair point.” He attempted another sip of the firewhisky. It didn’t burn as much this time.

 

“I’m gonna have such a hangover,” Millicent commented. “Did you know she got me hooked on weed since age 3?”

 

“Someone should probably get you out of that house,” suggested Draco.

 

“When’d you get off it?”

 

“Age ten. Never really fuckin’ figured anything out though. Still not coping well. It’s whatever.”

 

“I fucking hate her too,” said Draco.

 

“Me too,” said Blaise, somehow the only sober person in the group.

 

“I wanna go to sleep,” said Millicent.

 

“I don’t think - can you even walk?”

 

“Of course I can walk!” said Millicent, standing up, taking a few steps, and promptly falling onto the couch.

 

“I’ll carry her to bed,” said Blaise.

 

“I’ll throw out the bottles.”

 

“We’ll talk about this in the morning. Probably.” Blaise said to Millicent.

 

“Can’t wait. Xoxo.”

 

“…goodnight, Millicent,” said Draco.

 

++

 

Hungover, tired, depressed, anxious, and ready to die? It’s more likely than you think, Draco thought. Apparently getting pissed wasn’t the best way to deal with his problems after all.

 

He’d let this all happen. Everything with Millicent. Before and now. He’d messed up real bad.

 

It was hard to think over the headache but these thoughts stayed with him, even as he chugged some water and practiced what a mentally healthy person would call self care. Meaning he put a drop of water on his face and called it a shower, ate one cracker and threw it up, and lied down in bed to watch Netflix for a couple hours.

 

You couldn’t save her you couldn’t save her you couldn’t save her. The thoughts wouldn’t leave him alone.

 

He reached into his bedside drawer and pulled out what he’d been looking for: a small blade from a pencil sharpener.

 

He reached under the covers to his boxer shorts and let himself relapse.

 

No one has to know.

 

++

 

He stumbled down for dinner and managed to eat three crackers.

 

“How hungover are you?” asked Harry.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Do you need water?”

 

“I could drink an entire bathtubfull of it and still be thirsty.”

 

Wordlessly, Harry passed him the goblet.

Chapter Text

The Green trio, the Red trio, Megan, Dylan, Ki, Su, and Marie all came along to ask Dumbledore about the queer club.

 

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Dumbledore thoughtfully. 

 

“We just haven’t got a place to hold meetings, sir,” said Ki.

 

“Hm,” said Dumbledore, nodding wisely again. “I believe, were you to ask Professor Lupin or Professor Sprout, you’d find two people willing to host this club. When were you thinking of meeting?”

 

“Weekly on Mondays, from 20 hours to 22 hours,” said Hermione.

 

“You’ve really got this all planned out,” commented Dumbledore. Draco nodded anxiously, attempting to make himself nod wisely and probably making himself a fool.

 

“Thank you, sir,” said Millicent.

 

“You’re welcome, Millicent. All things considered, I think this is a wonderful idea.”

 

“So we can do it?” asked Blaise.

 

“Yes, you may.”

 

“Yes!” Draco cheered, pumping a fist before he could stop himself. Dumbledore chuckled.

 

++

 

He was bent over his paper, quickly scrawling down diet coke for his and Megan’s list of foods for the club.

 

“We have chips on there, right?” he asked, sliding her the other paper.

 

 Megan scanned the list. “Yep. Corn chips, potato, and blue corn.”

 

“And we have candies?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“All right.” He reached for his paper and scrawled down candies.

 

“We have pastries?”

 

“Only brownies.”

 

“Cinnamon rolls and Rice Krispy treats?”

 

“I don’t think Rice Krispy treats count as pastries, but sure,” said Draco amiably. Megan smiled a bit and dragged her thumb over the paper. “Can I ask something?”

 

“Sure, shoot,” said Draco, leaning back and trying to appear more relaxed than he really was.

 

“How do you feel about nonbinary people who don’t have dysphoria?”

 

Draco contemplated his answer for a second. “I’m jealous of them, honestly. Dysphoria sucks ass. But besides that I do think they’re ‘actually’ trans, if that’s what you’re trying to ask.”

 

“Yeah, thanks.”

 

“Can I ask why you asked?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“…so why do you ask?” Draco asked, chuckling a little.

 

“Your local Megan may or may not have a gender.”

 

“Cool. So what pronouns?”

 

“They or she,” said Megan.

 

Megan, they, Megan, they. “Got it.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“Nah, it’s no problem. So I’ll be seeing you at the club I guess.”

 

“Definitely.”

 

“Can I ask if you’re… if you like girls, like guys, like enbies…”

 

“All of the above, but I lean heavily towards girls.”

 

“M’kay. Any specific girls?” Draco grinned and leaned forward, resting his chin on his fist, smirking.

 

“Shove off, Malfoy.”

 

“Resorting to last names now, Jones?”

 

They smirked. “Guess we are.”

 

“So I suppose there are any specific girls, by your reaction…”

 

“Malfoy, what have I told you about shoving off?”

 

“I’m supposed to do that…” he said, mock-ashamed.

 

“What about you? Girls, guys, enbies?”

 

“All of the above. No real preference I guess.”

 

“Any specific interests?” It was Megan’s turn to smirk.

 

“I like listening to music. And learning is cool-“

 

“I meant person-wise.”

 

“I dunno, depends if you feel like telling me who this mystery girl is.”

 

“Are we gonna make a pinky promise or anything?” asked Megan. “Your favourite nonbinary sapphic has trust issues.”

 

“Wait, are you agender or a different…?”

 

“Agender. Don’t change the topic. Pinky promise?”

 

Draco laughed a little and linked pinkies with them. “You first, though.”

 

“You gotta promise not to tell her!” said Megan as they stood up and nodded out the window towards the Herbology gardens. “We’re going for a walk.”

 

The two of them wandered out of the castle and Megan sighed. “It’s pretty out.”

 

“So the girl.”

 

“You’re not gonna tell her, right?”

 

“No!”

 

“You’re sure?”

 

“I’m sure.”

 

“Merlin, okay. It’s Hermione.”

 

Draco gaped. “Wait like - Hermione Hermione?”

 

“Not a very common name, is it?”

 

“Point taken.”

 

“And yours?”

 

“May or may not be Harry Potter.”

 

“As in Boy-Who-Lived Harry Potter?”

 

“That’d be the one.”

 

“I can see that working out.”

 

Draco grinned a little more than he’d care to ever admit.

 

“All right, get that stupid grin off your face, I think I’m gonna be sick. Let’s go inside.”

 

++

 

Harry James Potter with his curly brown hair and brilliant green eyes and freckles dotting his cheeks. Harry’s hands with the pale blue nail polish, apparently his go-to colour now. Harry with his smile and his laugh and his voice.

 

He really shouldn’t feel like this, especially for a boy who was one of his best friends.

 

But here he was. Thirteen years old and completely and falling so hard for his friend.

 

++

 

“I can’t believe this is actually happening,” Ki said as the eleven Queer Club founders spread the candies and food out on Professor Lupin’s desk.

 

“Pronoun tags? Yes? No? What did we decide?” asked Su.

 

“Yes,” said Hermione from where she was standing on her toes to hang a banner.

 

Lupin was standing in the corner, smiling a bit. Draco smiled at him. it must be nice, he pondered, seeing kids who accepted each other without question.

 

“Yo, Drake.”

 

“Do not ever call me that again,” he told Dylan.

 

The other boy snorted. “Some help with the sodas?”

 

“Yeah, sure.”

 

++

 

Hermione recorded each person’s name as they came in, along with their year, and pointed them to Ki, who was giving them name and pronoun badges.

 

First years: Kate Piper 

Second years: Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood

Third years: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, Millicent Bulstrode, Megan Jones, Su Li, Megan Jones

Fourth years: Cho Chang

Fifth years: Fred Weasley, George Weasley

Sixth years: Freddie Larson, Lilac Parkinson

Seventh years: Dylan MacIntyre, Ki Smith, Marie Arsell, Percy Weasley

 

“Now you obviously don’t have to say if you’re uncomfortable with it, but you can say your orientation or gender or whatever, and your pronouns, your name, and your house,” said Dylan. He seemed oddly in his element. “I’ll start, and… if we wanna get in something resembling a circle?”

 

Several people shifted and the circle evened out.

 

“I’m Dylan MacIntyre, he/him, and I’m bi. Oh and I’m a Gryffindor.”

 

 

“I’m Ki Smith, she/her, I’m a trans demigirl lesbian and a Gryffindor.”

 

“Marie Arsell, she/her, I’m a bi lesbian and Ki’s my girlfriend. And I’m in Ravenclaw.”

 

“Kate Piper, she/her, I’m straight and transgender, and I’m a Hufflepuff.”

 

“Ginny Weasley, she/her, I’m trans and bi. And a Gryffindor.”

 

“Luna Lovegood. She, ze, or they. I’m trans, intersex, genderfluid, and bi. I’m in Ravenclaw.”

 

“Hermione Granger, she/her, trans and bi, Gryffindor.”

 

“Megan Jones, they/them, I’m agender and pan but I lean towards girls. Oh, and I’m a Hufflepuff.”

 

“Ron Weasley, he/him, um, I don’t really know but I’m a Gryffindor.”

 

“Millicent Bulstrode, she/her, I’m very gay and very Slytherin.”

 

“Harry Potter, any pronouns are fine, I’m bigender and bisexual, and I’m in Gryffindor.”

 

“Draco Malfoy, he/him, um, I’m trans and bi and a Slytherin.”

 

“I’m Blaise, he/him, I’m gay and I’m a Slytherin.”

 

“Su Li, she/her, I’m aro-ace and I’m in Ravenclaw.”

 

“Cho Chang, she/her, I’m bi and aro and in Ravenclaw.”

 

“Fred Weasley, he or they, I’m a pan demiboy. I’m a Gryffindor.”

 

“George Weasley, he/him, and I’m ace and also a Gryffindor.”

 

“Percy Weasley, they/them, I’m genderfluid and I like guys. I’m the Gryffindor head Boy which can kind of suck on girl days.”

 

“Freddie Larson, he/him, I’m gay and I’m a Slytherin.”

 

“Lilac Parkinson, she/her, I’m a lesbian and a Slytherin.”

 

Dylan was smiling. “This is good! This is really good. We won’t have like, deep conversations every week, sometimes we’ll just hang out, but just for an icebreaker, best experience that has to do with being not-straight or not-cis? Or just a good part about it. You can always skip.”

 

“I’ll start,” said Hermione. The group had rehearsed who was starting what. “I’m Hermione again, and mine is when I started oestrogen this summer.”

 

“Megan Jones, and mine was when I came out for the first time, uh, a couple days ago.”

 

“I’m gonna skip because I’m confused,” said Ron.

 

“My girlfriend and I getting together was good,” said Millicent.

 

“I’m her girlfriend,” called Ginny.

 

“I can’t really pinpoint anything,” said Harry.

 

“Hermione cut my hair in our first year right after I came out, and helped me pick my name, so that was fun,” Draco said.

 

“I’m Blaise and boys. Boys are the best part of being gay.”

 

A couple of the achillean boys grinned in agreement.

 

“Su Li and I’m gonna skip.”

 

“Girls are the best part of being bi,” said Cho.

 

“I agree with Blaise,” said Fred.

 

“Not having romance problems,” said George.

 

“I’m going to skip,” said Percy pompously.

 

“I’m Freddie and I agree with Blaise and Fred.”

 

“Lilac here and I agree with Cho because girls.”

 

“I’m Dylan again, and… getting booted from the girl’s dorm was great.”

 

Draco laughed. “Don’t bring up the time I got booted from the Gryffindor girl’s dorms.”

 

“Wouldn’t dream of it, bud.”

 

“I’m Ki and starting oestrogen is mine.”

 

“Marie and I’m with Lilac and Cho.”

 

“I’m Kate and coming out to my friend Leo was good.”

 

“I’m with Ki and Hermione, and Cho, Lilac, and Kate,” said Ginny, grinning.

 

“I’m Luna. And I think the best part is the lack of Burmphrals in your head is my favourite part.”

 

“I don’t know what that is but me too, Luna,” Ron grinned. 

 

“That was good! I think this is gonna go well. Now I know you’re all here for the food, so… yeah, you can go eat it now.”

Chapter Text

 

Blaise: you can catch me DRINKNIG MY SORROWS AWAY

Millicent: may i

Blaise: dude im having soda calm down

Millicent: oh damn

Blaise: mood

Megan: guys you’re like 12

Blaise: wE’RE 13/14 AND IN YOUR GRADE GO EAT A SHOE

Hermione: Anyone have a spare hug?

Draco: i do why

Hermione: *sings in an off key voice* DYSPHOria

Draco: hugs xoxo

Hermione: no hetero

Draco: lmao no hetero

Blaise: slight hints of hetero in that exchange but it;s okay

Millicent: lmao mood

Megan: y’all

Megan: im thinking for the Official Non Binary Aesthetic

Megan: we use that pic of the girl with the short hair that says ‘not a girl not a boy not your business’

Megan: the pink one

Megan: you know the one

Draco: im ashamed to say i know the one

Harry: yeS

Harry: i fully support this

Harry: wait what about the one thats like the text box w/ “im not interested in being polite or heterosexual”

Megan: u mean the speech bubble one?

Megan: pixely?

Harry: yEs

Megan: yES

Draco: have u noticed all the bi aesthetics have that same pic of the girls kissing w/ the blue/purple/red background

Dylan: YES

Hermione: YES

Harry: YES

Ron: yes

Draco: dude we had an all-caps thing going

Ron: sorry

Ron: YES

Draco: thank u

Ron: you’re welcome

Hermione: You know the one of the boys kissing

Hermione: the pink one

Hermione: with the flowers

Blaise: yes.

Draco: yes.

Harry: yes.

Hermione: is that the Official Gay Guy Aesthetic?

Blaise: absolutely

 

Draco curled up tighter in his blanket. He was in the boy’s dormitories, alone, skipping History Of Magic because the school security was shit and he didn’t care that much anyway.

 

Millicent: i love my gf

Millicent: light of my life

Hermione: We kn o w

Blaise: i love myself

Draco: unrelatable

Hermione: UnFUCKINGrelatable

Dylan: are ya feeling it mister krabs?

Draco: dylan what the fuck

Ki: draco you’re like twelve

Draco: IM ALMSOT 14 FUCK U

Harry: i love chicken nuggets

Ron: what in the hell-balls is a chicken nugget

Megan: RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY

Megan: okay so it’s like chicken right

Megan: but it’s small

Megan: like when you put your thumb and pointer together

Megan: and it has bread crumbs all over it

Megan: it’s a CHILDHOOD STAPLE HOW DO U NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS

Ron: that sounds horrible?

Ron: i hate chicken

Megan: me too?? but it’s good in nugget form??

Megan: mcdonalds mcnuggets are amazing

Megan: catch me sticking seven of them up my asshole

Harry: MEGAN

Draco: MEGAN

Hermione: MEGAN

Ron: MEGAN

Ki: MEGAN

Dylan: ME G A N

Blaise: M E G A N

Millicent: MEGAN WHAT THE FUCK

Marie: MEGAn

Megan: what did i do?

Draco: brb washing my eyes out with blEACH

Draco: what the FUCK

Harry: no im gonna kms thats just too much

Hermione: Look i’m not even gonna yell at harry for that. That was,

Marie: disgusting?

Dylan: gross?

Ron: …ew

Megan: HKJFDKJFHGDJK

Draco: anYWAY

Draco: LET’S TALK ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN MEGAN’S CHICKEN NUGGET KINK

Megan: I DO NOT HAVE A CHICKEN NUGGET KINK

Ron: why’m the fuck

<Ron has removed Megan from the groupchat>

<Megan has been added to the groupchat>

Hermione: Anything?

Hermione: Draco you’re really one to talk

Draco: if this is about the goddamn daddy kink again

Hermione: Yes it is!

Draco: I don’t have a daddy kink

Hermione: You pretty much admitted it end of last year

Draco: dID I?????? DON’T THINK I DID MIONE

Megan: wait what?

Hermione: Draco has a daddy kink

Draco: i do not have a daddy kink

Megan: pro v e i t

Draco: how does one prove that?

Megan: make out with someone who calls you daddy?

Ron: but what if he’s a sub?

Megan: hmm then say daddy while making out

Draco: what in the hells?

Draco: im not making out with ANYONE to prove ANYTHING about a kink i DONT have

 

Draco laughed quietly to himself. Megan and Hermione were two of his favourite people, but god.

 

Megan: so who are you gonna make out with

Draco: nO ON e

Megan: ;) ;) ;)

Ron: wait im confused

Draco: me 2 what the fuck

Harry: me 3 what the fuck

Hermione: I refuse to participate in this what-the-fuck-ery

Ron: DRACO’S GAY FOR HARRY

Draco: THAT JOKE IS LIKE THREE YEARS OLD COME OFF IT

 

He ignored the fact that he’d had several not-quite-SFW dreams about Harry recently. No one needed to know that. Not even him.

 

Ron: context for those of y’all who are confused: in the history club first year draco was getting out of his snowstuff and i commented that he was putting on a strip show for harry so uh fun fact

Megan: why am i not surprised

Ron: because this is completely in character for draco?

Megan: ok point

Draco: uM?????

Megan: yes bud u got a problem

Draco: hHHHHH

Hermione: On a different note anyone know how to cure a sore throat

Dylan: rip it out

Hermione: I am currently taking suggestions from everyone but Dylan

Harry: rip it out

Hermione: I am currently taking suggestions from everyone but Dylan and Harry

Blaise: rip it out

Hermione: I am no longer taking suggestions

 

Draco laughed out loud.

 

It was things like this he needed to feel — not dead inside.

 

Ki: lmao good luck w/ that one Hermione

Hermione: iM tRyInG mY bEsT

Draco: can u believe hermione is in her emo phase

Ron: next shes gonna tell us shes a furry

Millicent: mione is ur fursona a cat?

Hermione: fuck y’all

Draco: asdfjhfkjhdjkhv

Ki: how eloquent

Draco: fuCK YOUR ENTIRE FACE

Draco: and YOUR NOSE RING

Ki: ok now thats going too far,

Blaise: if thats not the biggest mood,

Draco: hermione wanna cut my hair?

Hermione: yeah sure meet me in the Room

Draco: now?

Hermione: yeah sure why not

Draco: bye y’all ya boy’s gettin a haircut

Millicent: mmm love the cronch

Draco: what the fuck

 

He shook his head, laughing, and slid his phone in his pocket.

 

When he got to the bathroom, Hermione was there, dressed in her Gryffindor shirt and white skirt, bouncing on her feet.

 

“M’pal,” she said. “C’mon, sit down. What kinda hair do you want?”

 

“Um, I’m thinking just a classic undercut for now.”

 

Hermione hummed and set to work washing his hair.

 

“So,” she said, drawing out the word much longer than it needed to be drawn out, “you have a crush on Harry.”

 

“Why does everyone keep asking me if I have a crush on Harry?!” he blushed.

 

“Because it’s incredibly, painfully obvious. So. How long have you…?”

 

“I don’t h-know!”

 

“I knew it,” smirked Hermione.

 

“Fuck you,” Draco grunted, but he wasn’t that mad.

 

Hermione set down the scissors. “will you tell me about your crush on Harry if I let you do my makeup?”

 

Draco sighed. “I mean I’d do your makeup — you’d let me do your makeup — UGH. Okay, fine. What makeup look do you want though?”

 

“I’m thinking gold eyeshadow and pale blue lipstick,” she said. “And from there you make the decisions. I’m too tired to.” She reached over to her bag and pulled out her makeup kit. “So. Crush on Harry?”

 

Draco sighed. “Okay.” He began on her foundation. “So I mean — before I get into the rest of everything — I just wanna get it out of the way.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“They’re really cute.” Draco felt his face heat up.

 

“How so?” Hermione smirked. She was doing it to get on his nerves and he knew it.

 

“What do you mean ‘how so’?”

 

“What kind of cute? And what makes you say he’s cute?” Hermione smiled smugly.

 

“Well, I mean — he’s — his whole aesthetic, y’know? And he’s got a good bone structure and —” He’s hot?

 

Shove off, brain.

 

“And…,” Hermione prompted, enjoying herself way too much.

 

“He has nice hands?” Draco suggested weakly.

 

“In what way?” Hermione smirked louder, if it was even possible to smirk loudly.

 

Draco huffed. “His hair is soft. His eyes are pretty. His nails are always really well done. He can do perfect winged eyeliner.” I want to feel him on top of me — not helpful, Brain. “Uh, his arms? Are good?”

 

Hermione snorted. “Very eloquent. Continue.”

 

“One side of his mouth goes up higher than the other when he smiles, and his eyes crinkle. He has freckles and they’re beautiful. He’s just — yeah.”

 

Hermione was smiling a little. She closed her eyes as Draco took out the eyeshadow.

 

“What do you like about him besides that?”

 

“He’s… stable, I guess? Like, I know he’s not gonna say one thing one day and the other the next. He’s predictable. I like that. He helped me through a panic attack — he’s patient. He’s quiet. He’s… even though danger follows him everywhere, he’s safe. He just… he gets me, y’know?”

 

Draco took out the blue lipstick. “Oh, you can open your eyes.”

 

She did. “And you’re also ridiculously attracted to him even though you’re not gonna admit it.”

 

“I—Hermione—I—but—ugh.”

 

She shrugged. “Just telling the truth?”

 

“Go snort a tomato.”

 

“Your cheeks are red.”

 

“Go to hell.”

 

“Love you too,” she grinned. “Let’s be real though, I see the way you look at him.”

 

“…am I really that obvious?” He mumbled finally.

 

“Yep.”

 

“Fuck.”

 

“Don’t worry. We all have our people.”

 

“Oh yeah? Who's yours?” He dared.

 

“I kinda stepped into that one, didn’t I?”

 

“Yep. So…”

 

“Are you gonna pinky promise not to tell?”

 

Draco rolled his eyes but grinned, sticking out his pinky. Hermione linked it with hers.

 

“Well,” she said, sighing a little. “There’s a possibility that I have a crush on the one and only Megan Jones.”

 

Megan likes Hermione and Hermione likes Megan what the hell I could become their best friends by getting them together holy shit God is real I matter to the world and — and Hermione was looking at him for a response.

 

“I think you guys would be good together,” he said.

 

“Do you?” She asked, smiling in a lovesick way he never thought he’d see on Hermione’s face.

 

“Yeah,” Draco said, nodding. “Definitely.”

 

Now how to get them together…?

Chapter Text

 

 

“All right, let’s talk about being gay,” said Dean Thomas, who was the group’s newest member along with his boyfriend (maybe? They sure acted like boyfriends, anyway) Seamus Finnigan.

 

“Boys, I love them,” volunteered Freddie.

 

“All of them,” added Blaise.

 

“They make my heart happy," Harry supplied.

 

“And my dick,” said Fred Weasley.

 

“Oy, Fred, there are eleven year olds here,” Percy chided.

 

“Kate’s the only one,” Fred defended.

 

“…Fred, there are twelve year olds here.”

 

“I KNOW ABOUT SEX, PERCE,” yelled Ginny, as Luna said, “We know about penises, Percy.”

 

“I HAVE A PENIS,” Ginny added for good measure. “I’M PERFECTLY AWARE OF THEIR EXISTENCE AND THE THINGS THEY CAN DO.”

 

“Ginny, oh my god,” said Kate.

 

She shrugged. “I’m not gonna lie for the sake of my dear sibling’s narrow worldview.”

 

Percy was stuttering in a corner, eyes wide.

 

“All right, and on that lovely note,” said Hermione, “c’mon, let’s get in our circle. We’ll do our introductions and then we’ll be in romantic orientation circles — I’ll explain later. If our newcomers want to go first…? Just say your name and pronouns, your house, and if you want, why you’re here.”

 

“I’m Dean Thomas, Gryffindor, he/him, I’m bi but I lean towards guys.”

 

“I’m Seamus Finnigan, Gryffindor, he/him, I’m gay as a rainbow.”

 

“Um, I’m Lavender Brown? She/her, Gryffindor… I don’t know what I am exactly, but… yeah.”

 

“I’m Padma Patil, she/her, Ravenclaw, and I don’t know either, but I think I’m bi or aro.”

 

“Uh, I’m Gregory Goyle. Uh, he/him, Gryffindor, I’m bi, ace, and trans.”

 

“I’m… I’m Steve Couillion? I’m a Hufflepuff? A first year. And I’m gay. I use he/him.”

 

“Is that everyone who’s new?” Asked Hermione.

 

No one spoke up, so she said, “Great! Now for our old timers — and by that I mean you’ve been here exactly once — I’ll start. Hermione, she/her, I’m trans and bi, and a Gryffindor…”

 

Draco smiled as everyone went, some people smiling at the new kids, Hermione already talking quietly to Padma.

 

There was a couple seconds of awkward silence before Hermione realized everyone had spoken.

 

“Oh, sorry, yeah — um, today is our romantic orientations week. So questioning people, you can go to wherever you want to or where you feel you'll fit in best — we’ll have heteroromantic — because yes, heteroromantic ace people and straight trans people are welcome —  homoromantic girls or nonbinary people — homoromantic boys or nonbinary people — bi people, pan people, and poly people — aromantic and demiromantic — and skolioromantic people, if we have any…? If we only have one just choose the next closest group I guess,” Hermione said.

 

“Okay. So, Room, if you could give us some signs —“ signs appeared around the room. “All right. Basically the prompt is — y’know, we should probably have leaders but that’s a problem for later — what struggles do you face as a person of your romantic orientation? Okay. Go ahead and find your groups, and come find me if you have a question.”

 

Everyone split, voices mixing in the room. Draco made his way to the bi/pan/poly group with Dylan, Marie, Ginny, Fred, Goyle, Hermione, Luna, Megan, and Harry, and Ron, who was still questioning but joined them. The gay girls group was Lilac, Millicent, Lavender, and Ki. Freddie, Steve, Blaise, Percy, Seamus, and Dean made up the gay guys group. Su Li, Padma Patil, George Weasley, and Cho Chang were the only aro people, and Kate, as the only straight person apparently, joined them.

 

“All right, guys, what things suck ass?” Asked Dylan.

 

“Probably Seamus,” said Ron.

 

“I’m sorry I asked,” said Dylan. Ron snorted.

 

“Being told to pick a side is nice,” Marie said sarcastically.

 

“Yeah, that’s fun,” Dylan affirmed.

 

“G’t’ing kicked out by m’ family sucks ass,” said Goyle.

 

“Shit, dude, that sucks,” said Fred.

 

“Getting called a slut is always fun,” said Luna. Her voice paired with the harsh word surprised him, although he supposed it shouldn’t’ve. Multisexual people were always going to be slut-shamed in some way.

 

“Everyone’s so pretty,” Ginny whined.

 

“Yeah, no, that’s definitely the worst part,” Harry declared. “Like when there’s a cute guy, I can’t exactly force him to wear a paper bag over his head, y’know?”

 

Harry didn’t like him. Harry couldn’t like him. Harry would never like him, not if they knew what was good for them.

 

“That's a big-ass mood,” said Megan.

 

“Oh! When people think you’ve ‘picked a side’ every time you’re in a relationship,” said Ron. “I've not dated anyone and I’m not sure I’m bi, so that’s not happened to me, but y’know.”

 

“Yeah, no, just because I currently like a dude must mean I’m 100% gay,” said Fred sarcastically.

 

“You’re never gay enough for the gays or straight enough for the straights,” Draco added hesitantly.

 

“You’re gay enough for me,” called Blaise from the gay guys group, which happened to be right next to them. Draco stuck out his tongue.

 

“Heteros thinking you're one of them,” said Marie.

 

“Constantly second guessing yourself,” said Megan, and he could tell this was something that had been weighing on them for a while.

 

“Yo, Megs,” he said before he could chicken out. “I mean, I feel that really hard, but if you think you’re pan, than you’re pan, and if one day you realise you’re actually not, that’s okay too. Internalized biphobia makes the whole questioning process really hard though, so try not to let it get to you. And for the record, instant hot cocoa takes like two minutes to make and tastes really good so if you ever feel shitty make yourself some.”

 

“Thanks,” they said, obviously touched.

 

“Yeah, no problem.”

 

“Internalized biphobia can suck my dick,” said Fred.

 

“God, that’s a mood," said Dylan. “Like holy shit, it’s terrible being told you’re weird and dirty and wrong and slutty for who you love.”

 

“Exactly,” said Draco. “Being told you’re going to hell for how you feel about someone sucks.”

 

“Being told by yer parents that yer a freak an’ they won’t let you stay with ‘em is always fun,” Goyle added.

 

“I’ve known I liked girls since kindergarten and honestly? Muggle schoolchildren are really mean to non-heterosexual non-cisgender people,” said Luna. “That wasn't the only reason I was bullied. But that was part of it.”

 

“The constant fear that your parents were right, the debilitating feeling of being a predator when you even look at someone…” Draco contributed.

 

“Knowing you have a really high chance of dying before age 35…” Marie furthered.

 

“People who don’t date you because you’re not straight or gay,” Hermione added.

 

“Everyone assuming you’re one or the other,” said Harry. Draco knew that didn’t just mean in terms of being straight or gay.

 

“Everyone asking if you’re ‘sure’ or if it’s just a phase,” said Marie.

 

“And a partridge in a pear tree,” Harry cracked. Dylan, Marie, Hermione, Megan, and Luna laughed. “…not a wizarding thing?”

 

Draco tilted his head. “Nope, don’t think so.”

 

“Merlin, okay, it’s this super-lame Christmas song that gets stuck in your head really easily. I’d play it for you, but y’know.”

 

“All right, I think it’s been enough time?” Hermione said. The rest of the group nodded, so she stood up, holding a microphone that hadn’t been there a second before to her lips. “All right, finish up your discussions, and then come back to our circle so we can all talk about how terrible life is.”

 

“Mood,” Freddie yelled to a sprinkling of laughter.

 

It took about a minute for everyone to get back to their seats, where Hermione said, “all right, anyone want to share any thoughts? Misconceptions, struggles… thoughts?”

 

“Biphobes can suck my dick?” Fred suggested.

 

“Please stop talking about your dick?” Ginny requested.

 

“Being a lesbian isn’t just lying around and scissoring,” said Ki.

 

“Aro people aren’t heartless?” George said.

 

“Gay guys don’t all wear skinny jeans,” said Dean, “not that I’m the best person to disprove the stereotype.”

 

“Don't worry, I don’t mind,” said Seamus, winking.

 

“Oh, ew,” said Ron. “Look, it was cute before.”

 

“But now it’s too much,” Harry added.

 

“You’re like twelve!” Said Dylan.

 

“I have to share a room with them!” Ron protested.

 

Anyway,” said Hermione.

 

“Internalized biphobia can suck my dick,” Draco added.

 

“Please, no more dicks from any of you,” said Ginny. “Uh, bi people don’t need to choose a side.”

 

“Gay people aren’t inherently NSFW,” Lavender said.

 

“Not all aro people are ace,” said Cho.

 

“I love boys,” said Blaise.

 

No one else commented, so Hermione said, “and on that note, unless anyone else has something to say?”

 

No one spoke up.

 

“Well,” she said, “let’s eat!”

Chapter Text

 

Harry: bro could you?

Harry: come hang out w/ me in the Gryffindor tower?

Harry: I dont trust myself to be around myself atm

Draco: yeah sure I'll be right there

 

Draco kicked off his blankets and threw a sweater on over his pajama shirt, shoving his feet into his shoes and hurrying out of the Slytherin dorms.

 

As he walked, he typed.

 

Draco: whats wrong?

Harry: I feel like shit & I need to??? not be around myself

Draco: im coming

 

He hurried as quickly as possible and slid into the Fat Lady’s portrait to wake her up. He hissed the password at her and the door swung open, revealing Harry on the couch with a good five blankets piled up on him.

 

“Hey,” said Harry, and a smile spread across his face. “C'mon, join me, I’m lonely and can’t sleep.”

 

Draco did, stealing one of the blankets to use as a cape. “You need to talk about anything?” He asked quietly.

 

“I mean. I don’t wanna burden you — your life is, comparatively, worse than mine and I —“

 

“Oh, come off it, Harry, what’s wrong?”

 

“Well, there’s a goddamn serial killer chasing after me but besides that? I just wish I could be seen as not a boy or a girl. I wish I could be seen as both without having to explain it. Like I’m fine with — I dunno, I don’t want to transition exactly — but I hate being seen as a boy all the time.”

 

“Society’s fucked,” mumbled Draco. “They want to assume things about you based on how you look. I know it’s hard, trust me, but — just remember, you're bigender, no matter what anyone else thinks, okay?”

 

“Thanks,” he murmured.

 

“Do you still want to use he/him pronouns or are those off the table?” Draco asked.

 

“Honestly? I’m more comfortable with they/them or xe/xyr. Like I don’t mind he/him or she/her, it’s just not as comfy.”

 

“Okay,” said Draco.

 

They smiled. “Thanks, man. It means a lot, y’know?”

 

“If I kept misgendering you I’d be one hell of a hypocrite,” Draco said. “Is there any thing else I can do to help?”

 

“Well,” said Harry, drawing the word out a little. “Do you still have the uniform skirts? I don’t know if you still get them…”

 

“Yeah, my dad got me like five,” said Draco.

 

“Could I maybe have one?” Harry asked.

 

“Well yeah," Draco shrugged. “I don’t wear them anyway. D’you want to go get one right now?”

 

“I don’t wanna be a burden—“

 

“You’re not.  Walking down a flight of stairs and pulling something out of a suitcase when I’d never have used it anyway is not burdening me.”

 

They smiled, just a little. “Can I come with?”

 

“Yeah, of course.”

 

The two of them got up then, Harry wrapping a blanket around their shoulders, Draco leaving his on the couch.

 

The two of them walked down the steps, Draco checking behind himself every couple steps to make sure that no one was there.

 

They got to the Slytherin dorm rooms and Draco asked, “want to go up with me or stay here?”

 

“I’ll come up. If that’s okay?”

 

“Of course,” said Draco.

 

The two of them made their way up the stairs and into Draco’s room, where he dug through his suitcase to find the skirts his father had made him buy.

 

“Here,” he said finally, pulling one out.

 

“Thank you,” Harry mumbled, and it was hard to see in the dim green light, but were they… blushing?

 

“No problem,” said Draco, shrugging. “You wanna go back to your common room and try it on?”

 

“Sure,” said Harry.

 

The trip back was faster somehow and the warmth of the Gryffindor fire a soothing relief from the chill of the Great Lake in the Slytherin common room.

 

“So,” Draco said, settling back into the couch, “go ahead and try it on. I’ll be right here,” he promised.

 

Harry smiled softly. “Thanks,” they murmured.

 

They left, and Draco stayed, watching the fire flicker and wondering if Harry might want their makeup done, because that certainly would be fun, especially the lips…

 

Draco started bouncing his leg, leaning forward to cover his chest almost unconsciously. It was 04:39.  Hopefully no one would come in; he didn’t want to deal with Gryffindor anti-Slytherin bullshit at the moment.

 

Harry came back, wearing the skirt, and Draco tried not to enjoy their thighs too much.

 

What was the proper response shit goddamnit what were you supposed to say when your crush walks in wearing a skirt that lands just above his knee and twirls for you holy shit

 

“It suits you,” was what he decided to say.

 

“Thanks,” Harry smiled. “Um, I was wondering… would you do my makeup?”

 

“I was just about to ask if you wanted me to,” Draco admitted, grinning. “C’mon, let’s go to the bathroom to do it.”

 

“The neutral one?" Asked Harry.

 

“There’s a neutral bathroom?” Draco asked, surprised. He hadn’t known — how much mental unease he could have saved if he knew this…

 

“You didn’t know?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“I’ll show you,” said Harry.  “It’s really nice, it’s got a bath and everything.”

 

Now trying very hard not to think about Harry in the bath, he followed them across the hall and up a flight of stairs, where they brought him to a stop.

 

“This is it," said Harry. They pushed the door open. It was, in fact, a very nice bathroom, with fluffy towels and a bathtub and several mirrors.

 

“So what kind of makeup do you want?” Draco asked.

 

“Glitter,” said Harry. “Literally anything glittery.”

 

Draco tilted his head, trying to decide on a look — until — “Wait, isn’t today the Quidditch match?”

 

“Yeah…”

 

“D’you wanna do red and gold? For Gryffindor?”

 

“Yeah!” Said Harry, nodding enthusiastically.

 

“M’kay,” said Draco. “Um, do we have makeup?”

 

“Third drawer down,” said Harry.

 

“Nice,” said Draco. He pulled out the kit and found the boldest red lipstick he could find, red eyeliner, gold eyeshadow, and gold highlighter. When he looked up, Harry was sitting on the sink. He laughed a little as he began.

 

“Y’know what I love?” Harry asked as Draco started on their eyeshadow.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Boys. I love them. I love all of them.”

 

“That’s a big-ass mood,” Draco said. Hopefully he means me.

 

He probably doesn’t.

 

He put the eyeshadow down and tilted Harry’s chin up slightly so he could better apply their eyeliner. After he did, he applied more eyeshadow and moved onto highlight, sliding the glitter over their cheekbones.

 

The lipstick was the last thing he applied, biting his lip both in concentration and frustration at this beautiful wix with his soft skin and fluffy hair and gorgeous hands.

 

“All right,” he said. “I’m done.”

 

Harry’s eyes fluttered open and they grinned in the mirror. “Thank you!”

“No problem — it’s relaxing, actually.”

 

“Can I do you?” Harry asked.

 

Draco tried to be mature and take that the way it was intended. “Yeah. Could you do Slytherin colours?”

 

“Yeah, sure. What’re you thinking exactly?”

 

“Um, green eyeliner and shadow, silver highlight, silver lipstick?” Draco suggested.

 

“All right. Coming right up.”

 

Draco hopped up on the sink, because now that Harry had done it, he’d do it too. Harry stepped between his legs to do his eyeshadow and Draco tried to remember to breathe.

 

As Harry worked, they talked. “Y’know what would be super cool? If there were swirly chairs in here.”

 

“Swirly chairs?” Draco asked in confusion.

 

“Y’know… the spinny ones?”

 

“Oh, yes. Continue.”

 

He heard something click closed and something else open. “Like, I could sit in one and you sit in the other and it would be much more comfortable than sitting on the sink,” said Harry. They were doing his eyeliner now, the liquid cold on his eyelid. He didn’t flinch.

 

Harry could kiss me right now. They could lean in just a tiny bit and their lips would be on my lips. That would be great. That would be really good.

 

Another two clicking noises informed him that highlight was coming next, and it did. He could practically feel the glitter. Highlighter was…the best makeup. Ever.

 

And then the lipstick. Draco could feel his heartbeat in every inch of his body because Harry was right there so close to his lips

 

“There,” said Harry once they had finished.

 

He opened his eyes. Harry had Draco’s skirt on, which made his heart race just by itself, but coupled with the bright red makeup and that goddamn shirt that showed just a couple centimetres of skin on his waist…

 

He was dying. That was the only explanation, he was about to die and ascend into heaven — or maybe descend into hell — either way, he was on the quickest one-way train to the afterlife.

 

“What do you think?” Harry asked, striking a pose sardonically, but Draco knew they were self conscious, he could tell from the way they were slouching slightly — “Very nice. I like it,” he said.

 

“Wanna go down to breakfast?” Harry asked.

 

“Sure. Pumpkin juice and waffles?”

 

“Sounds good to me,” grinned the other wix.

Chapter Text

 

 

Pansy Parkinson was a mythic bitch.

 

Her hair was longer now, and curlier, coming down to her shoulder blades. She’d gained weight and wore it well, although Draco had seen her bump into things with her hips before. She was also rather well endowed, and if she wasn’t such an asshole, Draco might have had a crush on her.

 

Pansy Parkinson was not only a mythic bitch, but a myTHICC bitch.

 

Potions class was going great.

 

Great, in this case, meant he wasn’t actively thinking about drowning himself in the showers.

 

He sipped the slushy that Harry had brought him — where they’d got it he didn’t know — and scrawled down another note alongside his doodles.

 

He felt something hit his desk — a piece of paper.

 

He unfolded it as carefully as possible.

 

There was only one word: sorry.

 

As covertly as he could, he turned. Behind him was Pansy, who, when she saw him looking, shrugged a little.

 

He shifted his hand, trying to point without being noticed by Snape. You? He mouthed.

 

She nodded almost imperceptibly.

 

He smiled, just slightly, back at her, before turning back to his desk.

 

“What was that?” Harry breathed.

 

“She just said sorry,” Draco answered equally quietly.

 

Harry pursed their lips but said nothing, instead tapping their fingers on their leg.

 

“Read chapter 59 of your textbooks quietly and answer the questions at the end of the section,” Snape instructed.

 

Draco flipped open his book and stared blankly at the page.

 

Could he trust Pansy?

 

Probably not. As the only homophobic person he knew of at Hogwarts, she didn't strike him as a person he should put any confidence in.

 

But she had seemed sorry…?

 

Harry shifted, their shoulder brushing against his. He licked his lips, and tried to read.

 

He very quickly found that he couldn't and grabbed his slushy, holding it out to Harry for them to take a sip.

 

Harry smiled and sipped it, then handed it back, their hands brushing.

 

“After school,” Harry breathed, “d’you wanna go outside and hang for a while? Before the Quiditch game? It’s really pretty out.”

 

His brain short circuited. Was this a date? Was? This? A? Date? Was Harry Potter — was Harry goddamn Potter — was Harry Potter asking him on a date?

 

It couldn’t be a date.

 

But that seemed like a date that is super duper hella gay is that a date does that count as a date — he made a mental note to Google it later — shit, responding, that was a thing that people did.

 

“Sure,” he said under his breath. “Yeah, definitely.”

 

“Meet me after school by the doors,” Harry responded.

 

“Okay.”

 

“It's a date,” Harry said, smirking slightly. “See you then.”

 

Draco practically screamed. Did they understand what they were doing to him?

 

He shoved his face in his book, hurriedly jotting notes to ignore the flush spreading across his cheeks.

 

The day couldn't go fast enough.

 

—————

 

His last period class ended early (thank Merlin) and he rushed to his dorms, pulling on his Quidditch shirt and a pair of jeans, and after a bit of debate his grey zip-up sweatshirt. He brushed his hair back and ran to the doors, where Harry wasn’t yet, and waited for them.

 

Harry appeared soon after, with their Gryffindor makeup still on. “Hey,” they said, grinning and bouncing on the balls of their feet. “Wanna go outside? Sit in a tree or something?”

 

They weren’t wearing their skirt anymore, but they were wearing their shorts.

 

“Sure. C’mon, let’s go!” And with that, they bolted away, and Draco followed them, laughing, as they led him to the tree by the Great Lake and they climbed up as though they’d been born doing it. Draco followed behind, not used to tree-climbing, but quickly reached the branch were Harry was and sat down by them.

 

“It’s pretty up here,” Harry sighed. “I’ve come up here at night when I can’t sleep.”

 

“Isn’t that dangerous?”

 

“Okay, dad,” Harry said, and then clapped a hand over their mouth and looked around. “Oh thank god, Millicent didn’t hear that.”

 

Draco snorted. “Merlin, could you even imagine?”

 

“Please don’t make me imagine it.”

 

“That would be a disaster.”

 

“Merlin.” Harry sighed, reaching for a branch above them and leaning back.

 

The wind ruffled their hair and then his, shaking a couple leaves off the tree.

 

“When a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?” Harry asked.

 

“I mean, a sound is just a certain vibration that travels through air or some other material, right? We only hear it once it bounces off our eardrums. So I mean, I guess it does. Just no one hears. There’s no real way to test it… why?”

 

Harry shrugged. “Does it matter? If the tree falls and no one hears? Does it matter that it fell at all?”

 

He was growing slightly more concerned. “Have you heard of the butterfly effect? A butterfly flaps its wings in Spain and there’s a hurricane in Brazil?”

 

“I think so…”

 

“Even if nothing happened directly at that very moment, it would affect them. Maybe it crushed a squirrel and that squirrel would have been the last meal for a wolf and then the entire ecosystem is destroyed — okay, maybe that was a bad example? But you take my meaning.”

 

Harry nodded. “But… is it possible that it didn't affect anything?”

 

“Even if it was nothing big,” Draco said, “it mattered to the trees around it. It mattered to the grass it landed on.”

 

“Why are the trees even there?”

 

He was growing rapidly more distressed. “To provide oxygen for humans and other animals, I guess?”

 

“And what do we give back to them?”

 

“Nothing, really.”

 

“Does the loss of one tree really matter?”

 

In a move of pure adrenaline and impulse, he grabbed Harry’s hands from where he was bracing himself against the branch and held both of them in his own. “Yes.”

 

Harry exhaled, just a little bit, and their breath smelled like mint and Draco tried to remember to breathe. Harry’s tank top slid up, showing just a little bit of skin, and similarly to that morning, he found himself wondering if he was maybe dying.

 

“But —“

 

“Harry.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Are you…okay?”

 

Harry tightened their grip on his hands. “I…”

 

They weren’t okay

 

“…I’m fine.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Yeah. Wait, no. Shit. I don’t know why I said that — I — I haven’t been okay for a long time.”

 

“Do you need to talk?”

 

“I just — mmm — gimme a second — I don’t know why I’m here? And everything sucks? And I want to die? Because what’s the point? What’s the goddamn point? It’s — it all felusless — shit — feels so — so useless? I don't — I don’t want to be here if there’s no reason for me to, because everything is shit and I don’t know what to do.” Harry was rubbing at their wrist with their thumb, and Draco could see tears forming in their eyes.

 

“Hey, hey. You’re okay,” he said quietly. “You matter, okay? I — I don’t know why we’re here, honestly, either? But we can make things better while we are.”

 

“But for what? If we’re all going to die anyway?”

 

Shit. “I don’t know. But Harry. Stay. Please.”

 

Harry stayed silent.

 

“Are you safe? Like do you want someone to stay with you?”

 

“That would — probably be best, yeah.”

 

“Could — could I? I — sorry —“

 

“No, it’s okay, yeah, no, I was thinking of you.”

 

“I — okay. Just — I want — I want you to not be hurt, you know?”

 

“Yeah, no, that makes sense. Th — Thank you.”

 

“I — yeah.”

 

“We need to -- to communicate in something other than stutters.” Harry squeezed his hand and Draco blushed, remembering his impulsive move, but — Harry hadn’t moved their hand?

 

“Yeah, no, that’s probably a good idea,” Draco said, laughing a little.

 

Harry leaned back on the tree branch, leaving one hand still in his. “Do you believe in soulmates?”

 

“Would you change the topic more rapidly for me?” Draco asked sardonically. “But yeah, I guess. I think people have more than one? And some are platonic and some not. They’re not, like, you don’t have to love all of them, but — you were destined to meet them, y’know? At least that’s what I think.”

 

Harry nodded. “I agree, yeah.”

 

“What are you most afraid of?”

 

“Not mattering,” Harry mumbled, adding, “you?”

 

“Being alone.”

 

“Time you were happiest?”

 

Draco searched his memory. “I… I don’t know.”

 

“Me neither,” Harry admitted.

 

“Worst mistake in a game of Quidditch?”

 

“I can’t believe I almost ate the Snitch.”

 

“I was so mad,” Draco recalled, laughing.

 

“Shit, Quidditch! We have that!”

 

“What time is it?”

 

“Three thirty,” said Harry, glancing at their phone.

 

“And the match starts?”

 

“At five, but we — well, at least my team? Has one of Oliver’s stupid pep-talks.”

 

“Even if he does say the exact same pep talk before every game, you gotta admit he’s hot.”

 

“I'm not arguing with that,” Harry grinned. “Ho—ly shit.” They dragged the word out for emphasis.

 

“I mean, if he’s good at riding brooms, he’s gotta be good at riding other things,” Draco furthered.

 

Harry snorted. “I'm not gonna lie, I have thought about that.”

 

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

 

“Merlin, me too,” said Draco. It wasn’t a lie. He wasn’t sure there was a person at Hogwarts who would disagree.

 

“Everyone on the Gryffindor Quidditch team is hot,” said Harry.

 

“Are you including yourself in that list?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

I’m not gonna argue. “Can’t say the same about my team, if I’m being honest,” Draco said. “Warrington’s not that bad, but y’know.”

 

“They’re not Angelina or Katie or Alicia or Fred or George or Oliver or me,” Harry supplied.

 

You.

 

It's always been you.

 

“No, they’re not,” said Draco, smiling a little. Trying not to think about Harry Potter. Trying to ignore the feelings that had been growing for months. Trying not to notice the freckles on their cheekbones that had become darker and more plentiful over the summer.

 

Harry tugged their phone and earbuds out of their pocket. “So I found this song I think you’d like…”

 

It warmed his soul knowing Harry had thought of him when they heard a song.

 

“What is it?” Draco asked. He was always in the mood for music recs from a cute person.

 

“‘Do I Wanna Know’ by the Arctic Monkeys,” said Harry. “It’s really good. Here, take a side.”

 

Draco did, leaning against the tree but keeping his hand in Harry’s, which was making his heart rate increase rapidly.

 

Harry hit play on the song — it started with beats that had him immediately nodding his head just a little.

 

There’s this tune I found that makes me think of you somehow when I play it on repeat

 

If they weren’t just friends, god, Draco would have kissed them by now.

 

Harry’s eyes were closed and Draco wanted to do the same, but he took a second to admire this beautiful teenager.

 

He closed his eyes, nodding his head almost involuntarily.

 

Do I wanna know if this feeling flows both ways?

 

Holy shit. It was exactly how he felt about Harry. He wanted to listen to it forever.

 

“Do you like it?” Harry asked, and Draco could tell they were worried that he didn’t.

 

“I love it,” said Draco.

 

The song came to a close just after with beats that left him waiting for the rest of the story. It was incredibly impressive that a song could make him feel all this.

 

“I’m probably going to listen to it for a couple weeks straight,” Draco said, pulling out his phone to add it.

 

“This is actually the only song I can listen to on repeat — besides Troye Sivan’s Fools, anyway.”

 

“I usually listen to things on repeat for a couple days at the least when I find new songs.”

 

“I usually get tired of them if I do that,” said Harry. “I wonder why?”

 

“I’m sure there’s a science-y reason for it,” said Draco. “I’d look it up but I’m too lazy.”

 

“Merlin, me too.”

 

“Have you heard his song ‘too good?’” Draco asked. It makes me think of you when I play it on repeat.

 

“Yes! I love it. Have you heard ‘for him.?’”

 

“Yes! I love that one,” said Draco. “Uh, have you heard Panic! At The Disco’s She Had The World?”

 

“I haven’t, actually.”

 

“You gotta listen to it. It’s so good, bro. Is it okay if I call you bro?” He asked, remembering that Harry wasn’t a boy.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” said Harry. “I don’t mind.”

 

“What time is it?” Draco asked.

 

“Almost four,” said Harry.

 

“Should we go to Quidditch?”

 

Harry contemplated this. “Nah. I can survive without one of Oliver’s pep talks. Fifteen more minutes?”

 

“Fifteen more,” agreed Draco.

 

He wanted to stay there forever, in that tree with Harry. He knew, logically, that he couldn’t.

 

But he still wanted to.

Chapter Text

 

Gregory Goyle hadn’t been in the dorm room for at least two weeks. They’d kind of glossed over the fact that he’d been kicked out at group, but… Draco felt there was more. That he should talk to Goyle.

 

Of course talking to Goyle wasn’t an easy task: he was never anywhere at the right time and rarely strung together more than three words.

 

However, Draco would try anyway.

 

It ended up being in Potions class, when he basically cornered Goyle, saying, “We’re working together on this potion,” even though he knew it would end with him doing all the work.

 

“Uh. Okay?” Goyle said. He saw Blaise, Millicent, Ron, Harry, and Hermione all giving him identical bewildered looks. He shrugged in response, as if to say ‘I’ll explain later.’

 

“So,” said Draco. “At group, you mentioned your parents.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Are you gonna need a place to stay or anything?”

 

“Don’t wanna think about it.”

 

“You have to,” said Draco. “I can talk to my dad —“

 

“M’ parents have already told him.”

 

“Oh…”

 

“I c’ain’t stay with Crabbe — ‘is parents are just as bad.”

 

“Are you close with Theo Nott?” Draco asked.

 

“Nah. Not really.”

 

“Uh… any Muggleborn friends?”

 

“I ain’t one of them,” Goyle scowled.

 

“Why are you so prejudiced?” Draco snapped, dumping an ingredient into the cauldron.

 

“They’re muggleborns,” scowled Goyle.

 

“Goyle. Your parents have been wrong before. Get your head out of their bullshit and think for yourself.” He hadn’t begun this conversation with the intention to be a dick, but Goyle was making it very difficult.

 

It seemed he didn’t have a response. Instead of admitting defeat, he just mumbled “fuck you, Malfoy.”

 

“Yeah, fuck you too, Goyle,” he said offhandedly. “Any friends whose parents aren’t homophobic?”

 

“Not really?”

 

Draco stirred the pot more vigorously. “You know where the local LGBT shelter is?”

 

“No.”

 

“Me neither. Uh… any teachers wh-“

 

“That's weird as shit, Malfoy. Who asks a teacher to stay at their house?” It was the most coherent thing he’d heard Goyle say in a while.

 

“There’s probably a good homeless shelter in London…”

 

“I don’ wanna talk ‘bout it.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Told you. I don't wanna think ‘bout it.”

 

“You have to. You need to know what’s going to happen this summer.”

 

“No.”

 

“Goyle—“

 

“Fuck you, Malfoy.”

 

“Yeah, fuck you too, whatever. Any friends who are older?”

 

“Uh. Day Wing? Graduated last year?”

 

“Could he take you in?”

 

“M’bye. Dunno.”

 

“Or any older siblings?”

 

“My sister’s a nun.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“Do the work. Gonna go get my Felix.”

 

“Your…Felix?”

 

“Lucky drink shit. Bye.”

 

Draco shook his head in bewilderment but continued making the potion. Blaise came over, and Draco realized how little the two of them had been talking recently. He vowed to spend more time with him.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“Goyle got kicked out, remember? I’m trying to figure something out for him. He’s not cooperating.”

 

“Ah, right. Shit. I should have said something, shouldn’t I have?”

 

“Probably. But it’s okay. I don’t blame you. It’s hard to talk to the guy.”

 

“God, I can only imagine.”

 

Draco laughed. “Yeah, no, you're not kidding.”

 

“Hey, wanna go up to the room and run or whatever today? We haven’t in a while.”

 

“Sure," he said. “Three-thirty sound good?”

 

“Yeah, sure,” Blaise grinned.

 

The door opened, and Blaise ran back to his seat. Goyle stomped back in, still looking pissed but much less so due to whatever drug he was on. (That was something else he should probably address at some point)

 

“I’ll talk to Day," Goyle grumbled.

 

“Okay,” said Draco.

 

The rest of the period was spent silently with him working on the potion, Goyle slouching in the corner, Draco doing the entirety of the work.

 

He didn’t really care.

 

—————

 

“It’s been so long,” said Blaise, grinning as he took off down the stretch of track. Draco followed after, in worse shape but glad to be around Blaise again. He’d missed the other boy.

 

“So,” said Blaise, slowing down for Draco, “how are you and Harry?”

 

“I’m fine? Harry could be better?”

 

“No, I mean how are you two.”

 

Oh. Well. We held hands in a tree?”

 

“Story time,” grinned Blaise.

 

“We were just hanging out and Harry was depressed and I was comforting him — I mean them — and I got really worked up about something and grabbed their hands. And they didn’t pull away so I guess I did a good?”

 

“You definitely did a good. Dude, I’m super happy for you? When are you gonna ask them out?”

 

“Who said I was gonna in the first place?”

 

“You look at him like he’s the stars and he looks at you like you’re the moon and it’s so obvious,” said Blaise.

 

“Do I look like someone who’s capable of asking anyone out, ever?”

 

“…No.”

 

“Blaise, holy shit, you were supposed to support me! Support a bro, Blaise!”

 

Blaise shrugged dramatically. “What can I say? I can’t tell lies after all.” He shrugged again. “My ankle really hurts.”

 

“Did you sprain it?”

 

“I don’t know, it really hurts though.” Blaise kept pushing forward.

 

“Are you sure you should…”

 

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Blaise sighed. He shook his head and slowed, then continued. The limp slowly wore off and he was back to his normal gait. Draco tried to keep up. He quickly found that he couldn’t.

 

“Bro, don’t we have Creatures today?" Blaise asked.

 

“Yeah — damn it — how long until then?”

 

Blaise checked his watch. “About ten minutes.”

 

“…Damn it.”

 

—————

 

“Hippogiffs,” he stated, “can't really be that dangerous at all?” He inquired of Millicent, scowling. “Great ugly brutes.”

 

The next thing he knew his arm hurt like it never had before, pain shooting up through his body. “Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck,” he muttered as Hagrid picked him up in his gigantic hands.”Class dismissed,” he grunted. Blaise jogged to keep up as Hagrid carried him up to the hospital.

 

The next ten minutes were spent with Blaise by his side as Madame Pomfrey tended to his arm, leaving it healed but sore.

 

“You’ll stay here till tomorrow just so I can check on you,” Pomfrey warned. “I don’t know how the spells will react with your biology.”

 

“Okay,” said Draco.

 

The second she had left to tend to another patient, Blaise hopped out of his seat and sat down with him. Draco pushed himself up and moved over. “C’mere,” he said.

 

Blaise did. The two of them sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the hospital bed, both quiet for a minute before Draco said, “how have you been? For real. I haven’t seen you in a while.”

 

Blaise reached up with his left hand to scratch at the skin of his neck. “I’ve been… well. My mom burned every picture of Blakely and Amelia in the house so now I have only the ones on my phone. My stepdad’s a dick. Life is shit. It’s fine though. Xayn was out for a while last night — I don’t get amnesia with him — he just did a puzzle, nothing too bad.”

 

Draco nodded. “D'you know why he came out?” He’d not forgotten about his friend’s disorder, only placed it in the back of his mind until he needed to remember.

 

“No clue. I think Theo ruffled my hair.”

 

“Right, you have a hair thing,” recalled Draco.

 

“How did y—FUCK. Nevermind.”

 

“What?”

 

“The other hair thing. Right, yep, no -- yeah.”

 

“…What?”

 

“Nevermind, I know what you mean now.” It clicked for him as Blaise spoke.

 

“There won’t be any kink shaming in this holy Jewish household, don’t worry,” smirked Draco.

 

“Shut the fuck up.”

 

“Love you too. Anyway.”

 

“Yeah, no, I think you met Aaliyah when we went running. When I hurt my ankle?”

 

“Wait, I thought you only had one alter?”

 

“Xayn's the only one I really talk about,” admitted Blaise. “There’s also Caiden, Aaliyah, Zach, and Ryden.”

 

He tilted his head. “If you want, tell me about them.”

 

“Well, Caiden’s four and ce only comes out when I’m reacting to a trauma. Xayn takes cir place pretty quickly though — he’s really protective. Caiden was made when I merged with an alter just called K and I wasn’t ready. Ce uses ce/cir pronouns. Caiden is different from the rest because cir’s an Emotional Alter, so basically ce still thinks we’re four and being abused.

 

“Xayn, I know I’ve told you about, but he’s 8 and loves football and basketball.

 

“Aaliyah is 17, she’s bulimic, she runs, and she loves art, writing, and music.

 

“Zach is 13, he’s protective but quiet. He and Xayn get along because both like football. He also likes art.

 

“And there’s Ryden. I love them. What a little nerd. They’re 12, they love philosophy, science, and psychology. They believe in the Greek gods. Ryden’s great; we actually get along and when they take over I keep my memories and they don’t mess up my life — @Caiden and K. And Xayn to an extent.  And… yeah, that’s all of them.”

 

“Sorry, but — If one of your alters is a girl, are they trans?" Draco asked.

 

“Yeah. Aaliyah is actually bulimic because of it. And for the record I usually have amnesia when she fronts, so if I do weird things and don’t remember it, that’s why. She’s also straight and outrageously so.”

 

Draco laughed, then quieted. “How do you have amnesia with some but not others?”

 

“What I have is a mix between OSDD1B and DID — OSDD being other specified dissociative disorder. OSDD1B basically means I have the alters without amnesia — Xayn, Caiden, and Zach— and alters with — Ryden and Aaliyah, although sometimes I remember things with Ryden. It’s all really complicated.”

 

“Can your alters see what you do?” Draco asked.

 

“Yeah. They have this, like… I don’t know what to call it, a room, I guess? Where they all hang out. Xayn’s got pastel blue walls and white blankets and hair like mine. Caiden's not got a room, ce just sleeps in Xayn’s room on a couple pillows. Zach's room is dark and kinda emo but also soccer themed, I don’t know how to explain it. He’s actually biracial but mostly white. Ryden’s room is hella cool, they’ve got actual Greek-style columns in their room and one black wall and sheets with the DSM-5 printed on it because they’re weird. They’ve got pastel blue hair and I love them.”

 

Draco was smiling. “So these are like, parts of you, right?”

 

“I guess so, yeah.”

 

“So what you’re really saying is that you love yourself.”

 

“It’s too goddamn early—“

 

“It’s after three in the afternoon.”

 

“Too. Early.”

 

“…You’re not wrong.”

 

“Nope, no I am not,” smirked Blaise. Draco elbowed him jokingly. Blaise grinned back.

 

Hours more to spend in the hospital, but at least he had a friend.

Chapter Text

Draco sighed, brushing his hair out of his eyes. He’d gone for a walk — arithmacy was really goddamned hard and he needed a break from studying.

 

He heard a noise and pulled an earbud out. He heard someone sniff.

 

He tilted his head even as his heart race increased. He couldn't talk to them — but he had to, didn’t he?

 

He stopped in his place. It seemed like it was coming from the stairs. He wasn’t going towards the stairs, however, he was going near them.

 

If he saw the crying person he wouldn't be able to back out of a conversation. But if he didn't he'd probably be wondering about it forever.

 

He went to turn and go a different way, but… maybe they needed to talk to someone.

 

Before he could change his mind, he hurried towards the stairs.

 

There was a kid on the stairs, head bent. They had a Hufflepuff pin on their robes. Their shoulders were shaking.

 

Hesitantly, Draco took a couple steps up and coughed in that ‘I-don’t-know-what-to-say-but-I-should-probably-say-it’ way.

 

Their head shot up and they immediately buried it again. “Go away. I know I’m a mudblood.”

 

“I wasn’t here to call you a mu- a slur,” said Draco.

 

The person mumbled something that sounded like “fucking Slytherin liars.”

 

“We’re not all bad,” Draco said.

 

“Aren’t you fucking Pansy?” They said her name much more violently than they said curse words.

 

Draco snorted. “God, I wish she would have told me. Maybe I'd have gone to find her. Don’t worry. I'm definitely not fucking Pansy.”

 

They stayed silent and Draco took a couple steps up to sit by them.

 

“D’you wanna talk about it? I’m a pure-blood so I’m probably dumb, but I’m trying to be better. I’ve talked to my friend who was muggle-born a lot about it so I can try to understand.”

 

The Hufflepuff was silent for a couple seconds. “Y’know? That’s actually pretty decent of you.” They raised their head. They had dark skin and short-shaved hair. Their hair was curly, from what Draco could see, and they had glasses.

 

“Thanks, I think.”

 

“Slytherins can be pretentious dicks,” the kid said.

 

“Trust me,” Draco laughed humorlessly, “I know.”

 

“What year are you?”

 

“Third.”

 

“Me too. Oh — you’re not Mira Malfoy, are you?”

 

Hearing his dead name was, as always, a slap to the face, a kick in the nuts, a punch in the jaw, and a karate chop to the chest. He should be used to it. Weak.

 

“I actually — not around people but like in general? — I go by Draco now.”

 

“Okay.” The Hufflepuff looked around at him. “Are you like, transgender?”

 

“Yeah. Why?” He didn’t quite like the way the Hufflepuff said the word.

 

“Just wondering. Most cis people don’t change their names for fun.”

 

Cis. So this person was educated. Had he seen them at Queer Club? No, they wrote down names and pronouns, he hadn’t seen them…

 

“True.” Draco coughed. “Um, I didn’t catch your name.”

 

“I didn’t throw it,” shrugged the Hufflepuff.

 

Draco’s mouth dropped open as he started laughing. “That was good, I gotta say.”

 

“What pronouns do you use?”

 

“He/him. Why, are you planning on gossiping about me?”

 

It was the other third-year’s turn to laugh. “Yeah, that’s exactly why.”

 

“And you?”

 

“I didn’t throw those either.”

 

Draco sighed. This kid was funny, and yet, infuriating. “Wanna throw me the reason you’re crying alone on the staircase?”

 

“Dude okay. Imagine you have to go every single day pretending to be something you're not. Like… I dunno. If everyone thought you had long red hair and if you said you didn’t they’d beat you up?”

 

“Or like you were born a boy but the doctors all said ‘that’s a girl’ and you had to act that way?”

 

“Yeah. Well imagine you wanna, I dunno, shave your head. But if you shave your head — this is a terrible fucking explanation, I'm sorry.”

 

“It really is. How about ‘hi, I'm Snickerdoodle McCookie and I'm trans and my dysphoria is getting to me?”

 

The other kid snorted. “Hi, i’m Snickerdoodle McC-“

 

“I meant with your name.”

 

They were silent for several seconds. “Which one?”

 

“Your real name. And if you wanna tell me your deadname just to be safe, go ahead, but you don't have to.”

 

“Milo. Milo Alexander Cole,” they said.

 

“Milo. And you use…”

 

“He/him. And my deadname, which I refuse to say, is the name of that place in Australia.”

 

“Melbourne?”

 

“…no.”

 

“Sydney?”

 

“No.”

 

“Tennessee?”

 

“Isn’t that a city in America?”

 

“I think it’s one of their states, but yeah. Uh… Victoria?”

 

“Yeah. That’s the one.”

 

“Okay. Milo.”

 

“Thanks, man. I really appreciate it, y’know?”

 

“Yeah. No problem. It was the right thing to do, I guess.”

 

Milo rubbed the top of his head. “When it starts growing again I'm gonna dye it bright blue.”

 

“You could just make it grow magically,” Draco suggested. “I know the exact hex. And the counter-jinx, for the record.”

 

“But do you have hair dye that works on dark hair? Because that’s the real issue here.”

 

“Okay, first of all, I’ve always wanted curly hair. Second of all. You know Millicent Bulstrode? The Slytherin with the ends of her hair green?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“You have, like, the exact same hair type, I can tell. I’ve done her hair enough times to know. She found this spell in one of her books that can change hair colours. And it doesn’t fade, ever. So until it grows out you have bright-ass blue hair.”

 

“Okay, that is cool.”

 

“I’ll write down the spell for you and give it to you tomorrow — I gotta ask her for it — do we have any classes together?”

 

“Astronomy? I think?”

 

“Okay. I’ll give it to you then.”

 

Notes: I accidentally wrote ‘kink’ instead of ‘jinx’ this is a New Level of self hatred. (also I changed my name to nikolas!)

Chapter Text

He only had three classes with the Gryffindors this week and he needed to talk to Harry. Or at least to encourage him, because he seemed down, and on his Tumblr (which he’d finally given Draco) he said he had been feeling shitty. Draco was worried and he needed to talk to Harry, because if something happened, he’d never forgive himself.

 

As their next class together wasn’t for two days, he tried texting.

 

Draco: hey my guy, did you finish the hw for Potions?

 

No response. After compulsively checking his phone about seventy-five times in two days, waiting for Harry’s response, as the alarm for emergencies blared and Dumbledore shouted at kids to go back to their dorms, he tried again.

 

Draco: we’re all going to die oh my god

 

No response.

 

What if the alarms were for Harry?

 

The thought came suddenly, but the more he thought on it, the more it made sense. He hadn’t been responding, he seemed down, and now an alarm?

 

What if he was dead? What if he had hung himself or jumped off the tower or a tree or into the Great Lake and they wanted them in their dorms so they didn’t have to see, what if he was dead, what if he was dead, what if he was dead?

 

Draco: ily

 

Just in case. Just in case he was alive and needed a reminder.

 

The alarms quit silently and Dumbledore’s voice radiated throughout the castle. “We’re sorry, this was just a glitch. We’re looking into what triggered the alarms. My deepest apologies. The castle is safe, and you may go back to your daily routines.”

 

A glitch? Magic didn’t glitch.

 

Draco: this is a conspiracy. it’s gotta be a cover-up. magic doesn’t glitch.

 

He hurried to his next class, Herbology, which was with the Gryffindors and he knew he’d see Harry, if he was alive.

 

He was the first of his friend group to get their and he spent a few minutes anxiously tapping his feet and bouncing his leg and scratching at his nails.

 

“You doing okay?” Neville asked, watching him fidget.

 

“I'm grand,” Draco said.

 

His vision was tunneling and he couldn’t breathe around the block in his throat and where was Harry why wasn’t he back yet had Sirius Black found him and killed him what was going on—

 

Hermione entered the greenhouse, running a hand through her bushy brown hair and sitting down by him. “Hey, man — you okay?”

 

“Hermione, have you talked to Harry today?”

 

“What?”

 

“It’s important,” he urged.

 

“Yeah, I mean, I saw him this morning in the common room — why?”

 

“Oh, thank god, thank you so much ‘Mione — I thought he was dead and all, catastrophic thinking much, I know.”

 

“Draco, maybe you should start some anti-anxiety or anti-depressive meds? Because you looked like shit when I walked in.”

 

“I don’t want to — I don’t want my dad to find out.”

 

Hermione pressed her lips into a thin line. “I… can see how that would be a problem, yes—HARRY’S HERE!”

 

Draco grinned, relieved, relaxing for the first time in a while.

 

“Harry!” He grinned. Harry sat across from him, looking like everything good personified and wrapped into the body of one person.

 

“What is UP my dudebro,” they grinned, sitting down next to him and throwing their legs over his lap.

 

“HELLO, MY PAL! I am calming down from an anxiety attack! How are you?”

 

“Not as great anymore! What happened?” They asked, asking their tone more serious so Draco couldn't brush it off as easily.

 

“I overreacted,” he said, not wanting to make Harry think he was weird. “My anxiety got the better of me and my entire brain was screaming for a while, but I’m good now,” he sighed, not feeling good at all. He rubbed his fingers over one of the scars on his wrists, sighing.

 

“You need anything?” They asked.

 

“Supportive parents? Medical marijuana?”

 

“Yeah, man, I’ve got like, five dollars,” said Harry.

 

Hermione snorted.

 

Professor Sprout called the class to attention, and Draco turned, but there was still a small remnant of him that was stuck in the whirlwind of insecurity and fear that Harry had left him for good.

Chapter Text

Harry sighed, smiling a little as they pulled the blanket up over their and Draco’s shoulders.

 

“Hey dude,” said Harry. “We’ve been best friends for a really long time now.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“There’s something you need to know.”

 

“Yeah? Hit me with it,” said Draco, although inside, he was panicking. Did Harry hate him? Harry probably hated him.

 

“Remember that time you were unconscious for like three months?”

 

“No, I was unconscious,” Draco quipped.

 

“You little shit,” said Harry, but they were grinning. “Remember when you woke up and we were just chilling and it was just really calm?”

 

“Yeah, bro,” said Draco.

 

Harry shrugged, smiling a bit. “No homo, but I — well I mean I loved you before that, no homo, but that was the day I was like fuck, I really love this guy, don’t I?”

 

Draco smiled slightly. They like me they like me they like me they can’t like me that’s stupid shut the fuck up Draco

 

“Remember the other day? When we sat in the tree?” He asked, turning on his side to face Harry, who in turn sifted so they were face to face.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“That was one of the days. One of many of them.”

 

Harry sighed, squinting through their glasses. “I've had a lot.”

 

“Me too.”

 

“No homo though.”

 

“None at all, no,” Draco said, almost as though he were admitting defeat — this wonderful teenager would never think about him the way he thought about them, and he needed to accept that.

 

“Not an ounce of homo here. There can’t be any homo if we’re both bi,” Harry reasoned.

 

“Exactly! This isn’t gay no matter how you look at it,” Draco said.

 

“We’re safe. And there isn't a gay in the room,” Harry grinned. They pulled the blanket up over both their heads. “We’re gonna be under here now.”

 

“Okay,” said Draco.

 

He was under a blanket in the dark with his crush. He was under a blanket in the dark with his crush. He was UNDER A BLANKET in the DARK with his CRUSH.

 

They were so close together. Being the shorter one of the pair, Draco’s lips were barely centimeters from Harry’s neck.

 

“What’s your second-deepest fear, bro? We already went over the first,” Harry asked.

 

Draco shrugged. “According to my boggart, living a lie forever is up there.”

 

“…I feel stupid now. I was gonna say the Kool-Aid man.”

 

“Oh my god.”

 

“The Kool-Aid man is terrifying, you gotta admit.”

 

“You are correct. I was ignorant and a fool.”

 

“Aren’t you always?” Harry cracked.

 

Draco snorted. “Be nice to a guy, Harry. Merlin.”

 

“I’m just tellin’ the truth!”

 

“This is bullying. I’ll tell Dumbledore.”

 

Harry snorted. “Aren’t you gonna go tell your father?”

 

“Yeah, him too. My father will hear about this! ‘Hey, dad, Harry Potter and I were chilling on my bed and they said I was ignorant and a fool.’”

 

“That’ll go great. Nothing could possibly go wrong.”

 

“Nope, not a thing. He definitely wouldn’t get the wrong idea about this.”

 

“No way that would happen,” Harry smiled.

 

“Why would anyone think about this in any way other than its proper context?”

 

“Because it sounds really weird without its proper context.”

 

“Okay, true,” Draco seceded.

 

“Two people of different genders in the dark… all alone… what would anyone assume about that?”

 

“That we’re planning a murder. Obviously,” Draco scoffed.

 

“Speaking of that, wanna help me defeat Voldemort?”

 

“Sure,” Draco grinned.

 

“M’kay, let’s go. Right now.”

 

“All right,” he said.

 

Neither of them moved. Harry giggled. “That was incredibly productive.”

 

“Extremely.”

 

“Wanna go get food?”

 

“Yes, but dinner’s in like fifteen minutes.”

 

“Merlin, fine.” Harry grinned to show they were just kidding.

 

The two of them stayed in the dormitories until dinnertime, joking around and laughing as the sun fell behind the horizon. For once, Draco was really, truly happy.

Chapter Text

"Good morning I'm traumatised," Millicent said, stabbing at her eggs.
"Wow, same," Blaise responded.
"What up I'm Millicent, I'm 13, and I never fucking learned how to cope!"
"...Wow, same," Blaise said again.
He couldn't tell, but he thought Pansy might have smiled from where she was picking moodily at her meal.
"Oh, worm?" Draco added. "But lighten up. It's breakfast time."
"Can't," Millicent said. "I'm traumatised."
Blaise snorted.
"I love nightmares!" Millicent laughed dryly.
"Oh, same," Pansy said quietly. Draco smiled softly, inviting her into the conversation if she wished.
"Kids, please," Draco pleaded jokingly.
"Flashbacks are my shit," Pansy contributed.
"Oh same," Blaise responded.
"Children!"
"Shut up," Millicent said. "Anyway I love girls." She was watching Pansy to see how she'd react.
"Can't relate," Blaise said, but then stuttered, "I mean I love every girl because the patriarchy can suck my ass and girls are wonderful, I'm just not sexually or romantically interested in them at all."
"Nice save," said Millicent. "I still love girls."
"Same," Pansy said.
"Same," Draco added.
"I'm such a lesbian," Millicent mumbled. "Where is my girlfriend? Where is she?! I demand gay."
"'I demand gay,'" Pansy snickered. "Same."
"Me consuming heterosexual media," Blaise said.
"I demand gay," Pansy echoed, smiling. Tentatively, Millicent smiled back.
Maybe things could be fixed between them and Pansy.

Chapter Text

Draco was watching out of the corner of his eye as Pansy scrawled something down on her paper, looking more panicky by the second.
When she began rocking back and forth Draco stood up abruptly, regretting it as soon as he did so, but he couldn't back out now.
He crossed the room and sat down next to Pansy, opening his Potions textbook. "You alright?"
Pansy's eyes never left her homework. "Nope."
"Need to talk about it?" Draco, too, kept his eyes transfixed on the words in front of him.
"Not here."
"Wanna go for a walk? The Great Lake is nice this time of day." He flipped the page.
"Sure." Pansy slid her textbooks under the couch. "You can store shit there too. Just don't tell. No one's figured it out yet."
Draco placed his books under the couch as well.
"I keep my cigarettes there," Pansy continued casually.
"Isn't that bad for you?"
Pansy snorted. "You're really one to talk, there, huh?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Draco snapped, shoving the door open. He knew what she meant.
"You know what I mean," she responded. "We've all got our shit."
Draco turned and walked right through the wall, trusting that Pansy would figure out where he'd gone. She did; and appeared behind him a second later, bringing a cigarette to her lips. "So."
"So," Draco repeated.
"I was a total bitch in our first year. Sorry," she began, her voice toneless. Draco didn't know if she'd ever learned to express herself.
"Apology accepted."
"After Dumbledore kicked me out I went to this school that was, well, it was called the Centre for Wixen with Unusual Needs or Lifestyles. CWUNL."
Draco shoved open the door and the two continued their walk, Draco taking in the fresh air as Pansy continued talking.
"I went to a muggle school in the daytime, and from three to six I would go to CWUNL. Long story short, at the end of first year I was like 'fuck, I'm a lesbian' and cried myself to sleep a lot. Second year there was this fucker Kaylie and she was hella emotionally abusive and punched me a couple times. She was also sexually abusive and she got me hooked on cigarettes. I tried to off myself... uh, three times that year?" Pansy took another drag of her cigarette. "By the end of the year I'd had this realisation like 'holy shit, I'm a horrible person' and tried to apologise to everyone I'd hurt. Lilac and I are working on it. Um, but the reason I was all panicky back there was because, you know Madeline? Lilac's 'best friend' who she probably shags a lot?"
Draco nodded.
"Yeah, out of the corner of my eye she looks a lot like Kaylie. So." Pansy blew smoke into the air towards the Great Lake. "What's got you fucked up?"
"The depression, what else?" He deflected.
"You on pills? I'm on pills."
"Nope. I've not talked to a doctor about it. What are you on?"
"150mg Sertrailine and 150mg Wellbutrin," she responded. "It's lit. Some days I can even get out of bed. Want a smoke?" She offered up her cigarette carelessly.
"Am I gonna get addicted?"
"Probably. You should say no."
"Can't get addicted if I don't live long enough," Draco pointed out. "How do I..."
"You just smoke it. You kinda just... y'know. You want the weed one? I've got the weed one."
"Eh. Different day, maybe. Sure, I'll try a cancer stick."
"Don't," Pansy recommended, passing it over.
He took a puff and choked immediately, coughing, before immediately trying again and blowing smoke. "That's kinda fun, honestly."
"Why do you think I do it?" She responded. "Besides the rush. And the addiction."
"Oh, worm?"
"Nah, but really, mate. What happened to you?"
"Jesus fuckin' Christ, dude. First of all I'm trans, as in gender -- Draco, he/him -- and second, I'm depressed. But I also got the Depression Package Deal™. Disordered eating patterns, self harm, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, intrusive thoughts -- I really did get the package deal."
"Fuckin' mood," Pansy said. "Jesus Christ, did I mention I was bulimic? Still am, kind of. I'm coping."
"God I wish that were me," Draco said, then rushed to add, "the 'coping' part, not... yeah."
"I knew what you meant." Pansy blew smoke rings into the air. "Not that this hasn't been therapeutic as shit, because it has, but shouldn't we get back in before lights out?"
"Good idea, good idea," Draco said. The two turned around. "Thanks for my first drug addiction."
"Anytime. Hurting others is the only thing I'm good at."
"Concerning, but mood."
"Everyone I meet about me at some point. Like at this point I think people talk to me once and they're just like 'hey is this sad bitch okay.' I'm not, by the way."
Draco snorted. "Yeah, same. Same, same, same."

Chapter Text

Draco huffed and glanced in the mirror again as if that would change what he saw. Unsurprisingly, it didn't.
All he saw was girl. It was in the space his waist should have filled out, it was in the bruises on his hips from bumping into one too many doorframes. He saw his chest and his thighs and there wasn't an inch of him that was masculine, was there?
His stomach rumbled slightly and he found himself wondering how long it had been since he last ate. He'd woken up an hour ago, and gone to sleep around ten... did he have dinner...? No, they'd served chicken and cheese sandwiches, and felt bad for Hermione being the only one to have a salad and took some too. Except he didn't eat it, because he didn't like the dressing... and he'd not had lunch; he'd been making up a Potions test instead.
It had to have been a full 24 hours since he last ate.
The thought shouldn't have sent a thrill down his spine.
He could get away with skipping breakfast, right? The mere idea excited him more than it should have. Just a Diet Coke, maybe, to make him feel full. Yeah, he could stand to lose a few pounds. It wasn't that bad. Besides. It would be nice to be in control of something for once.
He wandered out of the bathroom and up to his dorm room, turning himself towards the wall and changing into ripped black jeans and a long sleeved grey sweatshirt.
He heard a rustling in one of the beds and turned, brushing his hair out of his eyes.
"Theo," he greeted.
"Draco," Theo responded. He sat up, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Should I pierce my ears?" Draco asked. "Like gauges?"
"If you wanna," Theo said.
Draco stood on his toes to look in the mirror at his hair. "I think it would look cool. I could go punk."
"If you wanna," Theodore repeated, rolling out of bed and onto the floor, still wrapped in his blanket.
Blaise stirred then, rubbing sleep from his eyes. "'S going on?"
"Theo rolled out of bed. It's fine." Draco was suddenly painfully aware of how high his voice was compared to cis boys'.
"Oh. 'Sit almost time for breakfast?"
Draco shrugged. "They start serving in ten."
"Right." Blaise sat up. His curls were tangled from tossing in his sleep and squinting through the darkness, Draco could see the bags under his eyes were a bit more prominent. "Draco, stop staring, Jesus heck."
"He's got a thing for Harry, don't worry, Blaise," Theo said.
Draco stuttered out a denial, laughing through his negations.
"Theo, shh, six thirty am is too early for him to have a bi crisis."
"Bitch if I have to have my bi crisises at three in the morning, Draco can have one at six thirty."
"Wow, what a mood," Blaise said. "I'm super gay, but mood."
"Oh same," Draco added, slouching and crossing his arms. "I can't believe I was just bullied for being a bisexual male at 6:30 AM. Homophobia never sleeps," he joked, crossing the room to elbow Blaise in the shoulder.
"Perish, Draco," Blaise smiled softly and stood up. "I'm not changing. You only live lots of times, amirite?"
"Reincarnation joke, second chances joke, or both?" Theo asked.
"Both and also a DID-related amnesia joke. Let's go to breakfast."
The three of them made their way down the stairs and into the Great Hall, where Draco could smell the pancakes and hear the clinking of plates and glasses.
Blaise reached over Draco and grabbed a few pancakes off the tray, stacking them onto his plate and holding it out to Draco.
"Nah," Draco shrugged. "Thanks though."
"'Course." Blaise offered the tray to Theo as Draco reached over the table to grab a Diet Coke and subsequently knocked over a jar of syrup.
"Fecking huck," he mumbled, pointing his wand at it. "Reparo. Sorry."
"Nah, you're fine," Theo said.
Draco summoned a napkin and wiped the syrup off his sweater, sighing when he realized he'd need to either deal with the stickiness or take it off. He chose to take it off, draping it across the bench and breaking the seal on his soda.
"Draco, apple?" Blaise offered as the basket was passed down. Draco shook his head. "Thanks," he said again, sliding down the bench to hand the basket to Tracey.
When he slid back Theo was in a discussion with Blaise about Arithmacy. Draco gulped down the rest of his soda and grabbed another, looking up and smiling when he saw Hermione, Millicent, and Megan enter.
"They're here!" He cheered.
"Hey," Hermione smiled, collapsing into her seat. "Want some pancakes?"
"Nah," Draco said. He sipped his Diet Coke and sighed. "I'm so tired," he said, laughing a little, trying not to raise suspicion. No one was gonna be suspicious, though, right? Because there was nothing to be suspicious about.
Or because they don't care, suggested a cold voice in the back of his mind.
Yeah probably, he agreed, sipping again and trying to tune into the conversation. Hermione was rambling about the amount of homework she had and Megan was listening intently, nodding and spooning oatmeal into their mouth.
Ron came downstairs next, looking exhausted, like he'd not slept a second.
"Yo," Ron greeted. "Would you pass the pancakes?"
"Sure," Draco responded, doing so and ignoring his rumbling stomach.
Ron began shovelling pancakes into his mouth, so quickly Draco almost found it impressive. He grabbed seconds soon after, then thirds.
"You alright?" Hermione asked.
"Fine. Just hungry," Ron responded through his food.
"Yeah, mood," Blaise said.
Ron finished off his plate and stared at it for a moment. "Fuck! I didn't turn in -- I'll be right back," he said, darting out of the room.
"Mood," Draco said. He sighed again and propped his chin up on his fist.
"You doing okay?" Megan asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Draco said. He found himself lost in his thoughts soon after, although he didn't even know what he was thinking about.
"Wow, thanks for saving me a seat," Harry's voice said from behind Draco, who smiled and slid closer to Blaise.
"Join us," he responded.
Harry did and instantly reached for the pancakes. Draco sat down on his hand to keep from reaching out for one. He really did love pancakes.
But he could feel the stretch marks on the back of his thighs and suddenly he wasn't that hungry anymore.

Chapter Text

Remus Lupin laid stretched across one of the many couches in the room in which the club meeting would be held. Draco sat two couches away, or more specifically on the ground in front of it, sketching out a new poster with Megan.
"We need a slogan," they mumbled.
"I agree," Draco said. "We should vote on it once everyone's here."
"Good idea," they said, drawing a large sparkling heart on either side of the poster. "I'm so sad. Are you sad?"
"Yeah."
"I've been sad a lot these days." Megan sighed and picked up a red marker, filling in the first stripe on the heart they'd drawn. "Nothing feels worth all this."
"Dude, same," Draco responded.
"I'm so sad all the time," they continued, popping the lid off of another marker. "Half the time I don't think anyone would noticed if I vanished into thin air."
"I would," Draco said, taking the black marker and outlining the "LGBTQ+ CLUB" block letters one at a time. "I'd notice. Really."
Megan's voice was so casual it was slightly terrifying. "It doesn't really matter if I live or die, y'know?"
"I feel that, hard, but it does matter."
"Hm." Megan began delicately colouring the sparkles on the heart they'd drawn. "Why should I stay? I'm not, y'know, helping anything or anyone by being here."
"You're helping me," Draco said. "I enjoy being around you." The marker slipped out of his hands and he wiped his palms on his jeans. He hoped he was saying the right things.
"Thanks," Megan mumbled. "We should start another club. For depressed people. Or mentally ill people."
"That could be kinda cool. A support club?" Draco began colouring the letters in "club" with the letters in the nonbinary pride flag.
"Yeah, exactly. For people to vent without being judged."
"We could hold it right before queer club, 'cause God only knows how many of us are depressed and gay."
"Oh same," Megan responded. "Nah, but that would interfere with dinner." At the mention of dinner, Draco's stomach grumbled as if to remind him that he'd not had solid food in nearly 24 hours.
"True. Maybe before dinner?"
"That could work. I'll check the Quidditch times," they said.
"M'kay. I'll get Hermione involved; she's good at this stuff."
"Oh? What else is she good at?"
Megan winked.
"Megan, no."
"Megan yes."
"Megan no!"
Megan cackled, colouring in the second heart. "I'm having, like, withdrawals from girls, man, you wouldn't believe. I miss kissing girls; not that I ever have."
"Oof."
"Yeah. Just like, just if I could kiss her once, y'know?" Megan sighed, propping their head up on their hand and staring at Hermione. "Like, wow."
"Ask her out," Draco said, beginning to brim with excitement. Hermione had admitted to liking Megan, so all he had to do was convince one to ask out the other.
"No, I can't," Megan said.
"Why not?"
"Dude, I've had this huge crush on her since first year."
"That's so long, Merlin."
"Yeah. So I really don't want to destroy what we have now that I'm finally getting the chance to know her."
"That's fair, but Meg. Listen. If I were you I'd ask her out."
"I have an anxiety disorder, Draco. Even if I was gonna I wouldn't be able to."
"You can do it. I believe in you."
"It's not happening."
"C'mon. She totally likes you."
Megan snorted sardonically. "Yeah, as if."
"No, seriously."
"Prove it."
"How?"
"...I dunno. Just prove it," they sighed.
Draco sighed as well.
"Five minutes 'till people start coming," Hermione called.
Draco sighed and capped his marker. "I'm gonna just lie here and claim my territory."
"Oh, worm? I'll sit by you, if that's okay."
"Merlin, Megan, I didn't realise I had competition for 'Most Socially Insecure.'"
"Shut up," Megan laughed.
True to Hermione's word, kids started streaming in at exactly eight.
At 8:15, introductions started, Hermione sitting next to Megan, Blaise on the other side of Draco. He'd be up fairly quickly.
"Hey I'm Hermione, she/her, and I'm a bisexual trans girl. Y'all can introduce yourselves, say whatever you feel comfortable with. Uh, Megan, wanna go...?"
"Yeah sure, I'm Megan, they/them, I'm a pan agender person."
"I'm Draco, um, he/him, and I'm bi."
"Blaise, he/him, I'm gay."
"I'm Ki, she/her, I'm a trans demigirl and a lesbian."
"I'm Marie, I'm homoromantic and bisexual. She/her."
"I'm Kate, she/her."
"I'm Colin! He/him and I'm bi curious."
"I'm Percy, they/them. I'm genderfluid and androsexual."
"What up Percy's my older sibling, I'm Ginny, she/her, I'm trans and bi."
"I'm Millicent, she/her, I'm a huge lesbian."
"Su, she/her, and I'm a heteroromantic ace."
"Lilac and I'm a lesbian, she/her."
"I'm Connor and I'm a he/him lesbian."
"Ashton, they, I'm aro and ace."
"Luna, she, they, or ze pronouns. I'm trans and omnisexual."
"Hi, I'm Anna and I'm deaf but I can read lips. She and her. I might be pan."
"I'm Padma and I think I'm bi and aro. Oh, she/her."
"Ron, he/him, trans and questioning. I might be biro ace?" He shrugged.
"I'm Harry I'm bigender and I use they them pronouns," Harry rushed.
"George, I'm ace. He/him."
"Hey, I'm Fred, I'm pan and a demiboy. He or they."
"Lee, he or they, I don't know what I am but I'm definitely not straight."
"Dylan, he/him, I'm trans and bi."
"I'm Oliver I'm intersex and bi. He/him."
"Cho, she/her and I'm panro ace."
"Pansy, she/her, I'm a lesbian."
"Katie, she/her, bi."
"Angelina, she/her, trans and heteroflexible."
"Freddie, he/him, and I'm gay."
"Alex, they/them."
"Everyone's gone, out of the kids here?" Hermione asked. The teenagers nodded.
"I'm Professor Lupin," said Lupin from where he was standing between Draco's couch and Marie's couch. "I use he and him pronouns. I'm gay."
"Professor Sprout, they or she, and I'm a genderfluid lesbian," the professor said.
"Wonderful," Hermione beamed. "Yes there are teachers here, but feel free to speak up anyway; they're not gonna eat you or anything." She bounced on her toes, still beaming. "So! Let's talk about intracommunity issues."
"She went there," Dylan said.
"Yeah I did! What are you thinking about? 'Cause I know you're the one who gave me the idea."
"I'm thinking about the discourse online surrounding ace people."
"Oh, I hate that," Su said.
"Same," Freddie said.
"Like. I feel bad for calling myself a part of the community because I'm a heteroromantic, cisgender ace."
"Can I say something?" Ron asked.
"I don't know, can you?" Hermione smirked.
Ron stood, looking small in his oversized clothes. "Okay, look. Maybe there's a lot of fighting going on right now. But in my opinion, aces will always belong here, whether or not they're 'cishet,' which by the way was a term stolen from the trans community and was never meant to say ace people didn't belong. You belong here. That's. All I've got." Ron sat back down as abruptly as he'd stood.
"Excellently put!" Hermione said.
"Hey," Megan whispered to Draco. "That should be the motto. 'You belong.'"
"Yeah!" Draco agreed.
"We were talking about this too," Padma said, adjusting her hijab, "but racism in the queer community."
"God, I hate that," Ashton said.
"Same," Lee said.
"Seeing 'no blacks no fats no fems' on people's bios is honestly so upsetting," Anna said.
"I'm white, so stop me if I'm out of line," George said, "but has anyone else noticed that homophobia is even worse for queer people of colour?"
"Yeah, no, you're right," Hermione said. "It's much more likely for a trans woman of colour to be murdered than a white cis gay man. No offence, Freddie."
"None taken? You're not wrong."
"Racism is bad," Ginny said.
Fred clapped slowly, which his twin quickly joined in on. Soon the whole room was clapping.
"You guys are mean," Ginny said.
"No, no, listen, she just singlehandedly ended racism," Ron laughed, crossing over to wrap an arm over his sister's shoulders. She shrugged him off, mock-offended. "This is transphobia! I'm suing!"
"Sorry, I'm Jewish, so threatening to sue me is antisemitism," Hermione joked, grinning at Ginny. "You're the best. Sit down. That means you too, Ronald."
Ron huffed but grinned as he sat down.
"If I may chime in?" Lupin's voice called out softly. The room quieted. "Ableism in the community is a problem I've noticed."
"He's right, you know," Lilac said from her wheelchair. "People ask me how I have sex if I'm in a wheelchair, which, that's an ableism thing in general, but also, like, since I'm a lesbian, they're asking that anyway. So it's double-obnoxious. And when gay girls ask it I'm like... do you not get tired of non-women-loving-women asking the same question? Like, god." She leaned back, exhausted.
"Sorry," Pansy mumbled.
"You're forgiven," Lilac responded. "You didn't know what was gonna happen."
"Um, on the mental health side of things," Megan said, "there's a lot of ableism when it comes to me being autistic. And it comes from within the community as well as from outside, and that honestly hurts more."
"I didn't know you had autism," Draco whispered.
"Fun fact," Megan responded.
"Oh, you know what's really fun?" Alex asked. "Transphobia within the trans community."
"Oh, I hate that," Megan said immediately.
"Right? Like, I see so many trans people calling other trans people 'special snowflakes' and 'cringey' and 'transtrenders' and I just... no? Don't?"
"Exactly," Draco said, and before he knew what he was saying, he continued. "Like some trans people don't want surgery or hormones and that doesn't make them less trans, y'know?"
"Can I ask a question?" Cho asked softly.
"Go ahead," Draco said.
"Why wouldn't a trans person want surgery or hormones? Like it's their choice, but...?"
"Well," said Hermione. "It could be for religious reasons, or health reasons. Or financial, for that matter. Or maybe they don't have dysphoria and are comfortable with their bodies the way they are. Everyone's experience is different, y'know?"
"Yeah. Thanks," Cho mumbled.
"Back to financial reasons because I'm trans and I'm pissed," Ron said. "Y'all know I'd have been on HRT last year if we'd had the money, right? But no! They won't pay for it 'till I'm 17. Which means I'm spending the next four years looking like a ten year old! Like, they sent out the 'dear Ronald, sorry to inform you but we don't really care if you live or die' message in an envelope with another paper with their anti-discrimination pledge on it. Which covers both being trans and age. So. I don't know what their logic was there, but I am not happy about it." He huffed. "Anyway classism is gross and we need to get rid of it ASAP."
"Mood," Ginny said.
"Oh, and that reminds me! Gin, hon, I love you to death, but -- y'all, they're letting her start HRT at thirteen? And I have to wait till seventeen. You know why? Because she's intersex. That's it. That's their whole line of reasoning."
"It's unfair," Ginny said. "Even if it benefits me."
"Me at the patriarchy," Dylan said. Draco snorted.
"That's another thing!" Connor said suddenly. "Sexism in the community!"
"God, yeah, no, seriously," Lilac said. "It's such a huge problem and no one wants to address it."
"I'll address it," Dylan said. "I've both been targeted by the patriarchy before I came out, and now I'm benefiting from it. I'm bi, also, and I've noticed something interesting. If a girl says she's bi, people say she's straight and just wants attention. If a guy says he's bi, he's 'just gay and scared to admit it.' And what do those two things have in common? Men. Because men are, in our society, still seen as better than women, whether consciously or unconsciously."
"He's right, you know," Pansy said.
The conversation continued, nearly everyone getting their voices heard -- or their lips read, in Anna's case, he supposed -- and by the end, Megan was bouncing with the need to explain the slogan.
It was accpeted unanimously, and Ron's face turned bright red at the attention and the praise.
You belong.
It was the phrase Draco had never heard, something he didn't even feel he deserved.
But here he was. And the phrase echoed in his mind again and again and again.
You belong.

Chapter Text

Draco wrapped the ace bandages around his chest, heart racing, knowing it was a bad idea but not caring. He'd done this before, in his first year, before he really knew he was trans, so what was the problem with doing it now? It wouldn't hurt him; it hadn't before, after all.
He tried to take a deep breath and immediately regretted it. This wasn't exactly proving his "it won't hurt" motif.
••
Two hours into this experiment he found himself at the foot of the stairs to Divination. He'd have to go up seven flights of stairs, which was... not going to be fun.

••

Draco: dhdhddhdshssd BLAISE meet me in the fourth floor prefect's bathroom i got candy
Blaise: technically it's Aaleyah can i still come
Draco: hell yea ive got a Ton
Blaise: im there

A few minutes later he heard a timid knock on the door before Blaise - Aaleyah - came in.
"Hey," she greeted, collapsing clumsily on the floor in Blaise's body, which she wore as though it were an outfit that was too large on her. "I don't think we've officially met. I'm Aaleyah." She stuck out a hand for him to shake.
"Draco," he responded, shaking her hand.
"The famed Draco? I'm honoured," she quipped. "Blaise talks about you a lot."
"He does?" Draco asked, smirking.
"Oh, all the time," Aaleyah responded, matching Draco's smirk. "Draco and I had such a wonderful talk today, Draco is so altruistic, Draco's so funny, Draco's so smart."
"Compliments from the Queen himself? I'm shaking."
Aaleyah paused. "Ryden wants you to know that he 'ships it.'"
"Shove off, Ryden," Draco responded. It felt a bit odd to be talking to someone who wasn't in the room with him, but oh well. He had faith that Ryden could hear him.
Aaleyah snorted. "Nah, but really, Blaise talks about you all the time."
"I'm flattered," said Draco, but deep down he didn't feel he deserved it.
"Hm." She stared at him intensely for just a split second, before a grin spread. "So, candy?"
Draco grinned back, reaching into his bag and pulling out another bag, filled to the brim with candies.
"Where the hell did you find this?" Aaleyah marvelled.
"My dad may not be the nicest person, but being rich has its perks."
"You're not wrong."
"Sometimes I forget you guys are rich too. You aren't jerks about it like I was. Am, sometimes, unfortunately."
"You're trying to be better, and that's what counts," Aaleyah said, before throwing a caramel in her mouth.
"That's... a really mature viewpoint," Draco said. He grabbed a peppermint.
"Thanks! I was forced to grow up too early," she said, flashing a peace sign.
"Oh, big mood," Draco cackled. He winced a second later when he felt the bandages on his chest press into his ribs.
"You all right?"
"I'm good," Draco lied, reaching for a chocolate frog.
"I just skyped Blaise and he says you're a fuckin' liar. I'm kidding. He's asleep right now. You're still a liar." She paused. "My girlfriend has brought up an absolutely wonderful point-I'm lying, we all are, and apparently I have 'no right to call you out when Blaise and I aren't even telling the truth,'" she snorted.
"I'm confused," Draco said.
"How many alters did Blaise tell you about?"
"Like... five, I think?"
"First gen. Okay. So there's more of us, for instance, my wonderful girlfriend Avery Jace. There's three generations as far as I know - some alters hold other alters so there could be ten or eleven generations? But most don't come out, or I'd know, because I'm usually co-conscious. Anyway - first gen alters come out the most, and then there are second-gen alters: Annabeth Kate, Jake, Elliot, Starr, and Doll. Third gen, there's Click - whose real name is a string of numbers no one can remember - and Avery Jace, my girlfri-Blaise is not happy with me.... Nope, we're fine, Avery's got it. Sorry. They're usually quieter when co-conscious."
"It's fine," Draco responded. He picked up a Twizzler and began peeling it.
Aaleyah huffed and picked up another candy. "Anyway yeah, I'm co-conscious with Blaise all the time and he still makes a point to rehash every conversation he has with you."
"Serious question, although it's rather off topic," Draco said, laughing a little. "You all share one phone, yeah?"
"Mhm?"
"Wait, now I havee two questions- if someone doesn't want one of the other alters to know about something, and they're texting someone, what would you do?"
"Usually we just force the other alters to sleep, have our conversation, then delete it. We also have our own emails, but we rarely use them."
"Second question... if you put all your music on shuffle-"
Aaleyah laughed. "I'm not laughing at you, just, we argue about this all the time. Because Starr only listens to Evanescense and indie music, and Elliot only likes metal and emo, and I like pop, so we're always bickering about the music. We have our own playlists of all our songs but it's so easy to put songs in the wrong playlist, y'know? Xayn was upset because he was listening to Taylor Swift and one of Elliot's Linkin Park songs played."
Draco snorted. "God, could you imagine relaxing to freaking Teardrops On My Guitar and then Crawling comes on?"
"I can't believe you're a closet Taylor Swift fan."
"Wait no-"
"Wait YES. Teardrops is one of her oldest songs. It's from her first album, man."
"You're the one who knew which album it was from."
"Yeah, but I'm not ashamed of my love for our lord and saviour Taylor Swift!"
"...Delicate is one of her best songs."
"You're absolutely right," she grinned. "She dedicated it to the LGBTQ community in June, did you know?"
"We stan an icon."
"Right?! I love her."
Their talk continued through the free period, laughter echoing off the walls, and when the bell rung from the North tower, Draco felt strangely sad to leave the bright but dusty bathroom and go to class.

Chapter Text

Milo: i got ur number from Megan I hope thats not weird?????
Milo: ya it's me and im like, in total breakdown mode
Milo: but not like sad breakdown? like "i wanna do smth wild" breakdown
Milo: anyway do u wanna go get haircuts/dyes and gauges
Draco: and a lip ring?
Milo: for u for me or both bc i think itd be odd to share a lip ring /s
Draco: for me and if u want one then u too
Draco: WAIT eyebrow piercing
Milo: shfhshsbdbd im in the hufflepuff common room rn?? meet me in the astrology section of the library. bring Sneaking Out Stuff. we're goin Rebellin

Draco smiled down at his phone screen before jumping up and dressing, choosing to bind with two sports bras instead of ace, because the bandages had really hurt his chest.
As he slid down the stairs, his phone vibrated with a text from Blaise.

Blaise: dude where are u???
Draco: im um,,, getting piercings with milo???
Blaise: youre what

Draco smirked and hurried down the hall, head down.

Draco: we're Rebelling
Blaise: nashdbdb have fun stay safe see u in the morning
Draco: see u xx
Blaise: xoxo

Draco slipped into the library. Milo was already there, a bag over one shoulder.
"You ready to rebel?" Milo joked.
"Always," Draco responded.
"Love the outfit."
Draco glanced down; he was wearing ripped black jeans, a Fall Out Boy shirt, black-and-red hightops, and a black baseball hat. "Thanks. I like yours too."
Milo had opted for black jeans as well, but he paired this with a red flannel that didn't make him look like a lumberjack, fortunately.
"Let's go," Draco grinned.
Sneaking out of Hogwarts was, in all honestly, a chore, but between Milo's frequent breakdowns in odd corners of the school and Draco's father's authoritative hand over the school, the two students made it out of the building in ten minutes.
The October air bit at his exposed skin and he shivered before drawing his shoulders up to his ears and bolting down the path, Milo at his heel.
"Knight bus to Muggle London? I know a guy," Milo said cryptically.
"Sure, why not," Draco said, sticking his wand arm out.
The bus screeched towards them a second later and Milo rattled off an address. The driver didn't even question their presence in Hogsmeade at two in the morning, accepting their money and slamming on the gas.
The bus, in Draco's opinion, was absolutely terrifying, but Milo had the biggest grin on his face, so Draco let himself close his eyes and enjoy it, just a little.
The bus skidded to a stop and Milo led him through the well-lit London streets, hopping over the cracks in the road and grinning, when all of the sudden a light shone on the two of them.
"Hands up," a deep voice called. Draco was already trembling from head to toe. Milo looked like he was going to be sick.
"Names."
"M-Mira Narcissa Malfoy?"
Milo said his full legal name as well, but Draco decided not to hear, focusing instead on the policeman: a large man, white, with a moustache and no beard.
"Turn out your bag," the man ordered, pointing to Milo. Draco was shaking from head to toe. He was so loud.
"B-but there's n-nothing in there th-that's-"
"Turn out. Your bag."
Milo slid his bag off his shoulder and opened it, reaching in.
The policeman slipped a hand onto the belt where his gun was.
"Dump it out, or I'll be forced to shoot."
Milo dumped the contents of the bag out - two cloaks, which to Muggles would look like blankets - a chocolate bar - a couple Galleons - a small pocketknife - a compass - an empty water bottle - a can of soda - and two hardback books, both Shakespeare.
"You are in possession of dangerous weapons," the policeman said. Milo was crying and shaking with terror, and Draco couldn't stand it anymore - he dropped his hands and knelt down by Milo, who had braced his hands on his knees. "By law we must bring you to the nearest police station to be questioned."
"I didn't do anything wrong-"
"I am prepared to shoot."
"It's mine!" Draco blurted.
The police officer and Milo both stared at him.
"The knife. It's mine. My dad's. I have it in my bag because he borrowed it from me. My friend offered to carry the bag. It's mine."
The police officer removed his hand from his gun. "Go home, both of you. I expect your parents are worried."
"Yes sir," said Draco, because he wasn't a complete idiot. He could keep the fact that he wanted to kill the man quiet for a few more minutes.
"And don't let me catch you with weapons again, hear?"
"Yes, sir."
The police officer backed away slowly, opening his car door before saying a final "good night," and driving off.
Draco was shaking, not with fear, now, but with rage.
"I wanna kill him."
"D, we're in a city. Someone could hear."
"He's a racist -" he said some words his mother wouldn't be proud of "-and I wanna kill him!"
Milo sighed and wiped the dried tears off his cheeks.
"I'm in the mood for anger," Draco continued. "I'm going to - I - holy sh-"
"Draco, let's go get gauges in our ears and a tattoo or something."
"Right." The reason they'd come here in the first place.
Milo sighed. "Can I just - don't interrupt with murderous intent until after - like, that man? He could've done much worse. Police officers have. Especially in America; that place is so corrupt, you wouldn't believe. Police are always going to want to kill me 'cause I'm black. And I've accepted that, y'know? It's a part of how I interact with the world. 'I'm short, so I should use the sidewalk if I need to see over the head of someone on the road. I'm trans so I'll meticulously plan routes so I can take a leak without getting beat up. I'm black so if I see a policeman I treat them better than I would the queen.' You know? I was given the talk at seven. Not, not the sex talk, the stay away from police talk. I was born in America - we moved here when I was ten - and it was worse there. My dad, um, he's in a wheelchair. He had a spinal injury due to a police officer. I don't know the whole story, but the entire system is corrupt and I'm really tired." Milo sighed. "And like, keep it on the DL, but I went through some bad stuff back in America, and the police did nothing. And it's all really - it's bad." Milo sighed again. "We're, um, we're here."
Draco looked up from where he was fiddling with the hem of his shirt. The store was called Tattoo & Piercing Heaven, and the sign announced in obnoxious gaudy letters that it was open 24/7.
The man behind the counter grinned when he saw Milo.
"Milo! My man! Back again?"
"Yeah, my friend Draco and I needed to do something rebellious for once."
"Draco, this is Corey, he's my brother's boyfriend, we're bros."
Corey grinned at Draco, sticking a hand out for him to shake. Draco did. His arm was covered in tattoos.
"Wha'chu want today, mate?" He asked.
"He and I both want lip piercings and gauges for our ears."
"That's easy, cheap, and free."
"Cheap and free? It's my lucky day," Draco quipped.
Corey laughed. "I like this one."
Milo rolled his eyes. "Do your job, Corey."
"Yeah, yeah. C'mon, I've got two chairs in the back."
Draco and Milo followed him, Milo hopping onto a chair quicker than Draco, who hesitantly climbed up.
"All right, lip first or ears first?"
"Ears," said Milo. Draco nodded his confirmation.
"Draco, you want to go first?"
"Why not," he shrugged.
"I see you already had your ears pierced?"
"Yeah. I let them close up a few years ago."
"All right. I think I can target the needle so it'll be a bit easier. You want me to count to three and then shoot, or do you want me to just go for it?"
"C-count to three?"
"All right. And what colour gauges do you want?"
"Mm, just black for now."
"All right." Corey grabbed something that looked like a terrifying over-glorified stapler and counted to three and before he knew it there was metal in his ears.
"Thanks," he said.
"'Course. And Milo, surprise or count?"
"Surprise me."
His were done quickly as well and Corey sighed. "I'll just give you instructions for the lip rings; I trust you can both read it on your own time."
As Corey went through the process- on Milo first, this time - he narrated what he was doing and why. It was sort of calming.
Once it was all finished, it was nearing four, and Milo summoned the Knight Bus, seeming to realize how exhausted Draco was.
He was awake and the next moment he was being shaken awake by Milo, sitting on the floor of a corridor in Hogwarts.
"I don't know exactly where the Slytherin dungeons are," he said. "But they're over here somewhere, and I'm tired and don't know the way and my common room is in the other direction. So."
"Thanks," Draco mumbled.
"I mean, I don't know why you're thanking me, but I'll assume it's for the right twenty minutes I spent convincing the driver that I wasn't your boyfriend. His name is Ernie and his niece is a lesbian," Milo said.
Draco snorted a little. "Wild. Us gays are everywhere."
"Right? Almost like being gay is normal."
"I'm shocked," Draco said dryly. "Well. I'll see you at breakfast?"
"Probably," said Milo. "If I don't sleep through the day."

Chapter Text

"Dude," Harry greeted.
"Didn't sleep much last night," Draco responded. "Milo and I got piercings together. Speak of the devil," he sucked in a deep breath and shouted, "MILO."
He responded to his name, hurrying over to Slytherin table and sitting down.
"Hey."
"You both got them," Harry said, exhaustion clear on their face. "You missed everything that happened last night."
Draco tilted his head, beckoning them to continue.
"Sirius Black tried to kill Ron."
"Literally what did I miss?!?"
Harry sighed and cut off a bite of their toast. They didn't eat it. "Ron wakes up screaming at three in the morning. Said he saw Black holding a knife over his head, about to kill him. His curtain around his bed was slashed."
"That's terrifying," Draco breathed, turning to Ron. "I'm sorry."
Ron just shrugged.
"Coincidentally, around that time we were also in danger," Milo said lightly.
"What happened?"
Draco sighed. "An encounter with a racist police officer," he began, and told the entire story.
Ron pushed his plate away and sighed. "I'm sorry. That sucks."
"Racists are mean," Harry added eloquently.
"You're not wrong," Hermione said. "I like the piercings though, boys."
"Thanks," Milo and Draco both said.
Harry slid their plate over to Draco. "Eat."
Draco blinked, realising he had yet to put food on his plate.
(The toast was 100 calories each, and the butter another hundred, and the honey would be 50... 250 calories, he could walk that off in about two hours, or he could go up to the weight room with Blaise, maybe.)
"Eat," Harry insisted, throwing a fork at him. Draco caught it and grabbed his knife, wordlessly slicing the toast into small pieces.
"Our history club," Hermione began. "I think we should go over Muggle history as well. The amount of students who don't know about the Holocaust and the moon landing and 9/11 and World War 1... it's honestly shocking. People need to know about this stuff. Obviously we should continue our discussions of the classwork and studies we are currently investigating within the coursework, however, Muggle history is just as important as Wixen history, and I believe our history club should echo this fact. Additionally, adding in discussion of LGBTQ movements within Europe and the United States will promote acceptance and help students feel more comfortable with coming out."
"That's... not a bad idea," Draco said.
"Thanks. Milo, you're not in the history club?"
"Nope. I don't wanna talk to people."
"You won't have to! Mostly we just hit each other with pool noodles; strangely; it's a preferred activity. First years love it."
"Dumbledore should just hire you to teach."
Hermione flushed. "I don't know quite enough about the Goblin Revolutions of 1804, but he has considered the option in the past."
"Why do you think that does anything but prove my point?"
"That's fair. I've also been thinking of setting up an art section? So if instead of swimming or being attacked with noodles, you wanted to paint? I think that would be fun. Also - who are we electing to teach the new first years? We gotta use a second year..."
"Ginny?" Ron suggested. "She's fairly smart and good with kids. Don't tell her I said that."
Harry chuckled and threw their legs over their friend's lap, leaning against Hermione. "Ginny would be good at teaching, I think," they said, reaching out to push their - Draco's - plate towards him. "Eat, I'm serious."
As Draco was taking a bite, Milo leaned over and whispered, "I think you just wanna eat their di-"
"ShUT UP," Draco practically shrieked, choking on his food.
"What'd he say?" Hermione asked, interested. "You look like a fire truck."
"You shut up too," Draco responded, taking a large bite of toast so no one would ask him anything else.
"See," Milo said, and Draco shot him a glare that could've killed a weaker man, "I was just thinking that Draco should be eating and isn't, so the best way to get him to do so would be to embarrass him enough that he drowns his sorrow in toast."
"Literally piss off," Draco grumbled.
"I have to know," said Harry, and Draco buried his head in his hands.
"Just your average sex joke," Milo shrugged.
"You're all, like, five years old," Hermione sighed. "I love y'all, and I'd join in the joking, but I can only think of one dick joke and it's pretty long."
Draco choked on the last bite of toast and chugged his water, trying to breathe while also laughing into his drink.
"You're welcome," Hermione said.
"That was glorious," Ron said. He looked ready to propose.
"I know."
"What was glorious?" Megan asked from behind them.
Hermione quickly repeated the joke, and Megan cackled, twisting a lock of Hermione's hair around their finger. "Jesus Christ, 'Mione."
Hermione's blush was something to be admired.
"I consider it an art," she said.
"You're an artisté," Megan said, slipping into the seat between her and Blaise. "Your hair is very pretty today."
"Thank you," Hermione mumbled through her blush.
Dylan - who was sitting next to Ki and Marie, the masters of making out in public - groaned loudly. "There's only so much flirting I can take. Please. Stop. I'm going to actually literally cry."
Neither Megan nor Hermione had a response for this.
"They're right though, your hair looks really nice. Did you do something different with it?"
"Nah, just woke up," Hermione shrugged, still blushing. "W-Guys! We should start an activist group! We can yell about feminism and queer rights and muggleborn discrimination and racism and - that would be so cool?"
"Okay, yeah, hang on," Blaise said, reaching underneath the table and pulling out a notebook. "You want to start and maintain, hm, the history club, the LGBT club, the mental illness support group, and the activist group. Yeah, where the hell are you getting the time for that again?"
"Well, can I see your notebook?"
Blaise handed it over silently.
Hermione gave it back a few moments later.
Tuesdays & Fridays 7-9
Mondays 8-10
6h/week
Days in week: 7
Hours in day: 24
7 times 24 = 168
168-6=162
Conclusion theres plenty of time blaise is just a coward
Blaise snorted and showed the group the paper.
"She's not wrong," Megan said. "I mean, it's a lot to take on, and - how many subjects are you taking again?"
"Enough," Hermione sighed. "I can do this. I want to."
"You're insane," Ron said.
"You're taking on too much in an effort to feel like you matter, when in fact you already do, no matter how many clubs you start."
Everyone turned towards Megan.
"I, um, I do a lot of psychoanalysis for fun sometimes, and, also tarot pulls? So."
Hermione turned, looking rather touched. "Let's go for a walk," she said. She was smiling softly.
The second she was out of earshot Draco said, "five galleons that she and Megan will be together by lunch today."
"Ten for between lunch and dinner," Dylan responded.
"You're on," Draco replied.
(Three hours later, Dylan dropped five golden coins into Draco's outstretched palm.)