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Men Who Love Dragons Too Much

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Draco didn’t know how he’d gotten here.

He didn’t know—or couldn’t remember, rather, because a teasing hint of recognition (recollection) beat at the shutters of his mind like a driving rain only to fall away and leave him grasping.

The knowledge was there, just out of reach.

But then it didn’t matter that he couldn’t remember. It didn’t matter how he’d gotten here.

Nothing mattered, really, because there was nothing.

There was nothing in this place; he wasn’t even sure he was really here himself. It was just…a void. A dark, empty blank that was cold and vast and lonely and threatened to swallow him whole—

Until, like a bolt of lightning, a shining, brilliant blot split the nothing—and then suddenly there was an ineffable, indescribable something.

There was nothing, and then there was something, and that something was now Draco’s whole world.

Draco didn’t know how he’d gotten here—but he knew he didn’t belong here. That was the only thing he knew.

He belonged wherever that something was. That something was his everything, that something would make sense of this shattered kaleidoscope that was Draco’s existence at the moment. Everything whirred in a swirling vortex around him, idle thought and snatches of reality that crumbled to dust whenever he reached for them. There was nothing, nothing real and nothing true and nothing to which he could cling, could ground himself.

Nothing but that something.

He roused, rallied his senses—and focused. He felt…off. Imbalanced, incomplete. A less-than that could be a greater-than if he could just find it: the something that waited for him out there, in the blank expanse.

He was weak, in both mind and body, and everything somehow hurt. He didn’t think he even had a body here in the nothing, and yet somehow that did nothing to mitigate the agony shooting through him. His chest burned, his throat felt raw and ruined, and his lungs filled with choking smoke, painting his insides in a thick layer of ash and soot. He just wanted to lie down, curl up, turn in on himself, and wait for the something to find him. He’d rather be a coward and alive than brave and dead—this was what Slytherins did.

But every moment that passed, every thudding beat of his heart caged behind his ribs, was torture as that something called to him, beckoning siren-sweet in notes of silver and gold. He’d surely perish here, in the nothing, where nothing mattered, if he didn’t untwist, unwind, and spread his wings. If he didn’t go and claim that something for his own, demand it complete him, and reassert himself.

It seemed an impossible task. But he’d been set impossible tasks before, he felt. Yes, he’d had his back shoved against a wall, a wand at his throat, his neck on the line—and still he’d survived. He’d keep surviving. This was also what Slytherins did.

Words escaped him, the nothing that surrounded him somehow taking on a soft blur, like a bank of fog had just rolled in quiet and insidious, until it pressed down on him with real, physical force. Urgency settled right over his breastbone, slowly crushing him beneath its insistence.

He knew he ought to be frightened, but the heat in his chest was building, crescendoing into a raging inferno that eclipsed any tendrils of terror with raw, unbridled desperation.

He needed to find it. His something. Consume it, coil around it, and squeeze until its very essence seeped under his skin, tainted his blood, and became his own. Himself. Then he’d be complete, instead of this half measure. A greater-than, at last.

A thrumming purr rattled through his chest, dislodging the discomfiting urgency with promise and expectation. He swallowed it down, bit it back, and took a breath.

And then went hunting.