Draco Malfoy had his gaze fixated on the spot Harry Potter had just furiously vacated. The man was storming out of the hall from beside the Weasel and across from Granger, both of which looked incredibly guilty.
Potter had been on edge ever since the war had ended. He had returned to the castle to make up for his time away saving the entirety of the wizarding world or some shit, Draco had thought pointedly when he saw those familiar raven curls weaving between the masses on the first night back. It was only the second week and the bloody Gryffindor had already managed to break up with the Weaslette, freak out at her when she got too close within the proximity that he deemed fit, and now he just had to throw a hissy in the middle of the Great Hall.
He clearly was upset about something, and Draco wasn't even sure Granger and Weasley knew.
So it came only as a partial shock when Potter screamed at Weasley like a distressed child when he attempted to snatch food off his plate.
"Ron!" He yelled in frustration, standing abruptly from the bench.
Weasley withdrew his hand at lightning speed and glanced sheepishly at the fleeing Potter.
"It was just a chip..." Weasley murmured solemnly in response, watching Harry's robes flurry into the corridor.
"It's never just the chip Ron." Granger hissed lowly, "You know he has a... thing about food..."
"I thought he'd be over it by now! I thought it was just a first year issue!" he mumbled back with a disgruntled demeanor.
"I'm pretty sure it's an symptom Ron... of everything his relatives did to him.... You of all people know full well he is always scarfing down his food as fast as possible..." she whispered.
Draco's mind drew blank. Harry Potter, the savior and Golden boy, abused by his relatives? Surely if the Weasel and Granger were talking about it, it must be true right?
He stood calmly, deliberately drawing no attention to himself from the pack of bloody Gryffindor's. Briskly walking from the hall, he heard angry click clacks of shoes on the marble staircase. They were a bit faltered, he noted pauses that sounded stressed. Thump thump thump, "Shit!" and the sound of a body hitting the marble.
Draco hurried up at a mad pace until he saw raven curls on a short, lean figure, sitting on the top steps with his legs outstretched in shock.
Harry was sat there, angrily glaring at his feet while he attempted to regulate his breathing. Draco noted that his shoelaces were untied, and that he was curling the fingers of his left hand against the marble. He slowly drew his leg up so he could reach his shoe, looking extremely frustrated? Draco raised his brows when Harry pulled out his wand and pointed it at the laces, muttering an incantation. They twirled a bit, but didn't do much else. Could he not tie his shoes? Draco thought, watching Harry struggle to hold his wand in uncooperative stiff fingers.
Harry set his wand down and reached over to twirl the laces in his fingers. His expression grew more and more agitated as his callused hands fumbled with the laces, his pointer fingers would stay rigid for long pauses as he looped the flat side around them, making him bite his lip and glare at the offending digit. Harry groaned, straightening his leg back out aggressively, and scrubbed his palms against the denim on his thighs in perfect repetition.
The loosely tied laces were sitting neatly on top of his battered old trainers. Harry barely got the other one tied in a somewhat reasonable amount of time, and Draco could tell that by that point he was beyond frustrated.
He jumped when Harry shoved his wand in his pocket and scrubbed his fingers over his eyes just like he did on his legs. His heart sank when he heard Harry start whispering a mantra of, "I'm not retarded I'm not retarded..."
Draco took a few steps up the staircase, "Potter?" he tried cautiously.
Harry's head snapped up so fast that his fingers caught on the lenses and dragged his glasses all the way to the tip of his nose. The pallor of pure fear that overtook his cocoa skin was startling.
"How long have you been there?" he asked in a barely audible whisper.
"A few minutes..." Draco admitted.
"Just get away from me!" Harry snapped defensively, his cheeks coloring under his pigment.
"I- I'm not going to make fun of you Potter," he huffed, ascending a few more stairs, "I was going to ask if you wanted help."
Harry stared at him with those wide emeralds, "Er- I can do it - I can do it on my own." he replied, looking down self consciously at his angular hands.
Draco noticed that when he talked he had a perfectly repetitive bounce to his left foot. Harry scrambled to his feet, using the railing to shove himself up. Draco's brow furrowed in question when Harry flexed his hands in agitation as he rebalanced himself.
"Thanks for the offer though." he said impishly, clearly trying to steel himself.
Draco stepped up the last few stairs to level with the shorter man, "Are you alright?" he asked simply.
"Yeah I'm fine I'm fine." Harry assured half heartedly, "Uh... Thanks." he murmured again. And just like that he was turning to walk briskly off in the direction of the eighth year common room, his fingers still curling strangely around the strap of his satchel.
Draco stood, utterly gobsmacked at Harry's odd, but not foreign behavior. Now that he thought about it, Harry had always held a quill funny and his shoes were always messily tied, not to mention his atrocious penmanship. It was concerning, considering he has liked the git since fourth year after the first task.
Remembering for a moment, the swooping sensation in his stomach when Harry faced the vicious Horntail, realizing with a jolt he didn't want the desi boy to be harmed in any way. The death treble that panged through his heart when he thought Harry had been killed not three months ago. The powerful warm urge to snatch Harry up and kiss him when he reigned victorious in the very hall he had stormed out of.
Slinking back to his dorm, he resigned himself to ask the other two thirds of the golden trio.